One of the most common questions I get asked at my seminars is how to stop binging behavior. Often we binge eat to repress unwanted emotions. I commonly hear fear and loneliness being cited as reasons for binging. I also see that it is comforting for many people. I would like to offer my perspective on this complex problem with which many of us are dealing.
Binge eating to supress emotion is habit-forming. So you may be suppressing emotions which are currently being generated. You may also be in the habit of suppressing these emotions with food, even though the emotions themselves have resolved. It is important to stay open to this possibility. We must always be ready to be done with our problems, or we will always be living with them. Either way, we are addicted to the state of deadened feeling. Our practice is to open ourselves up and enhance our awareness. We then get addicted to this open, aware state and it gradually overtakes our need for deadened states.
‘Gradually’ is a key concept here. If we force ourselves to stop binging right away, it is possible those emotions will come up and release before we are ready. The uncomfortable feeling this produces can send us right back into binging behavior—possible more intense than before. We must first establish our practice of enhancing awareness in a safe way so that we can get used to idea and feeling of being aware. As we realize that it is actually liberating to live in fuller awareness, the need to suppress emotion diminishes naturally.
So we practice yoga asana with awareness on the breath first. We sync breath and movement to allow ourselves to feel prana (energy) move in our body. As we get used to this feeling, it becomes uncomfortable to block this feeling with food.
We also spend time doing deep relaxation to keep our nervous system in check. This helps us stay in a state of receptivity and awareness, and away from fear-based responses.
Finally we practice meditation. This allows us to separate from reacting so much to thoughts and emotions.
Once these practices are firmly established, then we may work on curbing our binges. When these practices are in place, we are able to see clearly if we are ready to stop. Often we are. But, as always, we take a slow, compassionate path with ourselves. We allow our natural awareness to shine first and help us wash away the behaviors that are not serving us.
As always please email me with any thoughts or questions
Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu
May all beings be free and happy