How many times have you binged and got annoyed with YOURSELF?

How often have you beaten yourself up for being weak willed or not ‘good enough’?

How much do you blame yourself for your dysfunctional eating?

biology of the diet binge cycle rachel foy emotional eating binge eating blog

At the start of my weight loss journey through dieting many years ago, I stuck to a diet for months with some degree of ‘success’ but after falling off each diet wagon and restarting a diet, I found it became increasingly more difficult to prevent myself from binging.  It was almost as if I had no control in the matter, no matter how much I tried.  The diet binge cycle became part of my normal behaviour around food.

I had moments of thinking there was something fundamentally wrong with my lack of willpower, what the hell was wrong with me, why couldn’t I just resist the god damn cake!!!

What I didn’t know then and which I think is really bloody important that YOU know now is that our desire to binge is actually rooted in the biology of how our body works.  It is something which we have absolutely no control over, despite what we think and despite what we try.  Willpower has nothing to do with it.

Let me explain.

Binging is a biological and NORMAL response to any kind of food restriction, whether that be through a convention diet OR simply through the emotional retriction we often place on and around food (ie I shouldn’t have cake as it’s not good for me, I’m going to have salad instead of chips with my sandwich as I’m trying to be good)

When your body believes there is an imminent threat of starvation, she does everything she can to store energy in the form of consuming more food wherever possible. You have as much conscious control of that as you do controlling your breath or stopping your heart beat i.e. NONE.  Statistically speaking, the chances of over-riding this instinctive, primitive, biological and natural response are so slim, they are practically non-existent.

The more we try and control our restrictions, the more powerful this biological response becomes and before long you find yourself stood in the kitchen eating an entire packet of chocolate biscuits (I’m sure I’m not the only one that has done that am I…??)

So here’s the thing.  If you have tried to stop your binging by using willpower, by enforcing control around that behaviour in a I-Will-Not-Binge-Today kind of way, I just want you to know that is never going to work.  Not because there is something wrong with you but the exact opposite, because your body is so amazing at trying to find balance.

The more you restrict, the more your body will biological cause you to binge.

The more you try and ‘be good with food’ the more your body will biological cause you to binge.

The more you impose any kind of rules, boundaries and emotional restriction around food, the more your body will biological cause you to binge.

What can you do? 

Remove those threats of starvation and scarcity from your life.


Stop dieting and stop food restriction.

The more you can allow your body to eat based on hunger and allow yourself to eat whatever you truly desire, is the best way (and arguably) the only way to break this cycle of binging.

You are never going to win over nature and no matter how much willpower you have will never compete with the biology of your amazing body.

Need some more help?

I’ve created a 5 step summary of all the things which helped me heal my relationship with food. If you practice these things, one day at a time with awareness rather than judgement, they will really help you become a ‘normal’ eater

Just head over to to get it.

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