What Are You Hungry For?

When it comes to binge eating and food addiction, there is an insatiable hunger. For people in the struggle, it feels like an insatiable hunger for food, but this is not the case. The reason we overeat has nothing to do with food. Food is just a prop. The insatiable hunger comes from the emptiness we feel inside. There is a deep longing that we try to fill with food. It might work for a moment, but it never lasts long and we are left feeling even more empty; often with a heaping side of shame. So, when we binge, what are we really hungry for? The answer varies, but generally at the core, we are searching for connection and safety. Safety can be physical or emotional. The need for connection and safety are at the core of our human existence. The desire to fill these voids with food comes from a time in life when these needs weren’t met and food was the only way we could try to meet them ourselves. It was a survival mechanism at one point in time, but now it is probably causing more problems than it solves. I have often said that trying to fill the void with food is like throwing pizza after pizza into the Grand Canyon. Good luck!! So, how do you fill these voids? Heal the pain. Heal the pain that created the binge eating or food addiction patterns. We can’t change the past. That is a fact, but we can change how we feel about the past and how it affects us. When someone comes through my door, they generally have one goal in mind….to lose weight. They are a bit disillusioned when I explain that it isn’t possible without first doing the deep emotional work that has gotten them to this point. It isn’t fun. It isn’t pretty and it sure isn’t quick, but it is necessary. If you struggle with binge eating or food addiction, stop looking for the quick fix. It isn’t out there and it will just deepen the emptiness and disconnection you feel with your body.

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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