Ah! I Binge Ate and I Don’t Know Why

You kickstart your day with a quick and nourishing breakfast, navigate a hectic morning, and manage to squeeze in a healthy lunch. The workday whirls by, and as the clock strikes 5:00, you eat some cheese and crackers before diving into dinner prep.

Post-dinner, you settle on the couch, intending to unwind. Yet, you find yourself repeatedly gravitating to the kitchen, driven by an insatiable hunger that puzzles you since you’re not physically hungry.

Guess what? There’s actually a good reason for your evening snack cravings and relentless munching after dinner.

In such situations, the knee-jerk reaction might be to blame a lack of willpower or discipline for succumbing to cheese and crackers or making frequent pantry trips. However, what if the issue isn’t about the food or your self-control?

Overeating is often a symptom you’re having an unconscious protective response triggered by various fears we’d rather not experience or feel. It’s not typically one big event but a series of triggers or stressors that wear us down, so we don’t have the capacity to “care” about our food choices and feel we deserve to eat whatever.

Here’s the catch – you likely do care and end up berating yourself afterward. If you have an unconscious fear of not wanting to be exposed, misunderstood, or seen as a failure, you might find comfort in a pint of ice cream any time you feel at risk of any of those happening.

This is when the insatiable hunger takes over, making it hard to stop at just a little. The truth is the ice cream isn’t what you truly crave. In these moments, relying on more willpower or discipline won’t save you. Identifying the root cause of what’s leading you to eat in the first place is a great starting point!

To do this, check in when you’re obsessing about eating something you feel you “shouldn’t,” during a binge (which can be very challenging, so if that’s not possible right now, that’s OK!), and/or after overeating. The idea is to give yourself space, pause and reflect on what you’re feeling. Common triggers that lead us to eat are feeling emotionally or physically tired, anxious/uncertain, inadequate, and/or lonely. You can use the acronym TAIL and ask yourself, “What’s at the TAIL end of my food thoughts?”

Once you reflect, see what arises and what you need once you have the awareness. This reflective practice isn’t a walk in the park; it takes practice and can be challenging to identify what you’re feeling since food has been a way to push down and not feel emotions for so long.

While reaching the bottom of the ice cream container can be a red flag, it also serves as a gentle reminder to look within and use this tool.

Ready to find out how you can end self-sabotage with food?

Once you try out this tool, if you’d like to take it further, check out the Truce with Food Masterclass. You’ll discover the 5-step process that will help you end self-sabotage with food, clear up mental chatter around food, and feel more comfortable and confident in your body!

About Laura:

Laura is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and holds a certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She has supported over 120 clients who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns keeping them stuck so they can radically transform their relationship with food.

Laura is a facilitator of the research-based Truce with Food® process, which helps clients achieve sustainable results by getting to the bottom of why they fall off track and aren’t able to remain consistent. She’s also the creator of the self-study course, “Behind Your Cravings.”

After successfully losing 60-pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura’s mission became helping others get to the bottom of their self-sabotaging patterns.

Laura coaches clients one-on-one, in small groups, runs workshops, speaks at summits and conferences, and has been featured in Voyage Chicago. Laura can be contacted at [email protected].

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