Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Binge Eating Group - Week 2

Week two was about consequences and cues. Positive consequences of binge eating for me are: distraction from unpleasant tasks, relief from tension, stress, anger, emotional numbing, feeling comfort or pleasure.

"The binge eating is maintained because the positive consequences resulting from binge eating behaviors are more immediate than the negative consequences."

Negative consequences for me are: social withdrawal, problems from being overweight, depression, guilt, shame, negative self-esteem, weight gain.

One of the main strategies for dealing with binge eating is to change your response to cues by rearranging cues and changing your response to cues.

You rearrange cues by 1) avoidance (don't have a binge food at home), 2) restrict the field (eat only at a table, away from TV), and 3) strengthen positive cues (eat with others if it helps prevent a binge.)

You change your response to cues by 1) building in a pause (wait in between servings), 2) change the behavior (go for a walk instead of eating), and 3) structure your environment to avoid a binge (bring a healthy snack when you go out and don't bring money.)


Binge eating is a mental illness. You need to fight the "monster" of the binge eating disorder talking to you with positive thinking/talk.

Mental rewards/positive affirmations are important to do daily. You don't have to believe them. Just keep saying them. Find three to five mantras and say them three times daily. Write them down on note cards to help you remember.

  • I find the joy in every day.
  • I can do the uncomfortable.
If you are putting effort toward reducing binge-eating behavior, it is a productive effort.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Binge Eating Group - Week 1

Binge Eating Group meets weekly and is three hours long.  The first hour is a cognitive-behavioral therapy group where we discuss a binge eating topic and an assignment we completed over the previous week. The second hour is some type of physical education or body awareness activity. The last hour we eat and then have a nutritional awareness topic.

Most of the content is from Binge Eating Disorder: Clinical Foundations and Treatment by James E. Mitchell, Michael J. Devlin, Martina de Zwaan, Scott J. Crow, and Carol B. Peterson.

"For many people, binge eating serves to "stuff" or numb unpleasant or uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. When the binge eating stops, so do the anesthetic effects of the bingeing behavior."

In general, a binge is where you feel your eating is out of control. You are not feeling anything or tasting what you are eating and includes eating three or more servings of food.

When you have an urge to binge, try the 4 D's:
* Distance - distance yourself from the food, i.e. move away from the table
* Distract - take a walk, read a book, call a friend
* Drink - drink a glass of water
* Decide - then decide if you still want to eat

Also, try "urge-surfing." Basically, an urge to "use" something passes - usually within a few minutes but no more than thirty minutes. Don't fight the urge. Don't act upon the urge. Just notice it and "ride it" like a surfer rides a wave.

In nutrition group we were told to go no longer than three to four hours without a meal or snack. Getting too hungry can precipitate a binge. Also, the opposite is true. Don't eat more often than every two hours to allow the body to get hungry.

Using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is extremely hungry, 5 is balanced and 10 is extremely full, we should eat when we are around a 2 or 3 and stop when we are around a 7 or 8. If we drop to a 1 or 0, we have gotten too hungry. If we stop eating at a 5, we aren't filling our bodies enough. If we fill ourselves to a 9 or 10, we are eating too much.

The first week we had to bring our own meal. I purchased a chicken salad sandwich, some chips and a dessert bar from the cafe and was pretty satisfied with my meal. I was amused that just about everyone else brought a salad (i.e. "diet food.") It's certainly not what every one typically eats.