Archive for the ‘Binge Eating’ Category

Are You Greedy For More?

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Greedy womanSometimes, when I’m eating something really delicious, I have a hard time stopping. I was hungry when I started, and I thoroughly enjoyed what I ate, and now, well, I want to keep going.

Has this ever happened to you?

Sometimes, stopping brings up our issues.

Do we feel like we never have enough?

Enough love, money, food, connections?

Do we want to keep eating to avoid thinking about something?

Or feeling something?

Or doing something?

I’m sure you’ve been there.

But how about when you want to keep eating because it tastes so absolutely yummy?

I’ve been noticing myself doing that lately.

The one piece of chocolate becomes two or three.

The two little gummy bears are so good. I have to go back for more.

Well, here’s the deal.

Sometimes there isn’t necessarily an issue.

Sometimes we are just greedy for more of something good.

Often, we’re so stingy with ourselves, that we rarely give ourselves a treat.

Especially if we’re trying to lose weight.

And when we finally give ourselves a taste of something purely for pleasure, it’s tough to stop. We may feel overwhelmed by the pleasure of it.

So maybe sometimes, when we can’t stop, we’re just being greedy.

I don’t mean that you should use this thought to beat yourself up with. Or to use as evidence that there’s something wrong with you.

There isn’t.

But, even though something is delicious, doesn’t mean we should just roll over and keep eating it.

After all, we’re in charge of ourselves.

And while once in a while going overboard feels great, if we do it regularly, it won’t feel good.

Nor will it give us the results we’re looking for.

So if you’ve been feeling a little greedy lately, and there isn’t a life theme or big emotional issue driving you, here’s what you can do:

Take yourself by the hand, and lead yourself away from the gummies. Do what’s in your best interest. Resist being greedy just to be greedy.

When something tastes fabulous, watch your next thought.

The fact that it tastes great isn’t a command.

It’s just an observation.

This tastes unbelievable! I love it! It’s great!

Period.

The next thought does not have to be: ‘And I must have more’.

Just consider that even after observing how delicious something is, your next thought can be, ‘so what!’

Don’t create a command for yourself.

Enjoy, and step back.

There’s always next time.

Nutrition Matters Podcast with Paige Smathers

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

nutrition mattersPlease join me! I was recently interviewed by Paige Smathers, on her podcast Nutrition Matters.

Cookie and Paige Discuss Nutrition Matters, Emotional Eating, and Binge Eating

Paige Smathers is a registered dietitian who is all for sustainable healthy eating, and not a big believer in diets. I think you’ll enjoy our conversation. Join us when we discuss how nutrition matters.

Click here to listen in.

Binge Eating, Emotional Eating and Compulsive Overeating: What’s the Difference?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

fridge and eatingMost of my private clients come to me with many complaints about how they’re eating. They assume they are all binge eating, even though most of them aren’t.

Since they all want to learn to lose extra weight and eat like a naturally thin person, what’s the big deal about figuring out what kind of problem they have?

Why can’t they just try to eat less?

Figuring out and really defining your eating problem is the first step to learning to eat naturally and shedding your extra weight.

But, as a subject, it’s a little bit boring. It’s not a fast, sexy subject. I get it.

If you don’t pause and figure out what you’re doing and WHY you’re doing it, then choosing a solution is like buying a lottery ticket.

There’s a small shot it may work, but then again, there’s a really good shot that it may not.

If you eat to avoid an emotion, or eat in response to an emotion, you’re probably an emotional eater. And your solution will be all about learning to manage those emotions.  Like a pro.

If you have recurrent urges to eat large quantities of food, pretty often, regardless of what triggers those urges, chances are you’re a binge eater. Those urges come from your lower brain, just like the survival instinct. Your brain thinks you need to binge in order to survive. Your solution will be all about recognizing that urge for what it is, and deciding rationally not to obey it. You need to learn a little bit about how your brain works, and you’ll be able to master this.

And if you’re on the ‘see food’ diet… bear with me here… if you see food and then eat it, you’ve just conditioned yourself to have some really unhelpful habits with food that you can replace.

All these different eating issues, once they’ve been defined, all respond to changes in the way you think. And thinking about these issues unemotionally is your key to success.

Changing how you eat will change your body. Changing how you eat has to come from changing how you think. And changing how you think comes from correctly identifying and defining your problem. Let’s start there! Do the work!

How To Stop Overeating: Part 1

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Stop overeatingAre you a finisher? Do you typically eat until all the food in front of you is gone? Would you like to stop overeating?

If the answer is yes, you are certainly not alone. But you know that finishing everything regardless of whether you’re hungry or not will give you a gift you may not really want: extra pounds.

Naturally slim women (and men) eat differently. They eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re not.

Maybe they will overeat on rare occasions… like Thanksgiving, or on holiday in an exotic place. But mostly, they simply stop when they’ve had enough.

So, how do these magical people accomplish this herculean task? Well, they pay attention.

They pay attention to how the food feels in their body. And they notice that beginning sense of a slight fullness.

The food they’re eating begins to lose its allure. And they don’t like feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. So they make a quick, body-based decision: stop now.

This isn’t a struggle that they debate and weigh the pros and cons of, because there is no drama for them. And, they know that they will eat again the very next time they’re hungry.

How do the rest of us non-naturally slim people stop eating? Most commonly, we stop when the food is gone.

Or when we’ve simply run out of steam. And when we are physically uncomfortable.

If we’ve eaten from uncomfortable emotions to start with, we might stop when the eating has sufficiently distracted us from whatever was driving us to eat.

As you can see, there’s quite a gap between the stopping habits of the naturally slim and the rest of the world.

In the beginning, as babies, we all were natural eaters. If we were hungry, we cried and mom gave us a bottle or breast. And when we were done, we were done. We stopped.

No question about it. Nothing could entice us to eat when we weren’t hungry anymore. We were masters at getting our needs met.

Fast forward 20 or 30 or 50 years and here were are, having forgotten the basics of when to eat and when to stop. But, the good news is that we can relearn how to do this. It’s a learnable skill. You can learn how to stop overeating.

Here’s what you need to re-learn in order to stop overeating when you’re no longer hungry:

First, you need to be able to read your body. And so you need to sit down and get grounded.

Check in and decide if you are hungry. It’s really helpful to do this both before you eat and midway and three-quarters of the way through.

Know that in matters of hunger, the body rules. Your mind may decide where to go on your next vacation, but it’s your body’s’ domain of when to eat and when to stop.

I love something that Geneen Roth once said: Your mind will see food and always want more. The wanting is endless. Your mind has no limits.

But your body has limits. It can only hold so much. And in knowing when to stop eating, you need to go with your body.

Know there will be more food if you stop. And, if you’ve created the habit of being a finisher, know that creating a new pathway in your brain will involve some discomfort. Not deprivation, just discomfort.

Things will get easier. But start here. Know that the path to slim is knowing when to stop.

Why You Should Never Start Your Diet On A Monday

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Monday Green Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds - Days of the Week Series.Let me amend that statement.

I’m not a believer in diets. Diets actually cause overeating and binge eating. So let’s call it ‘your weight loss program’.

How many times have you said this to yourself:

  • I’ll just start Monday.
  • Or, I’ll start after the holidays.
  • Or after the New Year.

The thing about Mondays or any other arbitrary starting point is that those dates are meaningless.

What we’re really saying is ‘not now’… I just can’t commit right now.

And that is the problem.

We can imagine committing sometime in the future, but not now.

And that future date never happens. Because when Monday or New Year’s Day actually come, we then let some other little imperfection in our behavior push back our starting date again.

And again.

And we become more demoralized. Less confident. And our weight continues to add up from this psychic procrastination.

So what can you do? You still want to lose weight. And for whatever reason, you think you have just blown your effort and need to get back on the wagon as soon as it’s convenient.

Here is what you can do:

Always start now. No matter the day, the date, the year or the holiday. As soon as you deviate from your plan, first figure out what you can learn from it. And then continue. There is no big start. Just a continuing road that you will be on.

Always.

Does that mean you will always have to be focused on losing weight?

No! It simply means that taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is a life-long endeavor. And you are never done.

You never fail… you just get feedback.

It’s like the kids’ game of warmer or colder… are you getting warmer… closer to your goal? Or colder, further away?

Every step keeps you on your path of living your life. It’s like a huge experiment, where you are constantly checking your results to see if you like what you are creating.

And if you do, stay on that road.

If you don’t, well, make an adjustment. Right now.

With the next meal.

The next drink.

The next snack.

Now is what we have for sure.

So do it now.

How Your Lower Brain Hooks You Into Bingeing

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

lower brain urgesA while ago I had the pleasure of talking to author Kathryn Hansen about her book, Brain Over Binge.

We talked about how the lower part of our brain gives us messages based on a strong drive for survival. We may get messages to eat unnecessarily large quantities of food… too much for our bodies, but seemingly never enough for our misguided brains.

Why is it so hard to recognize the voice of our lower brain? And how exactly does it ‘hook us’ into believing that there is a real, immediate need, and we’d better load up on food, NOW?

The lower brain is very tricky.

It sends us messages that really sound like it’s our true self that has this need.

If you’re working hard, and are tired or stressed, you might hear yourself think, ‘Oh, let me just have one cookie. I’ve been working so hard! I certainly deserve it!’

Doesn’t that sound believable?

If you have been staying conscious of what you’ve been eating, you might hear your animal brain say, ‘Oh come on, take a break! I hate having to think so hard about what I do!’

It can be really hard to distinguish your lower brain’s voice from the voice of your true self.

So here’s what you can do.

Let’s assume that you truly do want to stop bingeing.

Some people don’t.

But most do… so if you really want to stop, then just know that any excuse you think of to binge or to indulge without hunger is the voice of your lower brain.

Because these voices are not aligned with what your higher self really wants.

Our goal in breaking free from binges is to begin to hear your lower brain’s messages, and then choose to ignore them. We can notice them, and label them as ‘neurological junk’… not worthy of any attention. Just some brain messages from faulty wiring.

But, in order to dismiss these urges as neurological junk, we first need to recognize them.

I suggest that you start a list of your lower brain’s top 10 hooks.

Here are some examples:

  1. Just have a piece of cake! You can always start a diet tomorrow.
  2. You’ve been so good… just give this food to yourself.
  3. So what if you binge, it’s not that big a deal.
  4. You’re so tired, there’s so much to do… take a break and live it up!
  5. It’s not fair that I have to watch what I eat.

And so on…

Make a list of your own usual reasons for overeating.

Jot them down and look them over.

And the next time you hear that voice in your head with one of your top 10 excuses, you will know it’s just your lower brain trying to get you to do what you’ve always done.

Which has been to give in to the urge.

But you are in charge.

That lower brain can give you an urge to eat, but it can’t physically make you eat.

That choice is always up to you.

Start here. And learn to recognize the voice and the words that hook you.

What If Your Binges Weren’t Your Fault?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

binges and the brainWhat if your binges weren’t your fault?

What if it were simply the way your brain functioned?

And that you could stop binges at any time?

If this sounds too good to be true, it’s not.

If you’ve been listening to the news and doing some reading, you probably already know that interest in brain science and developments in brain science are at an all-time high.

Research has shown us that our brains have neuroplasticity… the ability to change. And this change can be seen, literally, with brain scans.

So what this means for people with compulsive behaviors, like compulsive eating, binge eating and obsessive thoughts and actions, is that these behaviors can be stopped.

Without drugs.

Without therapy.

Here’s the very simplified story:

Our brain has many parts… for the purpose of this discussion, let’s view the brain as having two main parts… the Higher Brain and the Lower Brain.

The Higher Brain is the part that we think of as our True Self, or the Human Brain. It is in the front and top of our brain, and controls rational thought, voluntary motor functions and logic, among other things.

The Animal Brain is lower, and is found in most living things… you may have also heard it being called the Reptilian Brain. It’s responsible for our survival… it tells us what we need to survive and acts in a very routine, programmed way.

How does this affect your eating?

Let’s say, like millions of Americans, you’ve dieted in your lifetime. Dieting can trigger the Lower Brain to urge you to eat, and eat, and eat. Why? Because it thinks by dieting that you might be starving, and its job is to keep you alive.

Eventually, over time, the urge to overeat to compensate for undereating becomes a habit. Guess what part of the brain handles this habit?

The Lower/Animal Brain.

And once these neural connections are made, that part of the brain will urge you to overeat, or binge eat. The feeling of ‘having to’ keep eating doesn’t come from your stomach, once you are physically satisfied. But many of us keep on eating because of that desperate false message we are getting from our Animal Brain.

It can feel extremely urgent that you eat. And continue to eat. And it feels like you have absolutely no choice.

So you give in.

And each time you give in to the binges, you are strengthening those pathways in that part of your brain.

When you are not hungry and you hear that inner voice telling you to go have ALL the cookies in the house, that message you are getting is just the way your brain has been programmed for survival.

And after a binge, most people vow to eat much less the next day, which again gives the Lower Brain the message that you are starving. So you keep on making these urges strong.

It can feel like you are trapped, with no way out.

The interesting thing is that even though the Lower Brain is giving you these inappropriate and unnecessary urges to eat, it actually can’t make you do a thing.

It can’t make you get up and go to the fridge.

It can’t make you order pizza.

And it can’t make you put anything in your mouth.

That’s because it’s your Higher Brain that controls your voluntary movement. Although it may feel like you are out of control, the rational part of you is always in control.

And there is a way to change this.

I’ve been using these concepts for months now myself and with my clients and have seen amazing results.

The Secret Life of the Binge Eater

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Brain Over BingeAre you a secret binge eater?

There are many definitions of binge eating… it can be an actual eating disorder, or it can  describe  the behavior of many of my clients:

  • Eating large amounts of food
  • A couple of times a week
  • Feeling out of control, like you have no choice
  • And always with great regret and distress.

Is this you?

I am seeing more and more brilliant clients who are secretly obeying a strong urge to eat large quantities of food fairly often.

These women are eating compulsively… they get an urge to eat and once they start, the eating takes on a life of its own.

They are always disgusted with themselves and fear that something is wrong with them.

I know how they feel.

Because binge eating is something I used to do myself.

Many things can trigger a big eating session, and it’s hard to pinpoint and deal with each trigger.

So to deal with my own pain and the shame and pain of my clients, I researched and found some incredible answers in the world of brain science.

One of my favorite books about this behavior is Brain Over Binge, by Kathryn Hansen. Kathryn is not a coach, a psychologist or a researcher.

But she is someone who is fully recovered from Binge Eating Disorder, and has shared her story of recovery in the form of a memoir.

If you’ve ever felt like your eating was out of control, that once you started you couldn’t stop, or that you ate tremendous quantities of food, unrelated to your size or your hunger, you need to read this book.

I’ll be writing about binge eating for the month of September, so keep reading.

And if you’d like to talk to me privately about your story and hear some nontraditional solutions that you’ve probably never heard before, click here to talk to me.

I’m here to help.

Cookie

What To Do When You Can’t Stop Eating

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Stop eatingWho hasn’t been there?

You’re eating something delicious.

Maybe a favorite treat.

Maybe something you consider one of your ‘trigger foods’.

You’re full. Your body is satisfied.

But you get an automatic thought, telling you that you just can’t stop eating.

Not until it’s either gone, or you’re stuffed and sick.

You feel helpless.

Out of control.

Ashamed.

Maybe, for a moment, you just don’t care.

Nope.

In that moment, you tell yourself that:

You want to keep eating,

You couldn’t stop if you wanted to, and

You don’t care.

Guess what?

Lies.

Lies.

Lies.

Yes, you are lying to yourself.

Here’s the truth.

Truth: When you are eating without real hunger, your body doesn’t want to keep eating.

But your devious little mind does.

It’s playing tricks on your body.

Truth: You are in total and complete control of what and how much you eat.

Always.

When you think you’re not, you’ll act like you’re not.

But when you think you’re in charge, guess what?

Stopping won’t be a big deal.

Truth: You do care.

You always care.

You may go in and out of awareness of this truth.

But it will keep coming around to remind you.

That’s why, when you finish overeating, you feel regret.

Remorse.

Self-hate.

So, if you want to stop eating when your body has had enough, take a little break.

A pause.

Step away from the food.

Give yourself a moment to think.

Check in.

Are you hungry?

Physically in your body?

If you are, eat a little bit more and check in with yourself again.

If you’re not, stop.

Stop eating.

Take a leap of faith and listen to your body.

Tell your mind to shut up!

And tell yourself, ‘I’ve got this!’

Now, walk through the discomfort of not eating.

Not a super big deal.

Just uncomfortable.

Once you do this a few times, it won’t seem as hard as it does now.

It will be uncomfortable in the beginning.

Truth: You can definitely do this.