Thoughts on Food Addiction and Bingeing

Binge, a word that, at one point referred only to the over-consumption of alcohol, has come to mean many things to many different people. It seems to have become a universal buzz word for the psychological community–for every addiction, there is a binge: gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol and, of course, food.

Oh! To be addicted to something to the extent that it consumes your every waking thought, infects the metaphors of your dreams, squelches true emotion with its sensory stimulants, and, inevitably, leaves you physically ill and emotionally scarred. No wonder Borders has an entire section for self-help books peddling techniques spanning from hospitalization to meditation.

And, as we’ve all heard several times, if self-help books are a country, diet books are their presidents, complete with scandals, gimmicks, unfulfilled promises and a huge paycheck. What cosmic irony that the populace continues to trust in these books just as it continues to believe the next political figure will save the world. Losing weight and saving the world: two things, I for one, will never master.

But there is a reason these books sell so well: they promise health, happiness, a life free of food addiction. Even the thought of such a life makes me want to run to the store and buy every diet book on the shelf. Unfortunately, I’m almost positive it would do nothing more for me than add debt to my ever-growing list of problems.

There is no book that will undo yesterday’s food binge; no diet plan that will make the pain go away; no photoshopped, washboard-abs laden exercise pundit that will make me hate myself any less. These things, like the promises of the politicians we elect, take time, effort, and, the one thing I find hardest, forgiveness.

I am not a religious person and I never will be, but I will spend my entire life attempting to have enough serenity to accept what is–what will not change–and to forgive myself for the past.

Questions to ponder:

  1. Do you ever indulge in behavior that would be considered “bingeing” (of any sort)? If so, how often?
  2. How do you moderate the consequences of the behavior?
  3. How do you deal with the emotions you have the day after a binge (no matter what your addiction)? How do you separate the physical/tangible consequences from the emotional/mental?
  4. What do you feel is the most important component of “recovering” from binge behavior?

2 responses to “Thoughts on Food Addiction and Bingeing

  1. sarah March 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I do…sadly…i blame eating disorders….I am working on it….it helps if I have nothing I want to binge on around me at all…like at all…i fi am surrounded by fruits and veggies I have nothing worth bingeing on…I mean no carbs……protein is good it fill syou up….I do at least 1 time a week unless I am happy…then I don’t know…lately I have been stressed and there were month’s i am sure I was bingeing every day….I have gained 8 lbs in a week before…not good…I totally know how you feel….you have to tell yourself that permanent weight loss is slow and if you mess up it is ok…maybe your body needed it….maybe you are restricting yourself too much….I don’t know…if I knew I would also not be struggling….

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