“I eat to zone out. I eat for the pleasure it gives. I eat as a reward for working so hard.”
Sound familiar? That’s what one of our newest Members just wrote about in our Support Circle. I so understand. I used to eat for the same reasons!
I used to think I lacked “willpower”. But how could I be so hyper vigilant in other areas of my life and still fail at every single attempt to fix my emotional eating? I ended up thinking I must be self sabotaging. Why else would I keep doing this; eat as a reward, eat to disconnect, eat to self-soothe…and hate myself for continuing to do so?
Something just didn’t feel right. Something was missing from my understanding of this!
No one yet knew what neuroscience was about to tell us. The brain held the secrets to why I felt out-of-control with food.
My life experiences, to date, had programmed my brain to FEEL I had no choice BUT to turn to food when the emotional intensity went up. Some situation, or exchange, or time of day would trigger me, often out of my conscious awareness, and I’d get this automatic FIGHT – FLIGHT – FREEZE feeling. The EMOTIONAL – ACTION SYSTEM that resides in my BOTTOM – PRIMITIVE BRAIN suddenly was telling me I had absolutely NO CHOICE BUT TO EAT and I believed it.
Over the years, the bottom part of my brain had become programmed; those programmed, well-traveled neural pathways in my bottom brain told me “I MUST EAT NOW or I WON’T SURVIVE”. My bottom brain was running the show. But it doesn’t have to…
Today, I know how to stop those old programs from running my life. I know… and more importantly no longer FEEL I have to turn to food to survive the uncomfortable moments of my life. I don’t have to eat as a reward. I have learned how to stop those false feelings. I have learned how to step back and get my TOP BRAIN – EXECUTIVE FUNCTION – PREFRONTAL CORTEX to run the show.
I am no longer driven by bottom brain, by that fight- flight- freeze feeling.
Now that we know how to change brain programming; how to make new neural pathways in the brain (that’s called neuroplasticity), we understand how to use our brains to reduce the habit of emotional eating…it’s very exciting!
Our brains are amazing…I’ll be talking more and more about this in future posts…
Want to learn more? Join me for one of my live Sunday classes…
I am Ellen Shuman, a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a brain-based coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating, compulsive eating, and food addiction. I am the founder of A Weigh Out Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I was also a founding board member and a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), Contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-321-4242.