Alcohol & Bingeing with Nicole Christina
In Episode 34, host Molly Watts addresses the issue of binge drinking and its relationship with eating disorders. Molly is joined by Nicole Kristina, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist specializing in treating eating disorders. They begin by discussing the definition of binge drinking, which involves consuming five or more alcoholic drinks within a two-hour timeframe, leading to increased risk of alcohol use disorder. They explore the various factors contributing to binge drinking, including peer pressure, boredom, poor coping skills, depression, anxiety, and trauma. Nicole sheds light on the similarities between overeating and binge drinking, highlighting the role of the reward center in the brain and the release of dopamine triggered by high-sugar and high-fat foods. They delve into the emotional aspects of binge eating, emphasizing the connection between emotions and behaviors. Nicole explains the physiological effects of binge eating, including discomfort, shame, and the cycle of indulgence and isolation. The conversation underscores the importance of mindfulness, emotion processing, and self-awareness in breaking the cycle of binge eating and drinking. They discuss the power of changing thought patterns, challenging distorted beliefs, and practicing self-compassion. Nicole shares insights into her therapeutic approach, emphasizing the significance of understanding and processing emotions. The conversation concludes with a focus on building resilience and empowering individuals to address underlying issues, fostering healthier relationships with food and alcohol. The episode highlights the interplay between emotions, behaviors, and substance use, offering practical insights for listeners to apply in their lives.
You’re listening to break in the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 34. Hi, I’m Molly, after a lifetime living under the influence of family alcohol abuse, spending more than 30 years worrying about alcohol and my own drinking, believing I had an unbreakable daily drinking habit, I changed my relationship with alcohol forever. If you want to change your drinking habits than breaking the bottle legacy is for you. My goal is to help you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, past, present, and future. Each week all focus on real science and using your own brain to change your relationship with alcohol. Nothing has gone wrong, you’re not broken, you’re not sick. It’s not your genes. And creating peace is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well, hello, and welcome or welcome back to breaking the bottle legacy. With me your host Molly watts, coming to you from an absolutely scorching Oregon today. My goodness, it’s going to be over 100. And it’s been that way for a few days, couple of days anyway, and it’s really really hot. So don’t come to Oregon right now, I always say come out to the Pacific Northwest. But I don’t think this week particularly might be the best option for you. Today on the podcast, I am super excited to be talking to Nicole Kristina Nicole is a licensed clinical social worker and a psychotherapist and has been treating eating disorders for most of her career. And we’re gonna be having a very important conversation on binging. And before we get into that today, I wanted to quickly on the podcast talk about what defines pin binge drinking because we’re she’s a specialist in eating disorders. There’s a lot of crossover, which is why I wanted to have her on the show. But I wanted to talk first before we get into my conversation with her about binge drinking and what that looks like and what it means and how it’s defined. Because it’s actually defined by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol abuse. And what what it means to binge drink. What it means is that for men, it’s basically drinking five or more alcoholic drinks, which is really the amount that it takes to reach a blood alcohol content of point zero 8% within a two hour timeframe. For women, it’s typically four or more alcoholic drinks. And we will remember that blood alcohol content can be a hum affected by things like your age, your weight, how much alcohol you’ve been drinking previously, the temperature, things like that. So this isn’t a hard set rule. But if you are drinking more than four drinks in a setting for women, and more than five drinks in a setting for men, that is considered a binge drinking episode. And the reason that it’s important is because binge drinking can increase a person’s risk of developing alcohol use disorder. And having a more than one binge episode in a month is actually also a way of defining something that’s called heavy is defined as heavy drinking as well how to use. So all of these things are important in terms of minding and managing your relationship with alcohol. If you are binge drinking, we’re going to talk about that today a little bit more. And I want to also say it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to become an alcoholic, that you are an alcoholic or that you suffer from severe alcohol use disorder. But it does put you at higher risk for doing so if you are binge drinking and things that cause binge drinking, living or socializing. In a drinking culture like a college that is a place where we often see people binge drinking peer pressure, low cost of alcohol right is is a reason that people will binge it. boredom, poor coping skills, depression, anxiety, experiencing trauma. These are all things that we’ll talk about in this conversation with Nicole. But it’s also important to understand that there are physical effects and mental repercussions of binge drinking that can happen, you know in a short term way, and then long term as well. And some of the short term Short term health impacts that might happen as the result of even just one binge drinking episode. Could be injuries from car accidents, falls, burns, alcohol poisoning is very possible. violence, sexual assault, homicide, unprotected and on safe sexual activity, a weakened immune system. cardiovascular issues because of high blood pressure that happens when we binge drink, obviously, liver issues, and there’s always an increased risk of colon, breast mouth, throat esophageal and liver cancer. With that is dose dependent. And we’ve talked about that on the on the podcast before, the more alcohol you’re drinking, the higher your risk are for developing these types of cancer. So I talk a lot about being an alcohol minimalist and sticking to the low risk guidelines for drinking alcohol. That is no more than four drinks for men in any one setting. And no more than three, four ladies, I’m gonna be real honest with you. I don’t, I don’t drink three drinks and in a night, very often, if at all anymore. And I don’t because I don’t feel very good when I do it. The next day, even that much alcohol for me is too much now. But I want to make sure that no matter what you’re doing with alcohol, you’re cognizant of the amounts that you’re drinking because mindfully, including alcohol in our lives is what I want us to be doing no matter what we want to have a good reason for including alcohol, and trying to. And we’ll talk about this in the conversation with Nicole. Most often binge drinking and binge eating is you’re doing it alone and without people and trying to do it just yourself. So this conversation is super important. And I hope that you really get a lot out of it. Because like I said, this is this is beyond a conversation that I typically have here. I don’t I personally have never been a binge drinker, that I have certainly had more than four drinks. If I if I’m looking at the clinical at the clinical definition of binge drinking, there have been times when I have had more than four drinks. I don’t know if I ever did it in two hours or less, which would be clinical. But I’ve certainly had episodes where I drank enough in one setting that it would be considered a binge. But on the average, I wasn’t drinking to Joe binge state most of the time. I was a habit drinker, daily drinker, and would be within or below those limits on most nights. So I think the conversation is super important, because I know that many of you struggle with this. And I just hope that you get something out of this from Nicole, because I think it’s very applicable. Here is my conversation with Nicole, Christina. Hey, Nicole, thank you so much for joining me today on breaking the bottle legacy. You and I have talked many times over the years on different podcasts and in different in different iterations of our lives. And I’m just so excited to have this conversation today because it’s super important to the conversations I’m having and a part of a series that I’ve been building here on the podcast called alcohol and and so today we’re going to be talking about alcohol and binging. This is a very critical conversation for people that are listening. And I want to talk a little bit about your background and why I wanted you on this podcast. You’re not an addiction expert. This is not an addiction conversation, folks. But this is I mean, as far as it goes with regards to alcohol, but it is about binging and binge disorders. So talk to me a little bit, Nicole, about your background in this arena. Sure, and I’m honored to be here. I love what you’re doing. I think it’s really important. So it’s my pleasure. I have been a psychotherapist, a clinical social worker for now. 30 years, I always thought other people said that. And now that’s what I say. I’ve been doing it for a long time and early on. I developed a an expertise on eating disorders. And it’s a pretty tough subspecialty because as you you might know, as your guests might might know, it’s got the highest mortality rate of any psych diagnosis. So I didn’t know that actually. It was very prevalent. I knew it was very prevalent, but not that okay, but it makes sense when we look long term Particularly with anorexia, it’s not necessarily the food or, or, or your heart or your organs. If we look really long term, there’s also a suicide rate that we have to be very aware of. So I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I specialize. A lot of people who come to me are what we would call subclinical. So they have, they know, they have a really kind of love hate relationship with food, it’s kind of taking too much of their time. And often what will happen is, in the end, really, what should I say, you know, very innocently, they go on a diet, and then they’re restricting, restricting, restricting, and all of a sudden, you can’t fight biology, right. So what happens is, then they eat, you know, a block of a pound block of cheese and a box of cheddar chips, and they’re like, what’s wrong with me? I’m terrible. I’m awful. I’m supposed to be on a diet. And that kind of pattern has a sneaky way of setting up a binge purge situation, because you are restricting food, calories, nutrients, and you can only do that for so long. And then your body just says, Look, I don’t care what you eat. But so part of what what we see in the binging is setting ourselves up with dieting. Diets always come before an eating disorder. So that’s just something kind of a red flag for people who especially you know, middle age are like, Gee, I got to do something about my, you know, menopause belly or something. So that’s just kind of a red flag. But the other thing I’ve been doing that might interest you is I’ve been before COVID, doing evaluations for a local Bariatric Center. So what the doctors want to know, and mostly insurance companies want to know, are these people fit to go ahead and have bariatric surgery? Meaning are they in their right mind? Do they have expectations that are realistic, what we’re finding with bariatric surgery is many times after bariatric surgery, people can no longer over eat comfortably. So they turned to alcohol. And that’s a real problem, because now we have a stomach that’s teeny, teeny, teeny, weeny, we have women who you know more about this than I do, but process alcohol differently. Now, we got a whole different problem. So we have kind of a cross addiction, where food hasn’t been taken, the relationship with food hasn’t been taken care of, they can’t use it anymore. They haven’t learned skills. So now they’re going alcohol, which is legal, and is, you know, is available. Wow, wow, that is frightening information. And, you know, the reason that I wanted to have you on here and to talk about this and is because there is such a link in terms of the behavior patterns, for people that are overeating, and people that are over drinking, and you kind of hit on it right there. It’s that they haven’t really dealt with the why they’re overeating in the first place, you know, the controlling the bariatric and controlling the stomach sizes, controlling the action, but it’s not really backing it up enough to figure out why they’re binging in the first place. And Exactly, that’s exactly right. That’s, that’s my basic philosophy of this. Yeah. And so I told you, I gave a description, or talked a bit before we got on the air here on this episode, and gave people some statistics and some information and some definitions behind what the NIA considers binge drinking. And I wanted to do that, because I think it’s important sometimes people don’t even realize the amount that they’re drinking would be considered a binge. And I want them to be aware of that. But we also want to talk about and you kind of set talked about in your practice subclinical. So this, this idea that, you know, while there’s a definition for binging, there’s a definition for binging for binge eating to I’m sure in terms of just you know, strict guidelines for diagnoses. But really, it’s more about what’s happening in these people’s lives, and in all of our lives, right. And so, you mentioned that diets come first typically for eating disorders, but do you also find that people are turning to food using food, much like some people here would use alcohol to try to numb away emotion or to try to escape something absolute Lay, I mean, a large part of you, you’re looking at people with binge eating disorder, many have sexual abuse histories or sexual trauma. And that’s a whole other kind of can of worms and in terms of putting on weight to protect oneself, but what we know is generally, and again, generally not everyone fits into this, but I have if I have someone who talks about clinically or sub clinically over eating, what I can guess about them is that, and I see mostly women in my practice. So just a disclaimer is that they have a really hard time saying no, and asserting themselves, this is well known in the field. And a lot of what I do is kind of help them get to know themselves. So they can say yes to things they want to say yes to, and no, no thank you to things they really don’t want to do. And the problem often is that the people I see don’t have a clear idea, because they haven’t had the opportunity to learn, hey, you’re valuable, you matter, you know, you, you get to have a say your say is important. And for a variety of reasons, some of which are, you know, we live in a patriarchal society. And, you know, we can go on and on about that there’s a certain history of women, you know, being quiet being compliant, and it gets stacked on like layers. You know, nobody likes kind of a shrill woman. And so there’s that piece of it. But most of the women I see who have trouble over eating over, kind of papering over their feelings have trouble saying no, so what happens is the Ben and Jerry’s or the cheesecake, or the cookies, become a reward, and become like, life’s really hard for me, I don’t get to make choices. But boy, I know I want this chocolate peanut butter cup ripple. And that’s my little reward for saying yes to a lot of things that I don’t want to do. And that’s very interesting. Yeah, the whole reward you’re hitting on a big note here, with because, and actually, some of the reading that I did on binge eating, is because it a lot of people turn to those foods that are high in sugar, high in fat, because that’s right, they release dopamine in that reward center, much like alcohol does as well. And it is one of the reasons that these types of behaviors become habitual, is because people want that feeling, right? They want to change how they’re feeling. They’re feeling crummy. And they can get a very quick hit of dopamine from these why Yeah, these high exactly right, we wouldn’t do it. If it didn’t work to some degree. It works in the short run. It unfortunately also causes both and this is very common in both binge drinking. And you know, binge eating is this immense amount of shame and guilt afterward, which is a cycle right, because we started off and with shame, right? And then we eat over eat over and then you know, failed diet, eat over maybe gain weight, maybe not may purge, maybe not purge, by the way also sets off those chemical endorphins. So people say, I feel great. I had a woman that I met with who was so I mean, her family name is one you’d recognize she had a crest. Her family was so wealthy and powerful. They had family crests. So she had a ring with her crest on it. She could do she was an undergrad here, and she could do anything she wanted. I mean, you know, like she would fly to Paris to go shopping. She’s all this stuff like the Kardashians. She told me the best feeling she has is after she purchase. Wow, matches encouraging. So that’s really gives you a sense of the physical and emotional power that this has. And I also this is so many years ago, I I was seeing a graduate student who was really accomplished she was like a published poet that like 25 Brilliant, lovely woman and the only way she could write was with a big box of Cheerios beside her so she would write shoving the Cheerios right shove in and she said something I will never forget. She said, What people don’t understand about binging is I binge to survive it It’s not just like, Oh, this feels good, I like cereal, it’s like it is, at my core, I need to do that in order to live my life that is very, very strong. And wow. I think that, you know, you’re hitting on something, again, that is very intertwined with people that have an addiction to whether it’s drugs, alcohol, porn, you know, any type of behavior that becomes a problem for people, right? Is this is this inability to process or handle emotions, emotional immaturity. And I talked about it before on the podcast, it really doesn’t, you know, we don’t have a physical maturity, it’s easy to recognize, right? We grow, we end up being a certain size, a certain height, you know, and we reach a certain age and people say, we’re, we’re grown up. But with emotional maturity, there are no hallmarks. And there are no, there are no goalposts in terms of the way that people can gauge that and you could from the outside appear to have everything right to have no issues have no worries, have no no financial issues, have no education issues, and you could still be emotionally immature, and not able to process and emotions and it’s still, it’s still you could be as many people are have every advanced degree that is available, you could be making, you know, billions of dollars, I see it see it like a skill. Can I recognize my emotions? And then once I recognize them, because they’re often mixed, which makes it tricky, then what do I do with them? When I’m feeling ambivalent? When I have my child who I love dearly, and who is driving me crazy, and I have this feeling of like, right, in this moment, I hate my kid. And people don’t want to say those words. But then what do I do with that? Oh, good mothers don’t feel that way. Good. Mothers shouldn’t think that we should always be you know, loving and giving and accepting and tolerant. That’s not real life. And so when we have those mixed feelings and those powerful feelings and those feelings, we feel like nice people don’t have that. What can we do to comfort ourselves to tap Alais them and to really, truly accept them as part of the spectrum of human emotion? Right? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I talk about that on this podcast a lot is that, you know, the goal isn’t to have a to never have a negative emotion. I mean, that because that isn’t realistic. Life is 5050. And you and you actually won’t appreciate the highs if you don’t have any lows. And so we can’t just keep trying to avoid what we don’t want to process and what we don’t want to deal with one of them to our detriment, we can try, right. Yeah, that, for me, has been pivotal in changing my own relationship with alcohol, because for a long time, I just sat around, believing that I was always at the effect of my emotion, never really understanding that I had the power to create emotion in myself the power to create how I change how I was feeling by changing how I was thinking, and didn’t understand the power of my own brain understanding and really harnessing that and practicing that, because it is a skill, just to your point that can be practiced can be learned can be, you know, bettered, right. I mean, I don’t know that anybody’s gonna. It’s one of those things, too. It’s not like you’re ever going to be done with it. You know, you’re gonna know nobody I know. is done. Yeah, just because have you ever heard this even talked about the brain? And, you know, that’s a whole other podcasts. But I think what’s really important to your point, Molly, is that the brain is a great tool. It’s a great servant, but it’s got some upgrading to do and we have you know, our culture has evolved in different ways that our brain hasn’t caught up with the the brain is is just a terrible boss. It’s a terrible master. And what I mean by that is the brain thinks thoughts that we may believe with no looking at them any critical way and then we just go about our our moods or how that affects our feelings. So like, here’s just a really simple example. Like your brain might say, oh, Horse two lost that tennis match because you’re dead it ended. And so without any kind of analysis or any sort of looking closer, it just seemed questioning you. And yeah, that questioning it exactly. It’s like yep, that’s, that’s right. That’s true. And so how does that lead me to act? Probably not really a productive thing. So what I teach clients to do is to say, well, let’s hold that up to the light of day, you know, and a lot of people do this, this is, you know, this is it CBT basic to Yeah, it’s exactly distorts distorted thoughts, like, is that really true? How do I know it’s true? And can I step back and detach from those thoughts and say, That’s a thought. That’s another thought. That’s another thought. And to, to have the ability to look at them and not be in them is really important for people who are trying to address these detrimental behaviors. You know, from my, my vantage point, like, is either restricting, or binging or like, I feel terrible. A cheesecake will help well, it will help for 20 minutes, and then you’re going to feel gross and ashamed. And then you’re going to go on a diet to say, Oh, I can’t eat anything tomorrow. And you’re going to set yourself up and set yourself up. And again and again. So a lot of this is and I noticed that you’ve done a lot of work. When I read your book, a lot of work and really trying to understand what the mechanics are behind. How, how we approach our feelings and our relationship is live with our thoughts. Yeah, absolutely. Because it’s really been the the linchpin for me, in changing behavior that was, again subclinical wouldn’t been something that people from the outside recognized as a problem, but was something that constantly caused a lot of anxiety for me, and all my life. And so it I, yeah, it was kind of a lightbulb for me going off the whole realization, I never understood I was, I talk about that on the podcast, sometimes I tell people, I, you know, I was a Class A No at all. And so I never questioned my own brain. You know, what I mean? The thoughts that my brain throughout, I was just accepting as the gospel truth, instead of looking at them and thinking, what else could be true? And that’s a tool that I’ve that I learned, and I love that the way of framing it that way is no inquiry is beautiful. What else could be true? And that forces you to think, oh, yeah, maybe I’m not just somebody who is inconsistent and doesn’t stick to plans. Maybe I just, you know, what else is true? Oh, what else is true is that I’m learning how to be consistent. I am learning this, I am practicing this. So there’s so much there, obviously. And there’s a whole mindfulness of course component of this, you really have to be present to say, Oh, wait, there’s a thought again. And what I teach my clients just because I’m a class a smartass. About a No at all, is like to say to the sauce, like, oh, gosh, not you again. Or, like, what took you so long? Because I’ve been waiting for you. Usually, you just show up, blah, blah, blah, some people will have a name, they’ll have any, you know, thoughts that kind of have like characters or whatever, and whatever we can do to step away and say, yep, that’s a thought. I don’t know if it’s, it seems very real. But is it true, and those are very different things. And we all have them. We all have distorted thoughts based on a lot of different you know, our relationship with our families, early on what the culture tells us, you know, you’re not, you know, your middle age, you’re not attractive anymore. Oh, you’re too chubby. You’re too, you know. And so these things just play and neurologically to really grind or rot in our brains. And that’s just where things kind of it’s easiest, the easiest path to go down because it’s been practiced. It’s exactly right. And so to talk about, you know, to really help people understand what the mechanics are, and that we can change them and it’s going to feel really weird and awkward. like brushing your teeth with your left hand. You know, if your right hand it’s like, oh, this is so strange, but that’s the way it’s going to feel. As you as you noted, It takes a heck of a lot of practice, because we’ve been practicing other thoughts since age, you know, zero, right? So of course, it’s going to be tough and people will sort of start to have a conflict. Well, I kind of believe it. But now I’m really wondering, but I kind of believe it, but, and our brain loves negativity. So it’s, you know, it’s, it’s tough, it’s tough to change. It is tough, but what I tell people is that it’s possible, you know, with enough time and enough practice, I’ve really completely reworked my own relationship with alcohol, which, to me seemed absolutely impossible. Like, you know, if you would have told me this, a few years ago that I would have ever been talking about this now, in this way, I would have said, No, that’s not that I’m never going to stop drinking long, you know, that’s not going to happen. So it’s, it is absolutely possible. And it’s absolutely possible, you know, and I think maybe that’s, again, one of the reasons that it’s different with alcohol than it is with, with food to some degree, because, obviously, and I want to talk a little bit about that, in terms of binge eating disorder, what does, what does it look like to solve this problem? Because obviously, you can’t give up food people do, right? You know, people will sometimes choose to completely give up alcohol, because of an issue with it, and not being able to feel like they can ever trust themselves. And they can make that decision, right? I mean, they can, they can sometimes successfully do that. I don’t believe in that. I believe that we have the power to change that relationship. And we do it by this this work that we’re talking about. But obviously, with eating disorders, you can’t stop eating totally. So you know, what I tried to do is really get people to be much more in touch with their feelings. What are they feeling? What do they think they’re feeling? And where do they feel it in their body, which can be really helpful because the body never lies. The brain can do a lot of distortions, but the body never lies. So what I might do is take somebody to the beginning, when do you start knowing that you’re getting Bingi? What does it feel like? Well, I’m not exactly sure. But I know that like if somebody gives me criticism, I sort of have a weird feeling. And there’s this sort of tension that’s building up I can’t quite describe, well, where would you feel it in your body? When somebody says, you know, this work isn’t very good. Can you do it again, or something like that? Well, I just get a weird feeling like in my stomach, or, like, my chest gets really tight around here, I start feeling like tension, or I feel like I must start people have very different ways. Okay, so then, at what point do you make the decision, gonna go to the donut shop, or I’m going to stop at the grocery. And by the way, just like any addition, people have to get pretty good at hiding this. So if they live in a small town, oftentimes, they’ll go to different grocery stores, because if they’re getting massive amounts of ice cream cookies, okay, whatever cereals, it’s usually karbi fast Barbie stuff. They don’t they get embarrassed, right? So they may go to different grocery stores? And then when do you reach the point of no return? And what are the feel me just taking them through every single step? When do you know that there’s no going back? Are you excited, are you people will describe going in their house drawing the shades turning their phone off and being like in this cocoon or Womb of sort of soothing, that it’s only for them, nobody can stop them. They can do what they want and sort of see this parallel with in real life. I can’t say no, you know, can you give me that feedback in a different way? Or no, I don’t want to babysit your your puppy. But I said yes, anyway, and it’s going to cause a lot of stress. So notice that now it’s like I have complete control. I’m split. I’m not supposed to eat sugar on a low sugar diet, screw it, I’m gonna have you know, three gallons of ice cream. So they do this and it’s it’s a bit of a like, a fugue state. There’s just this numbness that happens. And they’re in this little kind of experience of just, it’s almost childlike and like, I’m going to do it. I don’t care what you say, this is for me and no one can take it away from me. And it’s almost a sort of reward punishment kind of combination that makes it really tricky knowing that at Do you eat couple bowls of ice cream, even the best of us who love ice cream, it doesn’t feel so good anymore. And so with real clinical binge eating disorder, many people get to the point where they feel so uncomfortable. And their guts are so distended. And you can imagine, like, this is not, they’re not eating, you know, good foods, it’s all that, at some, I’ve heard some of my clients will say, I have to take a bath, just to kind of get the muscles back sort of relaxed, so I can digest. But it really is like an altered state, much like drinking, I imagine. And it feels great, because nobody can touch you in this in this place. You’re just disconnected from everything, every demand every what you might perceive as judgment, criticism, nobody can hurt you in this mode, and then you come down, and then you have to hide if you live with a family or whatever, then you’re going and hiding your McDonald’s bags, then you’re going to have to there’s a lot of shame. Much like probably hiding, I want I’m sure lime bottles. Yeah, everything that you just said. And that whole journey. I am I absolutely 100% competent, there are people listening that have done the same exact thing. But with alcohol. And they’ve you know, it’s the same kind of mindset, it’s the same kind of almost, you know, getting into a cocoon or blocking themselves in and protecting themselves and deciding and it’s interesting that you’re using that, that it’s almost childlike, because I talk a lot about the toddler brain and the adult brain. And that toddler brain is in that you know, is in the reward center, right? And the toddler brain wants what it wants. And it’s going to get it and it’s only concerned with the moment, right, that work? That’s exactly right. It doesn’t have the capacity to think out into the future. It’s not goal oriented. It’s not. It’s not logical. And, and so then it takes over, right. So you talked about this journey, and you talked about helping them, you know, helping people and I love the fact that you talked about understanding and articulating and feeling and sensing what’s happening in your body when you’re experiencing a feeling. I just was sharing that in my group, because being able to articulate how we feel our feelings is a big deal when you’re trying to be able to process them. Because you also kind of think we give a lot of credence to our emotions. Humans, really, you know, us, we say it all the time. Oh, I just didn’t feel like it, right? Like everything we do or don’t do in our lives is pretty much directly attributable to how we’re feeling in the moment a feeling about something. And when we boil it down, though, feelings are just sensations, they’re just vibrations in our body. And we can really handle and process, any emotion that that comes our way, with more with a better understanding and a better framework for doing that, which I think is probably what you do to help your clients exactly is to help them be able to process and figure out those emotions. But so tell me how it looks like where is the first step in breaking that cycle is a different for everybody or understanding what it does for you. And what we don’t want to do is say, oh, that’s bad. Look at what you’re doing. Also, it’s a very expensive for people with a real binge eating disorder, they’re spending hundreds of dollars on food a week that gets wasted one way or another. And so when I tried to do is come at it in a very non judgmental, neutral way, like your this is your way of solving a problem. And you’re really attempting to solve a problem when your feelings come up. You don’t know what to do with them. They’re frightening, you’re afraid you’re not going to be able to tolerate them. And whatever else they’ve told me this is actually pretty adaptive. You know, it could you could be doing other things that are much more destructive to yourself than to others. Also, there may be a history of eating disorders in the family, which is a genetic component. So really try to have them step back and take the shame out which is easier said than done. But look at what it does for you. Yes, you find relief. Yes, it does. work. Food is everywhere. And crappy food is everywhere. I always marvel at when I’m pumping gas on those little video monitors. Yeah. The other. I use this example just because it’s Oreos, but they say like it’s a it’s an ad for Oreos, and it says your your milk needs Oreos. I thought, really? I never thought of that. And so like you can’t even pump gas without getting these. These messages. Yeah, the external Yeah, it’s food porn is what it is. You mentioned porn. And of course, in evolutionary wise, we are geared for sugar and fat. So like, it’s really unfair. There’s a lot of science behind what makes food hyper palatable, meaning irresistible. And I’ll just give you like a little snippet. You know how those Doritos have like, it’s hot, it’s spicy, it’s sweet. It’s got chili. It’s that layering keeps our tastebuds engaged. And makes it addictive. So the all of these like you notice we don’t have vanilla chocolate strawberry ice cream anymore. It’s got to have the sprinkles and the birthday cake and the ripples. And so that’s engineered to keep us our our because we you know, plateau out. It’s like okay, chocolate ice cream is great, but it’s chocolate ice cream I got it was delicious. What am I doing now, it keeps us engage all those layer flavors are all engineered. People are paid a lot of money to figure out the bliss point of sugar in our brain. So they go into scanners, they’re fed glucose. And when our brain lights up to a point of, you know, crave ability they call it that’s how much sugar is added to food. It is so manipulative. That was a really nice word. It’s really kind of it’s it’s sort of dirty, dirty pool. Yeah. So let’s just say I’m vulnerable to let’s just say I’m vulnerable to a binge eating, let’s say I skip breakfast because I want to lose weight or because I have a relationship with food that’s not comfortable. And let’s say my partner said, oh, you know, our visa Bill was really high. Who knows? Whatever, you know, did you buy too much yarn in my case? And you know, so it gets into like, I didn’t buy a lot of yarn and it was on sale. Who knows? I go and I pump gas. Your milk needs Oreos? Who’s gonna go buy Oreos? I mean, it’s like it’s such a setup and then I’m eating the Oreos not tasting. I’m just trying to get that, you know, that that feeling of comfort and, and, you know, soothing and relief. And then I think who eats Oreos at nine in the morning? What kind of awful human being Am I all my friends are doing keto organic kale smoothies. I’m eating Oreos in the car, you know, and it just goes on and on and on. So I guess that was a big it’s a good rant, because honestly, it’s a rant. It’s the same. I mean, it’s the same theory. It’s you look around at all of the advertising for alcohol and how a jam arised and how it’s just sexy women jump on you. And, and now we’re seeing all these different things that we’ve become, you know, they’re making everything spiked, right. I mean, it’s Seltzer, and it’s cider and it’s beer, and it’s wine and it’s you name it and they’re making it in, in, in things that almost make it sound like it’s healthy. Right? I mean, like it’s a berry flavored. It’s gotta be it’s got it’s got it has antioxidants in it, which is hysterical, I think to myself, who’s falling for this. But back to what you said, Molly, I think you know, back to where I started, I do have a little problem with going off. It’s good. It’s the the ideas coming at it with compassion and coming at it with who surprised I lay I help them see the dots so they can connect who’s surprised? You know, let’s look at how you learn to cope. How did you get how did you learn how to deal with emotions? Oh, we never talked about emotions in the family. And if I had a power of a sad face, my mom would say go in your room and come back with a smile. But I was getting bullied at at school. So I didn’t know you know, I Learn that anger isn’t good, or, you know, whatever, and so on. And honestly, well, how would you know how to deal with this? And they just, you know, it’s so it starts making sense. And so people start feeling less crazy. And they’re like, oh, yeah, and I can I can affect this. I can change it, because now I understand it. Yeah, no, I agree. That’s the I talk about that in my upcoming book is the fact that we’ve, we’ve done a disservice to our children, we don’t really learn these things in school, we don’t learn we learn, you know, a lot of other messages, but we don’t learn that we have the power to change how we are feeling we talk about, you know, it’s like they they have a conflict resolution wheel for kids, like, Oh, did he make you feel angry? Well, he didn’t make you feel angry, what you thought about what he did, made you feel angry. And if we taught kids that he had the, you know what I mean, that you had the power to choose whether or not you were angry at him, or what he said, isn’t even remotely true. I know that I have the power to be whatever. I mean, it’s a lot of skills that we do not learn. And it took me until my mid 50s, to really understand I you know, it’s not just because it’s, it’s reserved for psychologists and social workers, etc. But we aren’t, a lot of times taught that real people lay people, people that don’t have big looming problems, right, we can still be better at this, it is a skill that we can learn. And so unless we go seek out counseling, unless we have a crisis, many of us aren’t taught these skills. And that’s a big message that in this podcast I want to share with people is because I do believe everybody has the power to get better at this. Everybody has the power to manage their own minds and to, to build this skill. And it’s an important meta skill, whether it’s alcohol that you’re you’re struggling with, whether it’s food, whether it’s finances, whether it’s porn, whether it’s social media, whether it’s you know, whatever your relationships, these, this is a skill that you can get better at and learn. And I know you’re doing a lot of that with your great clients. And that’s so important. And you’re also an l share folks zestful aging, Nicole and I first connected for my old podcast, and the work that you’re doing and encouraging women to be to change their mindsets about midlife, right and about and about aging and to become optimistic. That’s, that’s a learned skill. It really is. And some of it, you have to be a little rebellious, because that’s not the message. I mean, it’s as we know, there’s a groundswell of middle aged women saying, Here I come, you know, I’m not done and watch out. And that’s wonderful. But there’s still this big message like, oh, you know, little wrinkly, you know, little gray, sorry, we don’t need you anymore. And so for us to start thinking for ourselves and say, really, because I have a lot to offer, and be able to do that I was gonna make another just to piggyback what you just said, I was so delighted to see that in Oakland, they’re teaching kids mindfulness techniques instead of sending them to detention. And so that’s a way of kind of bringing your physiology down and getting, you know, the thinking going, not the, not the amygdala, not the Yeah, ah, no, I agree. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s nice, because I think we are beginning to see the world is starting to shift. And mindfulness is not something that’s woowoo and out there anymore, right? We can be mindful about mindful drinking, we can be mindful, mindful eating. And these are these are all good things. So before we go, I want to just I want to touch on one subject that I think is a curious question, and I just want to get your feedback on it. There. We use the word binge these days, in kind of the very casually, right? Yes, binge worthy. Yeah, exactly. like Netflix binge worthy. Right. So do you see that as a problem? What do you think? What’s your what’s your thoughts on that? I was trying to think about what I thought about that. And so share with me what you think. I don’t love it. Um, I you know, I don’t want to be like the word police and be like, you can’t say that. You can’t say that. I think it’s insensitive. These These problems are serious, they’re painful. They ruin people’s lives. Their addictions, you know, and they’re profound and I think to kind of make light of it at the very least is insensitive. I think that whoever is doing their PR may not mean or in about some of that it gets tossed around a lot OCD gets tied on like that OCG gets tossed around a lot or I’m bipolar, well, guess what, you’re not bipolar. And you don’t even know what that means or um, schizophrenia, you know, that persons who have schizophrenia know, their PTSD gets thrown out. So I think, you know, there’s a, it’s, it’s helpful. I think people more people are talking about mental health, and that the diagnoses are kind of getting out there more, but then people use them in an informal way that I think can be insensitive. I don’t like it. I wish that they would be a little bit more aware of how hurtful that can be. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think that there’s two there’s danger in just encouraging overconsumption and consumptive spirit. Yes. No matter what it is. Right? I mean, binging anything really isn’t good for us, folks. I mean, it’s not you know, have you seen any of the studies about binge watching what happens to our brain activity after we and I can feel it, I don’t know. Like, when Orange is the New Black was out, I was just glued to that I could not turn it off. And after a while, I don’t know if other people experienced I just felt like, I felt numb. And I felt kind of buzzy and just like, not like my brain was in cotton. And I think that there’s something to that. And I’ve read some research that there are definitely brain changes when you’re obviously when you’re staring at a screen for four hours. It is as you said, it is not healthy. It’s not balanced. And health is about balance. Yeah. Yeah. Well, Nicole, I have loved this conversation. There is so much value here. Because these two things. I mean, one of the things that I have shared on this podcast is treating the underlying issues as important because if you don’t figure out what it is, you’ll turn right so people will turn from alcohol to food to other to other absences to to sue if they can’t figure that out. So I know there is just a ton of crossover here. And binging is a serious subject, especially. I mean, it’s a serious subject, whether it’s food or alcohol. Clearly folks and I, I shared that before Nicole and I got on here. There are some real serious implications from binging alcohol, even one time. So it’s it’s scary and frightening and can be, you know, lethal. So this is a an important conversation. And I just appreciate you, Nicole coming on and sharing your perspective in working with people. Because I know that there’s so much crossover between binge eating and binging alcohol. My My absolute pleasure, Molly, you, you I love the questions you asked and I’m delighted to be part of it. Great. Thank you. Thank you for listening to breaking the bottle legacy. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Take something that you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible. You have the power to change your relationship with alcohol. Now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com