Binge Subjectivity

     If you said, “I will never binge again” and you were able to keep that promise, what would that mean to you?  I’m not talking about all the ways in which your life would be better or the relief you would feel to put your eating disorder behind you; I’m talking about something much simpler. I’m talking about defining the behavior you want to get rid of.  If you commit to “never binge,” you may have to give some thought to what exactly that means to you, because binge eating can be a subjective experience. It’s not like there is a calorie cutoff where any more is a binge and less is not, and the DSM definition of binge eating episodes certainly leaves room for interpretation.


     According to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a binge eating episode is characterized by:


1.) Eating a larger amount of food than normal during a short period of time (within any two hour period)
2.) Lack of control over eating during the binge episode (i.e. the feeling that one cannot stop eating)


     The DSM also says that binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
1. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full 

2. Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry
3. Eating much more rapidly than normal

4. Eating alone because you are embarrassed by how much you’re eating
5. Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating


     All of my binges had the characteristics above; but I think more importantly, I could define my binges by what they felt like. There was an unmistakable mindset and way of eating; I just knew on an intuitive level what I considered a binge, and I think most people who binge eat have that same clarity surrounding most, if not all, of their binges. Nevertheless, it may not be so clear cut for everyone, which is why I think it’s important to give some thought to what quitting will entail.  This is the especially the case for those whose binges aren’t necessarily as “episodic” as the DSM describes, but instead more like excessive grazing and spread throughout the day.  


    I think it’s important not to overthink what is a binge and what is not. A lot of people with eating disorders have perfectionistic personalities and might get caught up in trying to have an ideal diet. If this is the case for you, you may find yourself wondering if all non-hungry eating could be considered binge eating, or if you should include eating junk food under the umbrella of binge eating. My best advice is: when you define your binges, go with your gut. Is getting some fries with your McDouble at McDonalds when a salad might be a healthier side item, a binge?  I don’t think so by any stretch of the imagination, and that happens to be exactly what I had for dinner tonight. It’s been a busy time trying to settle into our new home, and I haven’t been cooking much so we have eaten fast food much more than normal. I do value health and eating well, but eating less-than-healthy food is fine in moderation, and even eating sometimes when not physically hungry can be perfectly normal (I doubt anyone who has dessert after a meal is ever truly hungry for that dessert.)   


    I think when you first quit binge eating, it is very helpful not to put so much pressure on yourself to have your non-binge eating be exactly right. I think I would have driven myself crazy if I would have treated every craving for junk or non-hungry eating as an urge to binge.I think it was helpful that I defined my binges by what I knew them to be, not by over-analyzing and creating a lot of rigid rules for myself.


      Even when your binge eating stops, you may be left with some imperfect eating habits like most normal eaters; and you can then define which ones you are okay with keeping and which ones you want to change.  The good news is that once you are confident the binge eating is over, you’ll be in a much better position to work on improving your diet in whatever way you see fit.     




25 thoughts on “Binge Subjectivity

  1. This is an interesting and important point. For me personally, I binge on fruits, dried fruits especially and cooked foods like oatmeal. I have also binged on health food bars. To someone on the outside, eating bowl after bowl of plain oatmeal or several melons might not be so threatening but to someone in the zone, it most certainly is devastating. It’s all in the mindset and the harm.
    It’s also about avoiding the distrust and paranoia of the potential binge by binging and you so poignantly put it in your book.
    This point is revelatory for me.
    So many of my binges are about “getting rid” of binge-food in my house by eating them…
    I buy them thinking, “I like them, this time I’ll eat them with restraint”, only to not want them around because they’re binge inducing…

    The next question: you said you ate fast food. Does eating fast food or having foods you used to binge on before, increase your urges to binge on them?

  2. Thanks for writing. I completely understand your point about eating all the binge foods in the house to “get rid” of them. It’s such a seemingly logical reason – that one used to hook me often as well. You can probably think of all the rational reasons why that particular motive for binge eating doesn’t make sense; but in the midst of an urge, it can be extremely compelling.

    Are you having any success separating yourself from and staying detached from the urges?

    I think when the lower brain produces those seemingly “logical” reasons for binge eating, it can be a bit trickier to separate yourself from the urges. This is because part of you may find yourself agreeing, and thinking you made a mistake by buying the food in the first place. Of course, I’m sure you know full well that binging isn’t the best way to get rid of it if you truly don’t want it in the house. That’s how you know the “logic” is not really coming from you – it’s the habit, your lower brain acting up to get what it wants. When a certain tactic works, it will repeat it over and over.

    I would suggest really trying not to get caught up in agreeing or disagreeing with those seemingly logical reasons to binge, but instead trying to stay completely indifferent to them. Once you begin to have thoughts of wanting all the binge food out of the house, try to distance yourself from them – because those thoughts are a product of what you’ve done in the past and don’t have to influence your future.

    I hope that makes some sense or helps a little.

    Regarding your question about the fast food…No, eating it (and other foods I used to binge on)does not give me urges to binge. For the first several months after I quit, yes, eating former binge foods often triggered urges; but those automatic reactions gradually faded and disappeared completely. I can have all types of food in the house without any urges to binge.

  3. Hi Kathryn,

    Thanks for the response. My story is quite similar to yours accept for the details, foods, and time line.
    After a teenage saga of disordered eating,a college experience of discipline and control, and a few years “out’ the system” with off and on habits, I recently moved across the country and started a new life on my own.
    For some reason the binging came back (from only being once in awhile, usually following a bit of unintentional and semi-unavoidable restriction these past few years- they were only frequent as my weight pendulum swung from underweight to the upper end of “normal” after restriction in high school, 7 years ago, now I’m settled in the low end of “normal” weight and eating-wise)…
    It was starting to be a real habit and making me miserable here as I’m trying to establish a normal routine.
    Your book really has helped.
    I am halfway through it and feeling super powerful. I’ve been in multiple situations this week where I’ve thought that binging was an option but recognizing those thoughts as the lower brain has been very helpful.
    My next goal (and it feels pretty easy) at this point is to try to have “binge foods” in the house and around.

    Lately I’ve also recognized my urges to binge as coming from a place of real hunger for my body. I can link my potential episode from today to a too light lunch yesterday or a delayed meal because of busy-ness or whatever…
    Whatever the observation may be with brainv.binge-type-recovery is that: I am Switzerland. I am the neutral observer. Not the participant.
    Neither the lower brain nor the food sitting there, (in the past serving as the low brain’s counterpart; the tease or taboo)…have much power.

    This method of “recovery” feels very real to me.
    I have constantly tried to tell family/loved ones that I have a bad habit. It’s just a habit.
    Last week I binged on a day where I hung out with people, laughed, spent time hiking and doing things I love…and then I got home and boom.
    I am generally happy and feel very resilient. It’s only AFTER we binge that we feel emotionally unstable so it SEEMS like we needed to have the binge to feel/express the emotions. Uh uh, not so.

    I could go on for days…

  4. I completely agree. Even if there is some form of emotional instability present prior to the binge(everyone experiences hard times and strong feelings); it’s not the cause of the binge, and the binge only makes it much, much worse.

    Thanks for sharing some of your story. I am so glad the book is helping you and giving you power over your lower brain. I hope it soon becomes completely effortless to disregard your urges, and I hope you have much success accomplishing your goal of having binge foods in the house.

  5. Kathryn,

    So far so good. It’s amazing how I was able to get my neuroplasticity going in the other direction. Granted, it’s been a little over a week but I feel very dynamic right now. I’ve overeaten a few times but why that’s noteworthy is that those instances didn’t lead to an all out binge like they would in the past: because my “all or nothing” personality no longer has anything to do with my tendency to binge. I don’t have to attribute my perfectionism, all or nothing mentality or even health consciousness into my binges- thereby adding emotional/personal fuel to the lower brain flame.

    Your book has been invaluable. Thank you.

    1. I super struggle with this one. There are two thnigs that I’ve been doing lately to try and minimize binges.The first thing I do is try to recognize when I’m bingeing and become aware of it. Often a binge happens because of unconscious eating’. When I realize what’s going on, I pump the brakes, put down the snack, and walk away and do something else. The other way I manage binges is controlling what it is I’m bingeing on. Lets say I really feel like snacking and munching. If I know that I’m going to eat a bunch of something, I try to make sure it’s a food that will be less detrimental to my body than, let’s say, ice cream or chips. Last night was my TV night with Amber and I ended up plowing through about a 1/2 pound of cherries and a few handfuls of almonds. Still probably not the best thing in the world, but better than a bunch of sugar.

  6. I am in part II of your book right now and find it very helpful. I have hope for the first time in a long time. But, as I have been reading I have had a bit of trouble identifying. Because I am the “grazer” that you mention above. I don’t sit down with huge amounts of food, but I will continually eat all day long without any hunger (or when full) if I let myself. I basically want to shove food in my mouth all the time.
    I am hopeful that your approach will work because it seems so logical. I am also hoping that I will be able to someday identify a harmless “I feel like having a frozen yogurt” from a binge-ey “I NEED to go get a frozen yogurt to satisfy this addiction”. I am not sure how to make that distinction yet.
    Any helpful thoughts? I am sure trial/error and practice will help over time.
    Thank you so much for writing this book. It has given me hope where therapy has left me feeling worse.

  7. Thanks for your comment. I am glad the book has given you hope.

    I can imagine that what you are experiencing is a little more tricky than what I experienced; because of, like you said, the challenge in identifying the difference between a harmless desire for a treat and the urges to maintain the binge eating/grazing. Although I didn’t experience this specifically, I would assume that when you first quit, a great deal of your desires for indulgences will be your lower brain’s attempt to maintain the habit; but that those urges will gradually fade until primarily “harmless” cravings are left.

    Although I’m not qualified to give specific nutritional advice, I think it will be important for you to regulate your non-binge eating (as I am sure you probably know). When I decided to quit, I was already eating a pretty normal diet aside from the binges; so in my case – even though eating normally took some getting used to – it wasn’t as difficult as I imagine it is for others. You probably haven’t gotten to the chapter yet, but I did mention in my book that some people may want to use meal plans (and possibly consult a nutritionist) if they feel it’s necessary at first. This certainly won’t make the urges to binge go away, but it can help make sure your body is getting properly nourished.

    I do realize that some binge eaters (especially those like you, whose binges are smaller but spread throughout the day) may struggle with figuring out how to eat normally, and may have a little more of a challenge knowing what is an urge to binge and what is not. Just remember that only “you” can decide what you consider a binge. Your lower brain might try to convince you that all your desires for indulgences are harmless…don’t listen to it. I think if you stay aware of your thoughts, you should be able tell the difference with practice and like you said – trial and error.

    I wish you all the best.

  8. Hi Kathryn,

    I love your book and this blog, and one word you mention… “indifferent.”

    There’s a saying from Indian philosophy (which is probably echoed across many spiritual disciplines) that applies to our own thoughts as much as it applies to other people in general:

    “Practice compassion towards those who are suffering, friendliness towards those who are happy, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and *total indifference* towards those who are unvirtuous or bad.”

    I love that you have basically applied this to the eating disorder, and with that total indifference, you’ve dissolved the power of the urges.

    Your comment on perfectionism in recovery is very apt, too. I often look at my friends, guys and girls, who are definitely *not* perfectly healthy in their attitudes towards food (and very controlling… especially the guys I know, who are all hitting 30 and their self-improvement phase), and it drives me nuts to think that their restrictive dieting and obsessions around food and exercise don’t cause a problem for them.

    What I just learned from your book, however, is that “normal” encompasses a huge range of attitudes and behaviors, and really isn’t even that relevant. It’s about stopping the urges, and the binges, not achieving some perfect state of “normal.”

    Before I became bulimic, I would think frequently about my weight, body and diet, and I focused a lot on attempting to restrict eating. I didn’t have a perfectly normal or healthy body image by any means, but I also didn’t binge. I guess it has always been daunting to me to think that I’d have to go back and correct ALL of that type of thinking — which I’ve had since I was a teenager — just to be able to let go of the binge habit and be truly “normal” (and I always felt that it was a habit, but one that I haven’t been empowered to break).

    In the beginning, bulimia was more of an emotional act for me, but now I can definitely feel that I binge out of habit. I am not sad, or really feeling anything, having a totally normal day that’s about to wrap up in a normal way… and then, bam, I return to the habit. It just feels unnecessary, not like any sort of crutch, but a habit like flipping on the TV as soon as you get home from school — meaningless, and yet ingrained.

    Aside from breaking the habit itself, my big challenge right now is fear of gaining weight. I believe that I am currently at my right weigh, though I’m lighter than I was before the bulimia, and that is because I think I’ve tended towards overeating for much of my life. I am afraid to let go of the habit because I don’t want to gain weight. At the same time, a huge part of me knows that without the bingeing, I won’t gain weight anyway… I have a hunch that you end up keeping a lot of what you binge on, even if you purge.

    How did you not let fear of gaining weight get in the way of breaking the habit?

    Anyway, thank you again.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thanks so much for sharing your insightful thoughts here. I’m glad you liked the book and truly hope it can help you put bulimia behind you. About your question, have you read my “Weight After Recovery” post? (located here: http://brainoverbinge.blogspot.com/2012/05/weight-after-recovery.html). You may find it helpful to read it as well as the comments below. For me personally, fear of weight gain wasn’t much of an issue because I knew rationally that would not happen. Of course, I did not self-induce vomiting; and I know that some people believe that without self-induced vomiting, weight will increase. However, that is not usually the case, because no form of purging even comes close to getting rid of all the calories from a binge.

      This article from Bulimia Help does a good job at explaining issues surrounding bulimia recovery weight, and why stopping bulimia doesn’t usually lead to weight gain: http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/truth-about-bulimia-recovery-weight. I hope you find this helpful.

    2. Hi Kathryn,

      There are so many things I want to say but as I am only just beginning to peruse your blog, I’ll comment further once I’ve read more but while I have been agreeing with most of what you’ve written, I’d just like to respond to your above comment of “Of course, I did not self-induce vomiting; and I know that some people believe that without self-induced vomiting, weight will increase. However, that is not usually the case, because no form of purging even comes close to getting rid of all the calories from a binge.”

      While I respect that in your experience, I’d like to point out that in my case, I am struggling through my eating disorder and going through DAILY multiple binges, all over 10,000 calories, some up to 20,000 in one sitting. I vomit it up. Yet, I am a BMI of 12.

      For me, weight gain is NECESSARY and stopping the vomiting in favour of a relatively healthy meal plan is helping me gain weight. As much as I hate it, and still am on the cusp of breaking down to binge and purge.

      I just wanted to share that fear of weight gain is VERY MUCH a part of what is stopping this cycle for me.

      Thank you so much for all your contributions.

    3. Sorry – what I meant in my last bit was that fear of weight gain is VERY MUCH a part of what is making me UNABLE to stop this cycle for me. Thanks.

    4. Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for sharing your experience here. I am sorry you are struggling, and that fear of weight gain is a factor that is perpetuating the cycle.

      I understand that everyone is different when it comes to weight and how bulimia affects it. Even though the the majority of bulimics are normal weight or even slightly overweight, that’s not always the case, because there are so many physiological factors involved.

      Just something to keep in mind (and this might not apply to you depending on how long you’ve had bulimia, but I thought it would be helpful to mention it here for others who may read this as well)… It is common for bulimia to initially cause someone to lose weight or maintain a very low weight. However, for the majority of people, this doesn’t last long. This is because the body adjusts and slows down metabolic rate; and like I said in the Weight After Recovery post, the body can even begin absorbing calories earlier in the digestive tract.

      So, even if bulimia seems alluring as a weight control method now, know that it’s usually impossible to maintain long term. And, of course it’s not worth it in the short term either because of the severe health consequences involved.

      I think it’s helpful for an underweight person who fears weight gain to consider that they usually have two options for weight gain: 1.) They can gain weight in a healthy way, and have a lifetime of freedom from bulimia; or 2.) Their body’s survival mechanisms can force weight gain upon them, all while they are still trapped in the awful binge/purge cycle.

      I’m glad to hear that you are trying to gain weight in a healthy way, and I think that shows much courage on your part. After the initial bloating that those who self-induce vomiting experience, it should get a lot easier.

      I really like this article from Bulimia Help about putting weight concerns in perspective:

      http://bulimiahelp.org/articles/why-does-thought-weight-restoration-worry-us-so-much

  9. I know this is an old post, but I read your book only some four months ago & just stumbled upon this… Reading your book and Rational Recover have helped me a lot and my bingeing has dramatically decreased from 3-4 four times a week to twice or three times a month.

    The reason why I can’t quit altogether seems to be that I CAN determine intuitively what a binge is for me, but it seems possible only beforehand. Put in RR terms, when I’m craving something, my addictive voice goes: ‘come on, it’s fine, everyone indulges sometimes’. And I know it’s true, normal people can eat a pint of Ben&Jerry’s just because they felt like it. But at some point I realize I’ve gone over what a normal person would eat, and when I’ve (almost unknowingly) turned it into a binge, it’s VERY hard to stop there. And I end up eating so much I think I’m going to burst. (I don’t purge anymore…. but my binges have actually, despite being more infrequent, grown in size. I binged last night to the point where I was feeling so much physical pain I was afraid I’d really get a stomach rupture and die.)

    I was just wondering whether you’d have some thoughts on this? I’ve even thought about defining a binge in objective terms (calories/food weight/volume) but that just doesn’t feel like something I can stick to for the rest of my life. I really want to be 100% free of binge eating because ‘only twice a month’ doesn’t feel like recovery at all. I feel like although I’ve gotten better at recognizing my urges as not rising from my true self, I still might lose control any time.

    And also, thank you so much for writing the book. I’ve had bulimia for almost 10 years and nothing else has ever worked like this. You don’t often read books that really change your life, but this one did.

    1. Hi, and sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. I’m glad you’ve been able to decrease your binge eating. I understand what you are saying about having trouble stopping once you start overeating. Yes, it’s fine to give in to some cravings for sweets/indulgences; however, in the beginning I think following that voice that says “come on, it’s fine, everyone indulges sometimes” needs to be coupled with heightened awareness.

      If I felt hungry when I thought I “shouldn’t” be, or if I wanted to have some dessert/sweets, I’d often set a mental limit on what I was okay with eating beforehand(for example – 1 bowl of ice cream, or 6 oreos, or 1 chocolate bar). Then, if I still felt unsatisfied afterward and felt an urge to keep eating more and more creeping in, that’s what I labeled the neurological junk (not the original craving for a treat). I knew when I followed those cravings that an urge to binge might likely follow and I was prepared for that to happen.

      Maybe setting a limit before following those “innocent” cravings, and then detaching from any thought that encourages you to eat more than that limit might work (of course, eventually, you should be able to have much more flexibility).

      When we eat highly pleasurable foods, our brains don’t always tell us to stop. See my post titled “Listen to Your Body?” (http://brainoverbinge.blogspot.com/2011/06/listen-to-your-body.html)
      Even normal eaters have to cope with this to some extent.

      I hope this helps a little, and I hope that you are able to put binge eating behind you completely very soon.

  10. Dear Kathryn, im 29 years old and like you came from a normal happy enough childhood, compared a bit to my prettier, cleverer sister but happy, “middle class”, loved, etc. I binge ate as a child for no other reason i think than there was a sweet shop next door to our house and my parents werent really concerned about eating habits as I didnt put on any weight. I was always closer to underweight but at a healthy weight all through my childhood. During my teenage years I wanted to lose weight and began ridiculous diet plans of two apples a day, or two slim fasts a day, or only fruit, etc but never managed to stick to them so i always ended up binging. For me though I tried purging it didnt work so I just restricted more and so the cycle continuned and has continued for over 15 years to where I am now. I have a successful business, Ive been with my husband who i love for 13 years, I have friends and I have things I enjoy doing. Still I binge and restrict. I, like you went on an antidepressant last year which completely removed my urge to binge. Instead I went from 8 stone 9 pounds to 7 stone 3.5 pounds and was gleeful in my weight loss. I started to vomit after my saturday night takeaway and chocolate and then things go out of control and I started to believe that I could have the best of both worlds by restricting generally but if I got the urge mid week then I could just binge and vomit. I purged every single day of the ten days I had off work at Christmas and then everything went wrong. I tried to get back on track but the urge to binge in work was too strong so I started doing it in work swearing I would get back on track. Then the tablets wore off. Now its March and Ive been vomiting 3-7 times a week. Ive gone up to 8 stone. My head feels completely out of control. I feel like im going to explode. The urge I have is all consuming, sweats, palpitations, I literally cant do anything. My mood is awful, its no fair on my husband, I feel like I can’t take anymore. I bought a self help book which basically was exactly what you described, all about finding your triggers, food diarys, loving yourself, finding your innermore problems, etc but I dont have any! I wasnt molested, starved, im not lonely, Im not bored, I got an urge while working flat out on a really busy day making wedding cake toppers. FOR NO REASON. I binge when happy, sad, bored, active, doing stuff I hate, doing stuff I enjoy. Its absolutely all consuming and I need to stop this. Im halfway through your book and Im really hoping it gives me the power to stop this. I do have low self esteem, I know im body dysmorphic and I know I often feel ugly and not pretty but I completely understand your concept that binge eating is about food and the urges to binge. I truly feel that if i could stop bing eating then my anorexic tendencies and hating my body would stop too because I wouldnt feel so disgusting and fat after binging. Thank you for giving me some hope. My doctor has referred me to the eating disorder clinic so I hope I can take action before this.

    1. Thanks for sharing some of your experience. I’m sorry you are dealing with this; I know how awful it can be. It’s good to hear that my book gave you some hope, and I truly hope you are able to discover your own power over the urges.

      Since you have a history of anorexic tendencies/restriction, know that it’s so important to eat enough. I think urges that arise because of starvation/survival instincts are much more difficult to resist than purely habitual urges.

      I wish you all the best.

  11. @ Anonymous; March 2, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    I maybe have got a usefull tip for you: When you want something like Ben@Jerry´s (which is totally normal to want to indulge in something like that)
    try to scoop a a bit in a bowl, and do not eat from the pint itself. When you have finished the bowl, ask yourself the question, did I have enough, do I want more? Do I feel´pre-binge-tension, thoughts´? When you have the pint not in front of you, but in the kitchen, you have more time to recognize an upcoming urge, en process the urge as the way kathryn say you to do

    Hope that helps 🙂

  12. I have a lot of issues with this now that I’m in recovery defining a bige is hard as I’m constantly stressed that overeating, even to a normal extent, could be a binge in disguise. Or an urge for any junk food is just a hidden binge urge. And It stresses me out because I can stop binge eating, but do I really want to stop eating like a normal person on occasion? I think there is also the issue that most eating disorders are related, so in recovery it can be quite easy to slip into the mindset of another eating disorder if you are not careful. I just try to eat healthy and avoid overeating to avoid this stress but still can let go of calorie counting because I don’t trust myself to not binge without realising, which is bizarre as my binges usually ended up in about 5000 calorie intake. I remember making myself sick from the amount I had eaten. Any further advice or support you could give on this by any chance?

    1. Thanks for writing. My most recent blog post (Eliminating Foods, Part 2) addresses this to some extent. I hope you find it helpful!

      Also, the following is from the FAQ section of my website, and is similar to what’s in the blog post:
      “-Drop the ‘all or nothing’ trap. To be successful, I truly believe you can’t think that the choices are either to 1.) eat perfectly or 2.)binge. I don’t think it’s useful to view your lower brain as your “unhealthy eating” brain, and your higher brain as your “healthy/clean eating/perfect” brain. You cannot equate all food cravings with binge urges, because you’ll put yourself in a situation where you believe that following a desire for an extra serving, or choosing to have a dessert or some unhealthy food means that you’ve already followed your lower brain and you are a failure. Brain over Binge is not a diet! Having less than healthy foods, following some cravings in moderation, and even eating a bit more than usual doesn’t mean you are then destined to binge.”

  13. When you were in recovery, how were you able to tell the difference between a binge, and simple overeating? Because, sometimes I slip up, and eat a bit more than I should, but I don’t think I binge, but at the same time I feel as if my lower brain might be tricking me into a binge. On the other hand, it would mean that I had recovered somewhat as if they are binges, they would have decreased significantly in quantity. I don’t know. I feel a bit out of control around food and I’m not enjoying this feeling of not being sure, and I see the only way to battle it is to be strict about what I’m eating, but at the same time I can see how they could lead to some more disordered behavior. Any advice?

    1. I am truly sorry for the delay in my response. This past month has been incredibly busy, and I simply haven’t been able to keep up with everything. I am sorry! I hope you are doing okay.

      I think knowing that a bit of overeating now and then is normal helped me a lot, because otherwise I might have fallen back into that “all or nothing” trap of either eating perfectly or binge eating. Realizing that you aren’t always going to eat perfectly; that sometimes you might decide to have a little more of something or to have bigger than normal meals (buffets, parties, holidays, are just some examples); and that even normal eaters have desires to go back for extra servings that they must choose to follow or to ignore might help you not get overwhelmed by the cravings.

      Many of my binges started with just wanting a little more of something, but I usually could recognize the mindset and knew where it was headed. While having some extra food after a normal-sized meal can be fine, I personally could tell when it wasn’t that innocent for me. Desires to have some more of this or that – when you’ve been binge free for a while – are completely harmless (you simply choose to have some more or not); but if you are just beginning to recover, I believe you have to be aware in these situations. Your lower brain is likely to use the times when you decide to have a bit too much of something as binge opportunities, especially because binge eating after a little overeating is likely a conditioned habit by now. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an extra serving, it just means you need to be prepared for your lower brain’s reactions and not let them get the better of you.

      If you look at the FAQ section on brainoverbinge.com, I address overeating in the Eating/Weight section. I hope this helps!

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