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How I Broke the Binge Eating Cycle

bed recovery binge eating disorder high on life podcast stop overeating Jun 12, 2023

For those who experience binging or compulsive eating, the accompanying feelings of shame, hopelessness, and a complete loss of control, are very familiar. Whether you suffer from binge eating disorder (BED) or behaviours associated with it, what is crucial is that we start to normalize how common this problem is.

That’s why today, I am opening up on my own struggles with binge eating in the past, and reflecting on the pivotal moments that led me towards healing and freedom. I hope to shed light on the often misunderstood world of binge eating and provide guidance to those seeking their own path to recovery and a happier relationship with food, body, and self.

My BED Story

My binging episodes took place primarily in medical school, but interestingly I have blanked out a lot of that time of my life. I was in a trance when the binges were taking place, which is very common for BED sufferers. It is only as a result of conversations I’ve had with clients battling similar issues, that I have been able to remember some of my behaviors during that time.  

I have always been really interested in nutrition and fitness, but had difficulty finding balance between advocating for health versus the insidious diet culture thinking that masquerades as health, but is actually very toxic under the surface. The obsession to be perfect, eat “clean”, and restrict myself, led to the binges happening.

My Binge Eating Behaviors

In an attempt to prevent binges from happening, I tried to restrict my environment by not keeping junk food in the house. However, I still had foods for “healthy baking” like dates, walnuts, and nut butters, which were my go-to binge foods. I would open up the dates, put a walnut inside, and eat to the point I felt sick afterwards. I was probably consuming 2000-3000 calories in one sitting. 

I knew what I was doing was out of control.

“I would stand in front of the garbage can chewing cookies, and then spit them up in the garbage.”

One day, I was talking to my best friend Jen on the phone, desperately wanting the comfort of that hand to mouth action. I picked out the romaine lettuce from the fridge and, seeking the comfort of chewing, ate the entire bag of lettuce. 

While I know people might say that’s not a real binge because the food is healthy, it’s not about the food. Food is not the problem, it's about the fact I couldn't control myself. I was trying to find something in food that could not be found in food. 

I wasn't supposed to find my solace or whatever I was looking for to soothe myself in food, because food is not the answer. If you are someone who binges and are trying to do these swap strategies to binge on healthier foods, you're still not actually addressing the core issue of why you're binging in the first place. What is it you are missing out on?

My binge eating was mired by the fact I had so much guilt and shame surrounding it. Being a  huge advocate for health, nutrition, and fitness, meant that this behavior really degraded my confidence. I was always doing it in secret. 

My new approach to food and nutrition

I often work with people who want to feel more in control, but continue to restrict as a result of the toxic diet mentality that is so embedded in our culture.

I have been on the receiving end of this too, with my family making comments when I eat foods like ice cream. They say things like, “We should upload a picture of this to social media to show people what you really eat!”.

While I know it’s in jest, the real problem would lie in not eating the ice cream in front of them, and then binging in secret because I feel ashamed. 

I now have no issue having an ice cream with my kids, or enjoying a cookie or two, because I know I’ll be satisfied. The alternative would look like me trying to eat something “healthy” and continuing on and on because I'm not ever having anything that actually satisfies me.


Mindset risk factors that drive restriction

The mindset of restriction drives binge eating. This is where we have the idea that we shouldn’t be eating foods that are “bad” or “fattening”, and if we do eat them then there is something wrong with us. Whether it’s physical restriction or mental restriction, this is exactly what drives binge eating behaviors and is a consequence of diet culture and “clean” eating.

I often see clients who, when they’re binging, tell themselves not to do it and to “be good”. That in itself is restrictive and by saying you're bad if you do this will bring up judgment, guilt, and feelings of disempowerment.. 


How to fix binge eating

Let go of restriction. 

This becomes tricky if you have the mindset that you are not worthy unless you lose weight. If aesthetics is the only thing that matters to you, you will continue to do things that are in the name of health, but are not healthy at all. They are all driven by restriction and hating your body, rather than loving and honoring your body. 

You'll continue thinking the solution is to restrict harder, or restrict the environment and never buy those binge foods. This just perpetuates your lack of control, and gives all of your power away to food. As much as you can try to control your environment, those foods will inevitably come into your house one day.

If you are suffering with binge eating, remember that it is the restriction that drives the binging. Start to work on noticing all the little insidious thoughts of restriction, and understand that all foods are permissible. Until you address the binging and disordered eating, you will never be able to deal with your weight problem.


“My body is a gift from God. It is designed by him, it is worthy, and it's the one body that I get to walk through this life with. That means I better love it, honor it, and take care of it.”

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