Binge Eating Disorder Recovery and Intuitive Eating

March 21, 2022 Emma Parten

I was introduced to the power of intuitive eating during my second attempt at eating disorder recovery. Before then, I was aware of my binge eating disorder, but I still restricted my food and shamed myself when I binged. I'd reached a point where I knew that something had to change, but I didn't know how to change it.

I eventually found a therapist who introduced me to the concept of intuitive eating. The basic principles of intuitive eating are simple on the surface. Eat when you're hungry. Eat what sounds good and feels good. Stop eating when you're full. Legalize all foods; there is no such thing as good or bad foods. 

Intuitive eating is grounded in respecting your body as it is. As I tried to let go of all my food rules, I realized that for most of my life I had ignored my body's cues because I was determined to change my appearance. I was deeply uncomfortable giving up my rules.

Diets Lead to Binge Eating

I held onto a set of rules about food for most of my life. In high school, I would carry the same tray of the healthiest options I could find in the food court. I would watch my friends eat their varied lunches wondering how they could not feel guilty afterward. 

The food rules I had kept me preoccupied with food. I placed so much of my self-esteem on eating what I believed was healthy. Instead of thinking about what I would like to accomplish in the future, I thought about food and how I could gain respect and esteem from how "healthy" I appeared to be.

Then I started binge eating. Binge eating became a pressure release from all the rules I kept myself under for years, and it also crushed the fragile self-esteem I had. I would follow my food rules until at some point I would break them all. This is the cycle I had to break free of.

Intuitive Eating and Eating Disorder Recovery

Intuitive eating has been the driving force of my recovery. And still, this doesn't mean I eat perfectly. Sometimes I overeat because I'm worried, or I restrict food because I feel uncomfortable in my body. The difference is now I recognize when I tilt in the wrong direction. I remind myself to listen to my body and hunger cues and let go of dictating what I can and can't eat. 

Intuitive eating works well for eating disorder recovery because it teaches you to go back to before dieting was a thought in your mind. Think back to the time before your eating disorder formed. Usually, when a child is hungry, they scan for what sounds good. They leap down from the table and leave behind a finished or unfinished plate depending on how hungry they feel. 

There is a middle ground between binge eating and dieting. That zone is where I practice allowing myself to enjoy the full spectrum of foods that I love. I believe intuitive eating will be something I'm practicing every day of my life.

I encourage you to examine what your food rules are, and how they affect you. Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

APA Reference
Parten, E. (2022, March 21). Binge Eating Disorder Recovery and Intuitive Eating, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Emma Parten

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