I wanted to title this post, “If You Think You are Bad for Binge Eating” but changed it to “When You Think You are Bad for Binge Eating”. It is likely that you or someone else has labeled you “bad” for being caught up in the habit of bingeing. You have probably felt embarrassed, confused, guilty, shameful, hopeless, depressed and maybe even suicidal because you binge eat.
Binge eating has serious consequences on your body. It makes you physically uncomfortable, bloated, fat and tired. It disrupts your digestion. It damages your skin. It makes your joints hurt and head ache and can even make you sensitive to sunlight. It gives you a hangover (commonly referred to as a “food hangover”).
But binge eating also has consequences on your mind. More and more research is linking the gut with the brain and it’s no surprise that eating affects our thoughts which affect our feelings. At first binge eating makes you feel relief (that you are no longer fighting your urge to binge), happy and at ease with everyday stress but shortly after it is followed by feelings of confusion, regret, guilt, shame and a general sense that you are hopeless and bad. Cultivating these thoughts easily leads to anxiety and depression and at worse, doing things that permanently harm your body such as purging and self-mutilation. These, of course, are very extreme reactions to binge eating and not everyone responds in these ways but they are real responses, nonetheless.
It only makes sense that someone would respond with such negative thoughts after a binge because they started with the belief that binge eating is bad and doing it makes them bad, too. We tend to conclude someone is good or bad based on what we see them doing but it should be known that our actions do not change our nature, they only change our thoughts as they relate to whatever we believe about the deed we are judging.
Binge eating is not a desirable habit but it must be noticed for exactly what it is–a habit. It is a voluntary physical response that becomes more and more natural to do each time it is done and its consequences escalate, both physically and mentally. When you binge eat you are not more of a bad person and when you don’t binge eat, you are not more of a good person. You simply are who you are and you chose to eat in either a self-destructive or self-nuturing way. Know that you have the choice to make decisions that support a healthy body and mind and that you are physically capable of never binge eating.
When you think you are bad for binge eating, try replacing it with the truth. You made a poor choice, but it has no bearing on your worth or ability to make better choices moving forward.
Image from Marshmallows and Bubbles Tumblr.