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What is Intuitive Eating? A Guide for Binge-Eating Recovery

If you’re a reader of my blog, you’ve likely heard my story before—

I was a “low-bottom” binge-eater—meaning, I would make myself so sick and so full with food, that it was not uncommon for me to call in sick from work, or leave work early after raiding the corporate kitchen on account of my binges alone.

More than that—I was OBSESSED with food. My entire life revolved around what I was going to eat that day, how I was gonna get my steps in, how I was gonna track my points or carbs or macros or whatever-the-fuck-it-was-that-month

…in essence, a near constant stream of food-and-body NOISE in my head all day long.








Trying to lose weight—or maintain weight loss—was a full-time job…an obsession…a never-ending EVEREST

…that to be honest…I wasn’t very good at…the binges always found me eventually.  


Now, before I get into the role of Intuitive Eating in binge-eating recovery,

please note, that Intuitive Eating was only ONE PART of my healing process (albeit a pretty important part), and there were several other steps I had to take mentally, physically, and emotionally to fully recover from binge-eating and my generalized obsession with food and weight.

That being said, in this post I’ll be talking specifically about the role of Intuitive Eating in binge-eating recovery, as well as what you can do to make these changes in your own life.  

What is Intuitive Eating?








Intuitive Eating is the process of making decisions around food based on your bodies internal hunger cues and other physical sensations—rather than trying to adhere to externally prescribed “diets,” meal plans, food rules, etc.

In other words, Intuitive Eating is the process of choosing what feels physically good in your body on a moment-to-moment basis, rather than trying to follow predetermined rules or “shoulds” that have been dictated by an external authority—or by your own dieter mind.

There are many reasons to eat intuitively—the most obvious being that most people can’t sustain rules or “shoulds” for very long, since they typically lead to rebounds or binge-eating.

We’ll talk more about how to get started with Intuitive Eating in a moment, but for now, consider this:

when a dieter makes decisions about what to eat—they might ask:

“What should I have for lunch?” or, “What can I have for lunch?” and try to stick to whatever rules or boundaries they have set for themselves in the name of “health” (or more typically, in the name of weight control).

An Intuitive Eater, however, may ask—

  • “What do I want to have for lunch today?”
  • “What would feel good to eat right now?”
  • “What am hungry for?”
  • “What would satisfy me?”
  • “What would be pleasurable to me?”

In other words, Intuitive Eating is about pleasuring and caring for the body you have in this present moment—while dieting, meal plans, “rules” and “restrictions,” are more typically about controlling your body (especially trying to control your body’s size).

It’s worth noting that all humans (and animals!) are naturally designed for Intuitive Eating—and struggle with dieting and food restrictions—hence the phrase “diets don’t work.”

We humans—like all other animals—have evolved to regulate our food and weight naturally through instinct, feeling, hunger, etc.,

NOT calorie counts, nutrition facts, food labels, or “food rules.”

When we deny our natural instincts around food (through dieting or restriction), dysfunction around food ensues very quickly.

Common symptoms of chronic dieting and food restriction include:

  • Binge-Eating,
  • Weight Cycling (or “yo-yo dieting”)
  • Food Obsession,
  • Compulsive Eating,
  • Emotional Eating,
  • and pretty much any kind of clinical *eating disorder* you can think of.


Why Does Intuitive Eating Help Stop Binges?

At its core,

Binge-Eating is a biological reaction to deprivation around food.

Binge-eating may be a response to physical deprivation (e.g. hunger, dieting, weight suppression, etc.) or it may be a response to emotional deprivation, which you can read about here.

Binge-Eating is eating because you haven’t had bread in 3 weeks and you can’t hold back one second longer…(aka “falling-off-the-wagon eating”)

OR it’s eating because “fuck it…I’ve already screwed up…I might as well eat EVERYTHING that isn’t nailed down…and get back on the wagon starting tomorrow” (aka “last supper eating”).

In other words,

binge-eating is what happens when we deny—or threaten to deny—our natural, biological instincts around food.   

Intuitive Eating—on the other hand—is the practice of responding to our hunger signals (and other bodily sensations) as they arise.

In so doing,

Intuitive Eating eliminates the most pressing and common cause of binge-eating—which is dieting, restriction, or self-denial around food.  

Will I lose weight from Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is only one piece of a much larger process for recovering from chronic dieting—and the symptoms of chronic dieting (e.g. binge-eating).

Unlike diets—which I define as forced attempts at weight loss through restricting or trying to “control” food,

the goal of Intuitive Eating is NOT weight loss, but to have a healthful relationship with food both physically and mentally.

In other words, the goal is to stop feeling like a crazy person around food—not to be thin at all costs.

As you heal your relationship with food—both physically and mentally—your body will arrive at its unique “set point weight,” which is the weight your body sustains effortlessly when you are not dieting and bingeing (i.e. when you’re eating “normally”).  

While some people advocate Intuitive Eating “for weight loss,” it is dangerous to pursue this path, and can easily trigger binge-eating just like any other diet.

There are both physical and emotional reasons for this, but the primary reason why “Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss” usually backfires is that effective Intuitive Eating depends upon letting go of diet-mentality (more on this later).

The pursuit of weight loss is the #1 trigger—and possibly the defining feature of—diet-mentality, which you can read more about by here.

Intuitive Eating and Weight Set Point Theory

When you are eating intuitively—AND have a healthful relationship with food both physically and mentally—you will eventually arrive at your unique set point weight,

This is the unique body weight that you maintain effortless when eating “normally” (aka not dieting and bingeing).  

Everyone’s set point weight is different and may be higher, lower, or the same as your current weight—depending on where you currently are in your “yo-yo” dieting cycle.

This weight may or may not line up with your dreams and visions of permanent thinness—which are largely dictated by unrealistic beauty ideals—but it will be the body that you can sustain effortlessly without dieting, binging, or obsessing about food.

Most people are not capable of maintaining weights below their set point for very long (hence: binge-eating)—and for the few who are “able,” there may be grave physical and mental health consequences to suppressing your natural size.

In other words, the weight you arrive at when you’re eating intuitively is probably the healthiest weight YOU can be.

This weight is largely genetically determined—although it may be affected by environmental, biological and other factors, most of which are outside of our conscious control.  

How to get started with Intuitive Eating

There are several books that teach the core principles of Intuitive Eating—or more specifically, there are several books that teach people how to listen to their bodies for information about what to eat, rather than externally prescribed diets

Some of these books actually use the words “Intuitive Eating” and some don’t. For instance, I’ve heard the words “attuned eating” or “hunger-directed eating” be used to describe very similar concepts, with slight differences from book to book.

I personally have my own unique way of teaching Intuitive Eating, which I discuss at length in my coaching programs.

The core themes, however, are the same—which are (in short) tips, tools, and “how-to’s” for learning to listen to your body for information about what to eat, rather than relying on diet rules.

Most of these books focus on listening to hunger and fullness signals specifically, although they may also discuss other bodily sensations (e.g. “how does a particular food make you feel physically after you eat it?”)

The Intuitive Eating Book & Workbook (Review)

The most widely read book about these concepts is likely the original “Intuitive Eating” book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch—for which the term was coined in 1995.

Their particular take focuses their own “10 Principles of Intuitive Eating,” which include:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect Your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satiation Factor
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food (FYI—I find this particular principle a bit problematic for reasons explained below).
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Exercise: Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

I’m hesitant to go through and review each “principle” because it would take a lot more writing than a single blog post can provide—however, I will say:

while this book is far from perfect (for reasons I’ll explain in a moment), I do generally recommend this book as a starter guide to Intuitive Eating principles and the non-diet approach.

This book explains in great detail how your body’s hunger signals work, what they feel like (ish), and why they are a much safer (and more dependable) guide for making choices around food than traditional diets.

If the actual “how-to’s” of noticing signals like physical hunger or fullness elude you (or simply overwhelm you, which may well be the case after years of dieting),

this book can provide pretty in-depth support in your transition to trusting your body’s hunger signals around food.    

That being said, there are parts of this book that I think can be problematic for clients in recovery from diet-binge cycling or other disordered eating behaviors.

Below are a few common “challenges” or “pitfalls” that my clients often fall into when reading (or possibly misreading) this book, or when pursuing other versions of hunger-directed eating.

Intuitive Eating Challenges & Pitfalls

The 3 most common challenges/pitfalls that people struggle with when they first begin Intuitive Eating are the following:

  1. “The Hunger & Fullness Diet”  (or the “Don’t-Eat-Emotionally Diet”)
  2. Underestimating hunger (read this even if you don’t think it applies to you)
  3. Trying to control weight through “eating intuitively”

The “Hunger & Fullness Diet” (aka The “Don’t-Eat-Emotionally” Diet)

The “Hunger & Fullness Diet” (aka the “Don’t-Eat-Emotionally Diet”’) are terms I coined to describe the single most common pitfall I see clients fall into when they beginning Intuitive Eating.

This happens when people turn “hunger and fullness” into RULES to follow—

for instance, when people turn “eating when physically hungry” or “not eating emotionally” or “not getting too full” into things they “should” or “should not” do.

The “Hunger & Fullness Diet” is problematic for a few reasons:

First off,

trying to eat ONLY within certain “acceptable” boundaries (e.g. “hunger and fullness”) can trigger binges when you inevitably “give in” or “fail.”  

When I first started practicing Intuitive Eating, I used to feel incredibly guilty (or even ashamed) when I would eat emotionally, or get really full. In other words, I thought my “emotional eating” was a “screw up.”

Of course, whenever I thought I “screwed up,” I would then binge my face off, because…

“I’ve already ruined my day—so I might as well binge my face off and try ‘Intuitive Eating’ again tomorrow.”  

In other words, I turned Intuitive Eating into a “wagon” that I could fall on and off of.

When you turn Intuitive Eating into a “wagon” that you can fall on or off of—you’re almost guaranteed to “fall off” of it eventually—and probably binge your face off in the process.

Underestimating Hunger (Don’t Skip This)

As a relatively “normal” or “recovered” eater today, it’s clear in retrospect that I highly underestimated the amount of food I really needed in my early days of Intuitive Eating.

This is likely because diet-mentality (especially the “hunger & fullness diet” or the “don’t-eat-emotionally-diet”) got in the way of my trusting my natural instincts around food.

I had very specific ideas about what was the “appropriate” amount of hunger or fullness to respond to—that may not have lined up with my actual physical needs.

For instance, if I didn’t feel a “growl” in my stomach or other physical sensations that I personally labeled hunger, I would put that urge into the “emotional eating” category.

The reality is, however, I may have been experiencing signs of appetite…which is simply a drive to eat that may or may not accompany specific physical sensations in the body.

Thinking about food is often the first sign of physical hunger we experience,

which is why trying to decipher between “emotional eating” and “eating for hunger” is actually much more complicated (and less reliable) than you might think.   

This is also why dieters and restrictors may think about food all the timethinking about food is a “symptom” of hunger.

Additionally, it is quite normal to want (and need!) to get very full when recovering from restriction or weight suppression.

Your body may legitimately need much more food than your definition of “acceptable fullness” might suggest.

Why trying to lose weight through “eating intuitively” usually backfires

Another common pitfall people fall into when attempting to “eat intuitively,” is practicing Intuitive Eating in an attempt to control weight, rather than as a method of weight-neutral self-care.

This fails for very similar reasons as the first two common pitfalls—


When you pursue any particular “way of eating” for the purpose of weight control, it’s almost inevitable that you will judge your “performance” every step of the way, probably try to undercut your needs, and as a result, you may very well continue binge-eating too.

You can read more about why this doesn’t work in my post “How to Stop Binge-Eating” by clicking here.

Instead of using Intuitive Eating as a form of “weight control,” try using it as a tool for taking care of the body you have right now, and for the purpose of living your healthiest life (rather than your thinnest-at-all-costs life).

Binge-Eating Recovery takes more than Intuitive Eating…

In my opinion, learning to listen to your body about what to eat is only ONE part of the total recovery equation.

In other words—listening to your body, in and of itself, probably won’t “fix you” (or your binge-eating for that matter).

Making the necessary mental and emotional shifts to truly let go of dieting (and diet mentality) is the “real challenge” that most people face in healing their relationship with food.

While the Intuitive Eating book addresses some of these challenges, most people need more support to combat diet mentality—especially through the perspectives of Fatphobia, body image concerns, or a general desire to “control” food or weight.

If you’re feeling like,

“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I’m trying to eat Intuitively, but I just keep binge-eating!”

You are almost certainly still struggling with unhealthy attitudes about food and weight, or are trying to use Intuitive Eating as a form of food or weight control.

Diet Mentality is complex, can take many forms (e.g. the “hunger & fullness diet”), and typically reflects a person’s body image, fatphobic beliefs or societal ideals about what eating “should” look like.

Resources for Healing Diet-Mentality (& Diet-Binge Cycling)

In addition to the Intuitive Eating book,

I highly recommend checking out the book Health At Every Size, which describes the importance of pursuing a weight-neutral approach to health—rather than the traditional “diets-for-health” approach, which is almost certainly hurting our collective health (and sanity) long-term.


if you’re struggling with binge-eating, emotional eating, chronic dieting or food obsession—

make sure to check out Stop Fighting Food (my free video training series) that teaches folks how to heal the underlying thinking patterns behind all common “food issues.”

On that note—can’t wait to stay in touch! Make sure to sign up for coaching emails above if you want to get my future posts about the non-diet approach.


Can’t Stop Binge-Eating? Here’s WHY and how to stop.

On the diet-binge roller coaster from hell? I get it, gurl. Binge eating was my nemesis for YEARS, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to stop.  

I used to literally dig out food from the trash after throwing it out because I didn’t “trust myself” not to eat whatever-the-hell-forbidden-fruit happened to be in my cabinets that day.







Until I finally understood the root causes of my binge-eating (which I’ll get to in a moment),

I spent most of my time alternating between periods of “being good” or successfully “controlling myself” around food

…and then inevitably “losing control” in the bulk bin section of the grocery store—knee-deep in chocolate covered whatever-the-hell-it-was—swearing I’d get back on the horse for good starting tomorrow.

Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for me to make myself so full and sick from eating that I could barely get up from my couch…let alone go out with my friends, be productive at work, put on real pants, etc.

I was a “low-bottom” binge-eater…trying everything to stop…including 12-step groups and “food addiction” programs, to a couple stints in rehab for “Binge-Eating Disorder” and everything in between…

How to Stop Binge-Eating: Understanding Why You Binge-Eat 

For the most part, all of the various “programs” I tried to stop binge-eating suggested that binge-eating was a self-contained psychological defect—the result of a “spiritual malady,” or bad habit, or perhaps some childhood trauma.

In other words, they all suggested that if I could just fix the underlying emotional problems that “triggered” binges, I would be healed.

Doing everything in my power to get this problem “under control,” I went to therapy, I went to church, I journaled, I made up with my mother…and for years, I just couldn’t stop bingeing.

It wasn’t until years into my healing journey, that someone finally suggested that perhaps my bingeing wasn’t just a response to difficult emotions or “neurological junk” in my brain…

perhaps my binges were a natural response to countless years of dieting and feeling deprived around food, as a result of innumerable attempts at food and weight “control throughout my life.

The Root Cause of Binge-Eating

Despite an enormous amount of effort by “the diet industry” (meaning, anyone and everyone who may profit from our society’s obsession with thinness) to suppress research that suggests “diets don’t work,”

it is widely evidenced in scientific literature that binge-eating is primarily a symptom of dieting or attempts at food and weight “control.”  

If you’d like to read the pages and pages of research supporting this claim—it will take you a while—but I would start by referencing the literature collected by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who are the nutritionists behind the book, “Intuitive Eating,” (which I’ll discuss later in this post).

For an even deeper dive into the scientific literature, check out the book “Health At Every Size” by Linda Bacon, which reviews decades worth of research on the most common symptoms and outcomes of dieting and weight suppression. More to come on “Health At Every Size” as well.

Binge-Eating vs. Emotional Eating vs. “Getting Really Full”

The terms “binge-eating” and “emotional eating” are often used interchangeably, even though they are actually very different behaviors and need to be treated in different ways.

Since you can’t heal a problem you don’t fully understand, let’s start by defining these terms so we can all make sure we’re talking about the same thing.

What is “Binge-Eating?”

I now understand that Binge-Eating is—plain and simple—a reaction to deprivation around food.

In other words,

  1. it’s eating because you haven’t had a piece of bread in 3 weeks and you can’t hold yourself back one-second longer (that is, a biological instinct to relieve oneself from food restriction—aka falling-off-the-wagon eating”)
  2. or it’s eating because you already screwed up, so you “might as well” finish the bag and start over tomorrow (aka “last supper eating”).

This type of eating can also be triggered by unhealthy attitudes about food and weight—aka “Diet Mentality.”

For instance, people who feel guilty or fearful about eating certain foods are much more likely to binge-eat or feel “out of control” as they judge, analyze or criticize their choices with food.

This all to say, that binge-eating is not a stand-alone or self-contained behavior—it is simply one part—the second part—of the diet-binge cycle.

As such, attempts at “self-control” around food are not only unproductive in managing binge-eating, but may actually be the primary risk factor for binge-eating and binge-eating disorder (BED). More on this here

What is “emotional eating?”

“Emotional Eating,” on the other hand, is eating for emotional pleasure or to soothe uncomfortable feelings.

A “normal” eater may eat emotionally from time to time, but will likely do so far less often than dieters and restrictors, for reasons that I explain here.

That being said,

the reality is…most people eat emotionally sometimes

As my friend Wendy Shankar says,

“there are only 6 people who eat food righteously as fuel and nothing else…and all six of them are Kenyan marathon runners.”

The difference between a person who has a bowl of ice cream after hard day…and the person who flies off the handle into a week-long binge…

is whether or not they were trying to “control” their food and weight to begin with—is whether or not they struggle with diet-mentality around that experience.

When dieters eat emotionally, their emotional eating may turn into bingeing as a result of their diet-mentality…but not as a result of the emotions themselves. More on this here.

Binge Eating is NOT the same thing as “getting really full”

Despite conventional wisdom—it is completely unuseful (and actually quite problematic) to define binges by volume or amounts of food.

What is much more useful is to define binges by their motivation…by what actually *causes* the behavior, rather than by some arbitrary amount of “this-is-not-okay,”

Ultimately, there’s a big difference between reacting to deprivation (aka bingeing) and eating a bunch on Thanksgiving because your mom’s mashed potatoes are AWESOME.

This sounds like semantics, but it’s actually really important to remember—

Like “emotional eating,” getting really full sometimes is a normal part of life.

On the contrary, restricting your food choices and then shame-eating, when no one’s looking, doesn’t have to be.   

“I don’t think I’m a dieter, but I know that I binge-eat…”

Because “diet” has become a 4-letter word in the Wellness Industry, many of my clients don’t realize they’re dieting unless they’re on Weight Watchers or Atkins or some old school weight loss “program” of some kind.

The reality, however, is that anyone who defines themselves as a “binge-eater” is almost certainly dieting or struggling with diet-mentality.

If you’re struggling with binges or extreme “loss of control” around food—you are, by definition, trying to control your food in the first place.

After all—you can’t fall off a wagon that you’re not on.

More on this here.

What exactly do I mean by dieting or “restriction?”

There are a couple definitions of dieting that most often lead to binge-eating behaviors:

  • A diet may include any attempt to restrict or limit food intake for the purpose of weight loss (or weight “control”)

In other words, a diet may include anything from:

  1. limiting certain types of food,
  2. or certain amounts of food,
  3. or limiting certain eating behaviors

…for the purpose of weight loss or weight control.

If weight loss, weight control, or weight-management is your goal, you are most certainly “on a diet.”

  • A “diet” may also mean ANY kind of food restriction to which you feel emotionally attached (whether it be for weight loss, or “health,” or any other possible reason).  

For instance, restricting dairy or gluten because you have allergies will not necessarily lead to binge-eating in and of itself

…but if you feel emotionally attached to “following” that instruction “correctly,” 

that is, if your self-esteem or feelings of emotional security depend upon you “sticking to” your particular definition of “health,”

you will likely find yourself “falling off the wagon” around that restriction, just like you might “fall off the wagon” of any weight-controlling diet.

“Diet Mentality” can also lead to binge-eating.

Although physical diets or restrictions around food are the primary cause of binge-eating, it takes more than canceling your Weight Watchers subscription to rid your mind of years (and possibly decades) worth of toxic diet-related beliefs and attitudes around food—which can also trigger binge-eating.

When you start paying attention to it, you may be surprised by how judgmental you are of your food choices, or how fearful you are of eating certain foods. You may walk around feeling terrified of gaining weight or eating “too much,” all of which can be just as triggering as the diets themselves.

In other words—fear, shame, and judgment of your food choices can themselves trigger binge-eating.

When we judge a particular eating behavior as “not okay,” we subconsciously send ourselves the message that food should be restricted in the future, thus sending us back into “last supper mode” around food (i.e. binge-eating behaviors).

This is why it’s so important to get professional help or treatment in your efforts to let go of dieting and diet-mentality. Letting go of diet-mentality is particularly challenging to do without proper support, as it’s often exacerbated by co-occurring mental health issues—especially anxiety.

How to stop dieting…so you can stop binge-eating.

Ultimately, the only way to stop binge-eating is to *truly* let go of dieting…which is not always easy in a culture that constantly tells you your life’s happiness depends upon you properly avoiding carbs.

You might ask,

“But if I stop dieting, I’ll just eat and eat and eat FOREVER! I’ll just eat until I explode like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka!”







That was my fear anyway: that I would NEVER STOP…I would never stop eating…I would never stop gaining weight…it would just go on and on and on and on.

Dieting makes us feel like there’s no amount of food in the world that could possibly satisfy us—

but the reality is, when we’re not constantly depriving ourselves around food—we discover that we are, in fact, satiable.

This “satiability factor” is influenced by several factors, including your natural set point weight,

that is—the weight you naturally arrive or “stop” at after you let go of dieting and eat in accordance with your bodies natural hunger signals.

On that note, below are some basic tips to help you make the transition from diet-binge cycling into “normal,” biologically-attuned eating.   

#1 Practice “Intuitive Eating”

Diet Recovery typically starts with a practice of “Intuitive Eating,” or listening to your own biological hunger signals for information about what to eat, instead of external diet plans, etc.

When you tune in and listen, your body knows exactly what it needs to eat at any given time—you just need to start honoring and trusting those signals, which is what a good Intuitive Eating coach should be helping you accomplish.

More on Intuitive Eating here.

#2 Challenge your diet mentality.

While listening to your body’s hunger signals for information about what to eat is super helpful in making sure you get enough food,

be careful not to fall into the trap of the “hunger & fullness diet,” which will backfire just like every other diet on the planet.

At the end of the day, rules and restrictions around food are the real enemies when it comes to binge-eating recovery—and practicing “Intuitive Eating” can only go so far if you’re still struggling with diet-mentality around it.  

#3 Practice “Health At Every Size”

People who pursue healthy behaviors (like exercising, eating vegetables, etc.)—without worrying or focusing on weight outcomes—are significantly more likely to MAINTAIN those health behaviors over time.

Additionally, people who pursue health behaviors in a weight-neutral way enjoy better health outcomes (e.g. blood pressure, blood sugar, cardiovascular health)

…as well as significantly better mental health outcomes, especially around food and body image.  

Since there is little-to-no evidence to support forced “weight loss” or diet interventions—because they are rarely sustainable, and often lead to weight gain over time, 

there is increasing support for a “weight-neutral” approach to health—citing sustainability and long-term health outcomes as a reason to ditch the scale and focus on taking care of the body you actually have.

I would argue that pursuing health and nutrition in a weight-neutral way is critical for the safety of anyone in recovery from eating disorders, or diet-binge cycling of any kind.

#4 Pursue Body Positivity (heal your Body Image NOW) 

Letting go of the “goal” of weight loss, and committing to pursue actual health (both physical and emotional) can be very challenging in a culture that regularly stigmatizes people on the basis of size.

We are constantly being fed messages that we are only worthy or lovable in thin bodies, and this can trigger a cascade effect onto our food:

Body Shame → Dieting (and/or Diet Mentality) → Binge-Eating

Of course, binge-eating often leads to more body shame…and the cycle continues on and on indefinitely.

While many hesitate to work on body-image believing that self-hatred is somehow “motivating” them into thinness,

or think to themselves, “once I get over my binge-eating, I’ll be thin and I won’t have to worry about it!”

the truth is, it is VERY difficult to overcome diet-binge cycling (and binge-eating in general) without doing significant body acceptance work right off the bat.

The sooner you work to accept the body you have, the sooner you’ll be able to truly let go of dieting and eat “normally” in accordance with your biological hunger signals.

Work with a coach, find a body-positive or body-acceptance support group, do what you need to do to remember:






Getting Help for Binge-Eating

At the end of the day, binge-eating is a reaction to dieting or other attempts to “control” food and weight.

You can think of it like a Bow & Arrow:

The farther back you pull a bow and arrow (aka dieting), the farther that bow’s gonna fly in the other direction as soon as you let it go.

If you want to heal your binge-eating for real, you’re gonna have to stop straining your body through dieting and other attempts at food or weight “control,” and re-learn to respect and honor your bodies natural instincts around food.

This will also mean learning to respect and honor your bodies natural size, which is different for everyone. 

Binge-Eating Recovery Resources

To learn more about the non-diet approach to healing binge-eating, make sure to check out my free video training series at

You can also check out my free guide, “How To Not Eat Cake…really fast, standing up, when nobody’s looking” by filling out the form at the top of this page.

Lastly, if this post was useful to you, please share! You can share directly to Facebook now by clicking here.


Can’t stop “grazing” or snacking? Don’t forget about THIS.

As a dieter, I was the queen of “grazing,”

primarily because I was constantly trying to eat the least amount of food possible at every eating event—or at least stay within my boundary du jour—which left me perpetually unsatisfied, running back and forth to the kitchen continuously throughout the day.

It rarely occurred to me to go to a restaurant and order what I really wanted for dinner…right off the entrée menu…without having to ask for anything “on the side.”

Even when I was “off the wagon,” I rarely considered going to a restaurant and ordering something truly filling and satisfying,

it was more likely I’d rummage through the cabinets grabbing spoonfuls or handfuls until I felt sick…or go to a dark corner store with my sunglasses on and bulk buy…whatever.

Warm, filling, satisfying, non-diet MEALS

…with creamy sauces and ALL the food groups,
…with the intention of both nourishment AND enjoyment,
…something both physically filling and emotionally satisfying,

rarely occurred in my diet OR binge-eating worlds…I practically forgot them as options. 

I’ll never forget thinking to myself in early recovery: “it’s been years since I had a burrito for lunch.” 

Of course, a thick burrito—with all the trimmings—was exactly what I needed at that moment.

Filling, satisfying, delicious, and all the food groups—a burrito was about as close to “real food,” as I’d considered in a long time.

At that moment, I remembered that regular, hearty, filling meals…are a thing,

and maybe an important part of finding complete satiation after years of dieting and restriction.

If you’re struggling to develop a “normal” relationship with food after years of dieting, make sure to check out my free video training series for more info about ending the diet-binge cycle for good. It’s worth it

How to do “health” without dieting

“How do I make ‘healthy’ choices without falling back into diet-mentality?” 

This is a big question (which I cover at length in my coaching programs), but here are some key conceptsto consider when addressing this important question, as well as some of my most popular blog posts on this topic:


The most common reason that attempts at ‘health’ fall apart, is that people confuse—or commingle—their desire for healthwith their desire for thinness

Making ‘healthful’ choices for the sake of actual health(e.g. balanced blood sugar, increased energy, improved digestion, etc.) is a very different biological and psychological process than making ‘healthful’ choices for the purpose of weight control (a.k.a. dieting).

Confusing these two motivations—or letting hopes of thinness interfere with your health decisions—is one of the most common causes of rebound, obsessive thoughts, binge-eating, and/or “falling off the wagon.”

More on this here.

#2 – “HEALTH” must include “MENTAL HEALTH”

Diet culture trains us to focus on food choices as the predominant determinant of health…when in reality, food choices are only a sliver of the pie.It is widely evidenced that stress, stigma, and our emotional world play an enormous role in our physical health outcomes…not to mention our general happiness, which in my opinion, is the whole point of pursuing health, to begin with.

If your pursuit of health is making you stressed out or unhappy, it’s time to seriously reconsider your definition of health—to one that includes *mental health* and quality of life.Our pursuit of health should support our happiness and well-being, not compromise it. This may mean having a cupcake for no reason sometimes, and it will definitely mean learning to let go “imperfect” health choices when (not if) they occur.

More on this here.


Even if you are approaching health from a *truly* weight-neutral lens (which is unlikely…I have yet to meet a client who wasn’t struggling with some form of fatphobia), you may still fall into “on-and-off-the-wagon” thinking if you feel emotionally attachedto performing health “correctly.”

In other words, if you feel anxious or badly about yourself when you make “unhealthful” choices…be prepared to feel stressed out around food frequently…and possibly rebound as a result. 

More on this here & here.


Approaching “health” as a binary—
that is,

a thing we can achieve or failat,
a thing that is black or white,
a wagon we can fall on or off of,

is not a useful or realistic paradigm. 

It’s more accurate to understand health as something that’s constantly moving and changing on a spectrum basis—a continuous gray area that we’re swimming around in all the time.

Learning to live comfortably “in the gray” is critical for both sanity and sustainability. 

More on this here.


If you’re in early recovery from what I like to call “post-diet-stress,” restriction for any reason (including weight-neutral ‘health’) may not be entirely realistic for you right now. And that’s okay—you have to meet yourself where you are. 

That being said, there are so many ways to improve health (including food-related conditions, like diabetes) that have *nothing* to do with restriction.For instance, moving your body, getting lots of fiber/protein, eating regular meals, etc., are all things you can ADDinto your life to help manage blood sugar, for instance, without actively restricting anything. 

This may sound simplistic, but I feel compelled to point it out since so many recovering dieters immediately leap to what they should “take out” when pursuing health—as if restriction were the *only* way to improve health markers.

The adage,“health isn’t all about avoiding things that make us feel bad—it’s also about adding in things that make us feel good,” is especially important for those recovering from “post-diet stress,” who may not be able to handle restriction (even for ‘health’ purposes)all that well.

Was this post helpful? For more insights on having a “normal,” non-crazy-making relationship with food, check out my free video training series here