Nan Simonsen Aging Powerfully

Ep. 77: Ending Bulimia, Reclaiming Health, and Aging Powerfully (Interview with Nan Simonsen)

Ep. 70: Fasting Behaviors and Disordered Eating (Interview with Elisa Oras)

Paige Smathers

Ep 69: Intuitive, Realistic, and Sustainable Eating (Interview with Paige Smathers, RDN, CD)

Brain over Binge free book

Brain over Binge Inspiration & Book Giveaway

“The view of bulimia as a coping mechanism is so pervasive in our society that it is generally accepted as fact … I changed once I decided to view my eating disorder differently: by dismissing the belief that I ate for deeper, more profound reasons and, in turn, completely changing how I approached my problem.”Brain over Binge, Preface

If the mainstream theory that binge eating is a coping mechanism is helping you recover, there is no need to change course. But if what you are believing now isn’t bringing you closer to a binge-free life, I want to encourage you to be open to a new way of looking at your behavior.

When I published Brain over Binge nearly 10 years ago, my goal was to provide an alternative perspective and empower people to use the amazing ability of their brain to end the binge eating habit. I did this by simply sharing my story—what I experienced and what I learned along the way. The book is raw and I didn’t hold back when talking about what I went through, how bingeing affected my life so deeply, and how the help that was available to me at the time wasn’t actually helpful.

I spent years viewing my binge eating as a coping mechanism, but it simply didn’t help me stop the behavior, and I’ve learned that I was not the exception. I don’t believe that my approach is the only way, but if you are interested in an alternative perspective and looking to simplify how you approach recovery, then keep reading to learn how you can receive a free copy of my book.

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You can get Brain over Binge for free in a book giveaway on Instagram, starting on Monday (9/21/2020) and repeating each Monday for 10 weeks. I have 100 books that I want to give to people who could benefit, so I’ll be giving away 10 copies every week for the 10 weeks.

Here is how the giveaway will work:

  • First, you need to find me on Instagram @brain_over_binge and follow me so that you don’t miss the giveaway posts.
  • Next, you need to look for the giveaway post every Monday at 9pmET on Instagram.
  • Finally, you need to be one of the first 10 people to comment on the giveaway post, and I’ll ship you a copy of Brain over Binge. 

*I need to limit book shipments to United States addresses only, due to postage. Even if you are not living in the US, I encourage you to share this information with someone you know who struggles with binge eating and who could benefit from the book.

If you are one of the first 10 people to comment on a giveaway post, you will need to send me the shipping address through Instagram direct messaging or by emailing it to me at kathryn@brainoverbinge.com. Your shipping address will be deleted after shipment, and never used to send any promotional materials.

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I hope that having a copy of Brain over Binge will be helpful to you at this time. If it supports you in finding freedom from binge eating, all I ask is that you share your story to inspire others.

When I wrote my book, I didn’t know the impact that sharing my story would make (and I wrote about this in my first blog post), but I’ve been overwhelmed by the response over these last 10 years, and I’ve loved hearing and reading the recovery stories of others who have used this approach. No one’s recovery is exactly the same, and even if Brain over Binge resonates with you and helps you, you will have your own insights and overcome your own unique challenges along the way. You will have a valuable voice to spread the message that complete freedom from binge eating is absolutely possible, and each one of us can achieve it.

I want to leave you with an inspiring message from a woman who emailed me recently, and I hope it helps you believe in your ability to change as well:

“I just wanted to write you an email to thank you for your book Brain over Binge. I struggled with binge eating for more than three years and when I bought your book I really thought that BE was something that would be a part of me for the rest of my life. Every time I binged, I promised it would be the last one but after a few days or weeks, I would do it again. Honestly, I lost hope and when I googled how to get over it, many articles/YouTube videos/testimonies focused on how to control it and reduce it, but not many talked about how to get over it once and for all. Someone in the comments of a Youtube video recommended your book and after reading a few reviews online, I bought it on Amazon. 

I cried so much with your book because your story resonated so much with me, and at the time I thought binge eating was something very uncommon that almost no one did, and I felt a bit alone in that sense. To be honest, at the beginning of the book I didn’t believe what you said about being sure of not relapsing again. It seemed to good to be true, especially after trying so many other things before (food diary, tracking my emotions…). But almost two years later, I am so proud to say that I’ve never binged again and that now I too think that I will never do it again.
 I left your book to a friend that was also struggling with binge eating recently, and she gave it back to me the other day. I reread the parts that I had highlighted and I felt so happy to realize again how far I’ve come. It’s crazy to think that something that used to cause me so much pain and stress is now something that feels so far away. I just wanted to let you know that your book changed my life and that I will be forever grateful for you.”

 

If you want to participate in the book giveaway, remember to follow me on Instagram (@brain_over_binge).

Dieting Prevention Tips

“It’s fine to raise awareness about eating disorders, but I believe more focus should be on preventing dieting, because eating disorders are not illnesses that inexplicably happen to people. Nearly all cases of anorexia and bulimia, and a large number of cases of BED, would never occur without the initial diet.”Brain over Binge, pg 276

Dieting prevention is a multifaceted topic, and there is not one way to ensure dieting does not happen in a young person—or anyone, at any point in life. In Brain over Binge, I mentioned some things that may have helped me personally avoid turning to dieting in my teen years, and one of them was: less emphasis on weight in the family. I frequently heard comments from my parents, relatives, and family friends that led me to believe remaining slim was of extreme importance. When I naturally put on some weight during puberty, it was more concerning to me than it should have been, I believe, because of my previous exposure to a lot of dieting and weight talk.

I’ve made an effort to keep that type of talk away from my kids as much as possible, although I can’t shelter them from what they hear outside of my home, or every little thing that may come up in what they watch. It’s impossible to control the culture and the often unrealistic images children may see, but something we can do as adult role models is to be aware of what we say and the effect it could have. Even seemingly innocent comments about food and weight can add up over time, causing children to feel like dieting and obsessing about weight is a normal part of growing up.  Conversely, when adults offer a positive example, it can help young people avoid falling into unhealthy restrictive behaviors.

If you’ve struggled with an eating disorder or other food  issues, I know it can be a priority for you to not pass those struggles on to your children. I want to offer some simple tips to help keep dieting and weight talk to a minimum. I’ve listed several suggestions of things not to say around young people, but consider that this advice can be useful for any conversation you have—in order to reduce your focus on your body and food, and help you focus elsewhere.

Stop saying negative comments about your own body (even if you’re having negative thoughts about your body).

Stop talking about your desire to lose weight. 

Stop commenting on the weight of others. (Don’t say who has lost or gained weight, or who is too thin or too fat. Teach children that we’re all different and we’re all worthy, and that people are much more than their appearance.)

Don’t say that certain foods will make you gain weight. (It’s fine to teach your kids which foods are the most nourishing for the body, but don’t make it about body size.)

After you’ve eaten, don’t express feelings of guilt. (If you believe you made a poor food choice, just move on and try to make a better choice next time.)

Don’t warn children that one day they’ll have to watch their weight, and therefore stop being able to eat what they want. (The truth is that an attitude of deprivation leads to more overeating and more weight gain in the long run. Of course we want kids to make good choices around food, but instilling a restrictive mindset won’t help them reach that goal.)

Accept compliments on the way you look, without responding with something critical or negative about your body or size. (just say thank you!)

Don’t give weight-related reasons for not having desserts or other foods. (If someone offers you cake for example, and you don’t want it, just say no thank you. Don’t say that it will go straight to your hips or that it will ruin your diet.)

Don’t tell your kids you exercise in order to lose weight or prevent weight gain. (Tell them it’s about being strong, feeling good, having energy, and taking care of your health.)

Make choosing healthy foods about health and self-care, not weight.  (If you eat something healthier than what your kids are eating, don’t tell them it’s because what they are eating is too fattening or has too many calories.)

Don’t criticize yourself about what you are choosing to eat. (Don’t say, I shouldn’t be eating this. When you choose to eat something, eat it and enjoy it, without beating yourself up. Model the fact that no one eats perfectly.)

Don’t make comments about children’s weight. (There’s no need to make children turn attention to their body shape, even if you think you are offering them a compliment.)

All of this advice does not mean that you can’t teach children about nutrition or what habits will lead to a healthy life. Talk to them about nourishment. Talk to them about eating to feel good. Talk to them about playing outside for fun, and moving their body for the pure enjoyment of it.  If you can model a healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle—while also avoiding teaching children to diet and try to control their weight by depriving themselves—it gives them the best chance of maintaining a positive relationship with food and a healthy weight for a lifetime.

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More help:

If you struggle with binge eating and want guidance as you recover, here are some resources for additional support:

Brain over Binge Course – Self-paced online lessons (plus an app) for only $10.99/month. Includes over 120 tracks to listen to that give you the information and answers you need as you end binge eating.

Group Coaching – Get help from coach Julie and support from others who are overcoming this habit. Includes a forum that is open 24/7, group coaching calls, mindfulness resources, plus course access.

One-on-one Coaching – Book a 45-minute private session with coach Julie. She will help you change your thinking, uncover what is holding you back, and get on a path to complete freedom from food issues.

kathryn hansen books

My Book’s Journey: A Mission to Help Binge Eaters (Brain over Binge)

I want to introduce myself:  I’m Kathryn Hansen and I stopped binge eating in 2005. Now, I am awaiting two exciting deliveries—the delivery of the Brain over Binge books to my doorstep, and the delivery of my new baby girl. The baby should arrive in about a week (and we have yet to decide on a name!), and the shipment of newly printed books should arrive in a little more than two weeks.

Writing this book has been a long journey for me. I began taking notes and writing rudimentary chapters in early 2006, slowly documenting my experiences and ideas. Considering this was less than a year after my recovery, it may have seemed bold.  How did I know my recovery would last?

I just knew. My bulimia was over for good, and I was fully convinced that I had a powerful story to share.  Writing that story was a great challenge, and a great joy. Some months brought much productivity; but other months brought lulls, indecision, frustration, and simply a lack of time. When my son was born, I took a six-month break from writing, and I did the same when my daughter arrived. This is why, when we found out we were expecting baby #3, I knew I absolutely had to finish before my due date.

I’ve worked hard these past nine months to make this a reality, spending many weekends writing at coffee shops while my husband watched the kids, and staying up way too late most nights. The months seemed to fly by, but I’m proud to say it is finished.

My perfectionism tells me the book could be better, that there is more I can say and better ways I can say it, but it’s time to let my words stand as they are. I had a mission in mind when I set out to write Brain over Binge, and I believe I’ve fulfilled it. More importantly, I think the book holds great promise for helping others.

As for how the book will be received…Who knows?  Who cares?  It could cause only the tiniest of ripples in the field of eating disorders, or it could create a big splash. Either way, that’s not what my mission was about. It was about telling my story – embarrassing parts and all – to other bulimics/binge eaters who may want to listen and learn from my hard-learned lessons.

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Update (2018):  It’s hard to believe that this post was so many years ago, and I’ve now written a second book, (The Brain over Binge Recovery Guide), created an online course, a podcast, and had a 4th child! It’s been an amazing journey and every time someone shares their story of recovery with me, it makes all of the long nights worth it, and fuels my continuing commitment to my original mission. You can read reviews on Amazon to see what others have thought about Brain over Binge since I wrote this post.

If you are looking for somewhere to begin, you can start with my free PDF, the Brain over Binge Basics. It will teach you the fundamentals of the approach that helped me and many others end the binge eating habit for good.