Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Can’t Stop? Understanding Binge Eating

Trying to prevent binge eating is a major struggle for many people trying to lose weight. There is nothing more self-esteem destroying and guilt creating than to eat healthy for a short period of time and then flip a switch in your brain and go crazy eating everything in sight.  For some the binge can be over in a single meal, but for others it can last for days!
What causes this unknown power that drives people to binge and sabotage their own weight loss efforts?
Well, there are physical reasons that cause people to binge as well as mental/emotional reasons….let’s discuss them both.
The number one contributor to binge eating from a physical stand point is hunger.  When you go on a diet you are eating less than your body is use to or wants. If the diet plan is poorly designed then you may be very hungry at times.   So in moments of weakness you finally relent to the hunger pangs.  But, before you beat yourself up for being weak, keep reading, because it gets a little more complicated than that.

People who have been overweight for a long period of time develop something called Leptin Resistance.  Leptin is a hormone in your fat cells that is released to tell your brain that you have eaten enough.  High sugar/carb diets or being chronically overweight create resistance to leptin so that no matter how much you eat….you still feel hungry.

Mental/emotional reasons for binge eating require that we understand ourselves at a deeper level.
Throughout the world an abundance of food is readily available. We can go to the cupboard or refrigerator (ice box) and grab something whenever we want it.  Likewise we can reach a drive thru, convenience store or fast food joint in very little time and eat for very little money.  Yet, this in of itself is not the problem because lean, fit people don’t binge eat.  So what is the problem?
Unfortunately, it is our own baggage…..or said differently it is our own emotional connection with food, our negative patterns of eating behavior and learned bad eating habits.  Now, that is a mouth full so let me explain.
We eat based upon patterns of behavior.  Through modeling (from parents, friends, and cultures), observing (patterning ourselves after others) and participating as well as linking food to stress, love and emotional comfort, we have created our own eating patterns or habits.
The problem is that in most cases these are bad eating habits.
Binge eating is a knee jerk response to either an emotional stressor or a trigger that initiated one of your negative patterns or bad habit.
You see these behaviors and patterns function like a bad recording that just keeps replaying itself over and over again.  Any emotional stressor, feeling or incident can trigger the recording to play or run and you will binge.
So, what can be done about it?
Two things:
1.  Eat foods that create a sense of fullness, that control changes in blood sugar and that repair leptin resistance and function!
2.  Learn how to replace negative eating patterns, emotional triggers and bad habits with empowering ones!
Yours in health and weight loss,
Michael Mountain

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