The Psychology of Bingeing, Not Bingeing, and Thinking Too Much About Food

Many years ago when I first started to research food addiction, I wrote a book called “Eat with Your Head™” based in part on a self-funded survey with over 40,000 people on the relationship between personality and Binge food choices.

A few years later my wife and I developed a website At the time, I was very taken with the idea that delving deep into one’s personal psychology would yield powerful insight into why any given person Binged. Moreover, I believed it was necessary to acquire such insights in order to stop.

But now, many years later, I know I was unequivocally wrong!

It may be intriguing and psychologically valuable to figure out why your Pig prefers chocolate and pizza while other people’s Pigs like donuts and potato chips, why you chose to let your Pig have its Slop in private while others prefer to Binge in the company of others, why anger triggers some people to Binge and loneliness triggers others, etc…

But the notion it’s necessary to answer these kinds of questions before you can stop Bingeing is 100% Pig Squeal. From the Pig’s perspective:

“You know, Mama and Papa didn’t love us nearly enough.  They said and did some pretty awful things. And everyone deserves love, right?  Oh well.  I guess we’ll just have to keep Bingeing to fill that big empty hole Mama and Papa left deep inside us.  At least until ALL the tragic events from our past have been uncovered and we can find healthy substitutes for the love we missed out on.  I know, I know, Pig Slop can’t ever replace Mommy and Daddy’s love.  But it sure does taste good. Too bad, so sad.  Let’s Binge!!!” – Your Pig

Or alternatively:

“Our life is just too stressful.  And our loved ones don’t support our personal goals and dreams nearly enough.  All we have to rely on in this world is Pig Slop.  Maybe we’ll be able to stop eating it when we have less stress or better coping mechanisms.  But for now, we simply MUST Binge in order to cope.  Oooooooooh!!! Oooooooooh!!! Oooooooooh!!!  How yummy!!!!” – Your Pig

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly support psychological and spiritual soul searching.  In fact, a big part of the reason I myself have such a meaningful life is because of the years I’ve spent with therapists, coaches, and mentors digging deep into my own thoughts, feelings, and past experiences.  I wouldn’t give it up for the world. 

But soul searching has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to quit Bingeing.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch. This is a ridiculously simple concept which shouldn’t have to be written—but because of the confusing culture in which we live I’m afraid it does…

You do NOT need to know why you Binge.  You just need to stop. 

It doesn’t matter whether it’s because nobody came to your fourth grade bowling party, because you saw your Momma in her underwear, or because grandpa forgot to pick you up at school when you were five.

You know how to eat healthy.

You know how to construct an unambiguous Food Plan, making well-considered, intellectual decisions to balance the tradeoff between short vs. long term gratification and health.

You know what a Binge is and what a Binge isn’t. So just don’t Binge again… Ever. Even if everyone you love suddenly dies.

Even if you feel justifiably lonely, alienated, angry, depressed, anxious, and/or stressed beyond all hope and reason…
Just Never Binge Again!
Now, if you want to do some soul searching to see why you were convincible to start Bingeing at a particular time and circumstance in your life…

Fine.  More power to you.

But you don’t need to wait for a good answer before you stop Bingeing. You don’t need to see a Shrink to stop Bingeing. To stop, just draw 100% clear lines and stop. That’s ALL you need to know about the psychology of Bingeing. It really is that simple. While Binges are often associated with emotional experiences—and therefore serve as an excellent jumping off point for soulful exploration—they do NOT and cannot CAUSE you to Binge! 

The notion that emotional upset causes Binges is actually harmful, because it gives the Pig license to keep Bingeing until the upset is over and/or fully understood. Remember, this is coming from a guy with a Ph.D. in psychology—who grew up in a family of psychologists and therapists and still thinks of himself as a psychologist first and foremost—so I don’t say this lightly! 

Bingeing transforms you into a wild animal.  It rejects the laws of humanity and returns you to the jungle where life is brutish, chaotic, and short.  Bingeing wipes out your spirit.  Don’t spend years investigating WHY you Binge before you stop.  Just stop. Choose to stand for the domination of the human spirit over our animal nature so you can accomplish your dreams and pass your experiences on to your loved ones.

Which leads me to one last point about the psychology of Bingeing… It’s NOT a foregone conclusion that childhood adversity will traumatize a person and set them on a path of compulsive self-destruction.  In fact, adversity can result in both a strength of character AND a determined persistence to right the wrongs one has experienced. Yes, there are victims of child abuse who wind up abusing drugs or becoming serious binge eaters.  And there are those who choose to perpetuate the abuse cycle by victimizing their own children… But there are also those who turn into incredibly gentle souls, passionate about helping others who’ve been through anything similar. We all must make a decision in this life to either get well or get even.

Bingeing is glued to the revenge journey… Your resolve to Never Binge Again puts you on the royal road to forgiveness and wellbeing. To partake of everything life has to offer… Cage the Pig!
ONE MORE THING AND IT’S IMPORTANT… Even though you do NOT need to know why you Binge to stop, and even though you CAN do it on your own… the practical implementation of the Never Binge Again method often goes more quickly (and is more successful) with assistance from those trained and/or experienced in the method…