Blog

Jun 29

When Eating Turns Into Regret

There are lots of reasons a binge happens.  The point I want to make is there is ALWAYS a reason and sometimes many. Always. I know this is really strong language, backed by a very strong opinion about this behavior.  Sure, lots of us overeat and the reason might be fairly superficial – it tasted good so we kept eating because we wanted the taste to continue, we accidentally went past the point of fullness before we realized it, we got caught up in the activity and stopped paying attention. It happens to all of us.

The bingeing I’m talking about is getting overly full; significantly, painfully full.  When that happens all you can think about is how uncomfortable you are and how much pain you’re in.  And that’s the point.  Eating to that level is designed to be a distraction; a numbing escape from anything else that you might be feeling.  The feelings we want to escape from most are unhappy, irritating ones – anxiety, stress, and depression.

We feel these feelings in the center of our being – right between the ribs at the top part of our diaphragm.  Sometimes the feeling travels to our shoulders and back muscles, and possibly into our stomach. It makes sense that a lot of food and fullness would mask the feelings in this area.

We feel these feelings in the center of our being – right between the ribs at the top part of our diaphragm.  Sometimes the feeling travels to our shoulders and back muscles, and possibly into our stomach. It makes sense that a lot of food and fullness would mask the feelings in this area.

Besides masking what is already uncomfortable, overindulging can feel great, for a moment, before the regret sets in.  When we eat things like fat and sugar, or when we drink alcohol or see new things to buy, the brain releases the feel-good hormone dopamine. When we experience the release of dopamine once, we crave to experience it again. We crave that rush of chemicals. Very often, it happens again and again and we’re caught in a vicious cycle.

People who are prone to bingeing or other compulsive behaviors tend to have more difficulty understanding their feelings and handling stress.  I describe it as having low resilience to the painful, uncomfortable feelings coming at them every day.  We are human so we experience uncomfortable emotions every day, even for a few seconds.  The goal of progressing towards a healthier you is to increase your resilience to those feelings.  We want to increase your ability to tolerate the emotions.  When you work with an eating coach at ALL OF NUTRITION, we work together to make that happen.  For sure it takes work, but there are few things more rewarding than being strong enough to handle your emotions without eating to smother them.  Together we can do it!  Boomdiada!!!

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