Binge Eating to Numb Out


Binge eating is a frequently discussed  topic with Green Mountain alums. One woman was telling me about her desire to just numb out at the end of the day.  She was looking to the binge to help her cope with feelings, but she didn’t have a clue about what the feelings were.

I call the  process  of looking for the feelings “exploring the storm of the underneath” and often times the only way to discover the underneath is by guessing.  She guessed anger, which is a common underneath feeling for women who use food to cope.

I was reading a blog by Leora Fulvio in which she talked about retroflection which comes from Gestalt therapy.  She writes:

Retroflection is  being angry at someone else, and hurting yourself in response. Do you ever notice this happening? Have you ever felt so angry at someone and wound up in the middle of a binge?

It’s incredible how we can often hurt ourselves when we really want to hurt someone else. Of course hurting anyone is never the answer or the correct response, but punishing yourself after someone has hurt you is devastating and the last thing you need.

You’ve already been beaten up enough, you don’t need to join in. It can lead  you become isolated, lonely, and unsupported.

Even if you are not aware of the anger, frustration, disappointment, you may be using bingeing in this hurting yourself way to numb out.

Doing something as simple as free writing for 10 minutes to see if you can guess at the feelings underneath can be a way to interrupt the self punishment.

What other strategies do you use to help yourself guess about what is going on underneath?

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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