As you work on ending emotional overeating, you may be able to identify some of the feelings that cause you to reach for food when you’re not physically hungry. Yet even with this knowledge, there’s a good chance that, at times, you still turn to the food for calming purposes. If you find that even with your understanding of what kinds of emotions lead to overeating that you still can’t seem to slow it down, consider the story of Isabelle:
After 12 months of working with the non-diet approach, Isabelle found that she still had some binges that didn’t make sense to her. She was well-stocked at home, generally ate when she was hungry, and stopped when she was full. But she reported that, at times, she ate foods she didn’t even like to the point of being uncomfortably full, and then completely shut down as she fell asleep on the couch.
Most recently, Isabelle was on her way home from her hair cut appointment when she stopped by a convenience store and bought a bag of potato chips and a box of cookies. By the time she arrived home, Isabelle had finished all of the chips and cookies and felt ill. Isabelle began to call herself names, believing she was “stupid” and “self-destructive” to eat so much high carbohydrate food, which she knew was “bad” for her – and she hadn’t even been hungry!
It’s always important to bring compassion to understanding what might be behind binge eating behavior. Sometimes feelings of deprivation can trigger a binge, but for Isabelle, potato chips and cookies were no longer off limits. As she delved deeper into what might have been going on for her, she realized that the purpose of her binge was to actually create the numbed out feeling that followed her overeating.
When asked to consider what part of her needed to numb out, Isabelle revealed that she had so many
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