Secret ‘Events’ of Binge Eating and Purging Sweets

By September 19, 2012

Over 6 months ago I’ve lost almost 10 lbs and since then, in fear of gaining my weight back, I’ve slowly become obsessive about my weight and what I eat (counting calories). That is fine but my problem is that I’ve started a very bad habit of binging and purging sweets. I can say that I maintain a healthy diet however when I’m bored (especially coming home after work), I would stop by the bakery or grocery store to buy anything sweet and starchy, scarf them down and then purge. I can tell it’s slowly becoming worse as I think and plan more and more about my secret events of binge/purging. I need some advice on how to stop this…. thank you.

Dear writer,

In my opinion, binging and purging is not just a “bad habit” or something we do when we are “bored.” I agree that ceasing the binge/purge cycle is the best plan. What I want to connect up for you is that this behavior is more then just a newly developed diet habit. In my professional experience, disordered eating behavior may develop out of pain, fear, and/or anxiety.

The idea that the “events” are in “secret” suggests that you are playing a very dark game. You may be tying your body image (how I appear physically) to your self concept (who I am). Our bodies, our diet disciplines, what we eat, how we maintain weight loss, do not equate our personal worth. In reality, those things merely describe how we spend our time, energy and money.

When we develop an internal voice that begins to intertwine our value with appearance we short-circuit our living. Do not allow the internal voice that demands you binge/purge to seduce you into maintaining this behavior. The “dark game” and/or seduction you are at risk for falling into is strengthening the belief that your value is: (1) how sexy, good looking, desirable you are, and (2) how disciplined you are physically.

My sense is that you may not have all the data you need to understand what purpose the secret eating dates may be meeting for you. Food can be a perfect friend and/or lover. It is available if you initiate a meeting with it, it does not talk back, it does not demand anything of you and it gratifies immediately. The internal voice that entices you to stop by the store and gets sweets needs to be confronted. You do not have to eat in secret. You have the right to consume a sweet, if you desire one and are hungry, in open, public, view. You do not have to pretend that you are perfect, disciplined, and/or in “control” by day and be who you really are by night.

I am willing to bet that there is a part of you that is aware things are a little “out of control.” And the binge/purge cycle is your first attempt at gaining control and attempting balance. Be open to the idea that you are applying the wrong solution to the problem. You do not have to binge/purge to feel control, power or strength. A good therapist may help you generate other solutions to meet your needs that are better then the current habit. Please do not just focus on maintaining the ten pound loss. I am certain you could “stop.” But you deserve support, input, and feedback. Good luck.