ABC's  of Weight Loss Psychology
Home   Diet Programs   Book Excerpts

Food Binges Are
Natural Diet Phenomena

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.

No, I am not referring just to bears gorging themselves in preparation for hibernation. I am talking about our human heritage as hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherers must be opportunistic, for the Elberta peaches are at their succulent best for only a few brief days. Then there may be a wait for either the Delicious apples or the next variety of peach. Herring runs don't last long. Our heritage was to eat whatever was currently available, for it would often disappear shortly. If a windfall materialized after a time of want, you can bet our ancestors all gorged themselves on the windfall. Because binges do seem a natural part of our heritage, perhaps the best goal is not to try to eliminate them entirely from our behavioral repertoire. Have we ever successfully eliminated a natural behavior?

While I personally have never had excessive weight difficulties (always within twenty pounds of what I consider my best weight), I have had a history of food binges. They began in early childhood growing up with about 50-60 fruit trees, also many varieties of berries and grapes. Frequently during the summer most of my diet was just the latest from the tree, vine or bush. I then ate sparingly of or skipped the meals provided by Mom.

Gratefulness Exercise. This will be most effective if read aloud. I am grateful for the food I eat, its taste, its texture, its variety and its temperature. I appreciate that I have food. I particularly appreciate the existence of the following foods:________(Fill your own blanks). A reminder- people who often feel appreciative or grateful are happier than most.

Gorging on the latest seasonal fruit is not likely to cause much weight gain if other foods are minimized. But that may not be true for ice-cream or other high-calorie binges. There are ways, however, of minimizing problems caused by binging on ice cream, cake, chocolates, etc. Planning and limits are the keys.

I plan a particular binge every year. I happen to be someone who likes fruitcake, and I won't stop eating it while it is in the house. Therefore, I plan that my next few meals after its arrival will be nothing but fruitcake. My weight gain is about half a pound. It is the planning ahead to eliminate all other foods that makes the difference. If for several days I snacked on the fruitcake besides regular meals, the calorie overload could well add 2-3 pounds to my weight. Not surprising to most of you fruitcake haters, I suppose, is the fact that I don't seem to want fruitcake for another year.

You probably noted that I didn't set any limits on how fast the fruitcake could be consumed. Of course not! It is a food binge, not a test of willpower. The limit I set was to eliminate other foods. If chocolate sauce is your thing, eliminate the ice cream and eat the sauce by itself; or if frosting is the piece de resistance, then eliminate the cake part from your frosting binge. If cake plus frosting is it for you, then a food binge that eliminates one or the other will not be satisfying and will probably not work for you. Make your food binge cake plus frosting. Be alive to lower-calorie diet foods in your supermarket. Downing a whole chocolate cake or a dozen custard eclairs of the Weight Watchers' variety may be just as satisfying as consumption of the higher-calorie alternatives.

Psychological food binges (i.e., triggered by stress in your life) will stop when your reactions to life events are that of calmness instead of stress. However, this could require a long process of growth and therapy. Meanwhile, if you cannot seem to avoid weight-gaining food binges, I suggest that you try for yourself a binge with two limits: (1)eliminating non-binge foods and/or (2)adding "rabbit food" at or near the beginning of each binge session. (The last sentence may seem like a laughable fantasy. But it is your idea about your helplessness facing a food binge that causes it to seem laughable. You are not that helpless unless you believe you are.) These possibilities may not work for your binges. You will not know unless you try. (If you try unsuccessfully, criticizing yourself is not helpful, but making a new choice is helpful.) If you cannot seem to eliminate food binges, the above methods are worth trying.

Next Weight Loss Excerpt


Brainwashing Pages
  Brainwashing Weight Loss Programs
  Brainwashing Quik 1  2  3
  Brainwashing Lite 1  2  3
  3 Affirmations Pages (or 27 Manifesting pages)
  Successful Weight Loss Paths
  Finding Your "Normal-Weight-You" Image
  Following Your "Losing" Impulses
  Cave Man High Protein Food Habits
  Popular Traps (Including Diet Pills & Fad Diets)
  Anorexic Eaters Lose Weight Easily
  New Age Easy Weight Loss Ideas

Book Excerpts
  Your Weight Loss Impulses Lead to Blind Alleys
  Add-A-Carrot Diet
  Changing Food Preferences
  Unknown to You Psychology Factors in Your Fat/Obesity?
  Lady MacBeth's Dieting Was Doomed
  Food Binges Are Natural Human Phenomena
  Overweight Reduction Success Tip: Flavor Instead of Fat
  Couch Potato Benefits
  Fitness Avoided: Psychological Reasons Why We Don't Exercise
  Fitness in 30 Minutes a Week?
  Author

ABC's  of Weight Loss Psychology
Home   Quiz   Diet Programs   Book Excerpts

Other Resources