If you are a binge eater, you probably have a tendency to feel the need to punish yourself by dwelling on what and how much you’ve eaten and beating up on yourself for your mistakes. Find out how this bitter bit of body hating will wind up biting you in the butt.
If you are a binge eater, you probably have a tendency to feel the need to punish yourself by dwelling on what and how much you’ve eaten. But the way our amazing bodies are wired, that kind of negative thinking will only guarantee that you will feel worse later, putting your body under even more stress.
Stress! The bomb sequence has been initiated. It’s ticking, ticking. When you get stressed out, your brain secretes toxic chemicals and hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. They go racing through your body, sending your stress levels soaring.
Stress affects every organ and system in your body by inhibiting its proper function. Because it monkeys around with your body’s delicate balance, it increases salt retention, ups your cholesterol, and is at the core of hormonal issues. It’s also directly related to abdominal fat, making it very difficult to lose weight.
Dr. Oz says, “hormonal imbalances follow emotions, not the other way around.”
Stress is no joke. We don’t give it the attention it deserves. It can kill you. In fact did you know that up to 80% of women working in America are either toxically stressed or close to that breaking point?
Toxic stress is when you are so insanely stressed that it spills out into our interactions with others. That’s when you find yourself chewing people’s head off for no reason, yelling at the dog, crying at the drop of a hat, picking arguments, always looking for a fight, feeling a constant rolling boil of anger towards the people you love, losing control and saying things you don’t really mean and feeling guilty and ashamed afterwards. It’s not pretty, but that’s the reality that nobody’s talking about.
The Amygdala: Your Brain’s Internal Alert System
There’s a part of your brain that’s called the amygdala and it’s in charge of alerting you to danger whenever it senses you are in trouble. But it hasn’t evolved with the times and can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s your imagination. So it often gets triggered during times when your monkey mind has you in a twist. That’s when you find yourself buying into crazy, paranoid and fearful thoughts, feeling anxious and overwhelmed filled with fear and worry.
Science has proven that this false alarm in your brain can trigger between 50-100 times a day.
That’s why you can go into panic mode and all your body’s stress responses get turned on when you start freaking out over how many calories you ate, or worrying about paying the bills or beating up on yourself for being too fat.
Although a binge is defined as consuming a large amount of food and calories in a short period of time, it really has little to do with food. At the core, binges are driven by stressful emotions like resentment, frustration and rage. That’s what gets your blood boiling. Right? Your emotions are the chemical equivalent of stress in your body.
For the compulsive eater, it’s our frayed emotions that put our appetites on overload and trigger those stress chemicals to ravage our systems. It’s not a lack of self-control or will power, or anything else that you can put a cap on. Emotional eating is an unconscious trigger response to stress. It’s your body’s way of keeping you calm whenever life tosses a curve ball.
The good news is your body is amazing. When your amygdala’s stress response is turned off, and your relaxation response is turned on, your body will work to heal itself because it has natural self-repair mechanisms that fight disease, prevent infection, repair cells, protect your heart, and slow aging.
If your goal is to change the way that you respond to food, you have to be willing to stop thinking of yourself like a victim. That means putting the past in its place and moving on.
Forgive yourself and others as much as you can. Doing that gives you a sense of peace and you will be happier and healthier.
The first step to short circuit the stress response is to get control of your negative and fearful thoughts. To short circuit your binges, you have to create a safe haven for yourself by being really proactive and coping with the stress in your life. That means doing things that actually lower the levels of cortisol in your body.
Eating, smoking, drinking, shopping and surfing the internet are some things people do to try to relax themselves, but just like a band aid, they only cover up the problem.
Some ways that you can actually activate your body’s relaxation response, are doing yoga, meditating, walking, taking a nap. It’s also really fun to love and cuddle your furry friends.
But to be really intentional and short circuit my negative thinking,
I tend to favor a simple do-it-yourself stress relief tapping method called EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. Based on the science of Acupuncture, EFT is often considered to be its emotional equivalent without the pain of needles. To activate your relaxation response, you just tap lightly on various relaxation points on the body as you let your mind ramble on. Anyone can EFT at any time to balance their energy, feel better and overcome negative emotions and fears in minutes.
Be Nicer: Change the Way You Talk to Yourself
Basically no matter how you do it, you’ve got to stop beating up on yourself because that will only add more pressure to an already emotionally charged situation. If you’ve been used to the old way of ‘motivating’ yourself to change your eating habits by trash talking yourself, it will feel weird talking to yourself more gently. But it’s necessary to be nicer in order to change the habit of overeating; which is often based on eating to relieve the stress of feeling judged.
When you are able to be compassionate with yourself, you are no longer in a position of criticizing yourself, cutting yourself to ribbons, finding fault and failure in everything you do. It’s all that hating stuff–that’s the real fuel that keeps your binges all fired up.
Retrain Your Brain
The things you say to yourself in your own head have a big effect on what you think about your body. I encourage you to replace your old self-critical tapes with gentle and kind words. When you want to question yourself to learn something, be lovingly curious, not critical. Imagine talking to yourself softly and sweetly as someone who loves, respects and adores you. If nobody immediately comes to mind, make up an image of the ultimate nurturer and use that as your new model for changing your self-talk.
When you’re more open to accepting yourself, you will feel more relaxed and at peace with your life. When you are not spending time obsessing over comparing yourself to others or focusing on your flaws, you’ll be more confident to make your mark in the world.
You Are So Much More Than Just a Body
Life turns on a dime and change can happen in a second. I’d like to inspire you to see your body from a fresh perspective. In a recent online discussion hosted by The Lower East Side Girl’s Club, and chaired by Secretary Hilary Clinton and Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton of the Clinton Foundation, actress, America Ferrara made a powerful statement about the importance of self-acceptance.
She said, “I have spent so much time worrying about what I look like and if people think I’m good enough that it’s taken the time away from me being a person in the world. The energy and the thought and the resources and the emotion that goes into needing to fulfill an expectation are stolen from other things I could be doing and I think that is one of the worst tricks played on women in our society. If you’re worrying about whether you fit in the right pair of jeans or if you’re wearing the right perfume or if your earrings are matching your purse enough, then you can’t be running for office, then you can’t be coding, then you can’t be contributing to society in a meaningful way because your energy is going towards the superficial.”
So I urge you to take America’s advice and see yourself as the amazing and capable woman you are and understand that if you’re struggling with eating issues, there are really good reasons why you are seeking food for comfort. To heal those emotional hungers that push you to eat when you’re not hungry, realize that it will take some time so be good to yourself in the process of change.
If reading this article is sending your stress level soaring and you have no clue where to begin with being nicer to yourself, then visit my website at http://thejuicywomanblog.com and download the free excerpt of my book, “Lovin’ the Skin You’re In” As a reformed body hater, I’m happy to share with you ways that you can begin to forge a new loving relationship with yourself.
binge, Andrea Amador, emotional eating, Emotional Freedom Technique, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, amygdala,