August 5, 2012

Triggers for Overeating

A client recently came to me having difficulties filling out the Bulimia Nervosa / Compulsive Overeating Worksheet. She queried how to fill in the ‘Incident’ column. She felt that her eating was habitual and was not triggered or related to any incident or relationship issue.

Even if eating patterns become habitual, they will wax and wane between days and over time. There are better days and worse days. It is important to notice this, and to start to pay attention to what is happening on the days when your eating habits are more healthy, and what is happening when they are less healthy. As is said many times on this website, relationship issues can have an especially strong effect on eating patterns.

Upon reflection, my client realized a number of triggers that were triggering her ‘habitual eating’ patterns. My client always had a strong urge to binge when she came home from work. At first she did not see what this could be related to as she was alone, and there was nothing she considered a ‘trigger’ at this time.

Through discussion she realized that when she came home from work each day, she would be bombarded with housework that her husband had left for her, and this made her angry.
She began to notice that the more mess that was left, the stronger her urge to binge. Furthermore, this client began to realize that her urge to binge was particularly strong when she felt that her husband undermined her, even if this was very subtle and she did not always consciously notice it.

Once these patterns were noticed, she could start to address them. By entering into conversation with her husband about needing him to support her with the housework, and how his derogatory comments affected her, her eating disorder improved (as did their relationship!)

The major objective of the Worksheet is to help sharpen your lens and to start to notice what is triggering your eating urges. Once these are identified, with support, you can start to address them and make positive progress towards overcoming your eating disorder.

The next few blogs will discuss various queries regarding the Worksheet. If you have any of your own, please let us know.

One Response to “Triggers for Overeating”

  1. carole says:

    this makes a lot of sense to me too.I instead of asking and asking for help with my partner and kids do the same thing instead of getting angry or whatever emotion fits eat until im full yet emotionally empty sad :/

Leave a Reply

Subscribe by Email

Book: Enduring Changes in Eating Disorders

Enduring Change in Eating Disorders - Book Cover

Endorsements from Clients

  • Hello Charles! I am unsure if you will even remember who I am haha, but this is [name withheld] – I saw you in (I think) 2017 with anorexia.

  • My wife and I felt quite emotional last Monday after our short Zoom session. All three of us hugged. It felt like the end of a relatively short but profoundly enriching journey with you which started in June at your home office on Waiheke Island.

  • Dear Dr Fishman Thank you so much for this website. I have a long history of swinging between bulimia and compulsive over-eating. I am currently a compulsive over-eater.