They aren’t what you think.
In fact, most people who binge eat are unaware of the subconscious autopilot that results in food cravings.
What follows are five emotions that contribute to bingeing, courtesy of Harmony Grove, a residential eating disorders treatment facility.
The emotions drives and tendencies behind binge eating
Binge eating is often driven by familiarity with shame. If you grew up in a shaming environment, shame may have become an unconscious attachment.
In other words, if you experienced yourself as shameful while growing up, you associated shame with your sense of self. The self tirelessly seeks expression. If you learned that you are shameful, then your self will seek expression in shame.
Binge eating is one way to seek that old, familiar sense of shame.
Most people call it boredom, but consistent boredom with life boils down to a lack of deep meaning or purpose. Without a self-motivated sense of purpose or a passion in life, boredom settles in.
When you are bored and do not have something that excites you, then the joy of food may be very seductive as a distraction.
What’s the point? This is the question that drives countless addictions. I could do X….but what’s the point?
Hope is the tendency to expect that something worthwhile can happen in the future. When it lacks, it is impossible to feel like anything positive is worthwhile. In this condition, short-term thinking rules the day.
Repressed or unprocessed trauma can be a significant factor in binge eating. Early traumatic experiences may still hurt, deep down. They can be so overwhelming, in fact, that force ourselves to keep them at bay so we don’t need to reexperience the pain.
In this scenario, binge eating becomes self-medication.
Many with eating disorders “find themselves” eating, only becoming consciously aware of overeating after the fact.
Mindful eating, on the other hand, occurs when you are aware of your choice to eat, aware of the taste and texture of the food, and aware of how each bite of food affects your level of satiety.
Mindlessness and binge eating often go hand in hand.
Each of the above is worth investigating further. Binge eating is a dangerous, life threatening practice that needs to be taken seriously. For many, residential treatment is the only option for complete healing, where patients spend their time focused on solutions, with unprecedented support.
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Last reviewed: 29 Aug 2013