Overcoming Binge Eating

by Bob Walsh

If you want to stop binge eating, hypnosis is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so. Let’s face it – there is nothing good about binge eating at all. Sure, it might temporarily get your mind of your worries and give you short-term pleasure. But it comes with a high price. So how can we go about overcoming binge eating?

Not only can it lead to extreme weight-gain, obesity and all kinds of health issues. It can also have a negative effect on your self-esteem.

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A lot of people think that it’s just gluttony. But people who binge eat aren’t weak-willed. Their character isn’t flawed. Neuroscientists found that there are real changes in how the brain reacts to food, and we’ll get to that in more detail later.

Food itself is of course a good thing. It nourishes you and is vital for your health. It can also make you feel good. But just like every other good thing, it can turn bad if you indulge excessively.

Let’s take a moment and think about how binge eating usually happens.

There are things on our minds that we don’t want to think about. Things that are bothering us – and food has the power to erase these things from our mind temporarily. That’s why we start with the first couple of bites – and afterwards, we just can’t stop it. It’s as if some part of us is out of control.

How to Overcome Binge Eating

You already have made an important first step in overcoming binge eating: you have acknowledged that it is in fact a problem. And you have made a decision that you want to solve this problem and stop it.

There are many things you can do. One thing is – you can get rid of all the foods that you usually like to binge on, and also forbid yourself to buy them again. It is not a perfect solution, but it is one small obstacle that you put in front of your next binge eating attack. The more difficult you make binge eating, the less likely that you will do it again.

Avoid Temptation

A 2012 study ((the senior author of the study was Dr Kathleen Page, assistant professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and the findings were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th annual meeting in Houston, US))  has shown that pictures of savory, fatty and sweet foods often leads to increased appetite and can lead to binge eating. Brain-scans have shown that pictures of high-calorie foods stimulate the brains appetite control center.Obese volunteers where hooked up to fMRIs. fMRIs are brain scanners – they allow scientists to observe brain activity. They found that when people looked at pictures of high-calorie foods they got more hungry, whereas pictures of vegetables didn’t had that effect.

Writing A Food Journal

Another thing that can really help with overcoming binge eating is to write a journal every day. Every day, write down how you felt, what you thought about, which feelings and thoughts triggered the overeating and so on. Also write down the times when you ate and what and how much you ate. The point is to bring what is happening into your consciousness even more clearly. Because when you binge eat, you really are in an altered state of mind, it is a very specific kind of self-induced hypnotic trance state.

That is also why hypnosis can be such a powerful binge eating treatment. Because it can directly influence the subconscious behavior mechanisms that are at work in the process of binge eating, and replace them with more effective and desirable behaviors.

So right now, for example a particular thought of something that causes you emotional stress might lead to an emotion that leads to an impulse that leads to binge eating.

Overcome Binge Eating

With hypnosis, you can break up this chain, and change the links of the chain. So that unpleasant thought for example might lead to a certain emotion, and that emotion might remind you then that you have to put yourself into a more pleasant emotional state. Hypnosis can cause your brain to naturally release more serotonin, which is the brains own “feel good substance”.

Then you will be able to stop negative thoughts and be relaxed, without having to use binge eating to relieve emotional stress. You can get rid of the compulsion and find better ways to relax and feel good.

Overcome Binge Eating

Scientists have found out that people who overeat gain less pleasure from eating. The reason people (all people, not just those who overeat) like to eat food is because it makes us feel good. It’s the way our brains are designed:

Every time when we eat something, our brain releases certain chemicals that make us feel good. It’s mostly a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

So Neuroscientists looked at what happened in people when they ate something, while they put them in a brain-scanner. And they found that in people who tend to binge eat, there is less activity the brains’ dopamine reward pathway.

So in order to gain the same amount of pleasure from eating that other people gain from eating the same thing, they must actually eat moreof the food.

In a way, you could say that binge eaters have “indifferent dopamine neurons” – they care less, they react less strongly to satisfying food. And that’s why they need more of it.

Not only do their dopamine neurons respond less intensely, but they also fewer dopamine receptors in their brain.

Many of the convenience foods that we eat on a daily basis can make us want to binge eat. Highly processed foods, foods that contain lots of sugar, fatty or salty foods – all the meals that make us feel “satisfied” – can rewire the reward-circuitry of our brains. Instead of enjoying to eat, we now need to eat more and more.

The problem is: the more you binge eat, the worse it gets. Because overeating causes the responsiveness of your dopamine neurons to go down even more. Scientists call this hypofunctioning reward circuits.

That’s why you want to use hypnosis: because your subconscious mind can intensify the pleasure you gain from each bite, while at the same time reducing the craving for another bite.

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