Stop Binge Eating: Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen

Stop Binge Eating: Brain Over Binge by Kathryn HansenBrain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen was a life changing book for me. I credit it as being the final piece of the puzzle that helped me completely stop binge eating. If you’re a binge eater like I was and have been working on your problem for awhile but just can’t seem to get over the final few hurdles to stop binge eating for good then I strongly recommend you read this book. This is one of those rare books that goes right to the heart of the matter for many of us binge eaters.


How I Stopped Binge Eating with Brain Over Binge

I first heard about Brain Over Binge in early summer 2012. At the time I was actually having quite a bit of success working on my own Binge Eating Disorder problems at the time. I was using meditative therapy and taking a common sense approach to handling many of my own issues. Unfortunately I still occasionally got binge urges that I could not resist. It felt like two steps forward, one step back. After a binge I would have a few down days and then was able to pull myself back out of it. I would always be good for a month or so but then it would happen again.  Fortunately I stumbled across a suggestion in some comment on a blog written earlier in 2012 that pointed me towards Kathryn’s wonderful book. I can’t find that comment anymore and I can’t remember who posted it but if it was you and you’re reading this, thank you.

I downloaded Brain Over Binge onto my Kindle and proceeded to read it cover to cover in one sitting. Kathryn had my attention from the very beginning by telling her own story and struggle with Bulimia and the impact it had on her life. Even though I am a male, Kathryn shares her story in such a way that I could relate to most of her same problems. She’s a natural story teller and teacher.

Kathryn frames her problem very succinctly and explains how she used the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique developed by Jack Trimpey’s Rational Recovery program to finally stop her own binge eating once and for all. The way she describes the technique in layman terms and the pure honesty of her story and her telling ability immediately made me want to start trying AVRT myself.

I explained this in more detail when I shared my own story [Click here to read my story]. The premise behind AVRT is our brains are made up of the ancient survival brain (flight or fight) and human brain (modern consciousness) with the survival brain never wanting to feel hunger or pain, only pleasure, with no understanding of consequences.

The survival brain is very powerful and will always try to convince the human brain to give in. AVRT helps you see this struggle for what it is and gives our human brain the weapons it needs to fight back and ignore the urges coming from the survival brain. In my case my survival brain was convincing my human brain to binge eat because my survival brain only wanted to feel good and not empty or hungry. That’s typical of an addiction like Binge Eating Disorder.

Within a few weeks of trying AVRT after reading Kathryn’s book I completely stopped my binge eating. Kathryn – thank you, thank you, thank you. For anyone else reading this, I strongly recommend you check out Brain Over Binge.


What Others Are Saying

Kathryn writes her story in such a way that anyone reading it can relate to her and the techniques she recommends. If you look at all the reviews on Amazon you’ll see almost everyone appreciates this book as well. It appears to have helped many other folks. Kathryn’s blog is filled with people sharing their own stories about how the book helped them also.

Psych Central took the time to write a very complimentary review of the book. I agree with the author of that review in that we all have different stories and backgrounds. Sometimes what works for one person will not work for another. Brain Over Binge may not work for folks who have deep emotional eating issues but if you’re like me and have been able to get started on those problems and now simply need help breaking the binge eating addiction, Brain Over Binge is a great next step to kick off that journey.


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8 thoughts on “Stop Binge Eating: Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen

  1. The basic premise behind her recovery is actually the most basic form of cognitive therapy there is. Sadly, most therapists who treat eating disorders don’t work from this model because they are not truly trained in treating eating disorders, and instead use more emotionally focused therapies like psychodynamic, schema, or psychoanalytic. These are great secondary therapies to treat other psychosocial and trauma issues that can derail recovery. However, they should not be used as the primary tool. I was taught to use the acronym PLISSIT in doing therapy successfully. P= permission (normalize the issue for the patient, that they are not weird, different or alone in this). LI = limited information (don’t overwhelm the patient with a ton of stuff, but start with the psychoeducation on the problem so it’s not as scary). SS = specific solutions (the basics of cognitive therapy are about finding what’s irrational about how you think and find rational, affirming responses). Lastly is IT = intensive therapy (the deep rooted work that is necessary for trauma or childhood dysfunction). Make sure you get someone who knows how to work with eating disorders and the recovery process can be much quicker and more complete!

      • You’re welcome! I just caution your listeners and readers to not get too caught up in her version of recovery as it is a very small community that can be helped by this strategy alone. It’s not vetted by controlled research, especially for BED or other eating disorders. These are indeed primarily neurologic disorders but are complex to say the least. And this doesn’t offer anything in the way of relapse prevention either. I still encourage everyone to seek counseling, use a dietitian to be sure to avoid black and white thinking about nutrition/diet (and to debunk all the false information about what is healthy/not healthy or “good”/”bad” for you, and a psychiatrist if there is an underlying psychiatric disorder that needs to be treated. Don’t forget that for the VAST majority of patients the eating disorder developed in response to underlying anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD or bi-polar diagnosis.

  2. Mr. Walen, I totally hear what you’re saying and appreciate your advice. I just wanted to add that I am what might be a small sampling of reading Brain Over Binge and not needing anything else but the permission to see myself as separate from my compulsions to binge eat.
    I have been bingeing since age 13 and am now almost 53, so we’re talking a habit of 40 whole years where I have tried everything- therapy, affirmations, prayer, diets, support groups, etc and I have had many epiphanies over the years….yet I still binge ate. Since reading Brain Over Binge on Feb. 26 I have been binge free and I feel really confident that I will never relapse since relapse means I have agreed with my lower brain that I have to binge- and I don’t have to. 🙂

  3. Hello!

    I have just wanted to thank you for writing about this book. If not for this post I would have probably spent quite a longer time in torment of BED. Thanks to this book (and your word about it 🙂 I was able to right away get the solution to which I was so close but, nevertheless, I haven’t found it back then yet. So once more a big THANK YOU! Now, after 1,5 year of having BED, I am able to live a normal life and commit myself to my passions.

  4. Hello! I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this blog! I’m currently in need of some desperate help. While I don’t binge like others typically do; I am still very much struggling with something very similar. I am a night-eater. Most doctors haven’t even heard of Night Eating Syndrome, but I live it every single night. I wake up at least three times from sleeping, and I have a very difficult time going back to sleep unless I eat. It’s only getting worse, and my weight keeps climbing. I don’t know if this book will help me off not. At this point I’m willing to do most anything to become “normal.” Any advice or tips are extremely welcomed!

    • Hi Laura. I completely understand and know the struggle. I literally just replied to Ella in another post who had almost the same question. Here’s what I said:

      For me I simply learned to recognize the urge/sensation at night and would take my mind elsewhere while I laid in bed. Lots of visualizations, taking myself elsewhere in my mind and that would allow me to fall back to sleep. It’s just learning how to stop yourself from getting up and telling yourself it’s literally a habit that wants to take over. I remember many times telling myself “you don’t want to get up. Go somewhere that you want to go” and I’d start the visualizing and within minutes would be fast asleep again.

      Wishing you my best! – Alen

  5. Omygoodness. I just found this website/podcast today. Hallelujia . I have been a binger sine I was 5 or 6 or around there. There was no trauma in my life; I just love food. However, now, along with binging, I have taken to waking up at least once a night and eating a lot of food before I can go back to sleep. I thought I was the only one! Thank you so much for honesty and for this awesome website.

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