“I began to crave not only food, but the act of binge eating. Once I’d tasted what a binge felt like—how wonderful it felt to have the pressure of dieting lifted for a few brief moments, to give in to all my cravings and just stuff myself—it became even harder to resist. When trying to fight an urge to binge, I’d remind myself how guilty and fat I always felt afterward; but I remembered the pleasure much more. It was as though part of me knew the consequences”
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Does that sound familiar: you are on point with your diet for 5 days and then, the weekend comes.
You eat everything that you can find in the kitchen. You late night snacking. Then you feel bad about it the next day. Same thing over again the next weekend. Cycle continues…
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I will be honest here: I thought about writing a review on “Brain over Binge” by Kathryn Hansen for getting commissions… However, the more I read about this book, the more I became interested in reading it myself.
And I did. I bought the book and I can tell you this for sure: “Brain over Binge” is my number one book on food addiction from now on!
This is a brilliant book on binge eating disorders as well as a great book for people who struggle with changing bad habits.
Kathryn disagrees with the mainstream idea of treating bingeing and explains why traditional therapy fails many.
Kathryn Hansen – Author
Kathryn Hansen – excelled in sports, had great academical grades. However, she developed an eating disorder from dieting for competitive sports.
She would consume thousands of calories at one sitting. And, naturally, she would feel guilty about it. So, she exercises for 5-7 hours to burn all those calories off…
This went on for years.
Her parents took her to numerous therapists who told them many different things: eating disorders are caused by crappy childhood, low self-esteem, bad habits.
She didn’t have any of these things, though… She was told it is impossible to fix binge eating unless Kathryn fixes these issues first.
One night, after yet another binge, Kathryn found herself looking for the answers in a book store. She stumbled across the book called “Rational Recovery” by Jack Trimpey.
This book changed her life!
She found out how the brain works: The brain is designed to keep her safe. It was not designed to keep her happy.
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“The Animal Brain”
I bet you have heard that voice at the start of the diet telling you:
“This is the last time. I will start fresh tomorrow” or “You had a great workout, you can eat that”.
That is “The Animal Brain”.
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It’s this part of the brain that controls our survival mechanisms. It tells us to breathe for example. It also sends hunger signals when your body needs food.
Kathryn stimulated this part of her brain most of the time by bingeing.
The other part of the brain is “The Logic Brain”. Kathryn found that “The Animal Brain” and “The Logic Brain” are often in conflict with one another.
For example, when you start a diet, “The Animal Brain” tells you to eat and “The Logic Brain” tells not to if you want to lose weight.
That is when that voice comes in. Kathryn started to talk back to the “animal voice”. She refused to give it power. That fixed her bingeing.
It sounds very simple, right? Just refuse to give the power to “The Animal Brain”…
“I knew my thoughts were not under my control, but my actions were,” she writes. “I found it infinitely more gratifying when I accepted responsibility for my behavior and chose to change it.”
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Kathryn came to the realization that nothing bad happened when she ignored bingeing and all the cravings. The urge to overeat got smaller and smaller as she ignored them.
Over time, she realized she was in control of the “animal brain”. Kathryn managed to cure her binge eating when years of therapy did not help at all.
Interestingly, she decided to try to binge as an experiment. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t even think of an idea to sit down and eat without any control over her actions.
Brain over binge is exactly what I’ve searched for both in my work, and in my life! Kathryn has taken complicated brain science and simplified it in a way that makes it usable for all of us. My clients are thrilled when they learn the basic concepts in this book and how it explains their urges to binge.
Amy Johnson, PhD
Takeaways From This Book
- In order to make long-lasting changes, you need to recognize the addictive animal voice.
- Then, you must separate yourself from that voice. Call the voice “It” and talk back directly to it.
- Tell “it” that you are in control, refuse to give away the power and tell “it” to go away.
- Know that when you ignore the cravings, they will eventually subside and you can enjoy the feeling that you are in control!
“Brain over Binge” is a brave book that will help many people who struggle with binge eating, cravings and late night snacking.
The book provides both a gripping personal and scientific perspective on binge eating disorder and will help you if you find difficulty in limiting bad habits.
If you would like to check the book, here is the link to the Amazon.
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If you think you have crappy genetics, I tell you: SCREW YOU! You’ve no idea how many times I heard this. And yet, my clients managed to transform their lives with a couple of our simple strategies!
Certificate in strength and conditioning, 2014. Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuania
Athletic Training, 2013. Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Certificate IV in fitness, 2017. The Eagle Academy, Australia