You’ve just fallen off another diet and gone into a binge… but you might ask, how is my diet causing my binge eating?
The purpose of a diet
The purpose of a diet is to give you a guideline on a healthier way to eat. That is, if the diet is a healthy one. First , lets assume it is. It is a guideline on the amount to eat, when to eat and to give you ideas on what to eat.
This works, and I think only works when you need a small course correction. In other words, you don’t have that much to lose, you know you are eating a bit more then you should be, or you could eat healthier lunches or dinners and the diet can give you ideas for that. When you follow it and you lose weight, then great. Though, the idea is that the diet has given you a tiny bit of a lifestyle change so you now stick to healthier habits because you like it and you are on your way to maintaining your new weight.
A diet will never work if you have disordered eating like binge eating in any way. Because diets do not address eating patterns, mindset, or beliefs. Some are downright dangerous, drinking packet food for days on end, or are totally unsustainable. It is inevitable that they are hard to stick to.
So how is my diet causing my binge eating? Here’s how.
If a diet is very restrictive, like only drinking some milkshake or a powdered drink for days on end, it is not going to satisfy your emotional needs. If you are telling yourself to only eat X and don’t eat Y, then guess what,all we want to eat is Y, we are focussed on what we cant have. The restriction also brings up lots of unwanted feelings, because we are abstaining from the food that is anaesthetising the feelings that are causing us to turn to food. The more we restrict, the more we want to binge. The problem is we don’t know what that is, nor do we sometimes directly feel it. We just see us craving this food and not feeling too good and food will fix it for us. By not restricting so much and eating some of what we want, we can start to learn to find the balance and manage that ourselves, instead of feeling out of control.
2. Lack of control
When we are on a diet,it is the diet that is dictating to us what and when to eat, not us. We are handing over control of our body and thoughts and emotions to an outside system. Our eating is dictated largely by how we feel and if we listen our bodies will be telling us what it needs. With Binge eating, we know there is something psychologically driving us to eat. These eating patterns could have been in place for years. The person who can right it, is us. We need help diving psychologically into what is causing it, but if we are handing over our power, our eating to something outside of us, it is never going to right what is not right within us. Read my other post on the dark side of diets here.
3. Lack of understanding
By following a system of eating, we are then not learning about ourselves. The problem is, that if when we listen to ourselves, our minds are telling us to eat pizza and ice cream, we can’t stop eating that chocolate, where do we go from here? A diet is not going to allow us to understand why we are eating the way that we do. We have to go back to how we normally eat. Start to be mindful, in that we observe ourselves, start being curious as to why do I want this pizza. It is going a bit deeper, then it tastes good. You are looking for what feelings/emotions are behind it. What void is it filling? If you didn’t binge eat the sweets how would you be feeling?
Noticing your patterns will start to give you insight into what is causing your binge eating, then it allows you to start working on those feelings. You can see now, how a diet will never fix your binge eating. But delving deeper into yourself will.
You can find more information about binge eating disorder here.