Weigh This Instead!

Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Binge Eating Used to be a Problem. Now, Was I Bingeing on Something Else?

People joining with others with binge eatingFor a while now, I have been trying to learn more about online marketing. How can I more effectively use the web to reach even more people who struggle with emotional and binge eating?

I’ve been listening to a lot of teleseminars, one after another, about how to increase traffic to my website, put podcasts on itunes, do webinars, organize my emails, set up systems. Whew! While listening, I take copious notes. Then, I feel overwhelmed by the suggestions. I file the notes away…and do nothing…except listen to another teleseminar.

I’m feeling stuck! So, today I had an introductory call with a highly recommended business coach, Nancy Marmolejo; someone I’m considering hiring.

Minutes into our call, she hit the nail on the head, “I think you’re bingeing on information, always feeling like you don’t have enough, feeling like something is missing, just like a binge eater binges on food.” OMG! I knew instantly she was right!

In my binge eating days, whenever I was having trouble tolerating something in my life; like starting a challenging task or conversation… or just being alone with my own thoughts and feelings, I’d have a food thought. Then I’d binge. And before long, I’d feel the urge to binge again. There was never enough food to make me OK…at least not for long. Food helped me go mindless whenever I wanted to disconnect, not face a task or situation, but it never addressed the issue that triggered the desire to binge in the first place.

I often felt like there was this empty space that I needed to be fill…with something. So, I ate junk food and sweets. I was afraid if I didn’t binge (whether it be on food or, more recently, on information), I’d be missing out on something. And I wouldn’t be able to tolerate how that felt.

My new obsession with gathering information does feel similar to having constant food thoughts. I have been bingeing on information, seminar after seminar, PDF after PDF, because I’m having trouble tolerating my feelings about all the work that lay ahead. Today, I realized I’m anxious about all the additional work that will come as the membership gets bigger. Today, I understand that staying focused on finding more information, not missing out on that next “perfect” teleseminar, was just like looking for the perfect binge foods to help me make it through the night.

And as long as I kept looking for that perfect “whatever”, I didn’t have to feel my feelings or do the actual work…I was avoiding being connected to my fears…but I was also blocking my own dream of helping more people…

I know I’m not alone here. I was telling my friend and colleague, psychologist Sandy Matthews, about today’s revelation and she starting laughing. She says her husband can always tell when she’s feeling resistant to starting something new,“For days, I’ll be obsessed about getting EVERYTHING done, everything except what I need to do. I totally reorganize my work space. I create a new set of folders and label every folder, perfectly. I clean the kitchen, really clean the kitchen! I obsess about what my husband is wearing. I research the task to death— and I justify this all by saying to myself and everyone else, ‘But once I start it, I will be soooooo ready’. And everybody around me is praying, ‘Please, let that be soon’.” (Be sure to listen to Dr. Sandy’s TeleSeminar on Relationships and Binge Eating. In it, she talks about how she used compulsive shopping the way others use compulsive eating.)

So, what am I willing to do to get unstuck; to stop avoiding my life by bingeing on teleseminars? I’m going to apply all of my emotional regulation tools to my recent information obsession. The tools helped me stop binge eating. I’m sure they’ll work on teleseminars 🙂 . When I start to feel anxious or fearful about the work ahead, I’ll remind myself of all I have built, successfully, to date.  Right now, I don’t need to gather any more information. And, I’ve decided to hire Nancy as my business coach. Even Coaches need support from coaches!

I feel better already!

How about you? Are you habitually focused on something OTHER than what really needs to be addressed? Are you bingeing, as a result? Have you thought about what you might be willing to do to get unstuck?


Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.


  1. Nancy Marmolejo says:

    Ellen, your readers are so fortunate to have a wise mentor like you who is HONEST, transparent, and truly an advocate for recovery in all aspects of life. I laughed when you mentioned Sandy’s habit of finding something– ANYTHING– to do except the task at hand… I think we all have those boxes of paperclips that demand organizing when we’re in the midst of overwhelm.


  2. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Recovery Coach; A Weigh Out says:

    Thanks, Nancy! I’m taking your advice to do “abstinence” from new information. LOL, got to say this is harder than I thought. But, I can see so clearly now exactly how I was using gathering info as a distraction from making decisions and doing the work. WOW! Thank you!

  3. I have enjoyed the thoughts above and will ponder them over while I soak in a tub…. I am all alone, a usual time to binge but tonight I will not! I have chicken baking and a salad and some veggies cooked and shrimp and salad planned for lunch even…… I am trying hard to sort out my life, and yes I am guilty off too much info accumulating, but some of it was recommended and some of it IS good! Hmmmm…….

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