Did you know that your body and brain cannot understand dieting? What is the connection between perfectionism and binge eating disorder? Is intuitive eating a healing method? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about binge eating, perfectionism, and the human brain with Alana Van Der Sluys.


Alana Van Der Sluys is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, author, speaker, and eating disorder survivor. She is the founder of Freedom with Food and Fitness, an online community dedicated to empowering those who want to heal their relationship with food, weight, and their bodies through intuitive eating and movement. Visit Freedom with Food and Fitness and connect on Instagram. Her book, Freedom with Food and Fitness: How Intuitive Eating is the Key to Becoming Your Happiest Self will be released by Urano Publishing next spring. FREEBIE: 5 Ways to Boost Health with Intuitive Eating


  • What is binge eating disorder?
  • Your body doesn’t understand dieting
  • Perfectionism and binge eating

What is binge eating disorder?

Some of the main aspects that constitute binge eating disorder are:
  • Eating very quickly
  • Eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable
  • Feeling embarrassed about the amount of food eaten
  • Eating a lot of food while not hungry
  • Feeling shame or guilt after moments of overeating
When we’re diagnosing binge eating disorder, those are the typical criteria we’re using. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
If you’re struggling with three or more of the criteria mentioned above, then consider seeking professional mental health guidance to talk it through.

Your body doesn’t understand dieting

Your brain and body do not want to lose weight. They do not understand dieting, because dieting is not natural to a human being.
When you’re on a diet and you’re on a calorie deficit, you are restricting whole food groups that you truly enjoy, your body doesn’t perceive that as a diet. It doesn’t know how to do that. It’s perceiving the diet as famine or starvation. (Alana Van Der Sluys)
Your body’s primary function is to keep you alive, and if it thinks that you are starving, it will drive you to “binge”, especially if you are dieting heavily or frequently.
Anytime you binge, it’s just your body trying to save you and keep you alive. It’s not sure when after this moment the next time you’re going to allow it to eat [will be]. (Alana Van Der Sluys)

Perfectionism and binge eating

The black-and-white thinking that goes with perfectionism is often also found in binge eating disorders. The “all or nothing” mentality can trap you into feeling like if you “fail”, then you may as well go “all the way”. If you leave absolutely no room for error or no forgiveness for mistakes, you are more likely to fail, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Let go of the control. You have to throw out the scale, stop calorie counting, and [start] listening to your body and it will tell you what it needs. I crave ice cream and I crave broccoli on the same day, it does happen. (Alana Van Der Sluys)



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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