How to Overcome Binge Eating!

me&my health up podcast episode #16 – Transcript

Anthony Hartcher 0:00
Welcome to another amazing episode of healthy fat with your host Anthony Hartcher. Healths Up seeks to inspire and enhance and enhance and enlighten the well being of others.

Today we are blessed to have live with us life coach and NLP. Master coach Sonya Furlong. Sonya specialises in helping people become the best versions of themselves using mindset techniques, and that includes NLP as one of those techniques.

Today, she’ll be imparting her wisdom on how to manage emotional binge eating. So welcome, Sonya, how are you?

Sonya Furlong 0:37
I’m great, Anthony. Thank you for having me here.

Anthony Hartcher 0:41
Pleasure, glad you can join us. I really appreciate you putting aside the time, my pleasure. So just, you know, for the viewers and listeners really keen to understand how you come to becoming a life coach and a Master Practitioner of NLP. Just your journey is, you know, really nice to associate with someone’s journey as to where they arrived today. Yeah.

Sonya Furlong 1:05
Sure. Well, did I just cut my sound out? Sorry. I, well, I was always teaching yoga and meditation. And I was working, I worked in the film industry for 15 years, which was very stressful. Then I worked as an event manager for five years, and that was really full on. And, but I had the meditation and the yoga, which was just such a beautiful way to heal myself and also helped heal and help others.

And then, you know, I got to a point where it’s like, okay, I really want to make a difference in the lives of others I want to, and I want a business where I work on my terms, my values, my time, work with people I like to work with. So I really wanted to have my own business.

I had the yoga meditation, and I thought I’d need something else to round out my business. So I had been to life coaches in the past, and they had been amazing for me. I studied life coaching, and that was totally transformational. Just learning it, like, you know, you’re learning to help others, but you, you get so much help for yourself as well at the same time.

Then I started becoming a life coach, and then I also became a trainer. And that was again, I had no idea how transformative that would be to become a trainer of NLP and matrix therapies. And so now I run my own business, a Centre for Life Therapies, running training and seeing clients. I’m also the New South Wales State trainer for the life coaching college. So I love doing all the training and we just had our first live training on the weekend after all the lockdown. It was really awesome to be back in the room, training new coaches as exciting.

Anthony Hartcher 2:55
Fantastic. Yeah, I can really see all your passion for what you do. And I certainly heard many stories of success, stories of how you’ve helped others. So it’s really nice that you found your passion. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 3:08
Yeah. And I’ve later found my calling took a long time in life to find like, Yes, I found it makes such a difference.

Anthony Hartcher 3:17
At least you are there now, yes. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 3:21
I always joke, I will do this forever. Like, I’ll drop dead. I’ll come back or do it again. I just love it.

Anthony Hartcher 3:27
That’s beautiful. Yeah. You can tell you’re in that statement. So just in my introduction, I mentioned NLP and you spoke about NLP, there’ll be people out there that are not aware of what that acronym is? Or I can say, can you tell us what, what it stands for NLP and how it works?

Sonya Furlong 3:53
Absolutely. So NLP is Neuro-Linguistic Programming. And it was created by a small group of people, mostly two gentlemen, famous for creating NLP, John Grinda, and Richard Bandler. And they studied the greatest therapists of their time.

So it was the 1970s. And I’m going to sneeze and they studied. They studied the Great, the greatest psychiatrist of the time, the greatest psychologist of their time and the greatest therapists of their time. And by studying what these great therapists did, and breaking down what they did into components of patterns that can be repeated.

They found that they were able to install those processes and techniques and train themselves in those techniques and get really fast results. So where traditional therapy because it wasn’t sort of broken down into these components that can be repeated, you know, it could take 10 years to get a result. Traditionally, it took 10 years to help someone with depression, which is a really long time to be depressed and getting therapy for it through NLP through taking the best of the best, and slight boiling it down into its essence, and then repeating that they could get the same result in just a few sessions.

And like, a spider phobia, for example, which used to take five to seven years of therapy to overcome, they could do it in one session. So that’s what NLP is, it’s taken the best of the greatest thinking minds in psychology and psychiatry, and sort of brought, brought it down into its absolute essence, to get the same result. But really quickly,

Anthony Hartcher 5:55
That’s fantastic. Because at the end of the day, you know, people don’t want to spend hours of their time doing therapy sessions so much rather get in a short period and save a lot of money in the process,

Sonya Furlong 6:09
A lot of money, yes, and be able to heal, incredible, you know, like childhood trauma, and so many horrendous things that people go through in their life, they can start to feel relief in a matter of months, rather than years.

Anthony Hartcher 6:27
Yeah, wow. Yeah. Yeah. really keen to apply this, and help my listeners and viewers in relation to emotional binge eating. As a nutritionist, I constantly come up against this when taking a consult and hearing about what a person does during the day, and they generally say, like, in the evenings is when they’re very primed and susceptible to binge eating, and they just don’t know what’s driving it. It’s just like, autopilot. And so I’m really keen for you to give us some insight as to what’s going on with the thinking, and what can be done about it.

Sonya Furlong 7:09
Yes, great question. It’s a big topic. And there’s a few things and if I could share my screen, I will show you the NLP communication model, which, I mean, there’s a lot going on number one. I mean, we have to think as well about the way habits get wired into our consciousness.

So, you know, if, and we’re especially where there’s extreme emotion and extreme pleasure. Often the first time we binge and often comes when people have been, like dieting or kind of going without or starving themselves or something, you know, also people use it as emotional comfort.

They’ve created this habit, at some point in their life can be from when they’re a child, it can be when they’re an adult. But at some point, food became this pleasure crutch, yeah. And what happens in the brain is when something when there’s strong emotion, and there’s a repetitive behaviour, it becomes very quickly wired as a habit. And when there’s when something is a habit, it’s, it’s actually it’s literally wired in the brain and the brain.

I’ve got this video that actually shows how these habits form, and you’ve got these neural pathways in your mind, like, between the neurons, there’s these little neural pathways that join. And then when it’s a habit, it gets really thick. And then this myelin sheath thing comes over it, which is this sort of fatty protein substance, so it makes it even stronger.

So this habit becomes this absolute superhighway. And the reason the brain does it is because the brain thinks Okay, well this person is repeating that thought process, let’s make it easy for them and make it really quick for them. So it becomes so becomes very difficult to break. We’ve got to realise that it’s, you know, we’ve got all this strong wiring in our brain that is keeping us on this behaviour that is totally sabotaging and totally in conflict with what we want to do.

Yeah, like we did it. At some point in our life, we did it because we wanted to, but then the brain took that as a cue to wire it in and now we’re doing it even when we don’t want to and it’s very hard to break.

Anthony Hartcher 9:53
And so I’m thinking Sonya, it could be very much that scenario as a kid whether your parents or grandparents, you know, when you’re upset or emotional. They said here’s Johnny, here’s ice cream or here’s a lolly, this will make you feel better. And you present that. Yeah.

Sonya Furlong 10:11
100% and it’s strong emotion with a reward. Yeah. So this and whenever there’s a strong emotion, it gets wired very quickly in the brain. We’ve got this wiring that we have to deal with, and it creates and so here in the NLP communication model.

So what happens then is say, we’ve got this, the external event is, and this can be interpreted in many different ways, but I’m just gonna make it specific to food. So say, we have this thing, okay, whenever I was a kid, and my granny, grandma gave me ice cream, right, so now ice cream has this huge meaning to me that if whenever I’m down, I eat a tub of ice cream, right? So the ice cream could be an external event, and it’s just totally neutral. It’s just a tub of ice cream, right?

But, but what happens is that it comes in this information comes in through our senses, and then we filter it, and we delete, distort and generalise. And it creates an internal representation. So what is just a tub of ice cream, in our, in someone’s head, it could be this, this overwhelming desire to self soothe, it’s like life or death, you know, I, you know, I will get up in the middle of the night and drive to a 711 and buy this ice cream, like, you know, I need it now.

I have it, I must have and I cannot rest until I have it right? It’s in our head, this internal representation, it’s huge, right? And so that, of course, affects our state, it affects our mood, it makes us feel could be desperate, frustrated, you know, the craving of it is huge. And there also there could be a whole lot of negative emotions in there as well, because we feel that inner conflict, and that it could be all kinds of negative feelings of self-loathing, like I don’t want to do this. But it’s like, it’s so so good.

You know, I can’t see it, I like it, when you’ve got that desire. It’s overwhelming. And you cannot see any other way of getting through it except for to go get that ice cream. So that affects our physiology, our body, and then it affects our behaviour. Off we go, we drive out in the middle of the night, we get the ice cream, yeah. And then we sit on the couch and we eat the whole tub. Then of course, we feel really bad about ourselves, right? And then go round and round it goes. Okay, so So what we want to do so is kind of what’s going on in our head.

So what we want to do is change this internal representation. People may ask what is an internal representation? If you right now, Anthony and anyone listening, if you think of your absolute favourite food, pick one thing that you absolutely love.

Anthony Hartcher 13:19
I love my dark chocolate,

Sonya Furlong 13:20
Your dark chocolate. I was thinking Anthony’s a nutritionist who probably say kale.

Anthony Hartcher 13:31

Unknown Speaker 13:35
Dark chocolate. Good, I can relate to that. Alright, so close your eyes. Think of that. The dark chocolate, think of the smell smells so beautiful. Think of the texture on the tongue in the mouth. Think of how good it tastes, and how all that Coco’s got all that positive, what’s it called in it, that’s actually really good for you. It’s got all those good things that actually make you feel good.

Feel how when you eat that dark chocolate, how it actually makes you feel really good. So that is an internal representation. And your internal representation is yours. Like if I when I think of dark chocolate, which I also like dark chocolate, but my internal representation would be different to yours. Yeah.

What we want to do then is a change that internal representation and I do this so I can give you some examples. So I’ve done this. I’ve had it done to me I used to when I was learning NLP actually. And we were learning this technique because you got it to interrupt the pattern, you’ve got to change that state. The internal representation.

For me, I used to have this real soft spot for and it struck me in slice. I ate them every day, every single day, I would go to the supermarket and I would get, you know, it’s chocolate slice, or at least eat them every day. And it was ridiculous, which is way too many. So we changed it. When you think of something you love, and then you think of something that is a similar texture. But gross? Yeah, so for me, I thought, cardboard, I’ll change it for cardboard. And when you changed it, every time I thought about and it’s choc mint slice, I could taste cardboard in my throat.

And then when before I would, I would just walk into the supermarket. And I would see the chocolate slice. Like even if I was away, I would just like a beeline for it. Once I’d done this, the process, I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even think about it anymore. I didn’t see I don’t see them anymore. Like even when I’m going down the biscuit aisle, I don’t see the truck with slices. Like it just deleted that out of my internal representation.

And I’ve done it with people, even like the lady to give at the red ball, we changed it seawater made her kind of vomit. So we changed it. Whenever she thought of Red Bull, she tasted seawater. Another lady she had she loved those red rock balsamic vinegar chips. And we changed it to cellophane. And I actually just saw her the other day and she’s like, I cannot touch them anymore. It’s gross.

So you take whatever it is that you love. And you probably don’t want to get rid of the dark chocolate, so but if you think it’s something that you love, but wish you didn’t love, and now make it gross, I think of someone vomiting on it, or think of someone stepping on it under their shoe or something like that, and then stuck to your mouth, you know, like, interrupt the pattern, change the internal representation from something that is really, really pleasurable to really, really gross.

And you continue doing that every time you think of that food, you continue to interrupt the pattern, right? Until you can’t get the pleasurable one back again. And there’s some NLP techniques, which I do with my clients to help them with it. But home, you can do it just by grossing yourself out to someone vomiting on a urinating on it or something? Try try and imagine putting it in your mouth.

Anthony Hartcher 18:08
Is there a crisis? So, you know, that means that you want to, like, you know, that obviously, I think really helps with the elimination? What, um, so if it’s something that you just want to moderate, is it the same process? Or is it different?

Sonya Furlong 18:22
Yeah, you can use the same process to moderate it. Because now like if I wanted to have a chocolate slice, I could have one and I would enjoy it. Yeah, like I choose not to, because I don’t want to go down that path again. But I could and I would enjoy it. Yeah. Yeah. And it would just be a very occasional thing now if that happened.

Anthony Hartcher 18:49
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Is that would that be changing your internal representation so it’s not so severe so it’s not you know, the exam will not play our board.

Sonya Furlong 19:01
Exactly. Because before the external representation of that chocolate slice to me, the external thing, it was just a tiny little biscuit, but in my head, it was this glorious delicious experience that made me feel so good, right. Totally out of proportion, of course, but that’s what any, any craving is, right? But now, yeah, that chocolate slice when I think of it, it’s just a little chocolate slice. I can take it or leave it.

Anthony Hartcher 19:33
Yeah, okay. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I get you and can you like skip the internal representation and go straight to changing your state? Does that help? Is that going to be effective? Long-term or?

Sonya Furlong 19:47
Yes, so different things. Another way is like, change your physiology. If you have an anchor, if you have association, every night when you sit on the couch and you watch Netflix, you eat a tub of ice cream or you eat a packet of chips or a six-pack of beer or whatever it is that you want to stop doing.

Yeah. And so, so then again, it’s become this association in your brain, it’s become an automatic pathway. Okay, couch equals junk food and Netflix, right. So to say you want to change either physiology, like maybe watching the watching it in a different room or not watching Netflix for a few nights, or sitting in a different position in the same room or holding, okay, I’m not going to have the beer, I’m going to hold a cup of tea, so you’re changing the physiology.

Or if like, every time I drive home, I stopped by Hungry Jack’s right, and it just becomes a habit. Then drive a different way, try go out of your way to drive a different way home. So you do not see the Hungry Jack’s, this doing even just doing these things really works as you’re trying, because it’s a pattern interrupt, and you’re trying to that wiring that superhighway, you’re trying to break it by not reinforcing it by wiring a different pathway in your brain as you’re physically doing something different.

Anthony Hartcher 21:29
Okay, okay, perfect. I’m just thinking of that, that mother, who’s, you know, that witching hour in the, in the afternoon or evening when the kids are really quiet and grumpy. And there’s so much to do, there’s getting dinner ready, it’s getting the kids bathed and it could be the wife or husband that has to do this. And that can create a whole lot of anxiety, and, you know, all this emotion.

I often hear that that’s the time at which they feel like, I need that glass of wine. And that glass of wine becomes two, three and the whole bottle and it’s consumed. What do you recommend in that? Because we can’t like that, in terms of changing the state? It’s sort of well, that’s, you’re at it, the kids are at home? Yes. I’m just thinking, what would be the best technique for that?

Sonya Furlong 22:23
Yes, good question. And I did have this situation recently, with wasn’t recently but with a client. And it was she had the same thing, she’d come home, she was tired. She wanted that glass of wine. Simple as that. And, and so again, we did a pattern interrupt. Before her habit was driving home, come home, go to the kitchen, get a glass of wine. Instead it was okay she chose and the thing there has to be what, what the person wants because it has to feel right for them.

So she chose, okay, I’m going to go to my room instead. And just for 10, 15 minutes, I’m going to close the door, just lie down and just, you know, put on some nice music or meditation or something, I’ll just do that. Then I’ll go out, and then I will just start doing things. And that was enough to help her. As well as then she didn’t have the wine in the house. And we did do likes to dislikes. So she stopped liking the red wine, she replaced it for something gross. And that was enough. And then she realised that really, because what she really wanted was some rest.

The wine, the wine equalled rest. And so what’s another way that you can get that rest? And she goes are you actually just closed to their kids. So you’re in 15, close a bedroom door, have a break. And that’s another thing too of actually tuning in. This is another way that I do it.

I use it myself. If when I start to notice that I’m overeating like I used to binge I don’t anymore, but sometimes if I’m stressed I will overeat. Right? And if I really tune in, it’s like hey, what’s going on? What’s this about? I got a little little talk with yourself, and just chiming in and go what are the emotions that are triggering me to eat? And so for me, it was anxiety. I was feeling really anxious. And so I tuned in and this is a timeline technique or matrix therapy’s technique.

And so I tune in like where am I feeling this anxiety and I was feeling it in my tummy in my like solar plexus area. Yeah. And so I tuned into that feeling. And I was like, I asked myself, What is the first event the first time that I felt this anxiety and went back to when I was four. And when I was in kindergarten, and I was anxious because I was suddenly in kindergarten, like from being home with mum. Suddenly, I was in kindergarten where the big kids are pushing me out of the sandpit and grabbing the swing off me. And I was, it was overwhelming for a little four year old.

Anthony Hartcher 25:33

Sonya Furlong 25:34
And then, you know, and then I realised, oh, you know, this realise? Oh, yeah, you know, now I’m kind of going through kind of a similar thing. I’m trying to grow, grow my business, I have to be out there in the world. It’s also like, putting myself out there into the unknown. And then it’s like, okay, well, how can I rewrite that experience.

Then I thought, Well, when I was at kindy, I ended up loving kindergarten, like, I loved kindergarten, I loved it, I still remember how much I loved it, you know, even sent my kids to the same kindergarten just because that was such a happy place. And they made me realise this time, this is actually an exciting time, this is a really good time, it allowed me to rewrite my feelings, and rewrite the meaning I gave my current experience. And that helped me to move through it.

So it’s another way of actually going, what is causing the binge eating because the when the like, it may be wiring now, but it’s triggered by an emotion. And that emotion is the same emotion, you felt the first time you started binge eating. So if you can go through that, you can get a lot of insight into what’s troubling you. And you can work through those emotions and rewrite them.

There’s techniques that I do with clients one on one to actually rewrite those and clear those emotions so that it doesn’t trouble them anymore. So that’s a thing that a person can do just and with a journal, you know, journal, like, what’s going on? Why am I feeling this? Why am I eating? Why am I feeling anxious and just dig deep into getting to the root cause of the problem?

Anthony Hartcher 27:30
Yeah, that’s really, like, peeling off the layers of the onion, so to speak. or?

Sonya Furlong 27:37
Okay. Yes. Because it may be. It may feel unexplained but there is always a reason you’re doing it. Yeah. Okay. And there’s always a secondary gamelike, you might be trying to lose weight. But that sitting on the couch, eating ice cream watching Netflix brings a lot of pleasure. If not, you got to find a different way. Like we’re gonna, we’re naturally going to gravitate towards pleasure. So you got to find other ways that we can feel those same feelings. But that’s not going to sabotage our goal of weight loss, or whatever it is.

Anthony Hartcher 28:27
But yeah, yes. More resourceful ways of doing it. Yeah.

Sonya Furlong 28:31
Yes, yes. And acknowledging that there is a positive intention to our binge eating. Right, which is to feel good. Yeah. And then find more resourceful ways, other ways that you can get that same positive feeling that is not going to sacrifice your goals, because we all want pleasure. We can’t just live in misery for long periods of time. Yeah, and all that. You know, dieting and extreme exercise, and that can only do it for a certain amount of time. Before we will bounce back to wanting pleasure.

Anthony Hartcher 29:23
I was thinking, that type of index the addiction actually like the exercise addiction, so people get really addicted to the endorphins that are released during exercise. And so they just keep going back for it. And that process again, is obviously covering up something that you know is a void or filling a void or something as you mentioned before, in terms of that timeline therapy, that there’s something that’s making them feel a certain way and they’re, I guess why I’m dealing with it is getting out and doing exercise.

Sonya Furlong 30:01
It’s true, it is whenever you unpack any kind of extreme activity, even though it seems like our exercise, that’s a really positive thing. But when it’s done to excess, and then it’s, it’s actually a negative and then went as always, when you dig down, it’s there. It’s, say running away from, but it’s covering up some turmoil inner turmoil inside them. And it’s, ideally, it’s great to be able to actually tap in and heal the inner turmoil so that they can feel more balanced. And then they can still exercise, but just do so in a more resourceful way.

Anthony Hartcher 30:51
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I can see so many ways in which what you teach can be applied to people with any form of addiction or anything that has taken them way out of balance. They could be addicted to work or their career, and everything else is suffering as a consequence of that. And so I’m thinking there’s so many fields in which you could apply these techniques and really help the individual achieve that balance.

Sonya Furlong 31:19
Definitely. There’s a Yeah, definitely. And there’s always, the beautiful thing is there always is a solution. You know, I think people feel that they might have tried some things, and it hasn’t worked. And so they feel are there is no way out. And so I just keep doing this, there’s no way I can ever stop binge eating, or there’s no way I can ever deal with this inner turmoil, I’ll just keep covering it up. But the beautiful thing is there are processes at work quite quickly, to heal the underlying causes of these behaviours that the person doesn’t want.

Anthony Hartcher 31:58
That’s fantastic. Because there’s so many times where, you know, people come to me and I say, I’ve tried this, I tried everything, you know, and hesitated, really. And I think it really opens up the discussion, the field of work that you’re in, as to, you know, there may not be common knowledge out there, that these sorts of techniques are available, and they’re very successful and proven techniques. Very cost effective, right?

Unknown Speaker 32:26
Yes, exactly. Yes. And it pays to keep searching and keep, because the answers are out there, like, whatever, no matter what we’re going through, no matter how bad it is, someone else has already gone through it, and has come up with a solution. And it may not be, like you say may not be well known, but just keep searching because the answer is out there. Yes.

Anthony Hartcher 32:54
And given that you shared all this wisdom with us today. And you know, really shown us the way in which NLP and matrix therapies and timeline therapy can really help a person overcome any type of addiction is going to be listeners thinking, Well, you know, I want to reach out to get this additional help, because I might be struggling with something. So how can people get best to get in touch with yourself, Sonia?

Sonya Furlong 33:22
Yes, well, they can get in touch either through my website Yeah. And I’m also am running a free, I’ve run a lot of free events, give a lot of information and free help. And I’m running one this Sunday at 11am. I’m not sure when you’re showing this actually.

Anthony Hartcher 33:45
But it’s got tonight. So tonight, okay, perfect.

Sonya Furlong 33:51
So this Sunday, this Sunday. Okay, so this Sunday, 12th of July at 11am. I’m running a free introduction to NLP and matrix therapies. And also, I do invite someone up for a, like a free, free session, kind of like when in the session, I do a process on someone. So they can have like a free experience and Matrix Therapies. So that I could give you the link if if you like?

Anthony Hartcher 34:24
Is it on your website or send it to you?

Sonya Furlong 34:28
Actually, I will put it on there because it’s not there yet.

Anthony Hartcher 34:35
Next will be the call to action. You guys go to your website and yeah, I’ll be able to, yes, just jump on the webinar and get even more insightful understanding of how it can help them. Yes, yes, yeah. And just one, I guess, closing hot tip from you in terms of how people can best manage their mental health.

Sonya Furlong 34:58
Yes, great question. For me, I believe that people should continually. Like we were saying about searching for answers, like, continue with their personal development, do courses, read books, listen to your podcast and, you know, like, there’s so much wonderful knowledge out there, there’s so many people running great podcasts as you do. And I think for mental health, the more you know, the more you can heal and manage your emotional state. And that you learn the techniques and you understand how much is actually out there to help a person.

Anthony Hartcher 35:45
But really a constant and never ending learning process is self development and self healing.

Sonya Furlong 35:53
It is, and I believe I’m always going for sessions where, like, I see you, and for, you know, for nutrition, and I’m always seeking out mentors and other coaches ahead of me. And I’m always reading and listening to podcasts and things like that, because you’re never there, you’re never, you’ll never get to a point where you know everything. There’s always more to learn and more to understand. So I think that’s one way and I know it helped me the more I learn, and the more I invest in my personal development, the better my mental health has become.

Anthony Hartcher

Fantastic tip. And really appreciate your time today, Sonya, sharing, sharing the knowledge about NLP and how it can help emotional binge eating. And I really recommend thoroughly recommend to the listeners and viewers that you know if you need to have helped to break an addiction.

Sonya is the person to go to. Personally know Sonia and she gets amazing results that I’ve heard a lot of positive testimonials. Success Stories are people in tears because she’s changed their lives. So really recommend you visit

Sonya Furlong

And get in touch. Yes, please visit it. Yes.

Anthony Hartcher 37:27
Absolutely. Absolutely. So thanks so much for you. I really appreciate your time.

Sonya Furlong 37:31
Thanks so much, Anthony. Thanks so much, lovely to be on your show. Thank you.

Anthony Hartcher 37:36
Pleasure. Pleasure.

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