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Brain over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn't Work, and How I Recovered for Good

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,085 ratings  ·  214 reviews
Brain over Binge provides both a gripping personal account and an informative scientific perspective on bulimia and binge eating disorder. The author, Kathryn Hansen, candidly shares her experience as a bulimic and her alternative approach to recovery. Brain over Binge is different than other eating disorder books which typically present binge eating and purging as symptom ...more
Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Camellia Publishing
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  2,085 ratings  ·  214 reviews

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Start your review of Brain over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn't Work, and How I Recovered for Good
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
OK. I am confused. The author has some good points, and I really liked how she questions conventional therapy. What I couldn’t handle was her “just stop” attitude. Really? REALLY?! Well, that’s one hell of a great idea, I’ve never thought of just stopping! Thanks for enlightening me.
Also, its repetitiveness is annoying.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
If this book has helped or does help somebody, then great, but it also contains somewhere around, oh, a metric ton of terrible, even potentially dangerous, advice that is based in bad science, and I worry that for every person this book helps, it could be harming a hundred more. I'm not an expert in the functioning of the brain by any stretch (I sell tea for a living), but even I know that the author is way off in her interpretation of brain structures (if I were being less kind, I would say the ...more
Always Pouting
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This year has been a tiring one, and certain habits I had thought I had been rid of seemed to rear their heads again, including certain questionable ones around food. Someone recommended this book saying it helped them. I haven't given it a try yet so I can't speak to how much success I'll have but the thing is what the author did is basically some of the skills you learn when you receive DBT. I just had not really thought about utilizing those skills, or wanted to to be honest.

The problem here
Sarah Clement
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had this book on my wish list for a long time before buying, and now I am kicking myself for having done so. Even though the reviews were so great, I was put off by the anecdotal spin on the book, and didn't like the language of "animal brain" and "human brain" (even though I knew right away the technical terms for the parts of the brain she was referring to...I don't like the terms she uses). I am someone who prefers science-based health information and tends to read n=1 experiments with a "o ...more
Jun 30, 2015 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
my prefrontal cortex: This is a very interesting new way of looking at obsessive behaviors. It's worth a try, and I love the message that I'm all I need.

my lower brain: What a horror! Imagine you being responsible for your actions. Imagine you being able to stop them at any given time! Imagine not having deeply rooted problems that make you do things which are beyond your control. I find the prospect nauseating, gimme food.

At moments I got annoyed with her 'just stop' attitude (woman if I could
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
She has a new way to 'cure' bulimia, but I despised everytime she said 'just don't do it'. Self-indued vomit is way harder to stop, specially when it is simpler everytime you do so. Yeah, binge eating is annoying but she doesn't embrace the fact of free time. When you stop doing behaviours you have so much free time, even if you have friends, school, or work. That's one of the things that she didn't talk about, that a lot of people tend to fall back because it's the thing they do on their 'free ...more
Lynne Blair
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This author has hit the nail on the head. I have been searching my entire life for a way to stop binge eating. Therapy and counselling don't work. Restrictive diets don't work. It's all about the brain and how it processes information. Only someone who has experienced the onset of binge behaviour could have found this solution. The info in this book can be applied to any compulsive or addictive behaviour. I'm hoping that a month from now I will ten pounds lighter and binge free without counting ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't really understand how an author gets a book about a health condition published when they admit in the prologue that they don't remember where most of their sources came from. What even is this ...more
Amy Kearns
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
As others have said, this book isn't long but it could have been half as long. SO repetitive!!!!! ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
after few hundreds pages , when the author finally get to the point of the book ,she only writes few sentences about it and then go back to talk about her life and struggle .

the point didn't really help , i think what did really help Kathryn was the years of going to therapists and trying a lot of things .
Isabella Roland
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book is poorly written and poorly organized. It is opinionated rambling at best. If you are looking for a very personal antidote of ONE person’s journey, this is it. To me that was not helpful. It was very boring to trudge through and I’ll admit that I only made it half way. I probably wouldn’t be so bitter if I hadn’t paid nearly $16 for this useless information.
Courtney Lindwall
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kathryn Hansen's solution for recovering from bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder is both irritating and empowering in its simplicity: Just stop binge eating.

For those of us that are stuck in the cycles of destructive behavior, that doesn't seem like much of a life raft to throw us. And yet, it resonated with me. The core of Hansen's argument is that once we realize the urges to binge eat comes from a primal part of our brain and not the more advanced, decision-making part of our brain, we can dis
Aug 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book needs an editor, a fact checker, and a much larger bibliography. Lots of regurgitation from other sources, pseudoscientific explanations, therapy naysaying (based on her own experience), and REPETITION. This point has been brought up already in reviews, but therapists actually use a similar approach to this. This whole book could be summed up in a single paragraph.
Michelle Curie
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, nonfiction
I read this book out of curiosity, after a friend who suffered from bulimia mentioned how it has helped her overcoming her eating disorder. Brain over Binge is the account of a woman who has suffered from bulimia for many years, tried both medication and therapy without lasting results, until she figured out how all it would take her to recover is a new understanding of what was happening in her brain when she felt the urge to binge.

Bulimia and binge eating are definitely serious topics - it's l
Aug 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
to be honest I didn't like it at all, I don't know why it has a high rate..
didn't enjoyed reading it ,not even a bit .
Kaitlyn (ktxx22) Walker
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life changing book. There's a lot of repetitive information, however the purpose the book was read for was met. And I feel like a new woman. Here's to continued recovery and education on all levels. ...more
Marina (Sonnenbarke)
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: _psychology
I took some notes about this book and published them in my Facebook page, so here they are as I've written them (with minor changes).


First of all, this is going to be personal, so if you don’t want personal, just skip it.

The book addresses bulimia and binge eating disorder (BED). Now, I never was bulimic, but I was quasi-anorexic and I most definitely was a binge eater, afterwards.

In a way I can understand what the author says, because I stopped my binges abruptly more or less 4 months ago ju
Dec 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
The retired clinician in me cringed through this attempt at a self-help book when it really works better as a memoir—of sorts—because the advice is dicey at best, and I'll hold my tongue for an at-worst. As someone who also has managed to put an eating disorder into remission only after years of trying nearly everything, I have a lot of empathy for Hansen even when I disagree so very strongly with her conclusions and action plans.

Basically, Hansen offers: just don't binge. Speaking for myself on
Perry Ryan
I mean, I read this for utility's sake. Self-help books aren't really going to be graded like other books might be. And I'm not sure it's really working. I've suffered from Binge Eating Disorder for my entire adult life, pretty much. I've told a few people about it but this is the first time I'm saying it "publicly" (does anyone even read these?), which is weird, but, I feel like I should be more open about it. I started this a long time ago when I was looking for anything that would help. This ...more
Yuting Yin
Oct 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: eating-disorders
Cannot understand why rating is so high. Might be helpful for some people but for me it makes little sense. The recovery was described as if it's so dramatic that it is merely facilitated by a small self-help book called Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction. I'm speechless. However, the author do offer some insights including her question towards conventional therapy and her thoughts about dieting. As what is said in "NOTICE OF LIABILITY": this book is a personal story and can ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: dissertation, sr_2016
I am all for a book about eating disorders that avoids romanticizing them or otherwise falling into stereotypical narratives about their significance. I also like that this book considers issues in the philosophy of psychiatry (albeit in an very casual way), especially those connected to responsibility.

That said, I have five major issues with this book (aside from the fact that it's repetitive and far too long): First, the author overgeneralizes from her own experiences of therapy despite sayin
Dec 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is not some revolutionary account of how one woman recovered from her eating disorder, as the author would like to pretend it is. She says that conventional therapy didn't work and takes every opportunity possible to disparage it, but her miracle cure (and I'm saying miracle cure because they way she paints it, she read a book and was magically able to stop bingeing and purging) is literally just mindfulness. There's also a decent amount of something I learned in therapy called "ED separati ...more
Kate LaChapelle
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Some of those who are close to me know that I've been struggling with BED for over 8 years and not so healthy eating habits for much longer. This book is honestly the first time I've read something that helped me feel like I understand what's going on inside of my head and (hopefully) how to stop it.

I do agree with some other reviewers and even with the author that this is for people for whom traditional therapy methods don't/haven't worked. I don't have some deep emotional reason for why I star
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
My main takeaway here is that to understand and end an eating disorder, you don’t have to solve all your other life problems- it’s a separate thing.

There might be triggers, but you can stop binging without needing to first fix your relationship with X person and even without needing love yourself fully.

This awareness is crucial because I think therapy does pull an ED sufferer away from the issue itself. I had a therapist tell me straight away an ED often will last years or forever...that basic
Amber Ross
May 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read this due to recommendations from other people who binge eat. In the beginning, I was super hopeful on getting some great insights into how to stop my own vicious cycle. But that is not really what I got. Her whole great revelation is to just... stop bingeing. To tell your animal brain to back off. That's all well and good, but how is that sustainable? I suppose with will power, which I lack currently. I would've liked MORE personal information from her regarding struggles. She really bash ...more
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked the critical approach. Her ideas, although not unheard of, were non conventional, but well explained and supported by lots of studies. Overall impressed by the authors ability to self reflect, her strong voice and honesty. Very repetitive though.

• style 3/5
• pace 1/5
• impact 4/5
• information 5/5
• bonus: innovative concepts +1

Total: 3,5/5
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book rationalizes eating disorders, specifically bulimia and binge eating, and makes you realize that you ultimately have complete autonomy over your behavior. The author uses her personal anecdote to relay her struggles with bulimia (binge eating and purging through exercise) for many years throughout high school and college, to then come to the realization that nothing about her needed to be "fixed" in order to cure her bulimia. Traditional therapy made her feel that her depression, anxie ...more
Julie Bouchonville
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Weird opinion on that book. On the plus side, I like the core notion : instead of focusing on what your triggers might be and aiming for what you realize ("i have a weird relationship to food because my uncle used it as a reward!") to sortof magically cure your eating issues, you just look at your urges to overeat and say "yeah no you're just an old bit of my brain yelling at me to get the food while I can. I wont do that, thanks". That's a pretty cool approach - if you already have enough pract ...more
Jessica Gillies
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, food
This book has been on my radar for a couple of years now, having heard about it from various Youtubers who've found it useful. It wasn't until I saw the reviews on here I realised how polarising this book has been.

Certainly this book is not without flaws (probably the biggest being the sample space of one- the author- the method presented was tested on; while mostly poo-pooing traditional therapy). Yes, the book is very repetitive (though I found this helpful in reinforcing the concept) and cou
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book in its approach reminds me a lot of The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. It's all about realizing you don't really need it or want it and it doesn't own you.

Good concept, I really do feel like it helped me in a way and might help others.

That being said, the book was unnecessarily repetitive and redundant. I already understood the entire point after reading just the first third of the book.

It's not as scientific as you'd think, just a recollection of the author's information amas
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Mental Health Boo...: Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen 1 19 Feb 08, 2017 12:37PM  

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“An eating disorder can be very secluding and can make even the most important people in your life fade into the background.” 2 likes
“A look of interest, or perhaps doubt, came across his face. "Well," he said, "I'm sure your bulimia was fulfilling some need.” 1 likes
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