You know the cycle. It’s been another day, a stressful one. You’re hoping that today you can manage the cravings and win the battle. Your kitchen is full of fresh fruit and other “healthy options,” to choose from. You look at yourself in the mirror and despise the extra weight. You don’t want to go on a scale because of what number you will see. You know that you need to lose weight. You know how to loose it.. less carbs, less sugar, less salt, less “everything.” Maybe next week you will try Paleo or that trendy Keto diet that is the current fad. Maybe tomorrow you will download a fitness app like “my fitness pal” to monitor calories. Maybe you already are, and you have done great all day.. working towards that 1800 caloric intake. But it’s that time. The cravings start. You are hungry. A type of hunger that no amount of food can fill. And the last thing you want is fruit covered rice cake.
And you try to not do it.. to not give in. But the hunger is unrelenting and eventually you break under it. No one understands what this feels like, you think. But the food does. And you enter the kitchen, you skip the “healthy snacks.” Because the only thing you are craving is sweet or salty. And the first bite of that raw cookie dough hidden in the back of fridge is heaven. The next bite., perfect. And you finish the cookie dough, move on to a bag of chips, then a root beer float, and on .. until you feel.. less hungry? More whole? Until you feel able to return back to your life and resume on. There is a calmness that comes after this that is hard to put into words. And as much as you dislike giving in, you are thankful for the break. You almost feel happy, almost. And tomorrow is another day.. you can worry about being healthy and losing weight tomorrow. Until the guilt sets in. Hopefully that won’t be until the morning. Know this cycle?
Binge eating is taking in a large amount of calories and or food in a small amount of time. Some will purge after and some will not. It’s actually more common than people realize. And not everyone who binge eats is overweight.. in fact, many are not. It’s something that is easily covered up, and not easily talked about.
So why do people Binge eat? The answer is usually surprising. The cravings are typically caused by Depression. And to self medicate a depressed mood, food is used to release “happy chemicals.” These include your neurotransmitters of Serotonin and Dopamine. Which works quite effectively for a short period of time. So how is this treated for a long term impact? A consistent mixture of therapy and medication management are the most effective ways to treat binge eating for an effective long term impact. Good news? The cravings can definitely go away. You have this. Until then.. throw out the Girl Scout cookies and King Cake;)
Angie Simonton, LCSW