Are you trying to heal yourself from your binge eating issues and how and what therapy do I do?
Binge eating Disorder, also known as compulsive eating disorder, and characterised as eating a large amount of food in one sitting. It differs from bulimia in that there is no purging involved, so therefore someone with binge eating disorder could be overweight or really struggle between binging and then going on a very restrictive diet. So where do you start when there is so much choice? I am talking about Binge Eating therapy; the psychological therapies in order of where to start if you are on this journey. For other therapy see some options here.
Self-help and support groups
Self help will go along way to helping you get started and become aware of what your patterns of behaviour are and also your triggers. It is the start of being introspective so you can find out more about you and become aware of your emotions and what relation food has to them. Self help might include reading books, doing workshops, doing short courses online. You will no doubt follow a process and they may be quite generic, but none the less if you are committed you will benefit from it.
A support group is such a powerful ally in your fight against this, because you will be able to meet others who are going through similar issues and you can learn from them. When you are going through tough times they will be the one’s who understand you and can support you in a way you probably need because they will know what they would have liked in that moment.
Negatives – Following a generic process and doing it yourself will only get you so far. We can’t see or change what we don’t know about and with self help, we are not going to be able to see our blind spots. Nor are we going to benefit from someone seeing our patterns that are unique to us.
Positives – We may meet new friends in support groups, find new positive patterns of behaviours, it’s cheap.
Once you get to a point where you are not improving, rather then giving up, this is where I would start investing in a therapist.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
This is a form of talking therapy. Binge eating therapy, whereby the therapist helps you to identify patterns of thoughts and behaviours that are leading to your disorder. The ideas is to switch negative language patterns and forms of thoughts into more positive one’s. It is based on thought that in Binge Eating, we will have lots of negative thoughts leading us to binge eat and then lots of negative thoughts in the aftermath around the shame and guilt of binge eating. It is working on the present day and with what the client presents with. For instance, I had a client who used to say I have been bad today because they had eaten something not healthy. It was not helpful to think they had been bad as then in came other self depreciating thoughts, like I am not very good.
Using CBT, my aim is to get them to see the positive or where it is not so bad. I asked – what is so bad about eating a cake? – I will put on weight? And what is so bad about that? We keep going and we might compare the bad behaviour to something very bad such as murdering someone. We may discuss bad being subjective. So it is helping the person find some acceptance with where they are and some perspective on their behaviour.
Positives are – It helps people gain a different and more positive perspective on their thoughts and behaviours.
Cons – It does not go and heal behaviours from childhood. Such as abuse of any form.
This is where you are put into a very relaxed state and in this state you are more open to suggestion and more open to trying new behaviours. The therapist will discuss with you first what your situation is and what you want to achieve and what you would like your behaviours to be. It is a really nice sensation and definitely helps you to become more relaxed within yourself and about life. I use this with some of my clients and we record the sessions so when they go home, they can listen to it again and it helps them to be more motivated and confident about themselves.
Positives are- It is very good for relaxing that argumentative, that parts of us that sabotages ourselves.
Negatives – Some people are so anxious and tense that they cannot do it at first, so the beginning they just can’t relax. It is a skill like any other. It takes practise to get better at it.
The therapist will use a range of talking therapy and exercises to help you find the root cause of your issue. You will discuss your patterns of thoughts and behaviours, but also where they come from. You may well talk about your childhood and do a lot of healing there.
For example one of my clients came to me because they had done some work on their own but could not stop their behaviours and could not understand where it was coming from. We would take a pattern of behaviour and see that it stemmed from her childhood. For example, we worked out through talking about her patterns that she binged when she had had run ins with her boss. She felt worthless and anxious. When we delved deeper, it actually reminded her of how her father used to treat her. So each time this boss was horrible unconsciously she felt as if she was with her Dad and was reacting as if that was the case. So we worked on that childhood aspect of her relationship with her Dad and that stopped the binges.
Positives – Will get to the cause and will help you gain new behaviours and will stop your binge eating, so long as you stick with it. It is a very thorough form of therapy.
Negatives – It can take time and you have to be committed, a lot of people when the going gets tough they stop and then they don’t achieve what they set out to. You have to be prepared to work through your issues. It can be tough if you are not used to talking about your feelings or feeling your feelings because it can feel as if you are not getting anywhere, which is why it can be a lengthy process. I would go down this route if you have only got so far with the self help and CBT and you are still not seeing the results.
If you’d like to know more about how therapy works exactly, see my other post here.
I have talked about psychological therapies and binge eating therapy for binge eating disorder. I think it would be a very beneficial support to also get dietary help from a dietician. Because of years of poor eating habits, a dietician can give you guidelines and recommend certain foods based on your needs.
Whatever support you have, it will be worthwhile.