The Secret and Subconscious Fears Trigger Binge Eating (And How To Stop Them)
What if I told you that you might have a few secret fears that keep you stuck with binge eating?
I know that sounds a little bit crazy. Why would anyone be afraid to stop a behavior like binge eating?
But believe it or not, there are fears, emotions, and ideas that might be triggering you to binge–and without your even knowing it!
What fears lead to self-sabotage and continued binge and emotional eating? Find out right here!
Before we get into this one, I want you to know one thing.
Contrary to popular belief, clearing up your fears is just one part of breaking free from binging. There is more to freedom from binging than just tackling then emotional work.
There are brain patterns, habits, and physiological factors. There is also dieting itself, which is responsible for a lot of these binge triggers in the first place.
They are the undercover agents of binge eating, and they can be quite sneaky in keeping you stuck in the cycle.
I discovered over the years that there were specific fears that kept me reaching for food. I also saw those same fears in the women we have worked with at Beating Binge Eating, and I realized we were on to something.
I’m going to share those fears with you now. As you read, see if any of them resonate with you.
1- The fear of not looking a certain way. This has been a thing for women for ages. The belief that your worth in the world depends on your size has been passed down for generations.
Not only is this belief generational, but it’s also found in all kinds of societal messaging.
I believed that I needed to be a certain size to have what I wanted in life, and I believed it like crazy.
I believed that having a thin and fit body would give me opportunities in life. Everything from finding love to the getting perfect job to having friends depended on how I looked.
My entire belief system revolved around my looks and my size. I even thought I needed to “look good” to have even my basic human needs met. Things like recognition, significance, and belonging depended on my size.
Long story short, I believed that a thin and fit body was the only way to have a good life.
In our society, I admit that I would be lying if I denied that a thin and fit body doesn’t come with certain “privileges”, shall we say.
But, here’s the thing. Just because someone doesn’t meet the standard of a “thin and fit body” (whatever that even means) doesn’t mean they are unworthy. Everyone is worthy of all the love, connection, and success they desire.
You are 100% worthy right NOW, regardless of your size.
Still, there was a time that no amount of convincing would’ve made me believe this! I even went to some pretty crazy extremes to be the size I thought I needed to be.
One was that I took diet pills. Another was that I went on every crazy restrictive diet there was.
Even when my diets weren’t that restrictive, I was still thinking like a dieter. My dieter mentality was running the show behind the scenes, and I was still stuck in the binging cycle.
So why was this happening, even when I wasn’t technically on a diet?
The thing is, both physical dieting and mental dieting do the same thing to your brain. They both put you into what we call “survival mode.”
This means that your body and brain drive you to believe that food is scarce. The result is that you’re driven to think about food more, eat more food, and lose control with food.
So the bottom line?
The fear that I wouldn’t have the life I wanted if I wasn’t the right size led me to dieting. Dieting led me to binge eating. This cycle went on and on for years.
2- Fear of abandonment. Another big fear for me was abandonment. In my relationships, I had this inexplicable fear of being left.
For whatever reason, I believed that I was unworthy and unlovable. There was a sense of impending doom in my relationships, though I couldn’t tell you why.
I was in a few toxic relationship scenarios when I was in my early 20s. In each different relationship, I’d always end up getting hurt. This would inevitably trigger a series of binge and emotional eating, which lead to the next fear I’ll talk about.
3- The fear of being hurt and of being seen. For the longest time, I thought that turning to food was normal after painful breakups.
You know, that moment when you grab a pint of ice cream after a breakup, just like a scene from your favorite rom-com movie?
But the more I looked at it, I started to see a pattern.
The post-relationship binging led to extra weight on my body. And the extra weight was a subconscious way of protecting myself from future heartbreak.
After all, when I was heavier, I used it as an excuse to hide. I didn’t put myself out there. I didn’t get on dating sites. I hid from the world. I avoided the pain that might come from yet another breakup with a literal physical barrier.
The thing is, this kind of physical barrier can also be an excuse to play small in ALL areas of your life. It can turn into a reason to NOT step into the person you were meant to be.
For example, I wanted to be a coach. I wanted to be on camera, and be out in the world, doing what I was meant to do.
But binge eating and keeping on extra weight came from the fear of being seen.
So fear of being seen and getting attention is another emotion that might set off the binge alarms.
4- The fear of fear itself. Finally, there is a universal fear that so many of us have but might not recognize. The fear of emotions themselves.
That is, not knowing how to simply be with yourself.
For years I didn’t know how to handle myself at the end of the day. When the day calmed down, the world got quiet, and there was nothing but ME–that was terrifying.
So I got past that fear by heading for the refrigerator or raiding the cabinet. Which, in turn, kept the patterns in place and the binging going.
These are a few of the fears, emotions, and limiting beliefs that helped drive the binge machine in my life. I’ve seen them in countless other women, too.
But here’s the good news about fears, limiting beliefs, and binge eating…
You don’t have to eliminate ALL your unwanted beliefs and emotions to stop binging. All you have to do first is simply acknowledge them.
Be honest about your feelings, and let them arise without judgment. (This is actually a lot more doable than it sounds!)
The truth is that there are a LOT of contributing factors to binge eating. There’s dieting. There are physiological factors. There are brain patterns. And of course, there are the fears and beliefs.
Everyone has a little bit of all these factors going on, all of which create a sort of “binge eating cocktail,” if you will.
But my goal today was to share some of the lesser-known but powerful fears that can keep you stuck in the binge cycle.
The physiological factors can be more obvious. But some of the deeper stuff, like subconscious emotions, are a little trickier to spot.
But when you do catch those crafty emotions, you can shift them! That’s the best part–and a big step on the pathway to Food Freedom Forever!
I’d love to hear from you! Do any of these fears, beliefs, or emotions resonate with you? I’d love to hear if you have experienced these yourself, or if any other fears have shown up in your life.
Leave a comment and let me know!