I recently had the honour of being interviewed by Peggy Schirmer for her fabulous podcast on Youtube called, Gut Feelings. We talked about cravings and binge eating and how they are linked to dieting/food restriction and negative body image. If you haven’t heard of Peggy before, she is a certified naturopath (all the way from Panama) that specialises in helping people to heal their digestive issues and cultivate good gut health.
We talked about
- My personal battle and full recovery from chronic dieting and an eating disordered that inspired me to help other women have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.
- The worst advice I’ve heard when it comes to cravings and stopping binge eating and what to do instead.
- Why willpower does not work when it comes to cravings and how our microbiome also influences what we crave.
- The best advice I would give my friends and family members to stop binge eating.
- How to manage your cravings so you’re not restricting and feeling deprived.
- The essence of the work I do is “stop punishing start nourishing” and what that actually means and how it can help you heal and transform your relationship with food, your body and by extension your whole life.
We literally could have talked for hours!
Watch the interview here
Cravings and binge eating have much in common with gut issues.
Many people that struggle with chronic dieting, disordered eating and/or an eating disorder also experience some level of digestive upset. Some surveys show that up to 98% of people with an eating disorder also have concurrent digestion issues. I wanted to point this out to show how prevalent this relationship is!
And it makes SO much sense when you think about how dieting and disordered eating behaviors impact the amount and the variety of food consumed. Ultimately, that will affect the way our digestion works.
Disrupted gut/brain connection.
Communication between the brain and the gut is “disrupted” in a “functional gut disorder.” A functional gut disorder is a gut issue in which the symptoms cannot be explained by a structural or tissue abnormality. Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) falls into the category of a functional gut disorder, whereas Celiac Disease does not (that’s because in Celiac Disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response in the body, which can cause damage to the small intestine).
How can this communication between the gut and brain become disrupted?
Typically by some type of stress response, which can either be physical or psychological. So yes, anxiety can cause a disruption in this communication. And it may result in things like acid reflux, bloating, gas and/or diarrhea.
Many people are then often prescribed an elimination diet, like FODMAPS. One major problem with these types of diets is that they are extremely restrictive, which means they are not appropriate for disordered eating and/or eating disorder clients.
Up-and-coming research suggests that gut-directed hypnotherapy may be just as effective as elimination diets. I thought that was fascinatin and I am looking forward to seeing the new research on this.
On the physical side of things, this connection could be disrupted by undereating, over-exercise, laxative use, or bingeing. And it goes both ways. Digestive symptoms often cause stress and anxiety via the same connection. Someone may be feeling really anxious about how/when/if their digestive system will play up.
There’s so much to learn about our digestion and gut health and it’s a topic that science is only beginning to scratch the surface on.
If you would like more information regarding how you can manage cravings, stop binge eating and improve your gut health, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me here.