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Season 4 Episode 1:

Binge eating: A Revolutionary Approach for Those Who Feel Out of Control

with Michelle & Nicki


Episode Summary

It's time to stop viewing binge eating through a lens of shame. In this episode, Michelle and Nicki discuss the traditional approaches to binge eating treatment, the physical and psychological components of a binge, and what they believe is the true key to transforming binge eating behaviors.
Tune in to hear:
  • The three traditional approaches to binge eating treatment and why it’s not a one size fits all approach [11:45]
  • Binge eating disorders are not always due to restriction [13:36]
  • How certain foods, particularly hyper palatable ones, can lead to binge eating episodes [15:24]
  • The relationship between feeling unsafe and binge eating [23:40]
  • What’s happening emotionally and physically before, during and after a binge [27:02]
  • How binge eating can serve as a protective mechanism [42:17]
  • Why we should meet binge episodes with curiosity vs from a negative lens [46:08]
  • The impact of a somatic approach and tuning in to our body to transform binge eating behaviors [53:13]
  • How experiencing binge eating without judgment IS the transformation [1:02:43]


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Thank you to our episode sponsors:


Work with Michelle: 

Free Resources: 

Connect with Nicki:
Follow Nicki on IG @nutrition.nicki

Connect with Michelle:
Follow Michelle on IG

Subscribe to the Quiet the Diet Podcast




Binge eating: A Revolutionary Approach for Those Who Feel Out of Control


Michelle Shapiro [00:00:01]:
Welcome back to season four of Quiet the diet.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:00:04]:

Michelle Shapiro [00:00:04]:
I'm so excited to be back, Nikki. We had such a decent sized break between seasons, and I feel that people were very patient, so we have to give them a supreme season this time.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:00:14]:
Oh, a hundred percent. I think there, there was a reason why we had a little bit of a hiatus, and it was to gear up, get everything together. The season's really, really good. I'm really excited about it, and I'm actually really excited about it because I normally was listening to the episodes ahead of time, and now I'm not. So I'm really stoked for this season because I know who's going to be on, but there's so many details that are just really juicy.

Michelle Shapiro [00:00:40]:
It's going to be a very juicy season, and I'm really excited also, like you said, for you to listen to. It'll be fantastic. So in today's episode, we kind of want to go back to quiet the diet roots and really what, the goal of this podcast is always to look at nutrition from a nuanced perspective and to look at kind of what are the different models of treatment that different types of practitioners are using. And what we've found is that one area where there seems to be vast differences in treatment is eating disorders, and more specifically, binge eating. So this is something that is near and dear to the work that we do. And what we really love to support our clients on is binge eating. And what we have seen in recent years is really a divergence from that classic eating disordered model that we would see in those eating disorder facilities. When it comes to binge eating, this.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:01:32]:
Is the thing that's really tough, is I think that when you're in an eating disorder facility, it's really kind of like a one size fits all approach. And again, sometimes that's just in a clinical setting, how things have to be done. Sometimes, because you have a certain amount of patients, you have to really make sure that everything's kind of laid out ahead of time and structured in that way. But the experience that everyone has with binge eating is very individualized. And what I've also found is, and we'll talk about this later on in the episode, that a lot of times, sometimes the things that trigger you to binge eat, they might look different on a day to day basis, on a week to week basis, and of course, different from person to person. So if we're kind of just throwing out a blanket approach, like anything else that we do with nutrition or health in any way. A blanket approach is just not. It might be a place to start, but it's not going to encompass everything that someone needs to heal.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:02:36]:
And sometimes I even find that when it comes to restrictive eating disorders, sometimes that more structured, regimented approach kind of covers more people in that way. There's less people that kind of fall in the cracks. Yeah, fall through the cracks. But with binge eating, I just find that it's incredibly personal. And so really having an individualized approach is key.

Michelle Shapiro [00:03:01]:
100%. So, Nikki, you have worked in your internship in an eating disorder facility. It was an outpatient inpatient facility. Right. So part time people would come in during the day to get treatment. They would not live there, though.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:03:16]:
No one would live there.

Michelle Shapiro [00:03:17]:

Nicki Parlitsis [00:03:17]:
It was coming in from during the day for a certain period of time.


What have you seen in your experience in the treatment to binge eating within outpatient eating disorder facilities?

Michelle Shapiro [00:03:21]:
What have you seen in your experience, the treatment to binge eating within eating disorder facilities, let's say outpatient eating disorder facilities?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:03:29]:
You know, what's actually really interesting is that the treatment was the same between both restrictive eating disorders and bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Michelle Shapiro [00:03:39]:
So I need to repeat what you just said, because it's really important for listeners to hear the treatment for restrictive eating disorders in many, if not in a clinical setting, inpatient or a part time outpatient setting for eating disorders is the same for restrictive eating disorders as it is for binge eating disorders. Okay, that's interesting, because I think as people are listening to this and hearing this, they think those things feel opposite. So what are some of the treatment approaches that they apply to both restrictive eating disorders and binge eating disorders?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:04:12]:
Well, so in a clinical setting, they actually look at. And again, maybe not all of this. In my experience, looking at binge eating as a form of a restrictive eating disorder in the sense that they would say that all binges are kind of born out of restriction, either physical or mental restriction. Now, a lot of binges can and are derived from restrictive origin, but at the same time, you're kind of discounting the experience of people who are like, I'm confused. I ate my set meals for the day. I'm getting in my protein. I have all of these nutrients, and I'm still binging.

Michelle Shapiro [00:04:56]:
I'm going to walk it back from that point. So let's lay the foundation for everyone, for people listening for the first time and maybe never even receiving treatment for binge eating, but binge eating being something that they know that they're doing. Before we even go into the kind of three different approaches that we lay out, how would you define binge eating. Nikki.


How do you define binge eating?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:05:15]:
So this is also, again, something that I feel like might not be the clinical definition, but I would say that binge eating, now, I think the clinical definition includes more of, like a set amount that you're eating at one time, more than a quote unquote normal amount per sitting. I look at it as any type of loss of control while you're eating, feeling like you're eating out of something that's kind of gnawing at you. Like, not hunger, but feeling like you're, like, a loss of control around loss.

Michelle Shapiro [00:05:53]:
Of control is how you would define binge eating and also maybe a sense of urgency that comes along with it. Yeah, I would define it in the same way. It's really if you're eating something more than you intended to for a purpose, more than physiological hunger, it feels like. Yeah. So when it comes to binge eating, historically and eating disorder facilities and through dietitians work, there's been one predominant model of treatment. And that model is that the more that you restrict food, the more that you'll binge those same foods. Right. We've seen this on Instagram infographics.

Michelle Shapiro [00:06:27]:
It'll say, the more that you cut out bread, the more that you eat cake or something like that, or the more that you cut out potatoes, the more that you cut out carbs, the more you binge those foods. There is really good science to support that. Food restriction can lead to binge eating behaviors because of this psychological phenomenon that when we feel like we can't have food, we urgently want to get food. And it's not only the rebellious nature, it's really our survival mechanism, that if we're told we can't have food, our body's like, well, I'm going to get that food to make sure that I'm okay and covered. So certainly restriction can lead to binging. That's a well established relationship. It is real. What we're going to talk about in this episode is the fact that this model of binge eating that we see in allopathic dietitians offices, in eating disorder clinics is not a one size fits all, and that there are many people who have binge eating disorder, and their triggers are not actually from restriction.


The three main approaches to treatment of binge eating disorders

Michelle Shapiro [00:07:23]:
Their triggers are from something else. So let's bucket. Our first approach to binge eating as the kind of classic restriction equal binge model. The next model we are going to talk about, I think quite exhaustively in this episode, is what happens when people feel uncomfortable inside of their bodies and then utilize food as a tool to deal with that discomfort in their bodies. So the second approach to supporting people through binge eating is actually nervous system support and stress support. And that's how we would support people, because binge eating is, as we'll walk through a very involved biological and chemical process of what's going on inside the body. So a lot of people choose food as a really supportive tool to feel better. What I think is really important for our listeners to hear is also that binge eating feels good temporarily.

Michelle Shapiro [00:08:13]:
It releases a tremendous amount of positive chemicals in our body. If you are feeling down, it quite literally can make you feel not down. There's a reason why people do it. It's not to sabotage themselves or torture themselves. People choose binge eating because binge eating is a survival mechanism, and we acknowledge that. So if you kind of deal with the threat level and deal with the incoming sensory inputs and discomfort that's driving you to binge, it can transform binge eating behaviors. So that's model two. We'll call it the nervous system model.

Michelle Shapiro [00:08:44]:
Model one is the restrict equal binge model, which would. The answer would be liberalizing food restrictions. Model two is the nervous system model. And then, Nikki, tell us about model three.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:08:54]:
So, model three would be kind of based on the fact that we live in a world that has a lot of new age foods, let's say, like, foods that if we went to a farm, they would not really be found on that farm. It's stuff that's kind of maybe made in a lab or has some different stabilizers or additives. And again, in a small dose, maybe our body can process and handle these things just fine when we're eating them to the magnitude that we are in our food system. And also kind of tying back to the nervous system model in a way that isn't very conducive to appropriate digestion and absorption. That also triggers us. These foods are, they spend billions of dollars on research and development trying to get these foods to be so hyper palatable that when we start eating them, we don't want to stop. So maybe it's a combination of flavors, or maybe it's certain additives in the food, but they're literally manufactured so that we want to keep eating them. And it's kind of overriding those.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:09:59]:
When we talk about those intuitive hunger fullness cues, these foods are overriding those cues, and what's really not possible a lot of the time to eat them intuitively to a certain extent. So in this third model, we're really looking at reducing our intake of these foods, prioritizing whole foods so that we're getting lots of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are helping to create neurotransmitters that are keeping our nervous system happy and keeping us feeling good. And then also, so then we're not kind of being driven toward these foods. So it's kind of reducing those foods and prioritizing whole foods.

Michelle Shapiro [00:10:39]:
So if people are listening and hearing what the subtext of what we're talking about, one treatment for binge eating is the opposite to another treatment for binge eating, which means one of the treatments says you have to liberalize all food restrictions, you can't cut any foods out. The other treatment for binge eating that people use in model three that we were talking about is that you actually have to limit certain foods in order to stop binge eating. So this is where it becomes very confusing for people because we hear you have to go sugar free, you have to quit sugar altogether to stop binge eating. And there's people who legitimately have better, healthier relationships with food when they take out certain foods. And I want to reiterate that also there are people who have better relationships with food by cutting out certain foods. This is not commonly seen on social media at all. So here's the tricky part. If someone goes to a kind of conventional eating disorder facility, and their trigger is that when they eat processed foods, it causes them to, it kind of pushes that button for them to want to keep eating more processed foods and leads them into a binge and triggers them into a binge, they're not going to get better, necessarily, or at least 100% better from conventional methods, which are to liberalize all food restrictions.

Michelle Shapiro [00:11:58]:
So when we eat foods that are highly processed, they kind of force our hand a bit to make us binge. So just eating all those foods also can lead to and trigger binge eating.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:12:09]:
I do want to go back for a second, because I think we have to acknowledge the fact that, let's say we are restricting either certain food groups or eating in a way that's not kind of like we don't really have a routine around food in that sense. Then that first model where it comes to reducing that restriction, there are certain components of it that we still pull into the other two types. So what I mean by that is having protein, fat and carb in each meal, really kind of having something every three to 5 hours, making sure that that's also supporting our nervous system. So it's feeding into the other two types where it's supporting our nervous system and our cortisol levels, but it's also supporting our physical restriction. Our body's physically getting the nutrients that it needs, and then that is kind of that foundation that opens us up to all three of those approaches going forward. But intentionally incorporating a high amount of hyper palatable foods into that structured system is really not. It might be improving the psychological restriction of food, but it's really not giving our body the nutrients that it needs and kind of supporting our system in reducing our binge tendencies over time. It's not very sustainable long term.


Should hyper palatable foods be incorporated in the treatment for binge eating disorder?

Michelle Shapiro [00:13:35]:
Do you find that in eating disorder clinics that they use hyper palatable foods in eating sort of clinics?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:13:41]:
So again, on top of that very structured approach, like, we're going to include protein, fat, and carb three meals, because.

Michelle Shapiro [00:13:47]:
It'S not just the psychological approach within eating disorder clinics, there's a lot of, I mean, these practitioners are incredible and life saving practitioners, and I can't say more positive things about them. What this episode is really talking about is the people who are not getting the care that they need, or they aren't going to eating disorder clinics and they want to start their care for themselves at home in some way. Of course, always go to a doctor if you feel any kind of fear or urgency around food that's unsettling or scary for you. But what we're talking about is the people who kind of get lost in the weeds when it comes to these facilities. I think binge eating is a particular issue because, again, the model of treating eating disorders through reintroducing nutrients may be a little bit different in a binge eating person than one diagnosed with anorexia and someone who is binge eating versus someone who has a diagnosis of anorexia. So part of the amazing work that eating disorder practitioners do is if someone has a restrictive eating disorder, they have to get nutrients back into the body. And I hear you speaking on that really beautifully, too. They have to do that first, and.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:14:53]:
It'S really important, but they are bringing in. So let's say someone has a binge food that they typically are. That's like when they're having a binge, this is the food that they're turning to. The approach in that setting would be to incorporate that food intentionally into a meal or a snack on a very routine basis so that it becomes normalized. And it feels like, okay, this isn't so scary anymore. Again, for some people, that's just what they need. And then in a week or two, they feel like, oh, this food doesn't have any power over me. I'm good, but there are a good portion of people who that time passes and they're like, I actually want to binge more.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:15:37]:
I feel like this is not helpful for me. I feel like the more I actually am turning to these foods or incorporating a very high fat, lab made kind of processed meal, that actually leaves me feeling really crappy. And a lot of those people actually have more of an urge to binge post eating that food because of how bad they feel physically. And then again, going back to the nervous system, when we don't feel good, we want to feel better. That's just a natural response. And how do we feel better? A lot of times we binge. So some people are so confused. Like, in my treatment, I had a McDonald's burger and that was supposed to help me.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:16:25]:
And then I actually went home and I binged afterward.

Addressing feeling unsafe in the treatment of binge eating behaviors

Michelle Shapiro [00:16:28]:
Yeah. I think there's so much being missed in the treatment of binge eating disorders that I see even from an Instagram standpoint. Let's take it outside of these facilities. But binge eating will come from, generally some sense of unsafety. Now, that unsafety could be restriction. It could be, oh, my gosh, I'm not safe because I've been restricted for so long that unsafety can come from feeling physically uncomfortable in your body. It could be from, like, stomach pain, you could say, and we'll talk about kind of what that experience is like before binge, but it really can come from any sort of physical or mental change that doesn't feel good, like we said, and then you want to fix that. And binging will help to fix that.

Michelle Shapiro [00:17:10]:
Where a lot of people get stuck, I think with binge eating is they think that it's always only coming from restriction. Binge eating comes from any time we don't feel safe within our bodies. And in the case of eating really highly processed foods repeatedly, it's weird because that can create such a physical discomfort and it's a really low grade physical discomfort that we're not realizing that then causes and pushes us to want to binge more. It also creates an urgency and a wanting and desire for those foods that is quite literally the biggest goal of food companies is to get you eating more of it. And then foods that are not hyper palatable, like meat and fruits and vegetables and grains and many grains and all these foods, they don't have the same kind of impact that's going to push someone from a physical or mental standpoint to push them into that binge zone. I mean, it's much harder to binge eat carrots than it is to binge eat oreos. Obviously, it doesn't have the same dopamine effect. It does not give you that boost.

Michelle Shapiro [00:18:11]:
So I think every treatment to binge eating disorder is missing something. And I think that when you look at it from a really comprehensive lens of why am I feeling unsafe? And what's driving me to do this personally. And you explore not only mental triggers, but physical triggers too. That's where you can actually start that binge eating transformation. So what we want to do in this episode is establish again all three models which have extreme validity and have helped people so much, and then why do we binge eat in the first place and explore that sensation? So, Nikki, I kind of want to jump into a bit of a case study. I want to make one more point before, actually. And then we're going to kind of jump into what the feeling and experience of wanting to binge is like, what we feel like during a binge and after. And I hope that viewers can say that kind of feels relatable to me.

Michelle Shapiro [00:19:03]:
And it's certainly the experience that we've had in our lives, the experience we've had with clients before. So here's what's really happening on social media that's concerning me, too, is that there's people who are experiencing binge eating episodes, and they're experiencing it because they're eating those hyper palatable foods. So what they're doing is going online and looking and seeing, oh, I have to stop. Restriction of these foods. And their binge eating is getting. Episodes are getting worse, more severe and more frequent, and they feel bad about themselves because they're saying, this isn't working for me, I must be doing something wrong. So I really just want anyone listening to this to know if they've used food as an emotional regulation mechanism. If they have episodes of binge eating they're uncomfortable with, it's very likely they haven't tried every model, and probably the model they're trying isn't working for them.


Can we walk through the mindset of someone who is emotionally driven to binge?

Michelle Shapiro [00:19:50]:
And that's okay. And that's why I want to have this episode. So, Nikki, walk us through, and we're going to both talk through this together. The mindset of someone, an example of someone, because everyone has different triggers of.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:20:02]:
What it feels like before a say. And again, each type of binge feels a little bit different. And this is also something you can explore within yourself, kind of walking through, oh, what does it feel like? If I really didn't eat that much all day and then I have a binge. I'm going into a binge or I feel like I want to binge. What does that feel like versus when I feel like I actually ate my adequate nutrients throughout the day, and now my boss yelled at me at work, and I came home and I was really stressed out, and that was leading me to a binge. So you might notice that your binges feel different depending on what the trigger is.

Michelle Shapiro [00:20:41]:
Let's pick one. Okay.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:20:42]:
So I like using the emotional one because I feel like more people have that experience.

Michelle Shapiro [00:20:48]:
Emotionally driven binging is more common than physically driven binging.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:20:53]:
And you tell me, too, in your experience. But I would say with my clients, that's what I see.

Michelle Shapiro [00:20:57]:
Yeah. Binging feels like something that takes the edge off of the day. It feels very regulating for people temporarily, and then it feels very dysregulating, as we know. Let's go with an emotional aspect of what it would feel like prior to a binge.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:21:12]:
So I would say, let's say you are really overwhelmed with work, and you come home and you feel like there's almost this ball of anxiety or energy that's kind of, like, making its way. It's, like, in your chest. And I wouldn't call it, like something like a reflux, but it's like this feeling of, this energy that you actually feel like sometimes maybe you could jump.

Michelle Shapiro [00:21:37]:
Up and down or go run a zinginess.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:21:39]:
Like a zinginess? Yeah, it's this energy that needs to come out, but it's like pinging and vibrating throughout your body, and it starts to kind of make its way into your head. And some people get dizzy. Some people get really kind of activated in this period. And I would say that because you're now entering such a state of fight or flight, a lot of people notice that. It's almost like if you were to be in an actual physical threat, like your amazing example that you always use when we're running from the bear. So it almost is like you lose your peripheral vision. Like, you start to get tunnel vision, physically and mentally. And then you really just.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:22:22]:
Especially if you've binged before, you start to then fixate on, what am I going to do to stop this feeling? I'm so uncomfortable. And that's when you might start to notice, I have those cookies in the cabinet. Oh, I made that thing. I have those leftovers in the fridge. Oh, what can I order? Let me go order something. Or some people notice, then they just open up ordering apps, and they're, like, on uber eats, kind of flipping through and some people also notice that as they start to then plan what they're going to, almost, that act starts to calm them a little bit.

Michelle Shapiro [00:22:56]:
A little bit of relief.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:22:57]:

Michelle Shapiro [00:22:57]:
Knowing that the discomfort is going to be over soon.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:23:00]:
Exactly. And so it's like, I don't have to ride this out much longer because my fix is coming soon. Sure. And it almost feels like some people then notice it almost is like an out of body experience toward the end of that feeling, like right before going into a binge. And there also might be a little bit of these thoughts that come in that's like the screw it mentality. It's like, yes, I'll just do this and I'll just worry about it tomorrow.

Michelle Shapiro [00:23:25]:
So I'll speak on that, too. So you've laid the groundwork that a pre binge is actually a very physical reaction for people oftentimes, and we don't notice it that much. So what Nikki is kind of explaining, and I've experienced through a client lens and the way that they've explained it to me is it's almost like you don't have weight in your. Like you feel flighty almost, and food will ground you kind of. So it feels like you're zingy flighty. And one client described it as like she didn't have blood flowing in her hands or something like that. She just needed something that would pull her down, kind of. And you feel very up high, which is an interesting sensation.

Michelle Shapiro [00:24:08]:
And it can feel like an empty, hollow, uncomfortable feeling. And at the same time, your brain is trying to protect you at all costs. Right. So the problem with binge eating is that your brain logically knows that there's a fallout in ways of physiological consequence if you binge eat. So what I really encourage clients to do is also, before the binge happens, understand that there's different voices at play. So often think it's just one voice, and it's like, you have to binge, and you must do this for me. But really what ends up happening is another voice comes out and says, well, if you binge, you're going to gain weight, and then you're really going to be upset, and summer is coming. Then that happens.

Michelle Shapiro [00:24:46]:
You can't binge again. I can't even believe you're considering binging again. And then the voice comes back out and says, but we're going to feel better if we binge. And another voice comes out and says, stop, screw it. I don't want to hear this conversation anymore. By the time the screw it voice comes. There's probably already been five other conversations that we missed. There's probably already been ten warning signs in our body.

Michelle Shapiro [00:25:07]:
That's what really the goal in treatment of binge eating, and working with binge eating is try to pick up on things before they're at the last second. Sometimes you're not going to be able to prevent a binge, and you can still use it as an opportunity to just see and sit with what you're experiencing during. There's so much opportunity in learning about binging, sitting with the discomfort of it and then still doing it. We're not telling anyone to stop binging, even if that's ultimately the goal, because there's so much to learn in this experience. So, Nikki, we're in this experience where we hear the voices in our head. They're going back and forth. They're competing with each other. We don't even realize it yet, maybe.

Michelle Shapiro [00:25:47]:
But we do notice some physical discomfort. We might not even pick up on the physical discomfort, by the way. Right. But we're starting to tell me we start to notice a little bit of relief when we order a food, maybe, or we even have the apps open. We have cookies. Tell me someone is going to binge in our example. What's the next step? What's the next sensation?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:26:07]:
So let's say now you have this food in front of you, and you're kind of about to start binging sometimes. And again, going back to the voices, sometimes there's this voice that's like, well.

Michelle Shapiro [00:26:21]:
We'Ll just have a bite of this.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:26:22]:
Or I'll just have one of these. And so I would say that the relief actually doesn't come until we have the whole screw it after that screw it is when it almost is enjoyable.

Michelle Shapiro [00:26:36]:
Of course it's enjoyable. Yeah.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:26:40]:
It's like a weight's been lifted. Like this relief of, like, okay, that weight that you've been holding from the day or from whatever kind of triggered you into this moment, you're releasing that entirely. And so if you're someone, especially who has trouble kind of with emotional release or with kind of processing your emotions, it becomes almost like a ritual. It becomes this process of really releasing all of this weight and then feeling like you're kind of coming back into your body almost in a way that. But you might also just be watching yourself doing it. So some people notice it feels so.

Michelle Shapiro [00:27:23]:
Out of control that they don't feel like they're in their bodies at all.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:27:25]:
Exactly. And so you're eating, but you're not actually even tasting a lot of the time. So you're going through the act of eating, but it's very emotionally satisfying. But not in the same way that, let's say you went to a bakery and sat down and had, like, a nice croissant or something. It's not that type of satisfying.

Michelle Shapiro [00:27:47]:
It's like press a dopamine button satisfying.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:27:49]:

Michelle Shapiro [00:27:50]:
Like that kind of very reward system response. And there are floods of chemicals going on in your body during this. Can you speak on that a little bit, too?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:27:59]:
It's like a hit, actually. So we know that the act of eating itself is calming. It brings our blood flow back to our gut. It's putting us into rest or rest and digest. There actually was, I worked with a girl who had. She actually did binge on carrots, which was your exact example before.

Michelle Shapiro [00:28:20]:
I definitely could binge on carrots, by the way. I get it, but it's a different experience. But I hear what you're saying.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:28:24]:
But it was interesting because we know that the act of eating calms the body. So even though it's not nearly as calming or satisfying as binging on a more hyper palatable food, that act of actually chewing is very grounding to us. So now we're also binging on things that are a little bit more carbohydrate heavy. We're really binging on something that might have a little bit more sugar content in it.

Michelle Shapiro [00:28:50]:
Sugar, salt, fat, carb combination, and perfect little combinations that really light our brains up.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:28:57]:
Yeah. So we're getting a lot of those happy neurotransmitters. So we're getting serotonin, dopamine. It's really starting to now we were in that fight or flight and very activated. And now it's really kind of making us feel a little bit calmer. It's physically calming us down and emotionally calming us down. And so when we're in that process, we want to continue because, oh, my gosh, this is 180 from where I felt before. I want to keep going.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:29:27]:
And so there's this period where it actually starts to continue feeling good. But what people might notice is if you're someone who binges on, let's say you're not really just binging on one food, you're hopping from one food to the next. We know that when we start to eat a certain food, it activates our reward system more than when we continue eating that same food.

Michelle Shapiro [00:29:51]:
You have kind of a drop off response when you eat the same Food as you continue to eat it. It's not giving you the same Punch.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:29:57]:
Right. So you might notice that you're spending five minutes on this food and then you're hopping to the next food because it's bringing you back up in terms of your reward system.

Michelle Shapiro [00:30:09]:
You got a new hit, but it's.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:30:10]:
Not nearly the same as that first hit WAs. So it's kind of like this diminishing return that keeps happening. And so then we start to hit this point where it starts to become a little bit. It's not as physically satisfying as it first was because now we're getting physical discomfort.


When do you notice people start to ground in and feel the physical discomfort from a binge?

Michelle Shapiro [00:30:31]:
And that'll happen. Would you say usually ten minutes into a binge? 2 hours after a binge, when do you notice people start to ground in and feel that physical discomfort?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:30:42]:
So this also depends on what People are binging on. I find. I find that People who have more of, like, an orthorexic tendency, like, they're really afraid to eat even like, paleo.

Michelle Shapiro [00:30:52]:
Cookies or something like that.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:30:53]:
Or people are eating like, a yogurt bowl or like a protein bread or like something that's really fibrous and really high protein, that physical discomfort actually hits before the emotional satisfaction hits. And so interesting. It's almost like the binge is less satisfying to them.

Michelle Shapiro [00:31:14]:
Yeah, that's really interesting. You almost need more of the healthy, not as hiddy foods to get that really good feeling versus if you were just having, like, a straight up Dunkin donuts donut or something like that, where you're going to get an immediate response, you don't get the same immediate response. So you actually might need more of those foods. And those foods are very dense for digestion, which also, many people who have recurrent binge eating episodes do consider, like, food density for binging as well.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:31:47]:
I'm sure. And so I would say that it really honestly depends. I would say it also depends on how much someone ate that day. But for some people, it's five minutes. For some people, it's like 30, 40 minutes. And then some people also take a break and then say that, okay, I'm physically uncomfortable, I'm done with this for tonight, and then actually notice that they come back and have kind of like a second binge in the same night.

Michelle Shapiro [00:32:14]:
And what do you think that's all about?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:32:17]:
Personally, I think that that is related to that psychological piece of the. Oh, my God, that was the last time that this was ever going to happen. I'm starting over fresh, and we don't ever want to cut something enjoyable out of our lives. It's actually something. It becomes like a routine that a lot of people look forward to at the end of their day.

Michelle Shapiro [00:32:41]:

Nicki Parlitsis [00:32:42]:
And so to say, I'm going to now never do that again. That also creates a threat response in the body that makes us want to binge to feel better again.

Michelle Shapiro [00:32:53]:
The really tricky part about treating binge eating is that during a binge, we have two very strong preservation responses competing against each other at the same time. One response is to keep us healthy, and one response is to keep us happy, essentially. And they're both going head to head at the same time, which ultimately leads to tremendous shame around binge eating. And I just want to say, and we should have said this at the top of the episode, if you have any shame around binge eating, the goal of this episode is to reduce your shame around binge eating. If not, completely eliminate it, because we're giving an understanding of exactly why this happens. Binge eating is very sensible to me. It makes total sense to me, and it's a practical solution to a very challenging problem that we have, which is feeling like crap. It actually helps us feel better.

Michelle Shapiro [00:33:43]:
So if you are a person who experiences that shame around binge eating, because I know it's counter to your health goals, it's counter to our emotional goals and our physical goals. But if someone's listening to this and feels that shame around binge eating, I can't take the shame away with a snap. But I hope some of the conversation we're having is internalizing to understand you are doing this for a reason. And when we can find out the reason and work with the reason, that's when the binge can transform. But the shame around binge eating, I feel, is the biggest driver of binge eating outside of all of this, is post binge. Nikki, take us to that moment. Post binge. What's the conversation like in our heads? What do we feel like after a binge?


What does someone feel like after a binge?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:34:22]:
So sometimes there's this, and it might happen right away. It might actually happen after about 510 minutes. There's this euphoria. It's almost like. It kind of feels like a drug. Like I'm in this euphoric state. And usually it's really hard to kind of have a conversation with someone. You feel like you kind of just want to lay and be for a second, and you're kind of like, riding this high, really.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:34:50]:
That's coming from all of these chemicals and neurotransmitters in your brain. And then that starts to really kind of dissipate and you start to be left with the physical feeling of fullness, the fear of waking, if that's something that scares you and this sometimes shame around, what did I just do?

Michelle Shapiro [00:35:10]:
Why did I do that?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:35:11]:
I did that again. I said I would never do that again.

Michelle Shapiro [00:35:13]:
And it makes people feel a lot of self betrayal. Yeah, I noticed. And they're like, I thought I was a person who could be above this or something. I just want to say something. No one is above our biology, so we can't fight our biology. And if we do not, the only thing we can do is pretty much ride out discomfort, explore discomfort, and then it transforms. But if we are constantly uncomfortable, you would have to be silly to not binge eat, right? You'd have to be silly to not do these things. It makes sense.

Michelle Shapiro [00:35:42]:
It makes us feel better. Binge eating is a supportive tool for making us feel better.


How can you reframe your relationship with binge eating?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:35:47]:
By the way, it's really interesting you say that too, because it just reminded me that when you're treating binge eating, especially in someone that's really kind of binging because of some type of trauma or deep seated, really intense emotional pain, you actually are not even supposed to treat the binging until they have some type of trauma therapist or some type of strategy to manage what comes up when the binging is gone because the discomfort is so great and painful that it actually becomes a concern when it's.

Michelle Shapiro [00:36:23]:
Almost dangerous not to remove a tool that's so supportive and helpful. Yeah, I see this in addiction transference too, where when you go to twelve step meetings, everyone's smoking cigarettes and eating cake together. Not to say, but the point being that because there's chemical alterations that happen in your brain during binge eating, to go cold turkey on it even is not something that generally is going to be sustainable in the long term. So people saying to themselves, I'm never binging again and I'm not going to do it. That actually can again cause that preservation response to kick in and be a trigger for binging in the future. So the language we want people to use around binging is more, wow, I really didn't like that. I noticed how I felt during that. Let me retrace my steps a little bit and see where I can kind of support myself throughout.

Michelle Shapiro [00:37:14]:
But the language is not, you're the worst person in the world because you binge eat. Not only because ouch. And that's really hurtful to say to oneself and all of our baseline, but also because it's extremely and incredibly unhelpful for treating binge eating. Self cruelty is very unsupportive. For binge eating recovery.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:37:34]:
And I noticed that when we start to tell clients or talk with people about how this is actually, it makes complete sense. This is actually your body's way of kind of protecting itself, it does lift a lot of that guilt and shame, and sometimes just that knowledge alone is enough to kind of calm some of the binge urges a little bit, especially the ones that are driven out of shame and poor self image. And one of the strategies when it comes to the way that we talk to ourself, and one of the strategies that can help us also reduce our tendency to binge, is also increasing our self confidence. And a lot of people say that they're like, I'm really confused, like, I'm binging because I am really unhappy with the way I look or feel about myself. How could I possibly? I can't be confident until I reach that point. But what we notice is this is true. When it comes to sustainable weight loss, when it comes to sustainable reduction in binge behaviors, if we actually start with the positive self image, and it could be affirmations or mantras, whatever you want to call it, when we start to talk nicer to ourself and really lift ourselves up in the way that you would, a friend who was really depressed and going through a hard time, that can actually lift you out of a lot of these behaviors because you start to feel the confidence in your ability to sit with discomfort and to kind of ride out that feeling as well.

Michelle Shapiro [00:39:12]:
Absolutely. And we're going to talk about sitting with the discomfort piece. I was struck to share while we've been talking about my childhood experience. And if you've listened to the podcast before, I grew up in a larger body as a child, and part of my uncomfortable relationship with food came from the fact that because I was in a larger body, I didn't feel comfortable eating in front of other people. And that's a huge driver for binging for people, because they're finally home, finally relaxed, they're finally not being seen. And being seen can be really uncomfortable when it comes to eating. And I used to have this image, and this just struck me when we were talking of myself as this little kid who would binge. And I felt like I was very sneaky about it.

Michelle Shapiro [00:39:54]:
And now I just think about, thank goodness my little smart self saved my own life because I was starving. So thank goodness, like, my little brain saved my own life. And that's the kind of language I want people to start using, is thank you to binge eating. Thank you to myself for protecting me, and thank you for saving my life when I needed it. Food may have been the only friend that some people had during some moments in their life. If people have stressful days that are 15 hours long and they come home and they can finally unwind, let's be appreciative towards binge eating. As we're saying that if we even think of the word binge eating, we can almost picture it differently. It feels different than if we say, you have to stop binge eating, then thank you, binge eating.

Michelle Shapiro [00:40:36]:
And that's the kind of transformation we're looking for, is to create a positive relationship with binge eating. Instead of trying to cut it out, eliminate it. It just really doesn't work when you do that.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:40:48]:
And so going back to something you said earlier, that in the way that we're reframing this, we're approaching it with curiosity, as we are any other behavior that we have or that our thought that our body has or our brain has, we're really looking at, why am I thinking this way? Why am I doing these things? And so if we remove the shame, approach it with curiosity, what a lot of people start to notice is maybe you still are binging, and you actually probably are, because it's not something that really stops right away. But let's say now you come home from work and you start a binge, and now maybe right around this halfway mark where the shame used to come in, that might have driven you toward a continuation of the binge. Another ten minutes. Instead of that shame voice coming in, now this voice is coming in like, ooh, something really intense must have happened today for this to be going on. And it's that curiosity, having that curiosity over the course of the past day or week is now showing you, oh, something's going on that I think I have to explore. And so that might actually prompt you to take a step back in the middle of your binge and notice I actually feel a lot better than I felt when I came home. Can I maybe just sit for a second and calm down? Because I know that I'm now feeling.

Michelle Shapiro [00:42:16]:
A little bit better.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:42:17]:
I might not need that extra ten minutes of my binge, because I'm realizing that that maybe was that first ten minutes was what I needed to really get into this calmer state, and now I can sit and maybe try to explore kind of what drove me toward this point.

Michelle Shapiro [00:42:34]:
Absolutely. Yeah. I think if we instantly change the language around binging to binging being something that's protective and potentially positive, it already is going to get into the subconscious of people during the week. And Nikki, when we're working with clients on binge eating, which is something we work on all the like, it comes up in most of our client conversations, really our goal and the biggest tool we have, and we're just going to kind of not gatekeep. This is really just having people feel comfortable with their own actions and understand themselves better. I think that's the most important transformation piece is, oh, I get why I'm doing that. I'm not a horrible person. I'm not a shameful person for doing this.

Michelle Shapiro [00:43:18]:
It makes sense. Now that I know it makes sense, I need to understand why I'm doing it myself and personally. And then the understanding of binge eating is what transforms it. The understanding of oneself and building confidence in oneself transforms it. So the kind of conventional treatment to binge eating, again, is not only to liberalize all food restrictions, of course, it covers the psychological aspect of binge eating too. But then it also covers making sure that you're eating regularly enough and eating enough protein and eating enough of a balance of macronutrients that your body's not hungry in a non obvious way that then drives you to binge. So that's just right off the bat. If we have tips for people.


What tips are there to avoid impulse binging?

Michelle Shapiro [00:44:02]:
If you are binge eating, I would say something like intermittent fasting, interestingly, can actually trigger or help binge eating. It's interesting, sometimes when it comes to binge eating, black and white rules are very helpful. And sometimes black and white rules are very triggering. And there's two different prototypes. I will tell you for myself, I do very well with black and white rules. So in my own health healing journey, I have to be like, Michelle, you have to walk at 07:00 a.m. Every day. It's just a non.

Michelle Shapiro [00:44:31]:
And Nikki, by the way, we have the same conversation. We ask each other if the other one walked. You have to walk at 07:00 a.m. You have to eat breakfast. Once my brain starts going, would it be interesting if I went on a very low carb diet? Like, no, we don't do that. You have to kind of learn what your things are in this process of healing, in this process of transforming your binge eating. And I'm going to use the word transforming binge eating the whole time we're talking, as opposed to ending binge eating. In the process of transforming binge eating, though, it's really about knowing yourself and what you need.

Michelle Shapiro [00:45:01]:
So if I didn't eat for an entire day, I promise you I would be binging. Another piece of this that's important is that the impulse to binge comes from either a voice, a sensation in the body. The goal of any binge eating transformation is so that ultimately, over time, the trigger to binge is lower, so you don't feel as much urgency around it. So I would say I haven't had any urgency to binge in several years. It's not what I go towards. I have other forms of self degradation. We all do. And not saying that binge eating is necessarily that, but I have ways to make myself feel better when I need to, essentially.

Michelle Shapiro [00:45:40]:
But that no longer becomes the impulse. So when you are very sensitized to it and repeatedly doing binge eating, the thoughts around it, the urgency to do it may be higher. So also noticing that the goal in the journey is A, to have lower urgency and input of need for it, and b, knowing how to respond when that urgency or input comes up. So let's be really honest about an experience someone would have. Nikki. So let's say they're in that state. What would we recommend for someone who's in that moment, in that state, even though this is not medical or nutrition advice, if they're in that moment or in a state of. I am about to binge, and I feel so ill right now.

Michelle Shapiro [00:46:20]:
I feel bloated. I feel stomach discomfort. I feel light and flighty and zingy. What am I doing in this exact moment?


Explain Stephanie Marafox's concept of introducing a pause between the trigger and the response

Nicki Parlitsis [00:46:28]:
So in that moment? And this also brings us back to some of Stephanie Mara Fox's amazing work with.

Michelle Shapiro [00:46:36]:
So season one. Early in the season, I don't want to say which one. It was episode three.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:46:42]:
I think it was episode three.

Michelle Shapiro [00:46:43]:
Yeah. Season one, episode three, we had Stephanie Marafox, who is a somatic eating practitioner, and Stephanie says this brilliant statement. Somatic eating is the step before intuitive eating. And what Stephanie means by that is that we jump into intuitive eating as being, oh, I want to try intuitive eating to help support, but if we don't feel what's going on inside of our bodies, we actually can't eat intuitively. So you need to eat and experience food somatically. So now go back to it.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:47:10]:
So she introduced this concept of introducing a pause between the trigger and the response. So the trigger being how you feel it could be. And this confuses people all the time, but it can be. I feel bloated. I actually want to binge. Or it can be, I am extremely overwhelmed or stressed or sad or lonely. And so that would be. Let's say your trigger and the response would be reaching for food.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:47:35]:
So we're not taking away the response. We're not saying, I can't binge today. We're saying, I actually can binge. But let me just pause for a second and just sit with this feeling and practice exploring what this discomfort feels like for even 2 seconds.

Michelle Shapiro [00:47:54]:
2 seconds. We're not talking about two minutes. We're talking about 2 seconds. Okay. I don't feel good. Where do I feel it?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:47:59]:
Where do I feel it?

Michelle Shapiro [00:48:00]:
Okay, I notice that. I acknowledge that. Okay, go on.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:48:04]:
And that is key, naming it. So also that feeling of even just saying out loud, even if you can't identify. I feel overwhelmed or stressed just saying, wow, I'm having an urge to binge. I feel activated. I feel a ball of anxiety in my chest. Just voicing that and naming it can also really just calm our system because our body is like, oh, she hears me. She gets it.

Michelle Shapiro [00:48:37]:
Totally. And you mentioned naming it. I'll take it one step further to say coloring it, which means, and we talked about this in season one, episode three as well. But if I feel a weirdness in my chest, close your eyes and picture what color that is. So it's like, there's a weird yellow in my chest. And you can even ask yourself, how do I make that not yellow? And you're like, binge eating will make it not yellow. Or maybe there's a friend you could call who makes you feel heart centered. Maybe there's an activity you can do.

Michelle Shapiro [00:49:05]:
Maybe you can just walk outside and take a second. It's not even putting off the binge. It's responding to the exact thing that's going on in your body. What I can almost promise someone is that if they're present during a binge, in whatever way they can be, it will transform the binge. It will transform the binge. So any way you can bring presence and somatic experience of being in your body, which means just noticing you have a body at all, that is going to be so transformative. It seems like these are not hacks. It seems like these are annoying recommendations from us.

Michelle Shapiro [00:49:41]:
It's like, just tell me how to stop binging. I don't want to hear this. But in reality, long term, this is actually the model that we're really not keeping anything. This is actually the model we would be using with clients and do use with clients all the time. It's so much more about regulating ourselves and so much more about understanding how we feel and responding to how we feel, because remember, binge eating builds in the moment a real sense of trust within self. Because you're saying, I need something, and your body is speaking to you, and you're responding and saying, I got you. We have to think of, how else can we say, I got you to our bodies? How else can we support our bodies in a way that's supportive in the short term and in the long term?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:50:23]:
And this also might come back to why you have that urge in the first place. I know in my binge eating journey, I would find myself in the kitchen, but it was almost always standing up at the counter like it was never sitting down. And so I would just kind of turn around with my back to the counter and just sit on the floor. Something about sitting on the floor. And again, it might not be for everyone, but it's very grounding. Even laying down on the floor, you can have your legs up the wall. But even. Also just giving.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:50:57]:
If you feel like the urge to binge is more emotional, you might even give yourself. Hearing myself say this, I know that years ago, I would have been like, this girl needs to stop talking. I would literally just do this. Wrap your arms around yourself or even hold your own hand, put your hands together. And basically, I would kind of put my hands together and picture one of my hands is the part of me that's needing comfort, and then that other hand is this other piece of me that's like, we're going to get through this. It's going to be okay. And especially if you live alone or you don't have someone with you in that moment, and a lot of times you don't really want someone with you in that moment either, because it's a very intentionally lonely experience that you don't want it.

Michelle Shapiro [00:51:49]:
You are intentionally isolating yourself to fix something, right? Yeah.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:51:52]:
And so if it's born from an emotional or emotionally driven, just even kind of giving yourself that comfort in a hug or a handhold or something and just telling yourself, okay, I'm here with you, and we can totally binge. That's definitely an option that we have, but we might just try sitting here for a few more seconds. And you might notice that as time goes on, that urge starts to go down a little bit. And let's say you do decide, hey, I actually still really need to binge right now. Maybe that binge is shorter, or maybe.

Michelle Shapiro [00:52:29]:
It'S exactly the same, but you experience it differently.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:52:31]:

Michelle Shapiro [00:52:32]:
And you don't have as much shame after or something like that. So I had. This is a reference I've used in other conversations, but I'm going to bring it into this because it made me emotional when you said, I got you with the hand. So there's a scene in Harry Potter. What a surprise. I'm talking about Harry Potter on the podcast where in the fourth movie, third movie. In the third movie, end book. But the movie visual is very important.

Michelle Shapiro [00:52:56]:
Harry is at this lake. It's the third movie with. It's definitely the third movie. And I'm so embarrassed. He's with Hermione and he's watching himself basically die. And he thinks that because they're using time travel, he thinks that his father, who's passed away, is going to come and save him. Nikki's like, you lost me on, like.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:53:18]:
I know exactly the scene that you're talking about. And I'm like, it is a perfect.

Michelle Shapiro [00:53:21]:
And I'm going to start crying when I think about it. So good. So basically, Harry's waiting for his dad to come. And he's like, waiting, waiting for his father to come. And he says, no, I know he's coming. I saw him come. And then Hermione says, harry, nobody's coming. And then Harry actually sends his own patronus out to save his own life.

Michelle Shapiro [00:53:38]:
And I feel very much with binge eating. If you can feel like the Harry in that moment and just know that you can always be there for yourself. And I don't know if I want to use this term, but save yourself. I just found that so powerful when it comes to any aspect of our health, is that really no one is coming. I mean, of course we're here to help people and support people, but feeling like you're the tough one and you're the one who's able to save the day is so important. So that top hand that you said that says, I got you, that's holding on. We kind of have to get our inner sabers out and our inner strength in these moments, too. And inner strength doesn't mean ignoring ourselves.

Michelle Shapiro [00:54:19]:
It means being really compassionate and just having one side of you that's holding the other side of you. And I think that's so powerful. I want anyone listening to understand that there is a part of you that is strong beyond measure and is infinitely strong and absolutely can hold the part of you that's not feeling as strong in the moment. So I love just using your hands or using your arms. Like, picture you're big and strong and you're wrapping your arms around yourself and just knowing that you're going to be the one who's going to save you. And it's not saving you from binge eating, it's saving you from not knowing yourself, saving you from that discomfort. But you are going to be that person. You're going to be able to do it.


What is the point of binge eating transformation?

Nicki Parlitsis [00:54:58]:
And I think that's why when we talk about strategies to reduce binge eating, a lot of the strategies that we talk about are actually not in the immediate before, during and after the binge, which is interesting because I hear a lot from my clients saying, oh, my therapist told me to journal. But when I get the urge to binge, a lot of times, and that can be helpful if that's something that's doable for you. What I find is a lot of people, that moment is so intense, and you actually just so don't feel like yourself in that moment that it might not be the time to be exploring your triggers. And so sometimes taking a step back and exploring those triggers when you actually feel very safe and you feel like yourself. Exactly.

Michelle Shapiro [00:55:44]:
You feel authentically attached to yourself. Remember that binging feels a lot like betrayal. Binging feels a lot like a divergence from self. So anything that calls you to kind of be yourself when you're already feeling not yourself is not going to feel right, and it's not going to feel good. I totally get that, too. Sometimes when we're anxious or sometimes when we don't feel well, we need to ride that as opposed to trying to change it. And that's what's really important in binge eating. None of what we said is saying stop doing the thing.

Michelle Shapiro [00:56:13]:
That's not the point of binge eating transformation. The point of binge eating transformation is to experience it. And the act of experiencing binge eating is what transforms binge eating. So you have to be in it with yourself, because at the time that it happens, we feel very disconnected intentionally from our physical and mental selves because we don't want to be there. It's not feeling good to be there.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:56:37]:
Yeah. And so some people might notice either, like you said, riding out that feeling in that moment. So maybe that pause between the trigger and responding in the form of a binge, or responding in the form of a different self soothing strategy, maybe that pause was 1st, 10 seconds or 2 seconds. And now maybe it's 20 seconds, maybe it's a minute or two. Maybe you got to the point where you can kind of lay there for five minutes and kind of soothe yourself. And like you also said before, maybe it's the same exact amount of time. Maybe you've only ever been able to sit there for 10 seconds. But the way that you sit with yourself is different.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:57:17]:
And the trust that you have in yourself is different over time. And that's still progress. That's still part of that transformation. You might find that if you feel maybe thinking through. When do I feel most like myself? It could be coming back from spending time with friends. It could be the first moment you wake up in the morning, and maybe that's the moment to journal and explore. How do I feel in my body?

Michelle Shapiro [00:57:44]:
It's when you feel the most like yourself and the toughest.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:57:47]:

Michelle Shapiro [00:57:47]:
It's when you feel like, I am not a tumbleweed in the desert that anything can push me over and I'm going to blow away in the wind, but I'm a tree in the forest that's been there thousands of years, and nothing can touch me because I'm so grounded and strong. We all have at least one moment during the day, maybe during the month, where we feel like that. And what you're saying, and I'm hearing you beautifully say, too, Nikki, is that if we can access that person, that's the person you want to hear from. That's the person you want to learn from, and that's the person you want to know is on your team when you need them the most. So that's when we journal, as opposed to journaling and becoming so aware of how uncomfortable we are and so aware of how weak we feel. I don't know if the word's weak, but, like, out of control. We feel. And some people do feel weak in those moments.

Michelle Shapiro [00:58:33]:
We journal in the moments where we feel the most badass and the strongest to remind ourselves, like, oh, yeah, I'm that cool person, and you're always that cool person all the time.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:58:43]:
And it can let.

Michelle Shapiro [00:58:44]:
The binging is uncool. Binging is cool.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:58:48]:
The way that we've been talking about this is as if it's you bringing yourself through it, which 100%, you can do this, and you might be the person that you rely on. But I have also heard from clients that they have an amazing partner, that they actually have trouble talking themselves through some of these things. And by sitting with their partner and kind of being open with them, and it almost makes them feel like it's less of a secret that they're harboring. And it kind of is this feeling of relief, like, oh, it's out in the open. This big secret is revealed again. If you don't feel safe with someone else, that's totally fine. You don't have to be bringing someone else into this. But if there is someone that you trust and that typically when you feel really down, brings you into that strength and brings you, they're like, supplementing this strength to you that you then take on.

Nicki Parlitsis [00:59:42]:
If there's someone in your life that typically is able to do that for you, then it could be worth exploring to also bring them into that journey.

Michelle Shapiro [00:59:50]:
Absolutely. And I think the way that that would be done is something along the lines of, hey, this is happening. I don't like it. We know what to do. And I think having a partner be very non reactionary and just witnessing you is more important than someone saying, I'm going to close the cabinets for you, or something that feels even more restrictive and threatening. I think the way that someone helps you through it is they will try to support the somatic part of it with you and be like, oh, what are you feeling? So you can ask them to ask questions. What could we do that would be supportive for you? How can I help you during this time? Or I really like, if it was something again where maybe I had a physical symptom, if I went to my husband and was like, hey, Jeremy, I feel weird. And he was like, oh, my God, how can I help you? I'd be like, that really annoyed me, honestly.

Michelle Shapiro [01:00:37]:
I would be like, I just want him to be like, okay, I'll be in the other room if you need me. Just know I'm here. Just knowing someone's there and destigmatizing it and really talking about binge eating from a very non shameful, destigmatized way. Like, yeah, I have this thing, and it's a part of the way that I regulate. If I come to you, here's what I expect from you and what would help me. I think that's the best way to do it, because most people in our lives who are our family want to just help us by fixing things, and that's also not going to be supportive. So I think asking people for help and telling them how to help you is probably the best way. And I find nonreaction, non judgment, just a feeling of strength and support.

Michelle Shapiro [01:01:16]:
Being there is usually the most effective.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:01:18]:
When we talk about journaling, I think that's very scary for people sometimes that they're don't. There's a blank page, and I don't know what the hell to put on here. So it's also helpful. And I do this with clients sometimes that will have. It would be Michelle's handbook or Michelle's manual.

Michelle Shapiro [01:01:39]:
Rules of engagement.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:01:40]:

Michelle Shapiro [01:01:40]:
It would be like, these are the.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:01:41]:
Rules, my rules, for my manual on how to get through my life. And so part of that journal experience can be okay. When I'm feeling this way, this is the type of support I need from someone else. Or I find that laying on the ground for five minutes is very helpful for me. Or just even like, a list of strategies that you find helpful and soothing to you and creating a different type of ritual. Maybe coming home from work and taking an Epsom salt bath or having some type of something to turn to, actually, because we know that there's a reason that you have been turning to binging. And so we still want to be addressing whatever that need is in the body. And again, I always like to call out anytime I say something like an Epsom salt bath or something.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:02:35]:
I know if you have multiple kids and everyone's running around and you're like.

Michelle Shapiro [01:02:38]:
Yeah, a bath, 20 minutes, please. Right? Like a bath.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:02:42]:
I haven't taken a bath since I was 21. It doesn't have to be something that.

Michelle Shapiro [01:02:49]:
Extreme. It doesn't also be that length of time. Right. It's really just run outside for a second, scream and come back inside if you have to. Everyone regulates differently. Like, Nikki, we're New Yorkers. We come from very, even though your mom's the sweetest person ever, Kathy, she's listening. We come from very direct and bold personality households.

Michelle Shapiro [01:03:11]:
If something felt uncomfortable for us, we wouldn't respond as well with, like, everything's going to be okay. We would be like, you're lying to me. That's not what we're. So you have to also think about how do you interact with yourself during these times? And that might be what you put in your manual, which is like, say this in this voice, like this person, instead of saying to yourself, like, right before binge, everything is okay. It's fine if you binge. You don't think it's fine. Most people do not think it's fine if they're binging. They have tremendous amount of shame around it.

Michelle Shapiro [01:03:39]:
So it could just be like, it's not right, but it's okay. It's not right, but it's okay. And think about how you're interacting with yourself around any sort of emotional eating episode.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:03:49]:
Exactly. And even you can put quotes in there, too. And that can include quotes in the morning that say, I am strong. I am starting to list out things that you admire about yourself.

Michelle Shapiro [01:04:01]:

Nicki Parlitsis [01:04:02]:
That builds out up that confidence, and it might be stuff you don't believe, which is completely not going to believe it.

Michelle Shapiro [01:04:08]:
It's part of the game.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:04:09]:
We're brainwashing ourselves, and that's okay.

Michelle Shapiro [01:04:11]:
Exactly. We're gaslighting and brainwashing ourselves into being happy and, well, I love that this is a podcast, not to gaslight yourself. Exactly. Instead of having other people gaslight, you just gaslight yourself first. You know what I mean? And then gaslight them. Be like, I already gaslight myself. I'm good. Yeah.

Michelle Shapiro [01:04:26]:
This is the Gaslighting podcast. Also, gaslighting is a very funny word for us to say in our gas lighting. Again, I love this idea of this manual, too. I hope that people make their list or their thing, and it's so weird that someone else reads it and says, I have literally no idea what this is. That's how weird that book should be. And I love this idea of a manual for people. So if we sum all this up, first thing when it comes to binge eating that people really want to understand, and I want them to hear, is that binge eating is a tool for preservation. If you are binge eating, you are doing it for a reason, and it is valid.

Michelle Shapiro [01:04:59]:
It is an okay thing to do, and it doesn't make you bad. It makes perfect sense why you're doing it. The next thing when it comes to binge eating is to think about. There's three different models for the treatment of binge eating. One is that you have to liberalize all food restrictions. One is that you treat the nervous system and somatically experience through a binge. The other is that you have to take foods out of your diet that are potentially triggering. Again, models one and three are opposite of each other.

Michelle Shapiro [01:05:27]:
You have to find out which model works best for you. If you've tried one model and it hasn't worked, jump to another model and try that. It's okay to jump around and try. The more important lesson from kind of this podcast episode is that binge eating is something to be experienced, and experiencing binge eating is the transformation. So any way you can experience it, whether you write a manual for yourselves of how to experience it, whether you lay on the ground and let the wave of discomfort flow through you and still binge, whether you bring consciousness to it and just say, I notice how I'm feeling during it, any way you can experience a binge, you will transform a binge. So that is the main message here, is there's nothing to feel ashamed about, and then also bring your toughest self into the conversation. In our Harry Potter lesson of the day, we had a moment again where Harry had to save himself. It's going to be you.

Michelle Shapiro [01:06:21]:
You are the cavalry you're waiting for, and you can do it. And when we mean you can do it, it doesn't mean you can stop binging. It means you can be there for yourself. And I know you can be there for yourself.

Nicki Parlitsis [01:06:32]:
And remember that, as Michelle said, this is a transformation. It's a journey. So if you tried all three models, which parts of each model fit best with you? You can make your own model, depending on pulling from the things that benefited you from each piece. And again, that might look different over time, but we know that you have the full capability of doing this. It's just really, honestly about exploring yourself and getting curious with how you're feeling.

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