Beating the Binge Monster


From: The 4 Day Win by Martha Beck

Stage 2 ~ Contemplation ~ How to Stop Eating When You Can’t Stop Eating

If you’ve ever tried to diet you’ve probably had some version of the binge trance – eating until you’re sick and then feeling filled with shame, self hatred and fear.

The good news is you can step off the binge battlefield at any time. You do this by aligning yourself with the Watcher part of the brain and observing the conflict from a kind detached distance. The more time you spend observing the battles, the less energy the war will have, and the soon it will end. Strange but true: the brain that observes itself, changes itself.

First of all, you will be only able to observe the binge trance after it occurs, in the exhausted moments when you usually descend into self loathing. If you do the exercise you will eventually be able to observe yourself during the binge, and then ultimately before it starts when you can usually stop the momentum within about 30 seconds.

Beating the Binge Monster

1. Create a relaxation response. Keep breathing and accepting what you are feeling until you feel your muscles relax.

2. Recall a recent occasion when you overate – the more out of control the better when learning this skill.

3. In memory, walk through the binge noticing the physical external environment and your own physical sensations and body position. This will be confronting – do not run away just continue to breathe and relax.

4. As you watch the memory of the binge notice how you were feeling emotionally. You may re-experience the emotion that drove the binge such as anxiety, anger, sadness or manic excitement. Watch without getting involved. Notice that your Wild Child was tying to heal or express herself by overeating.

5. Now focus on the shame or self-loathing you felt once the eating finally stopped. Notice that this is your inner Dictator and that she is well meaning but still destructive. She only makes the Wild Child feel even more misunderstood and abused.

6. For six deep breaths detach from the Wild Child and Dictator by picturing them both simultaneously and offering them kind wishes ‘may you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering’. Notice as you take the Watcher position your feelings lose their intensity and you feel calmer.

7. Replay the scene of the binge one more time, from the position of the Watcher and offering kindness to your bingeing self the whole time. Continue until you can remain physically relaxed with the memory still in mind.

8. Stay in this relaxed state for a further 5 minutes.

turtle stepTurtle Step

Each day for the next 4 days , I’ll re-visit a time I overate or felt out of control of my eating. I’ll persist until I can relax throughout the entire memory.

My 2¢

I have found great success in stopping bingeing altogether (nearly 4 months) because I am diet/punishment exercise sober and therefore I can no longer promise myself I’ll compensate later. I have taken a solemn vow to never restrict again or to exercise as punishment so if I choose to overeat I am choosing to have that food stay on my body somewhat permanently.

Once I took away the fantasy of fixing it tomorrow, the idea of eating until I was sick wasn’t that interesting any more. If I could always eat my trigger foods and I wasn’t cutting them all out in the morning then there didn’t seem much point to gorge.

  • If you have recovered from bingeing, what is your secret?

→ Related 4-Day Win Posts
→ photo : lepiaf.geo

About Katie Paul

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing • Join the hottest group on FB → Sassy Ageless Women

0 thoughts on “Beating the Binge Monster

  1. This is a great post. I intend on doing that this week. It’s a great way to working through these things which plague so many of us.

    Here are some thoughts from this weekend

    1. I overate and stopping myself in car cause I was bored
    2. I started the binge response when I was upset with one of my friends. I got ‘hungry’ and then while i was binging I said to myself ‘Michelle, you know that eating isn’t going to take this emotion away’. I stopped. Breathed and went for an hour walk. Let the guilt go away and moved one.
    3. I started again that night when I was around some unfamiliar people. I caught myself and actually said ‘be present in the moment’ and put the rice cakes away.

    I am starting to be able to talk my way out of it. Really it’s about stopping. Listening to my body. Breathing. Changing course.

    Thanks for this. Very helpful.

  2. 4 months that is wonderful!
    I am learning to read my trigger/binge sensation and tell myself to take a break and the sensation to binge goes away…I have more confidence that it will become second nature to me!

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