Food, Brain Chemistry and Binging: Understanding the Link and the Solution

Brain Chemistry and BingingHello all, Welcome! I’m going to bet that you’re reading this because you’re frustrated with your relationship with food and you want to be able to simply eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Also, you would like to maintain a natural weight for your body without stress and without rigorous exercise regimes. Right? If this described your thoughts, then, you’re going to love the next series of articles. If you’re just joining me I urge you to take some time over the next few weeks and read the series on The Diet Mentality that I just completed. It will be extremely helpful to you. For the next 6 weeks (or so) I’ll be sharing with you, a little each week, about certain foods and how they impact our brain and body chemistry. After reading this series of articles you will have a better understanding of why you feel drawn to have certain foods at certain times. Frequently I say to my clients that empathy (understanding) is the key to lasting change. This is because once we understand what’s going on, we automatically have genuine compassion and patience for ourselves, coupled with a willingness to change our behaviour and a sense of hope and trust that our efforts will be worthwhile. In other words, once we understand why we’re doing what we’re doing we can set about finding a solution that truly will provide the results we seek. In fact, the reason that your past efforts at weight loss and balance with food have not been successful, in any lasting way, is simply that you never had anyone show you, clearly, in a way that gave you that light bulb moment, why you’re doing what you’re doing. In my opinion that is the first and most important thing that should happen in any therapeutic relationship. Once you understand why you do what you do, the rest is just a step-by-step process from where you’ve been to where you want to be. It’s not hard and it doesn’t have to take a long time. It’s just a matter of practicing a new way of thinking. This will lead to a genuine increase in your hopefulness and happiness levels which leads to a change in your behaviours. So, first things first – understanding why you do what you do. There are two key components that influence your relationship with food at this time:
  1. The way you think about yourself, your past, your relationships and the world at large; and
  2. The way you respond to those thoughts in the form of eating certain foods or engaging in other harmful coping strategies like drinking, isolation, procrastination and shopping… to name but a few.
I’ve written numerous articles, and an entire book (Food is not the Problem: Deal with What Is!) about these pieces, particularly the first one – how our thoughts influence our emotions, our behaviours and therefore our experience of life on the whole. I want to clearly articulate why you’re drawn to eat certain foods at certain times and in certain quantities. For this week, before we get into the details, I want you to take part in a little self-reconnaissance. You’ll find it very enlightening and then you’ll be able to make much better use of the information I’ll be sharing over the next 5 weeks, or so. For this week, pick two times during the day that you’re just going to stop, no matter what you’re doing, and ask yourself the following questions:
  1. How would I rate how I’ve been with food so far today? (On a scale of 0 – 10 Where 0 = terrible/ binged / restricted / purged and 10 = perfect, hardly thought about food at all, ate when hungry, stopped when full, made honouring choices, feel great!)
  2. If I’m not a 9 or better, what am I telling myself I should / shouldn’t have done or can/can’t have today?
  3. How am I feeling about that? Mad/Glad/Sad/Scared
  4. What if anything, separate from food and body image, was I thinking / what just happened that might have triggered me to feel anxious / unsettled and want to use food to cope?
You are going to get lots of great info from this exercise. If you want to chat about it and move forward rapidly, contact us for a session or, if you are a member, post your experiences on our web program forum. Make some notes and next week when we start talking about specific foods and their impact this will start to make mucho sense! Have a great week of observing yourself. Remind yourself that this is just the first step. Nothing new is happening to you, you’re just more aware of what’s been going on behind the scenes. This will make it much easier to change! Love The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Posted in: 2012, and Binging, Brain Chemistry, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Self

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