on 17 January 2012
This book is truly stunning. Once I started to read it I could not put it down and finished it in one day. Kathryn's story at the beginning of the book is so honest and down-to-earth and if you can identify with her life then the latter part of the book will fill you with a hope that you may not have felt for a long time. Especially if you are the sort of person who has not had a traumatic childhood or is currently having a miserable time, but still find yourself driven to binge and can not understand why. Equally, if you feel your problems are down to a traumatic event, Kathryn shows you how non of this impacts on whether you can stop binging or not. It is hard to believe that she just stopped binging on one particular day and never even came close to going back to her old habits, but this is what happened and as she describes the thought processes she made to allow this instant recovery to occur, she fills the reader with all the knowledge and enthusiasm to believe that it is not only doable, but relatively easy. This is the most startling book which anyone suffering with this disorder should read, but perhaps not everyone would be ready to encorporate, because it is also rather frightening in it's simplicity. I feel, however, that once it has been read, it will stay at the back of the mind of the reader and eventually will be seen as the way out for many sufferers. It's certainly not like any book you will have ever read before on this topic and worth every penny, not like some books which just churn out the same information using different words. It has a unique and exciting message to deliver if you are open to a brand new and controversial approach.
on 28 May 2014
I cannot put into words the positive impact this book has had on my life but I will try!
I first discovered this book quite by chance and thought it was worth a try from the positive reviews, so I hope you'll read mine and give it a try too!
As soon as I started reading this book, I realised I could relate to every single thing Kathryn says. She capture the hell of bulimia/ BED with such raw accuracy, I knew straight away that I could relate to her.
I had spent far too long trying to blame my disordered eating on all of the negative things in my life, both now and in the past, and in doing so I had unknowingly shifted the responsibility from myself. Everything was an excuse to binge and I felt consumed by it. I hated myself but at the same time resigned myself to thinking I could never get better. What this book has given me more than anything is the full confidence that I AM in control.
Kathryn will give you the knowledge and teach you the skills, then it's up to you. It's easy to have confidence because Kathryn explains why we binge and how to stop it so clearly, in addition to exploring what led you to where you are today and how that's irrelevant to your future.
At almost 18 I had been stuck between restrictive eating/ bulimia/ BED for almost 2 years. I should have been bright eyed about my future but I was too weighed down by my destructive eating that I couldn't even look up.
The first time I read the book, it hit home and I understood every word. But in my excitement I brushed over key practical advice, and in all honesty I don't think I was ready to let go of disordered eating. BUT I was drawn back to the book after a couple of months. I was sure this was the answer and I just needed to focus more attention on it.
I have now been binge free for over four weeks - something that would have seemed impossible not long ago. I can confidently say that I will never ever binge again. That magnetic pull to binge has vanished because I now "know my enemy" as it were, thanks to Kathryn, which makes things much less scary!
My advice: Take time to read the book and when you're done, read it again! Highlight it, think about it, I even made voice recordings of some of the key messages to play to myself. But do this, and believe in Brain over Binge, and I can promise you you will be free to live your life, free from daily hell, and free to move on.
on 30 October 2015
I have suffered from bulimia for over 10 years and although I am "better" I still sometimes binge and occasionally purge. One of my therapist once told me that "only bingeing and purging three times a month is not clinically diagnostic for bulimia". However, to me this is not full recovery and like Kathryn states in the book, "recovery from bulimia is the termination of ALL binge eating".
I have attended therapies and read numerous self-help books but this is the ONLY book that I can honestly say has actually helped me, hence it's the only book I've ever bothered to give a review. I find the actions doable and the book concentrates on my problem: BINGE EATING. Since reading this book I have managed to gain control and not binge, which is something that I have struggled with all these years.
I want to recommend this book to anyone that struggles with binge eating. Read the book, make notes, re-write your notes and KEEP PRACTICING and implementing this new way of thinking until you regain the control you have always wanted to have. 5 stars to this book because I honestly believe that if I continue to practice this new way of thinking I will no longer be bulimic. I'm currently re-writing my notes, tidying them up so they are at grasp when I need them and like Kathryn says, practicing something many times becomes a habit and the brain begins to erase behaviors not used, so this is my plan :)
Yes, the author does waffle on a bit, but grasp the main message of the book and you will regain control of your brain and your actions.
Thank you Kathryn Hansen for sharing this book. I am forever grateful.
on 6 June 2015
Quick distinction here: I skipped reading/skim read maybe 60% of this book. The bit that works is about a paragraph long. That paragraph alone gets 5 stars from me and is worth every penny. I can only imagine the rest of it was added in to bring it up to 'book' length, it's enormously repetitive and mostly uninteresting.
That said, what a brilliant book! I've read a lot of self-help books and this is the first that has worked in the way you want a self-help to work. i.e. you read, and you change. No exercises, no CBT, no nothing. Just an explanation of what's going on so simple you want to kick yourself.
I was a binge-eater, not a bulimic, but it's 100% applicable. I was binging every day. Out of control and at a loss. I kept doing restrictive diets which I could do for a few months, then a few months later I'd be binging again and fatter than ever. My maximum weight kept going up and up with each repetition. Sound familiar? Read this book.
Like the author I'd been conditioned to believe I was binging because of some deep-seated emotional distress. This books brings the problem out of the psychological and into the physiological where it's much easier to understand and deal with.
It's not been long enough for me to say I'll never binge again. But I have a new way of thinking about what's happening in my brain when urges to binge appear and I haven't binged since reading it. That's something.
Thankyou then, to Kathryn Hansen for this important book.
on 5 February 2013
If you really want to change your behaviour (predominantly Bulimia/Binge eating, but really the information and approach can be applied to any undesirable habit), then this is the book for you. The solution proposed by the author is actually rooted in meditation practice (although she doesn't appear to have made the connection)and I would urge those of you who find the information in this book useful to read more on meditation (particularly Eric Harrison)in order to support you in recovery. I have previously worked as a therapist and also attended therapy for my own issues, using the mainstream theoretical approaches critiqued in this book, and I shared the author's dissatisfaction with these approaches both personally and professionally. In recent years I have learned to meditate and have read a great deal of literature regarding mindfulness, so little of the information in this book was new to me, but the way it is written consolidated all my learning, and the scientific explanations of the brain provided a deeper incite into what meditators refer to as 'the wanting mind'. I also realised that I had developed behaviours connected to bulimia that I thought were completely unrelated. I chose to read this book because although I was minimising the impact of bulimia I felt it would always be with me, and having just finished it, I feel confident in saying that I will never relapse again.
I thought I might struggle to identify with the author as there were major differences between her problem and mine, but as I kept reading I realised that this information applies to anyone who responds to urges that result in negative outcomes. The author can be a bit wordy and repetitive, but stick with it and keep reading. The repetition helps to reinforce the approach required in order to solve your problem. I have also heard criticism that this book leads to relapse, and in the initial stages of reading (accounts of the author's bulimic history) I found my desires increased, but when I did partake, I found I did it with mindfulness and saw for the first time what was really occurring within me. For me this was all part of the process of letting go of those behaviours and developing new patterns in the brain. By the time I reached chapter 30, my bulimia was gone, and when I read the last page I had a tear in my eye. Not sadness that the book was over, but relief that bulimia was finally over.
All credit to Kathryn Hansen. Not only did she find the answer independently, but she went on to write a book that makes the answer accessible to all.
I bought the ebook due to cost, but if I had invested in the hard copy it still would have been worth every penny.
on 22 March 2013
I have now been binge-free for just over a week, and it has been EASY. I have read quite a few other books which deal with the subject, 4 or 5 Geneen Roth books, When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies, Fat is a Feminist Issue, Overcoming Overeating, etc, etc, etc! I have spent quite a long time trying to accept my body as it is (which is obviously a really good idea), I have worried that any negative thoughts I have about myself or my life will make me binge, I have worried that if any of my friends are talking about weight loss, it'll make me binge, I have worried that if I have a crap day, or someone says something negative about me, it'll make me binge, I've worried that if I'm bored or lonely, I'll binge. To be honest, the books previously mentioned have taught me that practically any life event, negative or positive, could make me binge, and that I don't really have any control over my own body.
The good news is that...it isn't true! I do have control over whether I binge or not, and I know it might seem unbelievable for anyone who struggles with binge eating disorder, but it really is true. The book explains that the urge to binge is driven by the lower brain, and explains that if you simply don't pay attention to the urges, they will lose power and go away. It isn't the same thing as fighting the urges at all, which I have tried in the past, and which doesn't work. It is just a different mindset, which is fully explained in the book, and it does really work. A bonus is that the book is well-written and easy to read. I really can't speak highly enough of it, as you may have realised! Got it on kindle and it's the best £6 I have spent in a long time.
on 24 April 2013
Startet reading this book i immediately realized my problem
and now i am on the right path :)
to all those who suffer from this disease be sure to read ...
Good luck to all in recovery
take care of yourself and do not
let the disease destroy you :)
on 8 November 2014
Having B.E.D for 5/6 years, I never thought I would ever become free from it. This recommendation was given by a youtuber called Cambria (breelovesbeauty). At first I was like what reading a book is going to help me with this nightmare and dismissed it. After major binging constantly and a year later, I came across the video again and was like, if nothing else is working I am going to put faith into this youtuber and purchased it. The night after my binge, I waited eagerly, hoping that I would not binge until the book arrived. When it did I escaped into a world that could be visualised right in front of my eyes and related to what I was going through. The first chapters told the story of Kathryn Hansens binge eating and purging and made me sob because I felt like I was there, wanting to hug her and tell her everything will be ok and that she wasnt alone. After so long I felt as if someone was finally telling me (on paper) that noone is perfect, everyone has there own problems and you can win. Thank you Kathryn Hansen you are amazing and after all those years of believing that I can never be cured..I can finally say that I have done it. I may not have a 100% fantastic diet or be healthy at eating but Im quite good. It still is early days (2 weeks after my FINAL binge) and I have to be honest - I did overeat, once, but did not binge.. I was on the verge to, but I stopped myself. I still have sweet treats everyday but I am not ramming them down my throat...I enjoy them and most times they taste really sweet than usual. One main point which has also helped me is that make sure that you have one or two focus points which you would like to do everyday, even if it is having a bath or running a few errands. It has helped me and it may even help you.
I truly hope to carry on like this forever and can say that I will not going back to binging and please for people who have B.E.D or any type of purging disorder purchase this book, take time out for yourself and love yourself the way you are. No one is perfect, but you can become you.
Finally, thank you Kathryn Hansen and Cambria Joy (check out her videos on youtube, she is an amazing and inspiring young woman).
on 4 June 2014
Wow! Finally found the cure to my binge eating. 12 years of diet, restriction, bulimia, binging and it's finally over. I felt possessed by the horrible eating disorder and even tho I managed to make vast improvements over the years reading ALL the books (you know the ones) and therapy I still could not shake my BED, I couldn't go more than 3 days without binging. For me it was like an addiction that I was fearing I'd never recover from. The book is pretty lengthy and a large part is actually just the authors personal story. When it comes to learning how to not binge it's relatively short. The idea is that we only binge to get rid of the urge to binge, but instead of trying to avoid triggers or change your life Kathryn actually explains how nothing needs to change, all you have to do is stop acting on the urges. Sounds simple? It actually is, and it's all about understanding how the brain works and how habits are formed and UN-formed in this case. I believe this book is subtitle for anyone at any stage with their distorted eating habits. You don't even have to believe it, just use the one simple technique. I did need to read a few parts twice and still read the odd chapter now and then but it's been about 5 weeks and my binges are gone! Believe me I thought I was that one unlucky person who just couldn't crack it, but I have. What a relief. The concept is simple and there is no delving into emotional reasons and trying work out why u wanted to binge every time u had an urge. It simply is a habbit that CAN be broken. Please buy this book! Yes it's repetitive in parts but who cares!!! IM FREE at last! (And loosing weight PROPERLY) if you read this review Kathryn thankyou! You have changed my life. Xx
on 14 May 2014
This book is written for people with binge eating disorders or bulimia, teaching them a recovery method and a conception of eating disorders developed by the author. I do not have an eating disorder myself, but came across Brain Over Binge while writing academic essays on mental illness.
I didn’t finish this book – it is very long and repetitive. The author’s memoir of her time with an eating disorder is certainly the strong point. She details her attempts at therapy which taught her to believe that an eating disorder is a mental illness, the result of personality flaws, unhealthy coping mechanisms and emotional stress, and that recovery entailed learning to love herself, overcome anxiety and depression, find spiritual peace, etc. etc. She tries a medication which helps her stop binging which is her first clue to what she will eventually come to believe – that recovery does not involve healing everything about her emotional self, as she can, whilst taking the medication, stop binging despite all her stresses still being present. Eventually she comes across a book which confirms this view for her, and which explains her binging as the appropriate evolutionary response which her completely healthy brain made when she deprived herself of food when dieting. Once she understood this, she was able to choose to stop binging. In the latter sections of the book she provides great scientific detail about the brain and how the science fits with this theory and with her own eating disorder, formulates a method for recovery and contrasts this with current eating disorder therapy.
She acknowledges that she is not an expert, though she is good at taking complex scientific information and portraying it in a way that is easy for a lay-person to understand. Unfortunately she makes it all sound too convenient for me to be completely convinced by her interpretation of the science, which is already based on scant evidence. If I had an eating disorder, I’m not sure I would have dedicated attention to reading something this long and detailed when there are clearly reasons to doubt its soundness.
And yet despite being circumlocutory, at times she was over-simplifying things. She argues against the idea that binging is a form of illness, and against the idea that it arises from emotional rather than physical causes. Yet from what I understand of current therapy, it clearly does acknowledge that the physical is a major component in eating disorders, as evidenced by the prominence of dieticians, emphasis on body weight, and use of meal plans in eating disorder recovery programmes. The author argues that claiming eating disorders are an illness takes away responsibility from the sufferer, yet from my reading on the subject and discussions with people with eating disorders, it seems that conventional therapy heavily emphasises the notion that recovery is the responsibility of the sufferer, with systems of punishment and reward used to encourage normal eating behaviours.
Nevertheless, she does offer an argument which clearly stands out as different from most current therapy in many ways, and the book will certainly come as a breath of fresh air to anyone frustrated by the overly-sentimental ideas of self-love prevalent in eating disorder treatment culture; anyone who has had a normal childhood and lives a happy life and is sick of therapists telling them their eating disorder is the result of trauma and emotional stress; and anyone with a practical mindset who will find the idea of focusing on stopping the binging itself wonderfully straight-forward and logical.
However, her ideas are not entirely original. The bulk of her method is based on a chance encounter with a single book, which she duly gives credit to, whilst her original contribution consists mainly of applying the theories in this book to binge eating (the book focussed on alcoholics). She writes a lot on binging as a response to starvation or food restriction, which is not new as it can often be heard in relation to fad diets and is a problem encountered frequently in recovering anorexics.
But my big issue is that the author implies her conception of binging applies to binge-eaters universally, believing that her recovery method will work for anyone. She provides extensive references and has clearly used much high-standard scientific research to support her claims, yet with only herself as a case study, she is extremely premature in her belief that her ideas will apply to any addict.
I was surprised she didn’t see more potential in medication, as it was the fact that she could stop binging when taking a particular medication that gave her the first glimpse of the notion that her binging was unrelated to psychological issues and was simply a response to the urge to binge. She says the medication stopped working for her, that it did not produce a true recovery and that it had side effects. I found the author’s rejection of medication hard to understand given her initial positive experience, and it felt like was inclined to dismiss a medication-based approach due to her conviction that binge-eating is not an illness rather than because it is actually always ineffective.
Assuming her belief that she was able to stop binging purely by learning that she could choose to resist the urges to binge – and it really does seem that this was the case for her – who’s to say that everyone who binges does so for the same reason? Who’s to say that awareness of why they binge will enable them to stop doing so as the author does? Her method is refreshingly different from current thinking on eating disorders, yet I feel there is a potential risk for readers as those who binge eat may feel let down if they attempt the author’s method and find it does not work for them. I really wish the author had suggested that her method may work for others only as a possibility rather than claiming it will work for all.
Despite my emphasis on my criticisms in this review, I do truly feel the book has enormous potential to help at least some of those with binge eating disorders, and appreciated the author’s attempts to go against mainstream therapeutic thinking which is repeated in so many books on eating disorders, whether written by sufferers or professionals. I think there is definitely a lot to be said for her simple and practical approach.