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Comfort Overeating & Binge Eating

Eating certain foods that make you happy during tough times is common. These foods can make your brain release a chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel calm and happy. But some people feel this more strongly. Yet, relying excessively on emotional eating to cope with stress can develop into a problematic pattern akin to addiction. If it starts making you feel bad about yourself, or affects your health, it's time to get help.

While the occasional treat like a biscuit or chocolate to soothe yourself is normal, an unhealthy relationship with food or an eating disorder may develop if food becomes the primary coping mechanism for unwanted thoughts or emotions, or if eating extends beyond the point of enjoyment or physical comfort.

Binge eating is when you eat a lot of food in a short time, often feeling really ashamed and keeping it a secret. It usually involves eating "comfort foods" like pizza, biscuits, chips, or crisps – the kind of stuff we call "junk food." But sometimes, even foods like breakfast cereals, vegetables and nuts can become binge foods, especially if you usually avoid them.

Sadly, many people who struggle with binge eating get stuck in a tough cycle. After a binge, they often feel really guilty and ashamed, which can lead to more bingeing. This cycle can turn into a serious eating disorder called Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

When it comes to emotional eating and eating disorders, there are lots of things that can play a part. The reasons behind these issues can be different for everyone, but some common ones include:

  • Feeling super hungry because you're not eating enough or skipping meals. This can make you crave food more and lead to bingeing.
  • Avoiding certain foods or food groups can make them seem even more tempting. This can lead to bingeing on these "forbidden foods."
  • Using food as a way to cope with stress or bad feelings, which can make you eat even when you're not hungry.
  • Feeling bored or having lots of free time can make you think more about food and eating, leading to bingeing out of habit or just because you have the chance.
  • Sometimes, bingeing can be a way to deal with anger or resentment, whether it's directed at yourself or others.

Changing your daily routines and how you react to things isn't easy, but it's possible. To make lasting changes and recover from disordered eating, it's important to be flexible and learn new ways of doing things. 

What we can achieve working together:

  • Increase your confidence in nourishing yourself well.
  • Reduce tiredness and mood swings.
  • Achieve a stable, healthier weight without fluctuations.
  • Stop binge eating and overuse of comfort eating to cope with life.
  • Cultivate a more balanced body image
  • Reduce the intrusive thoughts about body shape/size 
  • Free up your mind from over focus on body shape/size and engage in what REALLY matters to you

Emotional eating, binge eating, or cycling between food restriction and overeating can stem from various triggers, including trauma, past dieting experiences, excessive fixation on body image, and difficulties in managing stress, often intertwined. Working together, we'll gain a deeper understanding of the roots of your disordered eating, identify the factors sustaining it, and pinpoint the triggers for comfort eating, restricting, or bingeing. Following that, we'll delve into holistic mind-body strategies aimed at instilling confidence and relaxation regarding food, enabling you to fully reconnect with your life.

Here's a glimpse into some of the common themes we often explore:

  • Building a strong foundation for healthy nutrition tailored to meet your individual health needs.
  • Examining the triggers behind disordered eating behaviours.
  • Developing practical strategies to manage cravings, handle triggers, and adopt healthier eating habits.
  • Increasing awareness of your thoughts and emotions around binge or restriction behaviours and practice self-regulation.
  • Learning to recognise unwanted thoughts and emotions without trying to suppress or avoid them, fostering a more compassionate and non-judgmental relationship with yourself.
  • Reduce the influence of negative self-talk and cognitive distortions that contribute to bingeing or comfort eating behaviours.
  • Identifying meaningful goals and motivations to guide your actions, offering a sense of purpose and direction in overcoming disordered eating and cultivating a healthier relationship with food.
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