How to Stop Binge Eating: The #1 Thing to Do Now for Food Freedom

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

How to Stop Binge Eating? Ever stop and ask, why do we do what we do? 

Like why do we self-sabotage the gym — even though we know we feel good when we go? 

Why do we stay up too late—even though we know we feel better when we get enough sleep? 

Or why do we binge eat? 

You are not alone…

In this article, we are going to figure out the root cause behind your binge eating—and I will share 3 things to do now for food freedom as well as tips on how to stop binge eating.

Do You Struggle with Binge Eating? You Are Not Alone!

How To Stop Binge Eating - Woman Trying To Sneak A Bread

Hi, I am Dr. Lauryn, your personal Health Detective, gut health and food freedom expert. 

For almost 10 years, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of amazing clients as a functional medicine doctor, specializing in getting to the root causes of your greatest health challenges..

Many of my clients are maybe just like you, women who struggled with binge eating at one time.

In fact, did you know 3 in 4 women will have a funky relationship with food at some point in their life?

And many of these clients, maybe just like you, knew they are made for more…

The thing is, for whatever reason the binge eating was seemingly tough to overcome….

Kelly’s Binge Eating Story

Like a patient, we will call her Kelly. Kelly came to me with a history of binge eating since college. 

She was in her PhD program at the time, and often found herself binging at night time…particularly during periods of lots of long days or significant stress. 

In & Out Burger. Pints of ice cream. Canisters of Pringles. Plates of cookies. 

Her binges were often followed by a purge…which helped her feel relief and lessen the anxiety…until the next binge.

Sadie’s Binge Eating Story

Then there was “Sadie.”

Every night after dinner without fail, her sweet tooth would strike. But instead of turning to processed crap, she turned to sugar-free keto desserts…homemade paleo treats…pints of Halo Top. These alternatives took the charge off…but for some reason she couldn’t shake the urge to binge…and again, often purge.

Melanie’s Binge Eating Story

And “Melanie” (Maya). Melanie was a personal trainer and fitness influencer. She had a reputation to uphold. She came to me to work on her gut issues, hormone imbalances and lingering skin issues…and her relationship with food.

Although she knew “what to do”—and definitely ate healthy foods—for some reason, she often looked up after eating past fullness, wondering what just happened? How did she eat a whole bowl of broccoli? Or an extra large salad or sweet potato? Or dinner…and 2 or 3 chicken breasts instead of 1. 

Nothing she ate was “bad”…she just didn’t know how to listen to her cues…

In all 3 of these cases, these women didn’t “want” to binge…or eat past fullness…but they all said the same thing, “In the moment, I just feel out of control.”

NEWSFLASH: You can have food freedom—freedom from binge eating. 

As a health detective, I specialize in finding out the root causes of any unsolved health issue…and to overcome binge eating, it all comes down to understanding the root causes.

WHAT CAUSES BINGE EATING?

What causes binge eating? how to stop binge eating?

There is not one answer. 

For some the cause is true hunger—often related to Hypoglycemia. Something we call the “hypoglycemic” binge — when your blood sugar drops (especially if you haven’t eaten enough earlier in the day like from fasting)…then the body innately cues you to eat more. 

For others, it’s due to gut dysbiosis and leaky gut. Our gut bacteria dictate our food preferences, hunger signals and cravings. If we have imbalanced gut bugs you can guess what happens to our diet…our gut bugs send all sorts of crazy signals through the gut brain axis. Hello binging on all. the. things.

And for most, I’ve found unaddressed “hunger”—something figuratively going on in their gut…an unmet need or emotion—is the driver of binge eating. 

Soooo…if you’re struggling with binge eating right now, I will ask you again: Why do you do what you do? 

What is your motive for action? What is it that drives you in your life today? Not 10 years ago. Are you running the same pattern?

What is really driving your urge to binge?

THE #1 DRIVER OF BINGE EATING

I believe there are 7 core hungers, 7 gut hungers, or human needs, that drive us…and if unmet…we turn to things like food. 

In fact, the 7 gut hungers are the core driver of not only binge eating…but any habit we turn to that is not serving us…trying to fill a void inside us…whether it’s tons of exercise…restrictive eating… substance use… too much shopping…or binge eating…

The good news? Once we figure out what’s driving us—our gut hunger — we are better able to face it head on…and meet that need in some other way. 

THE 7 GUT HUNGERS 

How To Stop Binge Eating - Woman Trying To Decide What To Eat

See if any of these 7 Gut Hunger sound familiar—7 needs that we all have throughout our lives, including the hunger or need to feel.

  1. Worth—feeling “good enough”, being noticed, confident
  2. Comfort—pleasure, satisfaction
  3. Connection—quality relationships, humans are nutrients!
  4. Control—security, no overwhelm, less anxiety
  5. Purpose—meaning, career, living out or gifts
  6. Growth—not being stagnant, learning, experiencing new things, change, excitement
  7. Freedom—not being tied down, less restrictions, a voice and choice

Again, If any of these needs are unmet, it may explain why we feel stress or turn to vices like food, diets or exercise to fill the hunger. 

For example, if life feels uncertain, there’s nothing like eating the same chicken and broccoli every single day for a sense of control. 

Overwhelmed? Eating an entire batch of cookies offers a sense of comfort amidst the chaos. 

Stagnant in your career or a relationship? There’s nothing like a 30 day challenge to help you grow and achieve. 

On a simpler note: Chocolate cravings may signal a need for love. 

Die hard “vegan” or “keto”? You may be seeking identity, a sense of worth, or community—connection.

You get the picture. 

HOW TO STOP BINGE EATING

Once we identify these 7 gut hungers—how do we actually stop binge eating? Overcome it? I’m glad you asked!

First: Awareness is huge. 

The next time you find yourself craving a food, or struggling with obsessing over food or other compulsive eating habits, ask yourself: What is the food craving or habit trying to tell me? What is the gut hunger at play?

I call this the GUT CHECK method and it’s all about checking in with your gut!

  • Am I seeking a sense of self worth? 
  • Comfort and pleasure? 
  • Feeling lonely? 
  • Do I feel lack of purpose in my days? 
  • Am I stressed out by my need for control all day long?

Again, you get the picture.

Once we become aware of our gut hungers (our unmet needs), we can respond more appropriately to satisfy them when the needs arise. 

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY HUNGRY FOR? 

How To Stop Binge Eating - Woman Craving For A Burger

So I will ask you one more time…what are you really hungry for? 

Once you figure this out, you may be like Kelly, who realized her cup of overwhelm was full! She was working 12 hour days, feeling disconnected from friends and community…and her gut was a mess…we helped her rebalance her schedule…make time for people and healed her gut…and voila…binge eating gone. 

For Sadie, her binging was greatly related to her habit of intermittent fasting until noon and her need for peace…control…as well…eating soothed her anxious mind…we helped Sadie balance her blood sugar and release anxiety through some exercises I taught her to release it, as well as healing her gut too to heal the gut brain connection…and same thing—binging gone. 

Melanie’s need for worth was getting to her…the fitness influencer life was no joke—she was plugged into her phone 24/7—until she was not. we helped her outsource her social media posting and it was like a breath of fresh air. She became more connected to her body and food…and the binge urges faded…

Freedom from binge eating is yours for the taking.

Need support in finding this for yourself? I’d love to help you! My Body Love + Food Freedom program was created just for you.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me to write a new story for your relationship with food. 

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