Binge eating disorder is called a “disorder” for a reason. All too often, the outside world is quick to judge and come to a premature and uneducated conclusion that people who suffer from this type of disorder are “lazy” or “can choose to eat less if only they wanted to.” This could not be further from the truth.
Binge eating disorder (or, BED) is a diagnosable disorder which is characterized by an inability to control certain impulses that comes from the brain. It is not the fault of the individual; rather it is caused by faulty-wiring deep within the brain. People who have a binge-eating disorder have a hard time with impulse control. Once the urge strikes to eat, they are often powerless against it. It lies within the spectrum of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) whereby, once you get a certain thought in your mind, you are effectively unable to stop yourself from performing the particular action that you’ve found will make you “feel better”. It is only once this action has been completed (in this case, the physical act of binge-eating) that the person finally feels a sense of calm.
Unfortunately, this feeling of calm typically does not last for very long and the cycle continues. After the person eats and the initial calm sets in, making the person feel full and satisfied, the feeling is very quickly replaced by shame, guilt and the familiar question: “How could I have lost control that way!?” The binge-eating is only a very short-term solution to the anxiety. Afterward, depression is quick to set in, the person feels a tremendous sense of angst and shame, and the coping mechanism that they have adapted to get rid of these uncomfortable feelings – to binge-eat – comes back into their mind. Thus, the vicious cycle continues. And it quickly spirals out of control.
But: it is possible to break this cycle! Through mediation and mindfulness, it is possible to calm the rapid-firing signals that your brain sends out which tell you to over-eat. Your brain tells you that it is the only way for you to achieve a sense of inner peace. But with a quieter mind, you can start looking at aspects of your life in a calmer and clearer manner and can “train” your brain to behave in the ways you would like it to.
You can attain true inner peace – a peace that is not dictated by the power that food holds over your life. It takes a lot of hard-work and dedication, but you CAN do it. No one can promise that it will be easy… but the end results – better physical and emotional health, happiness, and peace of mind – will be more than worth it. In the long run, the benefits of this hard work greatly outweigh the effort put forth.
Meditation and mindfulness are simply ways of calming the mind and becoming aware of our inner selves. The most important thing to remember about being “mindful” is to focus on the present. It is essential to let go of the past during these times of reflection and to ignore your fears of what the future might hold. These things cease to be important in the here-and-now. What is most important is to quiet your mind and listen to your inner-self in real-time, but in a non-judgemental manner. Don’t let yourself feel shame about things that happened in the past or let yourself worry about things that may or may not happen in the future. They’re not important right now.
The exciting thing is, with practice, you can actually succeed in completely changing the dynamic of how your brain works. The rapid-fire message signals in your brain that cause stress (and therefore lead to over-eating) will begin to slow down over time and you will begin to re-discover the person who was trapped within – the one that was being over-shadowed by the obsession with food.
The true measure of “success” through mindfulness and meditation, is to let the wonderful person you are on the inside be the one that gets shown on the outside. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings, and how they manifest themselves into harmful behaviours, can really be the first step into changing your life and unleashing the real potential of the amazing individual that you KNOW lies within you.
Read more about meditation for eating disorders