The Truth About Weight Loss in Binge Eating Recovery: Let’s Discuss It

can I lose weight in binge eating recovery

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Ryann Nicole

The desire to lose weight often persists for those in the process of overcoming binge eating. It’s no wonder, given that an unhealthy relationship with food doesn’t originate from your first diet but rather stems from a deeper dissatisfaction with your body.

But what if you do want to lose weight? Or what if you do need to lose weight for your health? Then what?

It’s completely normal to want to lose weight, and losing weight is not inherently bad. All your life, you’ve been told that losing weight is good, healthy, and will make people like you. You’ve also likely been told that being at a higher weight is bad, unhealthy, and will make people not like you. So, of course, you want to lose weight. Deciding that you’re done with diets doesn’t magically take away your desire to lose weight, and that’s okay!

Shifting Your Weight Loss Perspective

I am not against humans losing weight. I am not against humans wishing they were in a smaller body. I am not even against you talking about weight loss because if you can’t talk through this here, where can you talk about it?!

But here is what I am against…

  • I am against focusing on weight as the sole determinant of your health because weight isn’t a behavior.
  • I am against focusing on weight as the sole determinant of your happiness because if it were, everybody in a smaller body would be happy and everybody in a larger body wouldn’t be, and we know that’s not true.
  • I am against focusing on weight as the sole determinant of what you can and can’t do in your life because your weight doesn’t define you or your morality.
  • I am against your weight being the most important and interesting thing about you because there is so much more to you, and you’re not just here on this earth to be looked at.

So what does that mean? Where do you go from here? What if instead of focusing on what your body looks like, you focus on how you want to feel in your body and then add in behaviors (because again, weight isn’t a behavior) that can help you feel that way?

  • Like sitting down to eat.
  • Or balancing your plate.
  • Or slowing down when you eat.
  • Or respecting your fullness.
  • Or listening when you feel hungry.
  • Or managing emotions without food.
  • Or drinking more water, finding a movement routine you love, or getting more sleep.

But why is it so hard to get on board with that? Why does that not feel like enough? Why does the urge to diet keep coming back? Because it’s not really about weight loss. It’s so much deeper than that. It’s all of the dreams and fantasies you’ve attached to the diet that you feel you are giving up on if you stop dieting.

Questioning Your Weight Loss Desires

Ask yourself how many times you’ve said, “Once I lose weight, then I’ll insert fantasy here.” How have such thoughts influenced your struggle with binge eating? How frequently have you attempted weight loss, only to regain the weight lost? And how has the pursuit of weight loss hindered you from fully embracing life?

These questions are important because, to truly tackle the desire for weight loss in binge eating recovery, you need to reconsider your perspective on the matter.

Weight Loss Is a Surface-Level Goal

Let’s explore the concept that weight loss is a surface-level goal, as your desire to shed those extra pounds in the process of recovering from binge eating is not just about the weight itself. Instead, it’s tied to the belief that weight loss will bring you certain rewards:

  • Attention
  • Validation
  • Approval
  • An easier life

So, while you may yearn for both weight loss and binge eating recovery, what you genuinely crave are these perceived rewards. What are those elusive rewards in your life, and why do you believe that weight loss is the key to attaining them?

It’s crucial to acknowledge this because, in reality:

  • You could lose weight and still not receive the attention you seek.
  • You could lose weight and still face criticism.
  • You could lose weight and still experience rejection.
  • You could lose weight and still encounter life’s challenges.

So, what is your true desire?

Exploring the Underlying Desires

Do you desire weight loss for social reasons, physical benefits, or a combination of both? If your goal is social, such as seeking approval, relationships, or attention, then the focus should be on healing that aspect of yourself rather than fixating on your body. Ask yourself why you can’t have those things in the body you possess now and consider pursuing these desires with your current body.

On the other hand, if your desire to lose weight is driven by physical goals like increased energy, enhanced strength, or an overall feeling of vitality, the focus should be on nurturing those aspects of yourself. How do these goals relate to the number on the scale?

Prioritizing Your Health

Consider whether your health truly necessitates weight loss or if you need to adopt better self-care practices for your well-being. Engaging in health-promoting behaviors, such as increasing your water intake, getting more sleep, consuming more fruits and vegetables, addressing underlying trauma, nurturing healthier relationships, and putting your needs first, can significantly impact your health. Rather than setting weight-centric goals for your health, concentrate on overall well-being and self-care.

In the journey to overcoming binge eating, recovery should revolve around becoming the person who lives in a way that ensures your physical and mental well-being, rather than focusing on an arbitrary number on the scale.

Unlocking True Freedom

In conclusion, it’s crucial to recognize that no one can predict whether binge eating recovery will lead to weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance. Instead of fixating on the scale, delve deeper into your weight-related goals and address the underlying desires directly. Learn to listen to and trust your body throughout this process. By healing your mind and nurturing your overall well-being, concerns about your weight will eventually become a thing of the past. Your body, regardless of its size, will empower you to live life to the fullest, offering you the true freedom you deserve.


Want more on this topic? Check these out:


Must Read Books To Break Out Of The Comparison Trap 

Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle 

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

⚠️ Trigger Warning: spicy language and some weight loss talk

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga 

A thought-provoking self-help book that explores the profound teachings of Alfred Adler through a unique Socratic dialogue. It delves into the principles of happiness, relationships, and personal growth, challenging conventional beliefs and encouraging readers to embrace their individuality with courage and wisdom.

The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery by Brianna Weist 

This is a book about self-sabotage. Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it—for good. Coexisting but conflicting needs create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves, we can step out of our own way and into our potential. For centuries, the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb. In the end, it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.