Understanding Binge & Purge Behaviours
Many eating disorder sufferers binge and purge. An episode of binging may occur for a host of reasons; purging usually occurs to rid the body of food to avoid weight gain. Also if a person binges dramatically; purging may occur naturally. Binging and purging behaviours are well known and are classified as symptoms of eating disorders. But have we ever wondered what factors may contribute to cause a person to treat themselves in such a fashion?
We are being bombarded by the media with images of perfect people with perfect bodies. The message is sent loud and clear we need to look like these people to be beautiful, successful and happy. Fat means to be ugly, a failure or stupid. We are afraid to be fat; for in society we may become an object of ridicule, possibly sneered at or the butt of jokes. So we live in fear and we strive for thinness and perfection. Anxiety also causes us to binge/purge. Sometimes this seems easier then dealing with strong powerful emotions, or painful life situations. However, how many painful life situations are ever helped by binge/purge behaviours? Perhaps it is fair to say that strong powerful emotions are often accelerated by the shame and self loathing that we experience after an episode.and purging fills us with a deep shame.
We are humiliated at the thoughts of being caught; filled with anxiety; wonder why as intelligent people we don’t seem to have control over our eating habits. Our thinking becomes extremely negative and veers towards self loathing. Once we are caught in the cycle of binge/purge our thinking becomes distorted, unreasonable and irrational. Usually we are unaware of this. We may become defeated, dejected, isolated and above all filled with shame. To be ashamed of our self means in a very basic way we are telling ourselves “we are not good enough” we are flawed human beings” “we don’t deserve the best that life has to offer”.
Diets don’t seem to work for us; confirming yet again that we are failures as people. To break this cycle one needs to understand that dieting does not work, striving for a perfect body is not helpful and we need to learn self acceptance and make peace with who we are.
For the anti-dote to self loathing is self love and acceptance. Very often we search and seek for answers outside of ourselves wondering how life has turned out like this for us. The answers lie within us all. Beginning to understand who we are as human beings, focusing on health and not thinness leads us to recovery. We need to learn patience with our self; become more interested in our lives and our healing process: to realise that binge/purge/ behaviour is destructive and brings about a life of misery. Recovery is about breaking the destructive binge/purge cycle and gaining confidence to live our lives