Everyone thinks it’s a willpower thing. All you need is the strength to say NO to that cupcake, pizza, or candy–and then follow that diet plan.
When the issue is binge eating, the answer is usually to find the right diet, and use that willpower to stick to it. Easy-peasy, right?
Funny how that strategy is an epic fail nearly every time it is tried. And the more you fail at the diet and willpower thing, the more hopeless, flawed, and incapable of change you feel.
But there’s something I want you to know…
No matter how many diets have failed you, no matter how many times you’ve fallen to binging, you are not broken. You don’t need fixing, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
Believe it or not, I had a therapist tell me that I’d always be stuck, that I was broken beyond repair. But that wasn’t true for me, and it’s not true for you!
So what is the real reason why you can’t seem to break free from binging?
It’s that your brain is stuck on a track that always goes to the same place. It’s a phenomenon that we at Beating Binge Eating call being “wired to binge.”
But it’s not a permanent thing. The good news is that you can “rewire” your brain for something better!
You can create a lifetime of freedom from binge and emotional eating. And–spoiler alert!–real and lasting change has nothing to do with willpower.
But first, you need to know what it is you’re dealing with…that’s what we’re going to get into now!
Watch the video below where I show you how to “rewire” your brain for Food Freedom Forever!
So what exactly is “wiring,” and what does it have to do with binge and emotional eating?
I know it sounds technical and impersonal, like we’re talking about robots, right? But “wiring” only an analogy, a metaphor for how behavior pathways are set up in your brain.
Speaking of “pathways,” you can look at it like walking down a well-beaten trail, too.
Imagine this, for example…
You’re standing by a grassy meadow, and you want to get to the other side, so you decide to walk across it. With each step you take, you clear a new pathway.
Then, you come back later and walk down that same path, matting down the grass down even more. You do this day after day, and before you know it, you’ve got a well-beaten path. It becomes the path of least resistance.
You’ll likely keep using this path not only because it’s the easiest, but also because it’s there.
Pathways in your brain work the same way. In your brain, they’re called neural pathways, and they’re created by repeated actions.
The more you repeat an action, the more you solidify your neural pathways. Sooner or later, they become the pathways that lead to the behaviors we have on autopilot.
Not that this is always a bad thing! Your brain actually uses this autopilot mode for a reason.
We live in a world with constant information and stimulation. Imagine what it would be like to see everything as new, every day!
What if you had to relearn how to brush your teeth, drive to work, and eat your lunch every day? Life would get pretty overwhelming, to say the least.
Your brain creates automated pathways to make habits out of everyday tasks, which makes life a lot easier. That’s the good part.
The downside is that it creates these same automatic responses to just about everything else, too. The same neural pathway construction process that helps you remember how to drive a car can also trigger you to scour your cabinets every night.
But why would your brain make a habit out of something painful?
Crazy as it sounds, there are two major triggers that trick your brain into believing that binge eating is a good idea, and that it actually helps you survive.
Let’s talk about those triggers right here…
Number One: Being in Survival Mode: What makes your brain feel the need to eat like there’s no tomorrow? One four-letter word: fear.
Specifically, it’s the fear that your brain and body feel when they believe that food is in short supply. And there’s one thing we’ve all done to trigger the food scarcity alarm bells…
You guessed it. Dieting.
Restricting your food. Counting calories. Cutting carbs. To your survival-minded brain, they all mean one thing–food is scarce, so eat it when you have it.
Now, you might say “I don’t diet anymore.” But consider this: are you still saying “yes” to some foods and “no” to others for the sake of a “healthy eating” plan?
Here’s the deal. If you judge or shame yourself about anything you eat, your brain sees it as a restriction. That registers as scarcity, too.
Perceived scarcity triggers panic. Then just like that, overeating is ON.
The more you diet, the more you restrict your food, the more it leads to overeating. Before you know it, binge eating has become your default mode–and the neural pathway of least resistance in your brain.
Number Two: Your Brain Rewarding You For Eating: Now, picture this. You’re in the grips of food-based fear, and overeating has become the norm. Sure, it’s uncomfortable, painful, and guilt-inducing. But still, you keep going down that path, over and over.
Why keep doing something to yourself that causes such misery? Because there’s something in it for you besides the food.
Weird as it sounds, your body and brain reward you every time you give in to binging. Those rewards are little chemicals called neurotransmitters–and they’re crazy powerful.
Do you know that little hit of tranquility you get when you eat a lot of pasta, bread, or sweets? That’s neurotransmitters in action, giving you a quick fix every time you give in.
Sure, the high might only last 30 seconds. After that, the guilt and shame about what you ate steals that joy. But by then, that neural pathway toward binging has become even more solidified by yet another repetition.
So two things pave the way for binging. Food scarcity fears start you on the path. Then that neurotransmitter hit of bliss hooks you at the end of the path.
Between the two of them, you build automatic responses that keep you trapped in a binge eating cycle. And no amount of “willpower” alone will magically halt those ingrained behaviors.
Now, does this mean that if you’ve created these brain pathways, you’re doomed to be stuck in this diet-binge-repeat cycle forever?
Not at all! That’s because there’s a flip-side to the way your brain creates neural pathways–and it’s in your favor.
You see, just because you create a pathway doesn’t mean it’ll be there forever. If you stop following that path, eventually it disappears.
It’s like the the old saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Think about the grassy meadow path we talked about. What do you think would happen if it were left untouched for a month?
The grass would grow back. Before too long, it would look like nothing ever happened.
You’d have the opportunity to create a brand new path from one end of the meadow to the other–and maybe a faster and better one, too.
Now, what if you could do the same thing in your brain? What if you could create a new neural pathway that set you up for freedom instead of binging?
That’s what I mean by “rewiring” your brain!
(After all, why not use your brain’s natural tendencies for what you do want instead of what you don’t, right?)
Now, how do you rewire your brain for food freedom, especially if you’ve been wired to binge for most of your life?
Let me share two tips to start creating new pathways!
First, reinvent your rewards. Food isn’t the only way to get those neurotransmitter hits of bliss. So take some time to determine a few alternative “natural highs,” and start inviting them into your life. What brings you joy in life besides food? Make a list of your favorite things, and start enjoying them again!
Second, know the difference between hunger and fear. If you’ve been dieting for a long time, this one might take some time. But the more you practice, the more you’ll recognize the difference automated, fear-based urges to eat and genuine hunger pangs.
There are hints your body gives you when it’s hungry as opposed to being fearful of starvation. The more you practice getting out of your head and into your body, the more your natural hunger cues will return, and the more you’ll recognize them.
Sound impossible? I get that…but I also know that you can do it!
It just takes time, patience, and practice. Nobody expects you to change your life in a day, so don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself.
The more you practice this new way of relating to food, the more automatic it will become–that’s the goal!
Remember, if you can create a pathway in your brain that leads to binging, you can create one that leads to freedom instead!
This knowledge has helped me rewire my brain and change my life.
It has given me the confidence to say that I’ll never binge again. And it’s not because I “fixed myself.” It’s also not because I learned how to cope with urges.
It’s because I rewired my brain to finally be on my side. I reconditioned my brain for freedom instead of binging.
And you know what? It’s something that anybody can do!
The women who’ve gone through our program took their power back. The women on my team did the same for themselves. You can empower yourself, too!
Imagine living each day without giving food a second thought. No more living hour to hour in a food-obsessed funk.
What would you think about, dream about, and do with your life if you didn’t worry about food anymore?
If this sounds like the life you want to live, you’re going to love what I’ve created for you!
I made a free training that will help you determine if you’re wired to binge, and how to rewire your brain for better things!
I’ll go deep into the brain science behind urges to binge, and how to use that knowledge to stop those urges for good.
It’s time to create a new reality for your life–a reality known as Food Freedom Forever!
Click the link below and take your first step today!
So, what would you spend your time and energy on if food wasn’t a problem?
Leave me a comment below and share what you would do with Food Freedom Forever!