Late 2011, or early 2012 I purchased and read Brain over Binge (2011) by Karen Heidebrech, and decided that it deserves the attention of a review here on DietHobby.
Brain over Binge gives an informative scientific perspective on binge eating as well as an interesting personal account. Instead of viewing bingeing as a symptom of complex psychological problems, Heidebrech explains why traditional eating disorder therapy often fails. She explains how she came to understand her bingeing was a function of her brain, and how she used the power of her brain to recover.
Brain Over Binge gives an alternative method of “eating disorder” recovery. The author uses principles of contemporary neuroscience to explain the traps of disordered eating, and how she herself has found recovery from her own binge behavior.
Traditional eating disorder recovery focuses on labeling one’s eating behavior as dysfunctional, then identifying underlying reasons or triggers for that eating behavior, and then having the person attempt to control, correct, or respond differently to their own flaws or environmental stressors. This is an impossible task, because one can never control all of life's stressors and personal vulnerabilities, and believing that this is the only way to recover is often a set-up for failure.
Instead of focusing on emotions, stress, self-esteem and many of the other common explanations offered in conventional treatment, Brain Over Binge provides that binge eating is the result of allowing the urges that spring from one's "animal" brain to override the wisdom of one's "highest human" brain. By surrendering all the power to the animal brain, the binge eater ends up feeling as if she/he has no choice but to give in to the urge to binge, no matter how irrational or self-destructive it is to do so.
Brain over Binge presents a 5-step process for taking back your power over the urges. Heidebrech backs up the simplicity of the cure with an explanation of the research that supports the credibility of her approach. She also relates her own experience to show that one can recover from binge eating without having to be perfect or live a stress-free life.
Bingeing doesn’t always result from external situations. Bingeing itself creates more and more cues to binge in response to everyday life situations. The more situations one responds to by bingeing, the more cues there are to binge. The answer is not to get rid of everyday situations, but to interrupt the cycle, which is done, paradoxically, by dismissing disordered urges as "neurological junk," thereby avoiding reinforcing the behavior and weakening the undesired neurological pathways.
As a reduced obese person who has personally experienced a lifetime of difficulty with binge behavior, as well as more than 20 years of Therapy involving that issue, I found myself in agreement with a great many of the concepts within this book, and I highly recommend it for adults who would like to experience some recovery from their own binge behaviors.
Originally posted on August 28, 2012, updated for new viewers.
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