EP 146: Reader Question – What is the link between drinking and binge eating?

There seems to be a correlation between binging food and binging alcohol. If there is a link, what is it? Annie Grace answers this question, giving us three theories that might help explain this. She discusses the ‘forbidden fruit’ syndrome, self-medicating with food/alcohol, and filling the void in our lives with food and drinking.

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What’s the connection?

Is there a link between drinking and binge eating? What is the science behind it? Start reading This Naked Mind today to learn more.

Drinking and Binge Eating

There’s a very intense link actually between binge drinking and binge eating and just alcohol abuse in general and binge eating. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be binge drinking. Alcohol problems are actually five times more common in people who’ve binge eat than in the general population. In fact, 50 percent of people who binge abused alcohol. So why does this happen?

I’m going to give you basically three theories. Some of them are somewhat similar, but these are the most prevalent theories that are out there.

Restricted

The same mechanisms that you can use to overcome drinking by changing your thinking about it, foundationally changing your life and your ability to relate to yourself in a more healthy way will absolutely also help with binge eating. The first theory is this struggle between desire and discipline. This theory goes something like this we have built inside of us this forbidden fruit syndrome. When we restrict something in our lives and women often restrict food for all sorts of social reasons and body image reasons and self-hatred reasons, et cetera. Then we are much more prone to overindulge later because willpower only last so long. It’s finite. And ultimately when we feel restricted, restricted, restricted than we feel like we need that indulgence.

Binge

This happens with food certainly. So if you’re on a diet, studies correlate being, you know, strict dieting, strict adherence to what goes into your mouth very much focused on body has a very strong correlation with binge eating because you feel like you’ve done so good. Finally it’s like a volcano explodes and you just have to put everything you can in your mouth. You don’t even have control. It feels completely out of your control because guess what? You’ve been doing it for so long that it’s gotten so tight, it’s finally just broke. The same thing can happen with alcohol and there’s so much with binge drinking. Binge drinkers will often tell me, well, you know, I don’t really have a problem because I didn’t drink every day. You know, and it’s funny ironically because people who drink every day, like I did also think, oh well I didn’t really have a problem because I never binge drank.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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