Stel Coombe Heath Wholesome Lifestyle Project

Stel Coombe Heath Wholesome Lifestyle Project

Does this sound familiar?

Have you ever found yourself staring into an empty packet of chips or tub of ice cream asking yourself “why did I do it” overwhelmed with guilt, shame and self-loathing? “Why can’t I stop binge eating?”

The definition of binge eating is the consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time, accompanied by feelings of being out of control, followed by guilt and shame.

Emotional eating is, eating in response to feelings instead of hunger, such as stress, boredom, loneliness to name a few. Emotional eating can be a once off thing, but often the relief we experience from numbing of feelings with food can lead to a binge or a series of binges.

For many years I thought my problem with emotional eating and binge eating was my diet. Thoughts like “maybe if I eat paleo, then I’ll be able control my binges”,

” maybe I lack will power”,” maybe if I ignore it, it will go away”. These thoughts were not helpful and did not provide me with a solution to my problem.

What I didn’t know was that I needed to find the causes of my binges and not another diet or “lifestyle change”.

What causes a binge?
A binge is caused by an urge, an uncontrollable desire to eat, as much as possible and right away. Without the urge, there won’t be a binge.

The hypothalamus, sometimes called the “lizard brain” or “animal brain” or “lower brain” is responsible for food urges. My clients have lovingly started referring to this brain as the food zombie!!

The hypothalamus controls hunger body temperature, thirst, fatigue, and sleep.  This is the primal selfish part of the brain that wants you to overeat, because its main job is to keep you alive, and it hates discipline!!

Your food zombie will rationalise, It will tell you things like: “oh well, you’ve eaten one cookie, you might as well buy more binge food”, “I just need to get over this day, eating junk food will make me feel better”, “Your day is already ruined, you may as well finish the Oreo sleeve so you won’t be tempted tomorrow”. “Nuts are healthy, one more handful won’t hurt”. This is called an urge.

What causes an urge? There are 3 reasons why you might feel the urge to eat:

  1. The restriction of food

If you have been chronically dieting or you forget to eat because you are so busy during the day for an extended period of time, your body will need food and lots of it

When engaging in calorie restricted diets, the hypothalamus thinks that the body is facing starvation and will create the urge to eat. The hypothalamus’s purpose is to keep us alive and away from possible threats, starvation is a major threat to survival. The more we restrict our food intake the more urgent the urges to binge will become.

70% of my clients stop binge eating once we sort out the hunger factors and make sure that their bodies get the nutrition they need

  1. Emotional factors

Emotional experiences can bring on the urge to binge. Some examples of emotional urges to binge are boredom, loneliness, anger and frustration. The urge to binge is out of comfort instead of nutritional needs. The brain prefers pleasure over pain, often we will seek out food instead of dealing with emotional situations. The temporary pleasure food provides us can serve as a distraction from what we are feeling.

  1. Habit

Some urges are caused by habit, a repeated action that we keep doing without noticing or conscious effort.  Some of my clients feel like they are possessed or having an out of body experience while they binge. It’s something they can’t control, they don’t want to do it but they can’t control the impulse.

Initially all binges are triggered by either hunger or emotions. Once we have dealt with hunger or emotions by means of a binge, our brain is convinced that bingeing is the answer. We will continue to use bingeing as the solution to our problems. Eventually, we are no longer bingeing because of hunger or an emotional experience but rather out of habit. Our brain starts thinking “it’s Tuesday morning, time to binge” , ” it’s 3 p.m., time to binge”.

In order to overcome binge eating we need to break the habit of bingeing. This is where the work lies, and this is where my binge eating, and recovery journey started and I now help my clients in their emotional and binge eating recovery to do the same.

Here’s the thing about the hypothalamus, it can’t control motor movements on its own, it must convince the rest of your brain to do things for it. The food zombie can’t make you pick up food and it can’t make you put food in your mouth, it has to convince the rest of your brain to do those things. Because the food zombie can’t physically make you eat, it becomes very skilled at manipulating you into eating.

We need to take back our thoughts and power from the food zombie and beat the urge. We do that by recognising the urge and then choose not to act on it.

Once we remove the habit of acting on the urge to binge, the urges to binge become less. The less we give into our urges, the stronger the habit of not bingeing becomes.

Now that you know what causes a binge in the first place it’s time to face some of your old binges and ask yourself some real hard questions.

This will not be easy, we usually want to avoid what happened but bear with me, this will help you recognise your triggers and see if your urge was driven by hunger, emotions or habit:

What happened right before the binge?

(How was I feeling? Hungry, emotional, tired?)

How was my day? (Relaxing/stressful/stuck at my desk all day?

Did I feel hungry at any point during the day?

What was the food zombie telling me before the binge?

I have some exciting news for you. I’ve been working hard to create something just for you and it’s officially live.


It’s a free quiz to help you determine your personal path to stop binge eating.

That means by taking just two minutes to complete this quiz, you’ll discover my three proven approaches for ending the vicious binge-guilt cycle and you’ll find out which approach you should take based on your binge eating personality which I call a food zombie.

Not only will you find out what path is best for you. I’ll even give you a step-by-step framework for bringing binge eating to an end.


So head on over to right now to find out your next steps to feel in control of food and feel good about your body