Binge Eating Therapy

Using Alcohol to Keep you From Eating- When the Solution Becomes The Problem

drinking wine instead of eatingEver use wine to cure your binge  eating? If so, you’re not alone.

Something that I see a lot of is people using alcohol to help mitigate binge eating symptoms. Many use  a couple of glasses at wine at night helps to keep their eating at bay.  For some it works, it relaxes them enough to not need to use food in the same way. For many it doesn’t though.

Here’s the pattern: Get home from a long day of work feeling hungry, tired, and TERRIFIED that you’re going to binge eat. Decide to nip it in the bud by pouring a glass of wine- substitute food for wine. Drink the wine on an empty stomach and instantly feel relaxed.  Drink more wine and get drunk. Do one of two things- either pass out without having eaten or succumb to a ravenous appetite and begin to eat whatever you can get your hands on.  Neither situation is a good one. Passing out without eating will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning sick, headachy, uncomfortable, and starving causing you then to binge on comfort food.

Using wine to keep you from eating is like using heroin to keep you from smoking pot. You’re swapping out one harmful behavior for another harmful behavior. Drinking wine unto itself is not inherently a bad thing. However, using wine to make yourself feel better can be a slippery slope. Like binge eating, after you drink, the problem that caused you to drink/eat is still there. It’s about working through the problem. Drinking and eating are coping mechanisms. But coping mechanisms don’t have to be harmful. If you absolutely can’t sit with your feelings that night and just need to avoid (which is fine– you can’t be processing and working through constantly!) utilizing coping mechanisms which are not harmful is another way to bypass the binge and the drink.

First off, when you come home from work– EAT! Don’t drink wine on an empty stomach. Eat a cup of yogurt, or a handful of almonds, or some cheese with a tiny bit of fruit or anything that has  protein in it to help you from falling prey to low blood sugar which can cause you to be anxious, crabby, tired, and depressed.  The low blood sugar can make you feel lonely, sad and moody and think that you need alcohol to fix it. You don’t. You need to nourish yourself.  After you’ve eaten a sane snack, you can begin to think about dinner, what your body needs, what to cook, when to eat. If you then still want wine, have it with your dinner. Not before.

Wine is not a solution to binge eating, it can just become a new problem.


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