If you are suffer from binge eating, you might wonder if you should abstain or moderate your binge foods.
Today I’m here to give you two perspectives around the situation.
Because if you’re on social media a lot, or only have read a book or two on the topic then you might only be exposed to one way of recovery- which doesn’t guarantee it’s right for YOU.
However, I’ve been on my healing journey for more than 10+ years and I’ve gone down multiple recovery paths and would like to share more with you.
So if you’re doing one thing and it isn’t working, don’t be discouraged.
Know that there is more to be revealed!
*If you prefer the podcast, listen here.
The reason why I created this episode is because I’ve noticed that intuitive eating has become the predominant message and recovery path on social media.
There are lots of influencers or recovery coaches who are recovering or have recovered and claim that intuitive eating is the only way.
The intuitive eating movement says that you should learn how to listen to your body without judgement, and you should never have any food rules.
And that having any rule means that you are very sick and not recovered.
I feel like intuitive eating can be very powerful and healing people who have had a background that started with restriction- where there were so many rules and those rules are keeping them feeling small in life.
So someone with restriction, anorexia or bulimia may really benefit and blossom from the intuitive moment.
If you know in your heart that your binge eating is rooted in restriction and complicated rules, perhaps this is the path for you- to let go of all rules to to eat without any restriction.
You need to try it for yourself.
But I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s the path for everyone, and I don’t think it’s fair to say that anyone with food rules is sick.
Because even normal people have unspoken rules and beliefs around what and how they eat.
You know how in chaos theory- even in the midst of chaos, there is order? Similar thing.
Like my grandmother won’t ever drink a fizzy drink- not because she has an eating disorder.
But simply because she doesn’t drink anything that comes in a can.
Saying intuitive eating is the only way is to say that food addiction doesn’t exist.
It denies the person to whom food addiction is real.
There is a lot of debate over the topic of “is food addiction real?”
And to that I say- it is real for the person who suffers.
And for that person, the traditional eating disorder recovery path won’t work because certain foods affect their brain and body very very differently.
And someone without addiction will NEVER be able to understand how it feels.
I’ve been in alcohol/drug recovery for almost a decade now and I don’t believe my body will ever respond to just “one glass of wine”.
And therefore my life in abstinence is blissful and serene.
I think it’s important to be flexible and open minded when it comes to recovery.
And not to assume that your path to freedom is the same for everyone.
So let me talk about the food addiction framework.
In the food addiction frame work, it is practiced that certain foods are a substance addiction so they cause biochemical changes in the body that creates the phenomenon of craving for more and greater amounts.
And at the same time- food can be a process addiction, like gambling/sex/porn/exercise.
So you can develop an addiction to the process of eating.
It is very multidimensional and can also be a physical addiction, where one gets addicted to the feeling of being stuffed and full.
The thing about addiction, is that it is a physical and also spiritual/emotional malady.
Healing happens when you remove the drug, substance and behaviour through abstinence or harm reduction.
Healing happens first with sobriety, but then also with a program of recovery- which could be a spiritual practice, a community, therapy.. you choose what recovery means to you.
However, what I think about addiction is that life is easier in abstinence than it is trying to moderate your drug of choice, whatever that is.
I also want to add that you can have multiple eating disorders AND food addiction- it is not limited to one.
For me, I had an addiction to food and a process addiction as well as a child, I “tried” to develop anorexia/bulimia to stop eating or to get rid of food, which turned into binge eating.. but at the root of it was the original problem- that I couldn’t moderate food like a normal person.
I’ve been in a 12 step recovery program for drugs and alcohol for over 9 years now, and I also am in recovery from an eating disorder and food addiction- and because I’m in recovery, I look, act, behave, and FEEL like I am a healed and whole person.
However it’s not so black and white. I personally don’t identify as a full blown “food addict’.
But there are certain foods that hijack my brain pleasure center, and I definitely had a process addiction- I loved volume eating, and the physical sensation of being very full.
So while I don’t identify as an addict because for me it feels disempowering, I do identify as someone who is living IN RECOVERY from addictive eating and using food to soothe.
The truth is that there is no one size fits all in recovery. You need to do what brings you peace.
Abstinence for the addict is peaceful. When the substance is removed- there is no struggle. There is serenity.
And for someone who has a background of restriction, intuitive eating is possibly the path forward.
But let’s not say there is one way of doing things, and to make someone on a different path feel like they are less then.
We are all on our own healing journey.
And we need to find what brings us peace.
This is why I have no “one way” of working with my clients.
It depends on what they need- intuitive eating, abstinence, harm reduction? It depends.
That’s it for today, reach out if you are in need of 1:1 support in your healing journey.
I’m a coach and I am here to help you move in the right direction, and experience the healing & wholeness of life.
Love to all!