Is Surgery, Pills or Diets the Answer to Stop Binge Eating?


Self-love means you love yourself;

It doesn’t demand the love of others.

There is no need to convince others.

An Internal Acceptance is Sufficient

It has nothing to do with the viewpoints of others

~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: Your Erroneous Zones

There is no quick fix

Molly popped into my office with such vigor and sassy finesse that I was certain she fell back into her cocaine addiction she’d struggled to overcome years ago. But to may amazement she was riding on the high of thinking she had the answer once and for all to stop binge eating and return to her normal weight. “Pills” she said, were the answer. She found a company that would prescribe diet pills to quiet her binge eating.

You see, Molly had gastric bypass surgery years ago with great success, but as soon as her digestion track began to heal she found a ways to shovel food back in, as only we food addicts can. Need I say more! Molly piled on the 150 pounds she released, and then some.

Molly, like so many, wanted the “fix” not realizing she must do the work to release the weight and cease the binge eating disorder. I wish I knew of a softer and easier way to stop binge eating but in my 22 years of practice as an eating disorder specialist there is none…

No pill, no surgery, no fandango fad is going to do it.

What is the answer?

Well, for starters self-love is the answer. Often we are looking to others to determine how we should look or act. Dr. Dyer’s says, “Self-love means you love yourself; it doesn’t demand the love of others.” When I was 19 years old, I stumbled upon Your Erroneous Zones written by Dr. Wayne Dyer. At the time, I was chasing one diet after another in a quest to get skinny. I was at a turning point when I first happened upon this life-saving book in 1976.

Self-love was what I began to practice from those early days in 1 976 and continue to work on today. It was the beginning realization there was no need to convince others but rather an internal acceptance was sufficient.

Making peace with self-love is a tough one for most of us to grasp, including those who turn to bariatric surgery, pills or diets to stop binge eating.

Is weight loss surgery, pills or diets the answer?

When you consider bariatric surgery, pills or diets of any kind you must consider they serve only as a tool. Molly thought this was the answer once and for all. Weight loss surgery, pills, or diets are a jump start for sure but not a long-term solution unless you change your relationship with food. Pills and surgery will initially curb your appetite giving you a false feeling of full. But in time, your hunger button will awaken the sleeping giant within. Now what?

It’s my opinion, and my personal experience, that certain foods affect us binge eaters like a drug and we can’t stop eating…no matter how fist-clenching, jaw shut determined we are. It’s an addiction and we must remove the addictive food or else we continue on the merry-go-round of diets, pills, and surgery only to end up back on square one.

I know it sounds harsh and I don’t mean for it to but it’s the facts. My office is brimming with Molly’s of different sizes, shapes, genders, nationalities and yes…eating disorders of all types. At the end of the day it ALL boils down to what chemicals are put into their brain…food chemicals.

But, there is hope and there is help. Begin the process with ten steps to change…   

Ten Steps to Change

  1. Eat three to four times a day. Our bodies need to fuel throughout the day, preferably every four to five hours. Eating at regular intervals leaves less opportunity to drum up the newest diet idea or to grab processed, non-nutritional foods.
  2. Eat only foods that are nutritionally sound, feeding your brain and body with vitamins and nutrients. Real food contains real nutrients that our bodies and minds hunger for. You wouldn’t feed cardboard to your beloved pet, now would you? A candy bar offers nothing to fuel the body engine. Eating a candy bar or similar foods is like putting water in your gas tank.
  3. Limit or cease, depending on your situation, sugar, flour, and alcohol. With Molly, alcohol consumption reduced her inhibition, opening the diet cycle flood gates. Also, alcohol is a depressant leaving the drinker empty and sad, and food may be that someone’s “go-to” when he feel alone. Regrettably, many are eating nutrient-void, calorically-dense “sub-foods” that are also loaded with fat, sugar, calories, and chemicals.
  4. Drink water throughout the day to ensure you are adequately hydrated. Often we think we are hungry when, in fact we’re thirsty. Studies show that up to 75% of people are chronically dehydrated. Diet soda pops don’t provide adequate liquids nor do juices or drinks laced with some artificial taste. You might be saying, I don’t like the taste of water. I understand. What I can promise you is if you begin to drink water, at first by pushing yourself, eventually you will come to crave pure, clear water without disguising the natural taste.
  5. Include protein with each meal to balance your moods and feed your brain. We need the right amount and the correct kinds of proteins to maintain a healthy body and mind. Also, protein is important because it helps you feel full longer. In fact, protein slows down digestion, leaving us more satisfied and less likely to go back for empty- calorie foods or second helpings.
  6. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to avoid boredom and diet mentality, and to ensure satiety. Think of fruits and vegetables as the earth’s candies jam packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can help to keep you healthy. Include these nutritional powerhouses into your daily diet—they are accessible, portable, and affordable. These are foods that need to be part of your daily intake.
  7. Add supplements of vitamins and minerals as a precautionary measure to be sure you’re getting all the health benefits found in a nutrient-based diet. Of course most important is to get enough vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat, but you may need to supplement. Vitamins and supplements are not replacements to fresh food, which is loaded with nutrients necessary for good health, but you may still fall short of needed nutrition. As a precautionary measure, you may want to check with your dietitian or primary doctor.
  8. Limit caffeine, tea and dark chocolates to simmer anxiety and irrational fears, which feed diet obsessions with negative diet chatter. Caffeine and cocoa-type stimulants get praise and then the bum rap, depending upon the day. The key is moderation. If you need caffeine to stay awake or clear your mind, perhaps you are not getting enough sleep, which is also vital in maintaining health and quieting the diet cycle.
  9. Walk, cycle, swim or engage in some type of movement several times a week to soften depressed moods. Obesity is at an all-time high in our society today, and it’s largely the result of our being overfed and undernourished, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle.
  10. Find your connection to your Higher Source for aligning body, mind and spirit. This positioning is necessary to find in yourself the higher aspects of you. You will want to shift from your ego-mind and locate your higher self, which provides spiritual guidance. You can choose a connection to Mother Earth, Spirit or whatever God of your understanding. Spirituality is really about how much we get out of our own way and allow ourselves to be led by a higher power, or a God or our own understanding. Remember our goal is to quiet the voice of our ego so we can hear the voice of inner wisdom.

Last Minute Thoughts…

These suggestions are in no way the total solution to stop binge eating but are an excellent start to releasing the obsession with food and body weight. Molly thought turning to diet pills, hence giving her the ability to “diet” on top of her weight loss surgery was the answer. And maybe in part for her it might be. But first, she must change her relationship with food and learn self-love, not the acceptance of others but rather the acceptance of herself.

A good foundation may cease the inner negative diet chatter leading to binge eating. Think of it like a shot in the arm—a boost. I’m not a fan of diets but rather a cheerleader of healthy mind, body and spirit. Remember there is no overnight cure.

“But I want to feel good right now!” Why can’t I turn the noise chatter in my head off like a light switch you might ask? Well, it is a process that requires exploration and explanation as you journey through the upcoming pages.

Like with Molly, work through the steps and you will build a strong foundation building a life with healthy habits, stronger and leaner body, peace with self through self-love, as Dr. Dyer so eloquently notes.

Hugs to you…I care!

Dr. Lisa

Let me know how you are doing and if I can answer any questions.

Perhaps you have a solution or an experience you’d like to share please feel free I’d love to hear from you, and others would as well.

Check out Release Your Obsession with Food: Heal from the Inside Out to quiet the binge eating monster in you at or any bookstore near you. Also, stay tuned for my newest book: Release Your Obsession with Diet Chatter: Heal from the Inside Out.

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