Why is it so hard to stop binge eating?Discover what is really happening in your body and mind that makes it so addictive and how to fix this...
Why is it so hard to stop binge eating?
Anyone who has already been stuck in the darkness of binge eating, food addictions, bulimia or eating disorders knows it. It’s not easy to quit!
Because let’s face it: when that happens, you’re not really in control anymore. And willpower has nothing to do with that.
Let me explain…
The food we binge on is not natural stuffs. We don’t binge on lettuce or fresh tomatoes. Binge foods are foods that are heavily processed, that are both energy-rich and nutritionally poor, designed to taste delicious and toxic for our bodies and minds.
It took us some time to realise how food was impacting us and the negative impact it could have on our health. But things are getting clearer.
It’s now obvious. Packaged, industrialised foods are packed with refined sugars, salt and fats (not the right type). They arm us while making us think they taste delicious.
But why are they tasting so good? Why is it almost impossible to resist them when caught up in the vicious cycle of food addiction?
By the way, you don’t need a full-blown eating disorder to find yourself trapped. I know many ‘normal eaters’ trapped in this situation without even questioning it, choosing what they eat with the help of TV ads. Most of the time, they have very poor eating habits and also probably very poor health.
The thing is that tastiness and the attractiveness of the food has way less to do with micronutrient content and health properties than the amount of energy – sugars and fats – the food delivers.
We now know that our brain requires a huge amount of energy – about 20 % of the energy consumed at rest.
Now let’s consider the case of a growing child for a minute – whose brain needs between 43 and 85 % of the energy consumed at rest – or someone like a chronic dieter, non-stop controlling and restricting her food intake, not having consumed enough energy for several days, if not months or years. It’s easy to imagine that anything that tastes sweet and high in energy will seem irresistible for those people!
We also know that our brain is able to change in response to experience. This is what we call ” brain plasticity” or neuro-plasticity. This allows us to develop good habits and put into place some mechanisms, so we don’t have to overthink simple actions (such as walking, driving, running, etc.).
But on the other hand, neuro-plasticity is also responsible for all destructive mechanisms we may develop on the long term, such as binge eating.
In that specific case, it’s becoming more than a habit. Our brain remembers hyper-rewarding foods and will develop cravings for quick and easy gratification and energy over nutritional needs.
On the long term, it might become an addiction because it activates our reward system.
In fact, energy dense refined foods are drug-like substances. They cause the release of dopamine and other pleasure neurotransmitters in our brain such as endorphines and opiates. A feel good cocktail that is produced by consuming a combination of sugar, slat and fat, which can quickly become addictive.
As per everything, we quickly get use to it. So in order to get the same food fix, more and more has to be consumed. Multinational food companies know it. They want us to be addicted.
Once someone has learned to eat high energy refined foods on a regular basis – as compulsive eaters, obese people or binge eaters – there is a series of endocrine, metabolic, neuro-cognitive, and physiological adaptations that take place on a deep level.
And when we realise this has taken place, the destructive pattern is often well ingrained already, which makes it really hard to change.
We don’t consciously control our food choices anymore but food controls us, as drugs control the drug addict. But the same process doesn’t only happen with food or drugs. It’s the same with cigarets, alcohol, caffeine, but also TV, shopping, games, exercise, social media, and more – remember the movie “Requiem For A Dream”, in which everyone destroys its life with its own addiction?
The reward system gets activated in our brain and we get addicted to this “quick fix” to get our feel good endorphins cocktail released without thinking at what comes next (hangover, debt, comparisons on social media, brainwashing on TV and self-destruction in general).
When you’ve been doing that for years and that your quick-fix is calling you everywhere you go – or don’t go, like food – you get the picture – this can create a pretty difficult situation…
This is why – at that stage – willpower is NOT going to save your ass. And this is also why recovery doesn’t happen overnight!
Luckily, this is not a death sentence and I’ve seen countless times that with dedication, the right information and support, anyone can get out of this. But it takes time, commitment and efforts.
In order to get better, one should work on her neuro-plasticity to – not erase overnight, which is impossible – but tweak and change the destructive neural pathways.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try and you want to discover where to start, just enter your name + email below to get started with a FREE 2-week email coaching series from me.
This has been specially design to give you a solid starting point in your journey to food freedom! If you’re serious and commit to it, you’ll see your binge urges decrease in intensity and frequency over the next 2 weeks, so don’t wait anymore!
And feel free to share your insights in the comments below!
This is a safe place to chat about this. I’ll be here to help and we can all help each other out to share what’s going on in our lives!
Make Peace With Food
A powerful program to heal your relationship with food and stop binge eating once and for all.