How can I break the cycle of bingeing and restricting?

July 14, 2022

In my clients’ sessions and in the mindful conversations I have with women struggling with the food obsession, the number one piece of advice I get asked about is this:

How can I break the cycle of bingeing and restricting?

the binge restrict cycle

After helping many women with disordered eating and binges, and from integrating my own history of chronic bingeing into my work, I’ve come to this realisation:

If you have been trying for a while to break the cycle of bingeing and resticting with no success, you don’t need any more diets, plans, programs or tactics.

You probably already hold a lot of knowledge on how to eat, how to move and how to manage stress.

You don’t need someone else to give you more advice on what exactly you need to do or the perfect formula to eliminate binges and overeating.

Oftentimes, what you need is a break.

You deserve a break from trying so hard! You deserve a break from listening to this and that tip, to this and that person telling you what you should do.

That’s what I told myself at the height of my bingeing days.

I genuinely believe that’s also something you can immensely benefit from…I mean taking a break:

  • From trying so hard not to binge.
  • From thinking that you’ll never make peace with food and your eating will always be messy and out of control.
  • To let go of all the things you’ve tried before which only drained your energy and your motivation.
  • From trying to reconnect with food and with your body through keto, low-carb diets, fasting, cleansing and many other ways that never seem to work, at least not in the long run.
  • From “trying a bit of this and that” to stop your binges and never sticking to anything in particular.
  • To trust your own judgment, to understand your deepest needs, desires, values and pause to reflect on what can support YOUR journey.

If today I’m free from more than 20 years of bingeing and the desire to control my weight by being obsessive on what I put in my plate, it’s also because of giving myself these breaks.

Intentionally and regularly.

These have hugely helped put my head in a better space whenever I feel overwhelmed, when difficult feelings arise or something comes up making me feel confused on what to do.

There’s so much noise around us.

  • One day you’re told to start from food. There are some superfoods to help curb your appetite and make you feel full for longer. Maybe you don’t like them but you give it try.
  • A month later you read a book explaining the key is in the type of exercise you take and the distraction it provides from food. If you’re not exercising as per that plan the problem might be that.
  • Or maybe trying fasting for a while will help to reset your organism and remove the sugar cravings. But then you find yourself thinking about food all day, every day, and binges skyrocket.
  • More recently you read the rule of “not in the house, not in your mouth” and try that for a while. You notice it doesn’t work for you and move on to the next tip a friend shared from a post she found on Instagram.

If you then add to the picture the billion demands of everyday life and the restless race to do, produce, achieve, deliver…

You see where I’m going here?

If I’m able to describe this is because I lived it all myself, and I’ve collected so many testimonials of the binge struggle from women moving from one thing to another, just like me. With no success.

Actually, nowadays, I’ve come to think that despite the pain these different attempts might have caused, they are not necessarily sign of ‘no success’.

Instead of seeing them as failures, for me they are the best next move we all thought we were making, based on what we genuinely knew best then. I wholeheartedly believe this.

They all have been just tiny steps getting us closer to what one day will open our mind and our heart and point them into a different direction.

Every time, ONE. STEP. CLOSER.

a pic of the author of this article: donatella porceddu.

I’m happy some of my next best moves brought me to where I am today.

As much as I am happy your steps brought you to land here, as I get the opportunity to humbly share what I know and what I learn as I navigate through my own journey.

I say this because there is this myth of the untroubled expert.

This general belief that, as someone who took the path to be a psychologist and coach, I should be somehow this perfect embodiment of balance, wisdom and unshakable certainty.

I have walked the path of healing my own bingeing struggle for so many years, but I still get lost at times. I still experience fear, doubts, loneliness, loss of hope in this journey sometimes.

Do I deal with this much better that I did 20 years ago? Hell yes!

Will I ever be free from fear, doubt, wobbles? I don’t think so. It’s human to feel all this. And I am human. Just like you.

Let’s learn to take those well deserved breaks we all need to give ourselves what we really need, whether that is food or something else.

Let’s give ourselves the time to think deeply on what really nourishes our body, but also our mind and our heart, which is different for each of us.

  • You deserve to pause to ask yourself new and different questions.
  • You deserve to pause to reconnect with yourself.
  • You deserve to pause to think & feel more deeply.
  • You deserve to pause to let the noise outside and look within.
  • You deserve a pause to think from the heart, not just the brain.
  • You deserve a pause to take a breath from what’s too much right now.

Always with kindness,

Dona 🌷

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Written by Donatella Porceddu

I am a registered psychologist and life coach specialised in binge and emotional eating, body kindness, and mindful eating. I empower women to become the best version of themselves through my comprehensive approach, which combines personal coaching and psychology, leveraging my client’s strengths and building around their opportunities.

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If you have any questions, reach out to me today. I’ll be more than happy to connect with you and see how I can help.

Donatella Porceddu Psychologist & Eating Coach specialised in Binge Eating, Overeating, Emotional Eating, Food freedom, anti-diet approach. 1:1 support through my Make Peace with Food program.

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