Jessica, a mother of two, sat across from my desk and lamented, “I never feel like I live up to my parent’s dreams for me. Last weekend I went back home to visit them and it was the same constant criticism. When I came back to my house, I was so angry! All I wanted to do was eat! It’s like a switch went off in my head and I couldn’t stop eating . . . donuts, cake, bacon, potato chips, french fries, chocolate . . . it didn’t matter. I ate until I couldn’t move. What’s wrong with me?”
People who binge do so for motives other than food. Deep rooted beliefs from childhood usually play a role. The fact that thirty-four year old Jessica referred to her parent’s house as “home” still indicated the deep roots that fastened her to the past. She has a psychological hunger for parental approval but food conveniently filled that chemical need when her parents hadn’t.
Many self-destruct because they don’t feel worthy of love. Some binge on alcohol or turn to drugs. For Jessica, food became her drug of choice. It anesthetized pain.
Other similarities seen in Binge personalities:
- Parents strictly controlled their younger lives. As an adult, eating is one aspect they now have control over. No one can tell them what to eat. “I can eat an entire bowl of pudding if I want and who’s gonna stop me?”
- Their opinion never mattered. “You shouldn’t think that.” Living in such a strict environment provided no other avenues to express themselves. So they learned to bury their emotions deep inside, robotically believing they had no worth. Food soothed the pain.
- Bingers sometimes grew up poorer than most, perhaps even in extreme poverty. They can’t avoid the nagging feeling that hunger might return at any moment; especially in this unstable economic environment. Their instinct is to consume as much as possible today because it might not be there tomorrow. Someone who came from an impoverished country, foreclosures, unemployment or lived through a depression fits this category.
- Learning at an early age that neurochemicals release feel-good moments, they become addicted to finding these mind-altering drugs in foods because it makes them feel better.
If you are a Binge eater, avoid processed sugary products! Just as an alcoholic can’t stop at one drink, bingers can’t stop at one sugary treat because it changes one’s chemical make-up. Almost all processed foods contain sugar, even salad dressings and pasta sauces. Make your own and strive to consume lots of wholesome nutrient-dense, natural fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and fibrous foods. Drink lots of water with lemon to create a more calming alkaline pH.
Don’t destroy your temple of the Holy Spirit simply because someone else is insensitive. Forgive their insensitivity because it’ll set you free. Dwell on your relationship with God instead. Keep a gratitude journal and list all your achievements. Perhaps you graduated with honors, raised a family, have a successful career, are an excellent artist, writer, parent, housekeeper, computer genius . . . whatever. Or find something you can do well and start taking control of that. Everyone has something good about themselves. Are you kind, a good friend, a loyal spouse, a reliable employee? Focus on those aspects of your personality and stop self-destructing. Avoid toxic “friends” who put you down instead of being supportive.
The only one we need to impress in this life is our Lord God! He Cares! Always reach out to Him first for strength and He’ll be there for you.
“Set your minds on what is above, not what is on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)