If you’ve followed my blog or podcast, or read my books, you may notice that I use the word “simple” a lot to describe my approach. My podcast introduction is, “you’ll learn a simple, brain-based approach to ending binge eating,” and the subtitle of my second book (The Brain over Binge Recovery Guide) is, “A Simple and Personalized Plan for Ending Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder.”
When I was finishing up that book at the end of 2015, I received the first printed copy of it in the mail to review before publication. I remember picking up the book, looking at the cover, and the word simple really standing out to me—as a word that seemed to contradict the size of the book (378 pages!). In that moment, I kind of laughed at myself for choosing the word simple for such a thick book, and I imagined future readers wondering how in the world this approach could be simple.
Without ever opening the book, it does seem like an inconsistency, and I did briefly think about changing the subtitle at the last minute to avoid potential confusion. However, I ultimately decided to stick with it because I trusted that the reader would quickly understand why I used that word.
Only 2 Goals to End Binge Eating
At its core, the Brain over Binge approach is a simple approach to binge eating recovery. You focus on just two recovery goals: Learning to dismiss the urges to binge, and learning to eat adequately. You do not need to solve all of your other problems, or learn to cope perfectly with your emotions, or create a happy life, or develop fulfilling relationships. You also do not have to control your circumstances, or avoid triggers, or eat in one certain way, or be at your ideal weight.
I try to help you narrow your focus and learn to use the power of your brain to end the binge eating habit. Truly, all you need to do is stop following urges to binge and eat enough food. But, I realize that seems much too simple on the surface, so there’s a lot of explaining that I need to do and background information I need to give for the two recovery goals to make sense. This is the primary reason for the length of my books, and why I’m already up to Episode 87 on my podcast.
Another reason that my approach is simple, but my resources are extensive is: the two recovery goals of dismissing binge urges and eating adequately are not typically goals that you wake up and suddenly decide to do, and know exactly how to do, and achieve perfect success right away. There are usually questions that come up along the way, and I do my best to answer them.
Dismissing Binge Urges Requires a New Perspective & Practice
The first recovery goal (learning to dismiss binge urges) requires viewing the urges in a new way, so that you can stop reacting to them and stop acting on them. Again, this takes some explaining, especially about the brain and how it drives behavior. It’s necessary to become aware of your thinking and how your urges are convincing you to binge, and it’s important to be able to experience your own power over these urges—which you may not experience right away.
Additionally, it can take practice to become consistently successful at avoiding binges. You may need to do some troubleshooting to improve your ability to dismiss the urges—determining what works uniquely for you. The process of change is a little different for each person, even though there are certainly similarities in all habits, based on the way the human brain works.
Eating Adequately Requires Ending Dieting & Finding Your Own Formula
As it relates to the second recovery goal (eating adequately), this can also be something that requires some learning—or even a great deal of learning. You certainly do not need to eat perfectly to stop binge eating, but if you’re used to restriction and not giving your body enough food, then you’ll need to learn to nourish yourself properly. It’s impossible to stop binge eating for good if you continue down the path of dieting and continue not meeting your body’s physical needs.
Giving up dieting can be a challenge if you’ve been attached to it for a long time, and as part of this fundamentally simple goal of eating adequately, I share a lot of information to help you let dieting go. It’s important to understand why dieting is not a way to reach and maintain a healthy weight, and you need to learn to overcome fears of weight gain. Additionally, binge eating itself has negative effects on appetite regulation, so I also offer guidance (especially in my course) that is aimed at helping you through the process of learning to eat normally again.
The way of eating that works for you is going to be different than it is for someone else. As Brain over Binge coach Julie frequently says in group coaching and one-on-one coaching, it’s about finding your own formula—how you uniquely want to eat, and what feels good in your own body.
This Is Not a “Just Quit” Approach to Binge Eating Recovery
Everything I’ve said so far does not mean recovery needs to be a long road. I do not believe that’s the case, and one of my main goals is to empower you to believe that you absolutely can stop this habit and move on with your life. However, I want to be clear that my message includes much more than telling you to “just stop binge eating.”
I think that’s where it’s possible to misinterpret the simplicity of the Brain over Binge approach. Although the ultimate goal is to stop binge eating (as it would be with any approach), I fully realize there is more to it than that. When I was struggling with bingeing, if anyone would have told me to “just stop,” it would have made me angry—because of course I was trying to stop! I did not want to be binge eating, and if I could have “just stopped” at the time, I would have.
So when you hear me say in a blog post, or podcast episode, or Instagram post that you have the power to stop bingeing, please know that if you keep reading or listening, I will do my best to help you understand this, and apply it in your life, and free yourself from binge eating.
Let Recovery Be as Simple as Possible
I believe that traditional ways of viewing eating disorders—as diseases or symptoms of underlying emotional or psychological issues—make recovery much more complicated than it needs to be. You do not need to fundamentally transform yourself or solve your other problems to recover. Let your recovery from binge eating be as simple as possible. Don’t feel like you need to change so many parts of your life, or eat perfectly, or love your body all of the time in order to stop this habit.
Recovery may take letting go of some old ideas that are no longer serving you. It may take realizing that binge eating is not doing anything positive for you. It may take a new understanding of how your brain is working to get you to binge. Avoiding binges and learning to consistently nourish your body can take some practice; but I hope that by cutting out any unnecessary confusion, the Brain over Binge approach gives you a much more clear-cut, efficient, and simple path to ending this habit.
If you want extra guidance as you work on the recovery goals of the Brain over Binge approach, here are some resources for additional support:
Brain over Binge Course – Self-paced online lessons (plus an app) for only $18.99/month. Includes over 125 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 (or with Kathryn until the end of 2023). Learn to change your thinking, uncover what is holding you back, and get on a path to complete freedom from food issues.