Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, BONUS

This is a bonus post to the Series: Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting.

You can read Parts 1-5 by clicking on the link above.

In this post, I wanted to give some additional tips and reinforcement that can help you stop binge eating:

  • Remember that you are not alone.  Many people struggle with binge eating.  It’s nature is isolating and you might think you are out of your mind for doing it, or the only one doing it, but you aren’t.
  • Binge eating is a natural response to extreme dieting (under-eating).  It is the body’s way to make sure you do not starve.
  • Binge eating is a habit that can be changed.
  • One way to reduce urges to binge is by eating enough throughout the day.
  • Your “enough” will be different from the next person and will vary according to how active you are, how quick your metabolism is, and on your basic genetic needs for food.
  • Experiment with finding your “enough”.
  • You won’t be perfect at this.  Some days you will eat too much, other days too little, other days it will seem just right.
  • Perfection is not the goal.
  • Rather, nourishing your body with foods that make you feel great and keep you satisfied is.
  • You can eat any foods you want to stop bingeing.
  • Many people say that eating foods found in nature, such as vegetables, fruits, animal proteins, nuts, seeds, eggs, and whole fats are good choices when reducing urges to binge.
  • But you do not need to eat what anyone else says, nor do you need to follow a specific diet.
  • Eat the foods that leave you feeling your best.
  • Experiment with this.
  • Pay attention to how food effects your body, your mind, and your mood.
  • Pay attention to how food minimizes or maximizes your urges to binge.
  • Use food as your ally, whenever you can, but know that no matter what you eat, you get to decide if you will binge or not.
  • When you return to eating enough, and eating foods that make you feel great, you still might have urges to binge.
  • This is only your brain sending signals that it has been conditioned to send.
  • These urges do not mean anything.  They do not define who you are, they don’t have any significance, and they do not need to be obeyed.
  • Notice when you have an urge to binge, accept it as a part of ending binge eating, remind yourself that they are not that big of a deal, and celebrate that you are not binge eating anymore.
  • You can include others on this journey if you want.
  • You can attend therapy or groups that help you change your approach to food, or have an accountability partner.
  • But these are all optional.
  • Enjoy the friendships you make in these settings, but remember you still have to be responsible for your life, and for your eating.
  • Events may have occurred in the past or may be occurring right now that you do not prefer, and this is unfortunate, but they are not reasons to sabotage yourself with food.
  • Fix the situations that you can, and try to let go of the ones that are outside of your influence.
  • This is really hard.
  • But you can do it.
  • If you do binge eat, don’t beat yourself up.
  • It’s just a part of stopping for many people.  It doesn’t mean you are hopeless, it doesn’t mean you are dumb.
  • Learn from your experiences.
  • The past is over.  Look ahead.
  • Be kind to yourself, grow in compassion and empathy, and get right back on target with choosing to eat enough, choosing to resist binge urges, and choosing to keep at it.
  • Over time, urges to binge fade and lose their frustrating and distracting presence.
  • Over time, your efforts to replace the negative and untrue thoughts that led to binge eating with positive and true thoughts will pay off.
  • It gets easier.  It gets simpler.
  • Stopping binge eating is not the end all in life, and will not be your greatest joy.
  • It won’t solve all of your problems, or remove the stress in life that we all have from time to time.
  • But it will make eating easier.
  • It will relieve anxiety, and stress around food, and improve your health, your mind, and your mood.
  • And it’s worth it.
  • You are worth it.

This concluded the Series: Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting.

I hope it has helped shed light on how binge eating starts, how it is maintained, and how it is stopped.

Implementing these tactics has helped me tremendously, and I share them because I think they can help you, too.

I used to think I was the craziest person for binge eating.  I would diet, and binge, and diet, and binge.

It was a time in my life that I cannot undo, so I have chosen to take everything I have learned from it and turn it into something positive to share.

If you ever feel like you are stuck in the cycle of binge eating, you aren’t.

You can stop today.  You can take care of your body, and you can be glad you didn’t give up.

Never give up.

 

 

Image from Comically Vintage.

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Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, Part 5

This is Part 5 of the Series: Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting.

You can catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 by clicking on their links.

In Part 5, we will explore approaches and practices that will help make resisting urges to binge easier.

We have already discussed that dieting (extreme under-eating) causes your brain to send signals to binge eat, that binge eating, due to its many emotional and physical consequences, is usually followed by a period of compensation (as if to undo the damage of eating so recklessly), and that resuming the original extreme diet serves to repeat the cycle of restriction, binge, and compensation.

We’ve gone over how eating more throughout the day will help lesson urges to binge, thus, reducing binge eating, and reducing periods of compensation.

And we have gone over how noticing and accepting urges to binge after you return to healthier eating habits will help to alleviate the frustration you may feel for still experiencing urges to binge.

Today I wanted to talk more about a very helpful part of accepting urges to binge:

This is to remind yourself that the feeling to binge is just a feeling.  It is only a signal that your brain is used to sending.  It doesn’t mean anything more than that.  It feels uncomfortable, and it is distracting, but it will pass, and it doesn’t deserve any more attention or effort or public announcement than it takes to notice and accept it.

Choose to not act on a meaningless thought.

Then, be glad that you did not binge!

This part of stopping binge eating is often neglected, but it is a critical part of accepting urges to binge after you are eating enough and have decided to form new habits.

It may sound strange to remind yourself of these things, but if you have been binge eating for any length of time, it’s likely you have forgotten that not all thoughts must be acted upon.

We have many thoughts throughout the day.  Most of them are habitual and serve to keep us on schedule.  We think, “I will brush my teeth” after waking up, or “I’m leaving to go to work now“, or “I will do a load of laundry today“.  These thoughts are quick and keep us on schedule, and we tend to not second guess them.  If we did, we might not get very much done in any given day.

Other thoughts require much more research and attention, and we are lucky if we have the information and freedom to make our own choices regarding them (Where to go to college?  Who to marry?  What to do with my life?).

And then there are thoughts that seem to trip us up.  They feel more like desires or urges and they can be confusing to experience.

These are the thoughts that we have, but don’t want to have, and they become greater in intensity every time they are entertained and acted upon.

For the sake of this blog post, we won’t get into all of those thoughts.

The urge to binge, however, after you have ended extreme dieting, and returned to eating enough food, is indeed, one of those thoughts so let’s keep it as our example.

You think bingeing is what you want to do, but you also know it is what you don’t want to do.

It can feel very confusing, and be a stumbling block if you don’t know how to make sense of it.

When you have the urge to binge, notice it and accept it as an old way to think that didn’t serve you well.  That’s all it is (provided it is not a sign of true physical hunger).

You do not have to give this thought any more attention than this.  It is simply an old signal the brain is still sending, but it gets weaker and weaker every time you do not respond to it.  It fades.  It goes away.  It appears less.  But it takes a bit of effort to stop giving it so much attention.

Try this just once, the next time you have the urge to binge:

Notice it, accept it as an old way to think, remind yourself you don’t binge eat anymore, and let it pass.  You do this already, with lots of thoughts.  Try it with binge eating.

And then be glad that you did not binge!

Positive reinforcement helps most people (and animals) continue on their path to better behavior.  If it feels silly to give yourself positive reinforcement, you don’t have to, but there is nothing wrong with it and you might enjoy it.

I hope this is helpful.  If you are struggling with binge eating, there is always a way out.  There is always a way to stop.  And it is always within you to stop.  You don’t have to rely on external accountability or make a big deal out of stopping.  You do not need expensive therapy, or years of self-exploration.  You don’t need to right all of the wrongs from your past, or change anyone’s behavior, or do anything that is not only about stopping the action of obeying urges to binge.  Some of these things may help to lesson the urge to binge, or may be beneficial to your intellectual and emotional growth, but they are not mandatory actions to stop binge eating.

You only have to choose to stop, accept that is will be a bit weird for awhile, remind yourself that you have stopped, and then be happy about it.

It’s a simple process and it gets easier and easier the more you do it.

And if you do choose to binge, the next time you have the urge, accept your fallibility, dust yourself off, and get right back to living your life with kindness and patience.  Fail fast, don’t look back.  Eat enough, replace old thinking with new, and try, try, again.

You are still lovable and there is still so much life to live.

Never give up.  Always press on.

Does this seem like a doable approach to end binge eating?  Is it something you think you will try the next time you have the urge to binge?

Leave a comment if you like!

 

 

Image from Rebloggy.

Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, Part 4

This is Part 4 of the Series: Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting.

If you haven’t already, read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

In Part 4, we will talk about experiencing binge urges after you have resumed eating enough.

We have already discussed that extreme dieting (under-eating) sends signals to your brain to binge eat, that binge eating becomes a habit, and that eating more throughout the day (ending under-eating) can dramatically lesson urges to binge, thus, lessoning binges, periods of compensation, and the likelihood of future urges.

Eating enough for your body is an adjustment period.  It takes trial and error to determine if you have had enough food if you have been in the habit of under-eating.  Often it will feel like you are overeating when you begin to eat enough.  Your body may need some time to adjust to eating enough so be very kind to yourself during this period.  Accept the transition as one that will help you stop binge eating.

This approach should help to encourage you!

The tricky part of binge urges is that while they begin as a survival mechanism your brain uses to keep you from starving, once activated, they become an automatic desire (urge) that is strengthened each time you obey it (each time you binge).

So, every binge increases the likelihood that you will binge again.

This may seem like unfortunate news, but it doesn’t have to be!

Instead, this news can serve you well.  Here is how:

When you feel the urge to binge you have two choices.  Obey it or dismiss it.  Since you already know that you do not want to obey it, you have to choose to dismiss it.

Part 3 of this series advocates eating more food throughout the day to lesson binge urges.  Feeling full and satisfied by your meals definitely reduces the urge to binge, but because of the many emotional layers that are intertwined with the physical action of binge eating, you might find yourself still experiencing urges to binge after you resume a healthy diet.

There are a few things you can do to dismiss the urge to binge that do not take much time and do not require a big fuss:

Ask yourself if you are physically hungry.  Physical hunger is located below the neck.  It’s a sensation in your stomach.  It’s a natural and non-threatening feeling that serves to keep you nourished and energetic throughout the day.

If your answer is that you are physically hungry–eat!

This is a simple solution that does not need alot of time, therapy, or work.  It only requires some food (or patience for you to get some food.  You may have to hold out until eating food is an option).

If you are not physically hungry, simply notice the urge to eat more (to binge eat).

When you notice the urge to binge, you are aware that your brain is sending signals to binge even though you are not physically hungry.

This can feel frustrating so the next thing to do is to accept the urge to binge.

Accept it?  But that sounds like giving up!  Like surrender!

It isn’t.  Not even close.  Accepting an urge is the kindest thing you can do for yourself in this situation.  Notice it.  Feel it (as uncomfortable as it is).  Accept it.  It is not you.  It is a signal your brain has been habituated to send.  Accept it.

How can you accept it?

Many ways.  You can silently (or even aloud) tell yourself that even though you feel the urge to binge eat right now, you are choosing to focus on whatever other task is in front of you in this moment.

You can breath deeply and imagine the urge being lessoned and becoming further and further away with every exhale.

You can remind yourself that your are being strengthened to stop binge eating in this very moment that you choose to not binge eat.  This is a rational and positive approach, but not necessary to stop binge eating.

None of these approaches require anything outside of yourself.  You do not need any special tools.  You do not need to go anywhere, or call anyone, or make any public announcements about your urge.

Just choose to not binge, accept the temporary discomfort of not giving into a meaningless urge, and if you wish, remind yourself that you are getting better at stopping the binge eating habit.

Then witness what happens next:

It passes.

It goes away.  It loses it’s distracting presence.  It fades.  It isn’t something you want anymore.

This approach has been incredibly helpful for me.  After I resumed eating enough for my body, my binge urges lessoned dramatically, but I would still experience them from time to time. Sometimes it was because I really needed to eat more food, but sometimes it was totally random.  In those moments, I had to choose how to move forward.

Modern therapy might encourage you to have a list of things to do for when an urge presents itself.  You might be told to journal, or call a friend, or take a walk, or paint your nails, or go for a drive.  These are all pleasant ideas, but not always an option if you have responsibilities other than breaking your habit to binge.

It is not always an option to go for a walk.  What if you are at work?  You cannot always call a friend.  What if they are out of the country?  And the worse (in my opinion) is painting your nails. Who wants to paint their nails when they are feeling an urge to binge?  I could never get behind that idea.

In my experience, I found that I didn’t even want to do any of those things when I had the urge to binge.  All I wanted to do was binge.  Going for a walk or getting involved in anything else besides eating was not my concern at all.

After I chose to stop binge eating, I wanted an approach to use anytime and anywhere, and I didn’t want to make it such a big deal that I was resisting an urge.  I didn’t want to pay any more attention to it than it was worth.

Accepting my binge urges helped me do this and I think it is worth trying if you find yourself experiencing urges to binge after you are eating enough.

It may feel funny at first, but all new things do.

It is worth trying because it might change your life for the better.

Next we will explore ways that make it easier to accept binge urges.

So, what do you think about choosing to accept the urge to binge?  Have you tried this already Did your urge lesson?  If it persisted, was it because you really needed to eat more food?  What finally led your urge to pass?

Please share your experiences by leaving a comment!

 

 

Image from Tumblr.

Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, Part 3

This is Part 3 of the Series: Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting.

If you haven’t already, read Part 1 and Part 2.

In Part 3, we will talk about eating enough food to lesson frantic urges to binge eat.

It is my opinion that binge eating is caused by dieting–extreme food restriction and that if you did not have the urge to binge eat, you never would.

Binge eating is an action and requires obeying signals from the brain to uncontrollably eat large amounts of food, usually in a short span of time, usually on the foods you have restricted (but not always), and usually alone.  It is often followed by feelings of regret, shame, and guilt, and a period of compensation (voluntary vomiting, over-exericisng, laxative use, or fasting) known as purging.

Binge eating’s nature is cyclical and it quickly becomes a habit.

Here is the cycle of binge eating:

Extreme dieting (food restriction/not eating enough), urges to binge, binge eating, compensation (purging), repeat.

Note that binge urges follow the act of not eating enough.  It is my opinion that by eating enough, binge urges will be dramatically lessoned.  If you continue to eat enough and lesson your urges to binge, you will binge less.  If you binge less, you will compensate less, and if you compensate less, you will be more likely to sustain eating enough.

So, what is enough?

This is difficult to determine on this blog post because everyone’s “enough” will look different, depending on their weight, height, activity level, genetic coding, and metabolism.  It is generally accepted that a six and a half foot and very active man needs to eat more than a five foot two and fairly active woman, but it is less accepted that the five foot two woman needs quite a bit more than she is eating now (provided she is a dieter).

Your most basic metabolic needs (your resting metabolism–energy needed to be in bed all day) is about ten times your body weight.  If you weigh 130 pounds, you need 1300 calories simply to stay alive.

Just to stay alive!  Forget about anything else.  Getting up to make coffee, catching the train, sitting at your desk to work, and definitely forget about any fitness routine.

Dieters are recommended to eat a very low number of calories each day, generally between 1200-1600.  I’ve seen these numbers published in magazines, on websites, and in books.  These numbers are dangerously low to sustain over time.  They are almost always not enough for anyone and will cause the brain to signal urges to binge because it believes (rightfully) that it is starving.

When I dieted (under-ate), I believed that I should be full and satisfied on about 1500 calories a day while maintaining an intense fitness routine.  I could manage to eat so little for a short amount of time (a week, maybe two), but then I would experience intense and distracting urges to eat everything in sight.  It felt strange, because I was health conscious and desired to eat nutritious foods, but when the urges to eat came, it was as if all my education and goals went out the window.  I would binge eat until I couldn’t eat anymore, regain my senses, and vow to get back on track with my low calorie diet.

And by now you probably know how that went.

I tried sustaining a low calorie diet for many years and found it frightening to imagine eating more to lesson my urges to binge.  I thought I would become a glutton, gain too much weight, or live a very sloppy life.

This is irrational because when you calculate all of the calories consumed during my binges for the week and added them to my low calorie days, my calories were always more than if I just ate enough food without dieting and bingeing.

Let’s say I tried to eat 1500 calories a day all week.  By day seven, I eat my normal 1500 calories but then binge on 3000 calories.  If I were to add my calories for the week, they would average to 1930 calories a day.

That may not sound so bad, but let’s say I binged twice in the same week.  Now my calories averaged at 2360 a day.

It was my experience that the more I dieted, restricted, and binged, the more I did it.  It was habit, and it escalated in intensity and frequency so that my binge days increased over each year and completely undid all of my very low calorie days.

If I were to simply eat more each day, let’s say 2000 calories (still debatably low), I would not only feel much fuller on any given day, but I would end up eating less than I did when dieting and bingeing.

This advice might sound far from everything you have read about losing and maintain weight, and it is, but we are slowly inching closer and closer to changing our beliefs about calories in and calories out and as we do, all of the old numbers we have been a slave to will lose their credibility.

Of course the only way to know for sure if eating more will lesson binge urges is to try it for yourself.  I’m not a fan of absolutistic thinking, so you won’t hear me saying that eating more is the only way to stop binge eating, but I will say it’s a very effective way to lesson binge urges, and the likelihood that you continue to binge eat.

You have probably heard that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

That was my approach with dieting, restricting, and binge eating.  I felt like a crazy person as I tried to fix the same problem by doing the same thing that was not working.

Eating more (enough for you) and not bingeing is possible and it will reduce stress that you may feel around food.  As you binge less (and not at all), your health will improve.  Your body will feel better and your mind will be free from all the focus and energy that bingeing requires.

Why not take a look at how much you are eating over the course of a week or two and observe if you are experiencing urges to binge.  If you are, try adding more nutritious foods to your meals. There is no need to count calories or be obsessive about it if you don’t want to.  Accept that you won’t do this perfectly.  Some days you will eat enough, some days less, some days more.  Start small, if you like, until you are comfortable with larger meals.  Choose foods that will nourish your body, eat in a way that is kind to yourself, and then note the intensity and frequency of your binge urges.

You have nothing to lose–except that which you already don’t want!

The next part of this series will explore resisting urges to binge after you are eating enough.

What do you think about eating more throughout the day to lesson binge urges?  Have you tried this approach?

Share your experiences by leaving a comment!

 

Image from Qomics.

Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a series so if you haven’t already, read Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, Part 1.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how extreme dieting sends signals to your brain to binge eat.  These signals feel like urges to eat large amounts of food in a short span of time, uncontrollably, often alone, and often followed by feelings of regret, shame, and guilt.

It is dieting–extreme calorie restriction, that prompts the very first urge to binge eat, and it is likely that if you never felt the urge to binge, you never would.

Bingeing begins when you act on the urge to binge.  Binge urges are not the same as urges to eat regular meals and snacks.  They are overwhelming and consuming thoughts to eat in a trance-like state.  Often on foods that you have been restricting, often alone, often very quickly, often in fear.  It usually doesn’t start with the thought, “I will binge eat” (but it certainly can).  It might start with the thought, “I will have a little of this“, and then “Just a little more” and then, “I cannot seem to stop and I don’t want to and I may as well keep eating and start again on my diet tomorrow.

Binge eating has multiple effects on the body.  It rapidly increases insulin and floods the brain with pleasure chemicals, called dopamine (people tend to choose palatable foods to binge on, examples being foods combining high ratios of fat and sugar, which are pleasurable).  It initially feels relieving to binge because you have been starving on such an extremely low amount of food, and bingeing often (but not always) includes foods that a dieter restricts or limits.  It often feels like an out-of-body experience–you’re eating, but it doesn’t feel like you and even if you think you should stop, you usually continue until you physically cannot eat another bite.

Afterwards you regain your senses and feel like yourself again, but now you also feel overly full, bloated, tired, foggy, moody, and glad you no longer have to fight the urge to binge.   You may also feel regret, shame, guilt, and confusion as to why you just ate so much.  You might vow to never binge again.  The opposing feelings of relief and regret may have a very negative impact on you and it’s common to associate the foods binged on with these negative feelings.

There are many emotional layers involved in physically under and overeating.

To compensate for the reckless eating, most purge.  Purging is any attempt to undo the damage of eating too much during a binge.  It could be self-inflicted vomiting, but it could also be over-exercising, laxative use, or fasting.

When you resume eating after purging, you likely feel motivated to resume dieting so just like in the beginning, you eat restrictively and not enough.  Your brain, again, senses something is not right and assumes you are starving all over again.

You aren’t starving.  You may have even gained weight from binge eating, but the brain quickly senses the repeated period of food restriction.  It thinks you are starving.

So, in an effort to disrupt starving, it again, sends signals to binge eat.

Followed by regret and compensation, followed by another urge to binge.

And the cycle continues.

This is the habit of binge eating.  Once it is activated, and every additional time it done, it is reinforced in your brain to do it again, even though it has negative consequences.

To end the habit of binge eating, it will require determination to stop restrictive dieting and return to eating enough food throughout the day.  This may feel threatening to someone who is already fearful of weight gain, and may seem like an absurd solution.

But this is absolutely necessary to end the diet, restrict, and binge cycle!

In Part 3, we will go over how eating more will help lesson the brain-established pattern of binge urges, and a few common myths that keep people from the commitment to actually stop binge eating.

What do you think of binge eating being a habit formed by the brain to prevent starvation?  Do you agree or disagree?

Leave a comment to share your thoughts!

Image from Tumblr.

Binge Eating is Caused by Dieting, Part 1

Last week I wrote a post called Why I Binged on Food for 10 Years.  

In that post, I shared how my extreme food and calorie restriction caused my brain to generate urges to binge eat, and how returning to a diet that included enough food helped lesson the urges, but only accepting and resisting them helped me to actually stop binge eating.

If you haven’t read it, take a minute to review my own story with dieting, restricting and bingeing.

I wanted to explore this issue further.

There is alot of confusion about how binge eating begins.  Mentioned in my post, many people, including trained therapists, say that binge eating is a coping mechanism for a past trauma.  It is also said that binge eating is done to escape current discomfort, such as a loveless marriage, a dead-end job, or a generally boring life.  And it is also said that binge eating serves to help people grieve, perhaps the loss of a loved one or financial security or even a friendship that has ended.

I don’t think any of this is true, and I think that telling yourself that you binge eat to deal with anything in your life that you do not prefer is irrational and useless for actually stopping.

It is my opinion that binge eating begins when you adopt a starvation diet.  Diets (food that you eat) that are too low in calories and nutrients are impossible for the human body to ever feel natural and comfortable maintaining.

Anytime you do not eat enough, whether or not you are following a specific diet, your body fights back.  This looks like strong cravings for food, strong desires to eat, obsessive thoughts about eating, and obsessive thoughts about your body.

A fascinating and tragic study on this is the Minnesota Starvation Experiment of 1944-1945 by Dr. Ancel Keys.  You can find alot of information about this study involving 36 healthy men who were placed on an extremely low calorie diet if you do a little online searching.  The study basically reveals how malnutrition due to insufficient calories completely changes the health of the dieter’s minds.  The men in the study became obsessed with eating, obsessed with their bodies and most, nearly all, became habitual binge eaters.

I highly recommend reading all you can about this study.  It connects starving with binge eating very practically.

I used to diet extremely.  I limited my calories, and like the men in the starvation study, I developed obsessive fixations on eating and remaining thin.

Before I believed that my binge eating was directly correlated with extreme dieting, I was very confused about why I felt the need to do it.  I looked for things in my life that may have been contributing to these urges I felt, but I had a very good childhood with loving, supportive and available parents,  no abandonment, and no memorable trauma.  It was easy to make friends, I was happy in my marriage and felt OK about how I made money.  I felt lucky about this while perplexed that I would have frantic urges to eat huge amounts of food, at seemingly random times.

The only thing that made enough sense for my behavior was that I was just a bad and weak person who loved food too much (I read books advocating this).  So I tried to love it less, by eating less.  I tried to be stronger by being even more self-disciplined around food.

This only perpetuated my problem of being starved and served to increase my binge urges.

Have you ever wondered if you would binge simply to binge?

Let’s say that you are relatively healthy (or even very healthy) and you eat enough to maintain a natural weight for yourself.  You treat your body well, feeding it when you are hungry and not getting bent out of shape if you eat a little too much form time to time because that is an inevitable and natural thing to do.  Let’s say you were out to dinner one night and having an amazing time with loved ones, wining and dining and talking and laughing and really enjoying yourself.  And then you get home and find that your dog got out from the backyard and ran away.

What would you do?  Call the neighbors?  Run and up and down the street?  Phone the pet shelter?  Post photos of your dog on street posts in hopes your best little friend would be returned?    Cry?

I would likely do all these things.

But binge eat?  How would that help?  Where would that idea come from?

Now let’s imagine the same scenario above except you diet, extremely.  You don’t eat enough, you are constantly hungry.  You mostly feel deprived.  You go out to dinner with loved ones and certainly enjoy yourself, but you are sustaining starvation, albeit low-grade or very severe.  When you find out that your dog ran away, what do you do?

Likely all of things above, but maybe you find yourself doing some binge eating in the next week or so.  This is understandable, you tell yourself, and others might even think.  You are stressed.  You lost your dog!

But what if you never had the urge to binge, even after your pup ran away?

Would you still do it?

This is an example that highlights how we may correlate stress with binge eating.  It is inevitable that we will have stress in our life, but only people who have the urge to binge will choose to, and only people who are starving will have urges.  Of course, it makes no sense to binge after you lose your dog.  Eating more will not bring your pet back, but it will relieve your urges and will serve to undo self-inflicted starvation.

You have to ask, “If I did not have the urge to binge, would I still choose to do it?”.

Highly unlikely.

Dieting–not eating enough, creates urges to binge.  Maybe not immediately, but certainly over time.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to accept that my extreme dieting was the reason for my urges to binge but contemplating it doesn’t really interest me as the past is over.  What’s done is done.

But now that I know, I have awareness to inspire a response–to stop dieting, to eat enough and to eat foods that nourish my body and mind.

In the next post, I will elaborate on how bingeing, while caused by dieting, becomes habitual, even after you resume eating enough.

Until then, what do you think?  If you diet and have urges to binge, do you think they are related?  If you did not have urges to binge, would you still do it?

Your comments are valuable, please share your experiences!

Image from All Posters.