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Binging And The Delusion Of Fear - How Our Brains Work

Jul 1, 2008
The mind has the power to assist us in creating great victories, but it also can become an instrument of destruction that keeps us enslaved in our inner hell.

Especially when it comes to food and eating, living life trapped by the merciless power of binging and compulsive overeating can often be worse than death itself. This emotional trap is taking casualties by the millions as the obesity plague continues to blanket much of the civilized world.

As was the case with me, food had become an obsession very similar to one somebody could have with alcohol or gambling. When a person suffers from any type of drug addiction, recovery is achieved by total abstinence. Obviously, you cannot do that with food.

So, an individual with a binge or overeating disorder may be facing an even bigger challenge. Why does this happen? Why do some people become trapped by obesity and binging? These are very deep existential questions, but let us look at a few possibilities.

Survival Instinct

To some extent, it has to do with the way our brains are wired, and how humanity has progressed in the past several thousand years. In more ancient times, man did not have a ready supply of food at all times. When food was obtained, they ate as much as they could because nobody knew how long it would be before food was available again.

IN addition, a lot of calories (energy) were expended in acquiring food; climbing trees for fruit, digging the ground for roots, chasing wild animals to kill and then dragging them back. It took a lot of energy and exertion to acquire food. That is no longer the case.

Today, the majority of humans in the civilized world have a ready supply of food. There are refrigerators in every home, and groceries available in supermarkets, drugstores and even gas stations. We do not have to walk more than a few steps to get food. Food is everywhere and in large quantities. No exertion or hunting is necessary.

Therefore, it stands to reason that people in the civilized world no longer have to eat as much as they possibly can on every meal in order to assure survival. But many still do. Obesity has become a true epidemic and many are killing themselves one bite at a time. I know because I was one of them.

The Food Safety Net

Scientists believe that, amazingly, one reason for this tendency for compulsive overeating comes from the fact that some persons - for reasons yet identified - still are reacting to a caveman genetic programming that leads them to eat based on fear for their lives. The threat to survival does not necessarily have to be physical, but can be emotional, abstract and unreal.

In the majority of cases, persons with binging or overeating disorders are actually doing so because, in the seat of their emotions, they feel their very lives are in danger. The fear-producing centers of the brain, it is believed, actually create the very obsession to overeat! These persons are caught in a mirage that beckons them to binge as a means to achieving safety and protection from the world and circumstances.

Whenever bored, depressed, afraid, lonely (or a myriad of other emotions), most persons afflicted with obesity and/or overeating reach for food to medicate and lessen the pain - manifested mostly in fear. For many, food provides a very real security blanket that shields them from the dangers of living in an uncertain world.

The problem is that these dangers often only exist in the mind. While the immediate life circumstance can indeed be dire (financial problems, divorce, depression, loss of a loved one), it is actually the emotional dysfunction and exaggerated feeling of dread which feeds the food obsession and continues to produce negative outcomes in the life of that person.

What we are saying is that, barring feelings stemming from normal daily life, many obese persons live in a constant delusion of fear, covered by binging and overeating. But the overeating comfort only lasts a short while, and then the fear resurfaces which, in turn, leads to more binging and overeating, ad infinitum. It is a horrible trap that almost led me to insanity and suicide. I had to realize first of all that my emotional state was, to a great extent, based on overstated fears and distortions.

Destructive Delusions

The problem was really not food, but ME. I was emotionally sick. I lived my life reacting negatively to ghosts, specters and lies. Most of the emotional states I was attempting to cover up with food were based on either; fear of things that had not happened or, situations that had been blown out of proportion by me.

This awakening was the escape hatch that led me to freedom from the deadly trap of binging, overeating and chronic obesity. Take some time and write an inventory of the circumstances in your life that are currently causing you discomfort. Write a list of the emotions that you experience on a daily basis, especially those that you find often lead you to the refrigerator. Has overeating made these feelings or circumstances go away?

Have you been able to binge once and then found everything was resolved and you no longer felt uncomfortable? Or have you found that, no matter how much you ate, the feelings returned - stronger and more vicious than before? I submit to you that, rather than trying to not eat to lose weight, you turn the tables and start to identify the roots and causes that lead you to harming yourself with food.

You will need a commitment to write down these feelings when they emerge. Look at them on paper for what they really are. The solution I found was that, once I had identified these emotions and uncovered their falsity or exaggeration, I no longer had to follow through with the futile experiment of binging to find safety and consolation. Knowing they were lies gave me the strength and resolve to resist.

Getting To "The Source"

I realized that I was working from an erroneous equation. That 2+2 would never be 5, and that I would never be able to overcome food in direct combat with it. I had to look beyond food, and find the true inner source of my problems. The source, I found, was my soul sickness. Food was a mere symptom.

If I am in a theater watching a film that frightens me, it would do not good to try to fight the film itself. The film is abstract and, even though I can see it and feel it, it is ultimately an illusion. The tangible source is the projector, and in order to end the fear I have to go to where the equipment is located and turn it off.

The movie in itself was just an image generated by another source. Such, I have found, is the path to freedom from obesity, binging and compulsive overeating. Over the next couple of weeks, take time with yourself and put together an inventory of thoughts and feelings that have kept you from achieving your weight loss goals.

Hang in there and remember that the best is yet to come in your life! Above all, do not forsake the spiritual side of existence. Whatever your concept of God may be, I encourage you to bring your weaknesses up in prayer and ask for the supernatural wisdom, strength, discernment and power to overcome them, one day, one moment at a time! As one of this planets spiritual masters said: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
About the Author
Robert Dave Johnston is Editor & Webmaster of Fitness Through Fasting.com where you will find a growing number of fasting-related articles and topics to assist you achieve your weight loss, detoxification and health-improvement goals through juice and water fasting.
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