Today on the podcast:

Glenn Livingston Ph.D is a veteran psychologist who became disillusioned by what traditional psychology had to offer overweight and/or food-obsessed individuals and spent several decades researching the nature of bingeing and overeating via work with his own patients AND a self-funded research program with more than 40,000 participants.

Most important, however, was his own personal journey out of obesity and food prison to a normal, healthy weight and a much more light-hearted relationship with food.

He is the author of the book Never Binge Again which goes through how thousands of people have stopped overeating and binge eating – and stuck to the diet of their choice (by reprogramming themselves to think differently about food)!

This was an interesting conversation around binge eating. Glenn has a very different approach to the mindset around food and today’s episode will give you some new tools to potentially support overeating and binging. Like every podcast interview I do, take what’s relevant to you, experiment with it yourself and see if it helps.

  • 04:28 Glenn’s personal history with his weight and what lead him to studying binge eating disorders and disordered eating
  • 08:20 The reasons overeating, stress eating, and binge eating so prevalent in our culture today
  • 13:34 Dissecting your cravings – chocolate binges vs salty binges vs starchy binges
  • 17:30 Practical tips and techniques to hijack your reptilian brain when you get a craving binge
  • 24:04 The difference between binge eating for obese and overweight individuals vs the fitness population and “binge/restrict” cycles
  • 28:46 Why there is “often, but not always” deep-rooted trauma that leads to binge eating
  • 35:54 Successfully identifying the triggers and conditions that precede a binge
  • 40:35 A question that not enough people ask themselves regarding binge eating
  • 44:10 How it’s possible to “Never Binge Again?” by applying the psychology of winners to eating
  • 48:38 The one Instagram post that Glenn would want everyone to see

Key Points

  • It’s normally assumed that food addiction is tied to childhood trauma and a lack of love and respect for one’s own body. While true in a number of cases, this does not adequately explain the obesity epidemic. According to Glenn, big food companies spend “millions if not billions of dollars to engineer these hyper-palatable food-like substances”. These substances are designed to “hijack the survival drive” by hitting “the bliss point in the reptilian brain […] without giving you enough nutrition to feel satisfied.”
  • Glenn did a study asking respondents which foods they turn to and can’t stop eating when they’re stressed. He found three interesting things: 1) Those who struggled with chocolate tended to be broken-hearted, lonely, or depressed; 2) Those who struggled with salty, crunchy food tended to be stressed with work; 3) Those who struggled with soft, chewy, starchy things tended to be stressed with home life. Glenn’s conclusion: “We don’t necessarily eat for emotional reasons. We eat because our lizard brain is overstimulated.”
  • If you want to break the vicious cycle that is binge eating, it is vital that you incentivize yourself to think with your higher brain to get you away from the impulses of your lizard brain (or the “pig” as Glenn calls it). One great way to do this is to set rules for yourself in writing and, while you’re on it, to write about how these specific foods are affecting you. By becoming more cerebral about how you look at the food you crave, you distance yourself from it. Also, it helps to not set such high standards for yourself at the beginning. Start with one simple rule – such as not going back for seconds at a given meal – and work your way up from there as your mind and body adapt.

Powerful Quotes by Glenn

  • What I saw was that these big food companies were spending millions if not billions of dollars to engineer these hyper-palatable food-like substances like concentrations of starch and sugar and fat and excitotoxins and salt. It was all designed to hit the bliss point in the reptilian brain […] without giving you enough nutrition to feel satisfied. That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to bypass the natural pleasure system of the brain and hit those buttons in a way that evolution never prepared us for.
  • We don’t necessarily eat for emotional reasons. We eat because our lizard brain is overstimulated.
  • Following the rules and being able to stick to my own best thinking about food is more important than how fast I lose weight.
  • I believe that there’s an evolutionary mechanism in the brain that says, “If food is very scarce for a period of time, the moment it is available, you need to hoard it.”
  • Willpower is the ability to make good decisions.
  • If you’re aiming at the bullseye, you want to aim with the energy of perfectionism.

Guest Info

Dr. Glenn Livingston

President at Never Ever Again, Inc.

Long time Bestselling Author and Co-Founder of Never Ever Again, Inc., a company which specializes in helping people with eating problems to stop being eating and overeating, lose weight, and learn how to think like a permanently thin person on the diet of their choice. Previous CEO of two companies, presiding over more than $30,000,000 in consulting services in the marketing and advertising industry.

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