Can I Recover From Binge Eating?

Table of Contents

I’ll never forget how hopeless Cara felt when she first consulted me about her terrible relationship with food.

“Dr. Nina, you’ve treated many patients successfully, but I don’t think I’ll be one of your success stories. I know I’ll be dealing with this for  the rest of my life.”

A few months later, she said, “Thank you, Dr. Nina, for existing. Thank you for helping me get free from bingeing.”

Do you also think you can never overcome binge eating?


Most people believe that bingeing is a forever thing. Why? Because many people associate bingeing with having a food problem or a food addiction, which is why it seems impossible to create change. After all, we can stop certain addictive behaviors such as smoking or drinking. But, we can’t stop eating.

Those beliefs are incorrect and transformation is possible. It’s a matter of changing your mindset and finding the right path to get free from bingeing.

If you also want to experience the freedom and liberation that Cara and so many others have felt, keep reading.

Diets, Willpower & Control

Many try to control binge eating by keeping tabs on their food intake. We adopt restrictive diets, forbid ourselves from eating our favorite foods, and sometimes talk ourselves out of eating for long stretches of hours. We call it “fasting,” and some of us think, “No food, no bingeing.”

Diets work as long as we stay on them, but no diet is sustainable forever. The experience of deprivation makes us want what we cannot have. After a few days, a week, or more, it’s hard to maintain that level of restriction and deprivation, and we eat something on the “bad food” list. That often leads to bingeing. And the cycle of blame, regret and self-hatred starts anew.

This is called the ‘Diet-Binge Cycle.’

I’m here to assure you that you’re not a failure at dieting. Diets have failed you. Diets only focus on what you are eating, and not why.

Bingeing is a way of coping with difficult, painful, or upsetting situations. It’s a solution to the problem, even though it feels like “the” problem. You may be using food for comfort, distraction, and celebration, to fill an empty place within your soul, or to express anger.

It’s not what you’re eating that’s the true problem. It’s what’s eating “at” you. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the WHY behind your bingeing.

Crack the code

We are not triggered by food. The real causes of bingeing are mainly psychological and lie deep within your emotions and feelings. These feelings can relate to unpleasant experiences or childhood trauma you never addressed, or they may be located more in the present.

Our culture promotes the idea that feelings make us weak. We’re considered strong if we don’t show our emotions and weak if we do.

Consider the last time you cried with a loved one. Or, when was the last time you confronted someone about how they hurt your feelings?

We’re told not to feel our emotions. We’re told to ignore them, drop them, or look on the bright side and practice gratitude or deep breathing.

Yet, we can’t just drop feelings. We can’t ignore them, positive-think them away, or breathe them away. We also can’t stuff them down. Bingeing is a way of coping with our emotions, but it’s a way that ultimately hurts more than it helps.

Recovery or Liberation

Recovery evokes the image of recovering from substance abuse, from drugs or alcohol. Being “in” recovery suggests a never-ending process of having to think about food choices for the rest of your life.

Recovery means you are always in recovery. I don’t believe in that.

Instead, I believe in liberation. Liberation means being set free from oppression, from the ideas and behaviors that make binge eating disorder feel like a prison.

It is possible to achieve liberation from soul-sucking diets, guilt, shame and bingeing, once and for all!

When I think about the results I've experienced and seen my clients get, I'd say, “YES, it is 100% possible.” And, it is possible for anyone. No matter how long you’ve struggled with food, there is hope.

How do you get rid of binge eating?

To achieve liberation, it’s important to recognize that binge eating is about feelings and not food. When we can validate, acknowledge, and reassure ourselves, we stop using food for comfort or distraction.

The next time you turn to food, ask yourself:

How am I feeling? What am I really craving? Am I mad, sad, upset, scared, lonely?

Often we get so adept at coping with food that we don’t even realize we’re triggered. The true emotions and needs stay hidden from us and we have no clue what’s really going on inside.

To identify those hidden reasons of why you’re eating, I developed a formula that I call the Food-Mood Formula Secret. In this free guide, I cover everything you need to know so you can answer the question of “what’s eating “at” me?”

Take the first step

You become binge-free when you get to the root of “why” you’re bingeing instead of focusing on food. Learning to express your emotions and respond to them in a new way will set you free. Doing this in the company of others who “get it” and are there to support you is transformative.

Take the first step NOW. Join me in my Facebook community and meet other women on the same journey of becoming binge-free. We encourage and support each other.

Follow me on Instagram to get daily tips and lessons. Or, if you want to get it all one-on-one with me, reach out to me.

My goal is to free you from bingeing and make you fall in love with yourself so you can live a life you love.


What should I do after a binge?

After you binge, figure out why you binged in the first place. Look for clues and triggers that cause you to binge. Think about the events before you started bingeing. Was something upsetting you? Were you feeling deprived? Then, instead of vowing to “be good” with food, be kind and encourage yourself as you would a friend. Focus on the “WHY” instead of “WHAT” you’re eating.

How can I help someone with binge eating?

Your loved one needs you to be supportive and encouraging. Allow them space and remember that bingeing isn’t really about food. Listen to the feelings, conflicts, and fears that are the reason for their bingeing. Be compassionate with them.

Should I consider medication for binge eating?

In my twenty years as a clinician specializing in eating disorders, as well as the personal experiences that led me to this work, I can assure you that the cure lies in your mind, not your brain. Medication can help with underlying issues such as major depression or anxiety. In my experience, the only treatment that creates lasting results is psychoanalysis, which helps you to reach to the core of the problem and heal you from inside so that you won’t turn to food ever again. Most people don’t have access to this kind of deep and deeply transformative treatment. This is why I’ve developed the book, Binge Cure:7 Steps To Outsmart Emotional Eating, to get you on a path to healing.

 The Author


Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin is a psychoanalyst, author and radio host specializing in binge eating disorder. She is the author of The Binge Cure: 7 Steps to Outsmart Emotional Eating and Food for Thought: Perspectives on Eating Disorders, and co-editor of Beyond the Primal Addiction. She hosts The Dr. Nina Show radio program on LA Talk Radio.

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