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. =)

Advertisements

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 ūüôā

Source: Intuitive Eating (must read!)

Craving happiness

The reason I’m thinking about making good stuff for others is that I saw a Ted Talk about giving “How to be happy every day“, It talks about how your ocitocina levels rise when you give, the feeling good and anti-age hormone. It advices to take a 365 days streak into doing nice stuff, with the combination of me watching Julie & Julia, where Amy Adams needs to fulfill a 365 streak of cooking Julia Childs ¬†recipes, I got inspired. But my own sense of self is not coherent and does not apply to this world’s sense of human being, I cannot choose one single thing to do for 365 days if everyday I’m ¬†a different modality of me. However, I found a solution that will set at peace both the necessity of completing the same task for a year and my alien inability to be the same human for that long: writing. Consistency trough inconsistency. Okay so I just needed to point that out, let’s just jump to the writing because I don’t know how to make a reasonable connection between everything that goes on in my mind.¬†

How the world sees Binge Eating

Yesterday I was binge eating, I thought it would stop but it kept going on. One thing about it is that there is no acceptance as alcoholic abuse for exemple, or bulimia, as a mental health issue, people just judge you for eating too much (although when you say that you overeat too much they tell you its normal and they make that themselves sometimes). In Institutional Analysis (a kind of approach we use in psychology) that is called mysticism, when there is no logic in the discourse (only apparent) and it is formulated as to imprison the individual thought, it serves as an illusion so you feel bad ¬†because you believe it yourself. This mysticism may appear in different ways, it can be a simple thought of how things work, like “if you’re beautiful, you will be rich at some point, if you’re ugly, you won’t or it is going to be too hard”, but, not only this is not true (with some exceptions which are not the rule), it may actually serve as an obstacle from you getting what you want. So you ¬†may think “okay, I’m not good for this, I’m not even going to try”, and you don’t try it, and you don’t get it. This is the mechanic of the system, it is all about controlling what you think and feel. We are all surrounded by these mechanisms of fear, fear of trying, fear of living. If we don’t fear, we hope. It is a choice between optimism and pessimism, but what about realism? What is reality anyway? The most blind are those who say themselves to be realistic, they are the most imprisoned ones, they are blind to everything else that can be. At the end, you create your own reality, it is a matter of perspective and science can prove it: a study by Shelley Taylor in 2000¬†suggest that patients “who remain optimistic show symptoms later and survive longer than patients who confront reality more objectively”.

The ultimate goal is happiness. 

Now you’ve realized that my focus is happiness, this is my ultimate end, for those that are not that into psychology, Positive Psychology is the area in the field that focus on the good traits of ¬†personality and enhancing them, in opposite to the pathology approach that is mostly used nowadays and focuses on the pathology (treating diseases or the things that are going wrong). I don’t restrain my thoughts to one field and I will talk in different perspectives, but as the theme today seems to be around being happy it is nice to bring Positive Psychology in mind. In the same article that I found out about Taylors study, Seligman differentiates positive subjective experiences in a way that I believe to be interesting to self-knowledge:

  1. In the past: well-being, contentment, and satisfaction 
  2. In the present: flow and happiness
  3. For the future: hope and optimism 

What helps me with Binge Eating

These are the things that are believed to make you feel better and one that helps me a lot is flow, flow is when you get absorbed into something, like when I read and want to eat the whole book, you forget about everything else.It has been my special treatment for binge eating. It is not every book that makes me feel this wholeness, like I don’t need to put anything else inside as food to fill the hole, so I strive sometimes. You will need to find the balance between something that you must do, like finding an activity you like and that gives you flow, and something that you must avoid, like the so called triggers. I was at home these few days that I decided to begin this blog, literally desperate to get away from binging, I tried reading and writing, but it was not about doing something, it was about avoiding, which was me being home all day, so I got out and had this amazing day. I used to punish me, long ago when it all begin, but today, after binge, I just treat myself as in recovery. I’m already in pain for eating too much, right? Instead of punish myself for no exercising the next day, I realized that I should congratulate myself for eating healthy, I could still be binging, right? But I got over it and that is just amazing, a victory really. This positive thinking may even help you to build the strength to exercise, but don’t focus on that, let it happen. ¬†John Stuart Mill said that tranquility is the most required characteristics for a happy soul and being okay with yourself helps with that. Your ultimate goal should be happiness and not trying to lose weight. Don’t push yourself too much. Today I was in peace with myself, today was such a victory, I felt so good.

But anyway, I wandered a lot, I just wanted to post that today I could appreciate a nice little macaroon with my mother and felt no guilty at all (and no craving to eat more!). 

Macarons at Le Petit in Brazil