A live online course for binge eating and sugar addiction recovery that focuses on changing your inner state, changing your focus, and understanding neuroscience principles to change your brain.
(No self-love pep talks, or shitty food rules).
Binge eating and sugar addiction are not due to lack of education, self-love or willpower. They’re the consequence of dieting, dopamine, and the food rules that train us away from our intuition.
My story is fairly typical. Like most binge eaters I started in my teens with extreme dieting: an over-focus on food, calories, carbs, and all the things I’d told myself I absolutely could not eat. I would starve and restrict myself to the point where I would wake up hungry in the middle of the night, sometimes having nightmares where I allowed myself to consume what I considered a “bad” food. To keep the hunger pangs away I would eat a carrot then sit on the back step of my house to smoke a cigarette, puffing grey plumes into the black sky.
Of course, due to this level of focus (what we focus on expands), plus sheer hunger, I was eventually led to my first binge. It felt relieving, at least initially. Over time, this behaviour became habitual to the point where I’d binge eat even when I hadn’t restricted myself; sometimes due to stress, anxiety, or uncertainty. Sometimes, seemingly for no reason at all. I was frustrated that my behaviour made no logical sense, and felt so out of control.
It would take years of searching, planning and berating myself before I’d figure out how to get out of the cycle, which came from a combination of paying attention to my thoughts, paying attention to how I felt, completely letting go of dieting (and when I thought I’d let go, letting go again), and learning about the brain and neuroplasticity.
I didn’t know it at the time, but neuroscience research shows how binge eating causes very real changes to the brain. The addictive pattern happens because our dopamine levels have been completely messed up to the point where we don’t actually feel normal unless we follow through with the specific behaviour that gives us our dopamine hit. Our dopamine baseline has shifted. Thankfully, we have the ability to change our brains.
So, while it’s frustrating for ourselves and for those around us who think change should be easy, I believe that telling a binge eater or sugar addict to elicit more self love, or to use a little more willpower, is similar to telling someone with a drinking problem to “just drink a little less”. If it were that easy, they’d already be doing it. It’s interesting to note that whether you consider binge eating and sugar addiction to be an “actual” addiction, or just a really bad habit, it makes no difference in terms of brain function. It’s the same process on a continuum.
Adding to the dopamine issue, many dieters-turned-binge eaters have trained themselves out of having any clue what “moderation” actually is; the word itself can have us spinning in circles. When I was in the midst of my binge eating, I tried plenty of times to have sweet treats in the cupboard and ration them out sensibly, but it would always end with me thinking about all the food in the cupboard that I couldn’t eat, burning a hole in my brain until I gave in and ate the whole lot, or threw it out.
Rather than expecting recovering binge eaters and sugar addicts to go back to a life of rules – repeating the same patterns as when they were dieting – we need to shift away from the overfocus on food and rewire the brain. Introducing any new food rules (even if they’re labelled as “guidelines” or “lifestyle choices”) only makes the binge eating cycle worse, especially in the early stages of the journey.
While you’ve probably noticed that people whose habits aren’t strongly ingrained can change fairly easily, that’s not the case for everyone. Particularly not for people who were extreme dieters. The building of new neural pathways won’t happen from attempts to just “do” moderation, or trying to give yourself an extra dollop of self-love. In fact, it can actually feel more self loving to follow through with the action due to the way the brain is functioning.
This course is for people struggling with binge eating or sugar addiction who are ready to get out of the cycle, and to discover eating peace. The cost is $175 for the 4 group sessions.
Delivered live via Zoom, the course is mindfulness meets neuroscience, with a dash of spirituality (think awareness, intention, and learning how to feel again, rather than hymns and church pews).
In the sessions, you are encouraged to ask questions if you feel comfortable, and you’re left alone if you don’t. You can join from anywhere in the world. Dates and times to come via email prior to the next session.
No silly spaminess, ever.
Denise Mills is a writer, speaker, Acceptance and Commitment Practitioner, NLP Practitioner, and she’s trained in Brain Health and Neuroscience, and Mental Health First Aid. She was a dieter, binge eater and sugar addict for 20 years and tried dozens of specialists, courses and books to “fix” the issue. None of them worked! Finally, she discovered that mindfulness and neuroscience held all the answers, and that we are our own ultimate healers.