Why the book “Brain over Binge” ALMOST get it right

There is a certain kind of danger reading Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen, you may either believe you’re not capable just like every diet makes you feel(and that could worsen your binge) or extinguish the problem just like Kathryn did. Why does it work for some people, why did it work for her? I believe even Kathryn was blind to some essential failures by acclaiming that you only need to stop binging to, well, stop binging…

Therapy won’t stop you from binge eating, but hey…

She claims that if you just observe your impulses as a third person and don’t attach any feeling to it, they will eventually go away. In psychology that is called mindfulness and it was proven to work. But hey, guess what? Is not that simple, there is more to Kathryn’s background. She also claims that therapy doesn’t work to stop the binge, and I could only agree, no therapist will sit by your side and wait for the impulse to be there and stop the damn thing. But that’s not how therapy works and you know it. She got it wrong, 2 years of therapy can help you a lot as even herself said it did, by the time she stopped binge eating her only real problem was binge eating and not some other dysfunctional relationship with family or friends. She even had a loving husband who would lay at her side in the carpet when she binged and slept on it because she didn’t felt worthy enough to be in the bed with him. She promises not to return therapy ever again, for it has not stopped her binging, but what if it has built a background of good mental health that made recovery possible? Chance favors only the prepared minds.

.. It’s not that easy, you will have to work on the love yourself shit

She is known for working out 7 hours after her binges, she was slim since childhood and kept that body shape. In the middle of the book, you will face her worries about how she doesn’t know what could have happened if she didn’t stop: she says she wouldn’t be able to keep the exercise for any longer and would eventually gain weight. Besides the fact that she makes you feel shit because you know you’re already with that extra weight, the fact that she has a body shape that she feels comfortable singles her case: most binge eaters are not. Body image is an important factor in binge recovery and asking someone who doesn’t feel good about it to just stop binging is like asking someone to just stop suffering, it gets all messed up. You can only recover from one thing if there is only one thing to overcome, so if you have problems with your body they can’t be ignored and trying to observe your urges as a third person won’t help you with that.

Summing up, should I..?

If your only problem is binge eating this mindfulness approach seems interesting but it can also make you feel incapable if it doesn’t work, which is just as any diet makes you feel and we already know that just makes it worse. For the irony of destiny, the book about Intuitive Eating was on the same section as Brain over Binge and Amazon suggested me to buy it and so I did. I also happen to read a lot of books at once and I glad I did read those two together, I knew there was something wrong with Brain over Binge but I didn’t know where to look for another option and there it was. This New Year I got concentrated in my cues for being full or satisfied, not worrying about being guilty, nor worrying about eating too much or too little. I proved what I wanted and ate what I needed. I’m glad to begin 2019 with this acceptance. Hope to be of help. =)

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The science of hunger and the stupid act of dieting

I’ve been reading Intuitive Eating now and have new insights to share, yesterday was though, one of these days you go to different supermarkets to buy crap because you don’t want the employees to judge you. I hate that I forgot why I stopped dieting in the first place, I had my weight back on track and was not overeating anymore, but this time I feel even more secure about recovery and I will be glad to share my story with you.

So let’s do this, I want to see if I get it right: every type of food converses itself into ATP, it doesn’t matter if it is protein or carbohydrate. ATP, as you know, is energy. The primary source of this energy are carbohydrates, which are storaged in the liver as glucose, this source lasts for about 3-6 hours, as this source gets used, the neuropeptide Y is produced for you to feel hunger and restore carbohydrate needs. This all happens in the hunger center of your brain: the hypothalamus. When you restrict your diet of the fuel it seeks, this neuropeptide increases more and more untill you have so much you’ll eat a lot more once you let it flow. It’s not the fault of will-power, it is your brain working! In fact, you probrably have too much will-power since you have resisted this neuropeptide action long enough so you have too much of them and need to overeat!

This is true to the reason you binge by restrictions in your diet, remember that if you eat normally when not bingeing this won’t explain it. What will explain is the habit your brain has, and you must not blame your body or anything for the binge, and this is good because you know there is no excuse and you can just observe your thoughts and the binge will go away. So you don’t want to confuse these both kind of binges, yesterday I got confused because I was eating regularly and wanted to binge. I made the wrong approach: I told myself it was a biologically driven urge, and that was an excuse so I couldn’t control so I didn’t even try! If I were on diet I think I could have made this excuse as not to feel guilty, because it would be true: it would be my body answering to the stupid act of dieting. So it was an apprenticeship, it is always good to think about your binge and search for the learning whitin them. From this last one I looked back and learned in praxis this distinction between bio reactive binge and habit binge.

I’m also a little anxious about my recovery, I want that liberty again. But I was relieved to find out some data: Peter Herman and Janet Polivy, psychologists experts in hunger, explain that once you diet you get hunger atrophy, that means you get detached from hunger and can only feel it in extrems as when you did when dieting, that is the reason why it is so hard for me to eat only when I’m hungry, I don’t know when I’m hungry, luckily this effect is conversible so it is all about finding your hunger! (And that comes with time and normal eating) In fact, another study with deprivation of food, discovered that those individuals who began to overeat after the restrictive diet took an average of 5 months to recover their normal eating.

A little image of a recipe I made last week 🙂

Source: Intuitive Eating (must read!)

The Eating Philosophy

First: Studying Happiness

We know the distinction between a good feeling and a bad one, but I would say that a wise spirit (consequently a happy one) tries to go further on the pursuit of self-knowledge, and that is why I’m bringing the distinction
between Pleasure and Enjoyment that I found in this paper on Positive Psychology by Seligman, the father of this field.

Pleasure is the good feeling that comes from satisfying
homeostatic needs such as hunger, sex, and bodily comfort.
Enjoyment, on the other hand, refers to the good feelings
people experience when they break through the limits of
homeostasis, in an athletic event, an artistic
performance, a good deed, a stimulating conversation”

Seligman

Now I’ve recently discovered this, I honestly feel relieved to find this field on Psychology that studies happiness, it makes everything lighter for me. We are this big ball of confusion and different thoughts and feelings, and to just name it, is to differentiate from everything else that is going on. Anxiety, for example, it is not a primary feeling, it is just a defense mechanism so you don’t feel the pain from your real feelings, that is why recognizing what you’re feeling is so good to prevent anxiety, the second you give it a name like “sadness” , it is the first step for your body to understand and accept to be sad and not anxious. The same works for pleasure and enjoyment, it makes your experience of these two states more enjoyable.

Food relationship, food philosophy?

So I as said before, I suffer from Binge Eating Disorder and I always end up relating everything that I read with this problem, or at least when it is most prominent in my life as it is lately. In the food world, the distinction could also apply, there is the food that gives you pleasure, it relieves your basic needs, and the food that brings enjoyment, it goes beyond caloric needs and it is everything else about it, like the process of cooking or the arrangement of different flavors and shapes. It is not a real division like “oh, this hamburger will only bring you pleasure and this salad will only bring you joy”, it is more like “there is one pleasurable side and one enjoyable side in each food “. When I binge the pleasure side keeps rolling even though I don’t feel joy anymore, the food stops tasting that good which can make me eat more as to try getting that feeling once again. My belly can even hurt from so much food, but the evolutionary search for calories plus the industrialized food that it is available makes it hard to stop. But once you recognize the food has stopped tasting so good, or by other words, when you recognize you don’t feel joy anymore, it can get easier with time. Sometimes I forget checking this, and I realize I’m overeating because the food stopped tasting good for some time and I’m still there, but then I stop. Other times I realize it stopped being enjoyable and keep it going because nobody is perfect and you know how hard it is, so I try not to blame myself and stop when I can. It really helps. Really wish to help someone with the disorder, it has been 7 years that I deal with it, I feel like I can help but will ever someone actually read this? 

And enjoy the enjoyable!

But don’t focus on the exact moment to repeal the food, Positive Psychology teaches us to look on the positive side, right? Enjoy the enjoyable side of your food too, feel the texture, the flavors, how they mix with each other. That way you’ll even recognize faster when they stop being so prominent, and that is when you’re satisfied.  

Yesterday I ate at Bife, I was very happy to find two vegetarian options, I chose the Mediterranean with curd cheese and pesto, my god how these two blended with each other. I gave my fried cassava to my friend since from the first bite they didn’t appeal to me, let’s say I didn’t felt the enjoyable part of it (and since I recognized that, I could let it go).

Vegetarian Hamburguer at Bife in Brazil

Thank you, have a good meal!

Write about what?

So now you know where my mind is wondering, trough the dump places of pessimism. But why did I created this site? I’m not entirely sure, but there is something to do with my binge eating, to those who do not know what that is, is simply eating a lot, like, a lot, with the simple difference from normal overeating that it can actually hurt. When these episodes begin you can eat thousands of calories in just thirty minutes. It sucks. I was okay three weeks before but it came this urge to eat that I needed to answer, food is good, gosh. But anyway, I was binge eating and I looking the film Julie & Julia, and I thought, okay, I don’t need to cook two really hard dishes a day, but I could write about something. I’m sorry to disappoint that I don’t really know what.