Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

The Moments Right Before We Turn to Binge Eating

Men with Binge Eating DisordersIt hits…that all-too-familiar urge to eat, for purposes of relief, self-soothing, or distraction from any thought or feeling we’d rather avoid.

Suddenly, we feel we have no choice but to eat. Sometimes we know it’s not physical hunger that’s driving this all-consuming focus on food. Sometimes, we’re not sure. Sometimes, in those moments, we simply don’t care. We just want to go numb.

In that very moment, when we’re in the throes of a binge eating episode, it seems all ability to reason, to stay mindful and to not binge, just goes out the window. We feel “out of control”.

For many who struggle with binge eating, this is very confusing. How is it possible to be proactive and effective in some other areas of our lives, but then feel so “out-of –control” and seemingly helpless when it comes to stopping this?

That’s the mystery.

Over the years, many of us have dieted. Many of us sought help. Well-meaning friends, family, even medical and mental health professionals suggested advice like, “Instead of binge eating, why not take a walk around the block” or, “You’re stress eating, so why not take a hot bubble bath and relax”.

If I couldn’t tolerate being in my own skin in that moment in time, why on earth would I choose to get into a hot bath and stew in the very feelings I couldn’t tolerate? Advice like that just isn’t helpful to a person with a binge eating disorder!

At that moment we just want to “go away”. We feel empty, or an uneasy anxious feeling, vulnerable, or depressed, bored, impulsive or panicky, or maybe we feel entitled, “I had a really rough day. I deserve to eat this.” We fear if we don’t turn to food, something intolerable will happen.

Sometimes binge eating feels driven by habit!

We eat to avoid connection to whatever it was that triggered our desire to eat in the 1st place…even when we don’t have a clue what that trigger was…

In those moments that precipitated the binge, even if we knew intellectually that a walk around the block or a hot bubble bath would be good for us, we didn’t choose it, because simply engaging is such activities didn’t come close to addressing this complex problem we have come to know as “binge eating”. To stop binge eating, we need so much more…

Next post…what research tells us about the causes Binge Eating

(Learn more about overcoming binge eating. Register for my FREE Phone Seminar. Click here to learn more.)


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, 513-321-4242.

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About Ellen Shuman

Ellen on the phone

I have worked in the Wellness Field for 30 years. I created an Emotional Eating & Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Program way before most people knew BED was an eating disorder, NOT a “willpower” issue. Personally, I suffered for years before finding answers and the help I needed and deserved! I became a Coach in 1997 to help others who were still suffering as I had. I love being a Coach!


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