The Multi-Dimensionality of Binge Eating
When I was a child I learned how to play the organ. I learned how to make my mom laugh really hard. I learned how to swim underwater.
As a child I also learned how to not cry.
To the astonishment of one of my little childhood girlfriends, I remember sitting seemingly unmoved while she sobbed at the latest tear-jerker blockbuster. “I can’t believe you’re not crying,” my friend Sarah whispered in disbelief while wiping away her tears with one of her sleeves.
Later, in my early 20’s, I recall being able to turn off a trace of tears like a water faucet and miraculously be completely “fine,” disassociating from my inner world, a phenomenon that was of great concern to my boyfriend at the time.
My true self and my performing self became one big blur.
At some point, between this sort of learned emotional constipation and picking up on societal expectations of what a girl (should) be like, my eating habits and my body became the focus. I greatly reduced my food intake. About a year later, a different instinctive drive took hold, and I began getting blind-sided by patterns of binge eating, a pattern that utterly confused and frustrated me, yet continued for some time and laid the groundwork for some powerful and life-changing personal work later in life.
Because my professional work is both in nutrition and the psychology of eating, a good number of clients who reach out, have some sort of eating challenge that they can’t seem to get to the other side of.
For a sub-set of clients the challenge is (you guessed it) episodes of binge eating.
Healing binge eating can actually be surprising simple for some cases and surprisingly difficult for others.
It all depends on the number of variables that have taken root along with their intensity and how recent or long-term and systemic they’ve been.
After several years of doing client work and learning all the variations of this eating challenge, here’s a glimpse of what I’ve noticed:
Some binge eat due to a nutritional imbalance or energy (caloric) deficit. Some due to black-and-white, perfectionist type thinking. Some binge eat because the compulsion is balancing out a good deal of emotional and instinctive control, often unknown to the eater. And then there’s body image and the desire to lose weight, which can influence all of these areas or add another layer.
Holistic therapy and healing work must stay open to multi-dimensional nature of healing and attunement. It’s a creative, healing process.
I find with this sort of work together, we have to look at all parts and directly address:
- Food, nutrition, the body and it’s needs - The mind and deconstructing unhelpful thinking patterns and habits - The soul and the parts that have gotten wounded or polarized somewhere in the biography - The spirit and it’s activation and will to be an advocate for one’s own life!
It’s really a stunning process to traverse all dimensions with clients. One that takes love and patience. And one that deserves so much love and respect.