It’s not unusual for most of us to overeat at some time or another. However, for binge eaters, overeating is regular and uncontrollable. It’s a psychological disorder which can rule your life and by using food to cope with stress and other negative emotions, even though afterwards you feel even worse, you become stuck in a vicious cycle.
However, with the right help and support, binge eating disorder is treatable and you can learn to control your eating and develop a healthy relationship with food.
Binge eating is a compulsive overeating disorder where people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control and powerless to stop. These symptoms usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. Binge eaters often eat even when they’re not hungry and continue eating long after they’re full. They may also gorge themselves as fast as they can without even registering what they’re eating or tasting.
People with binge eating disorders normally struggle with feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression. It’s a vicious circle as they worry about what the compulsive eating will do to their bodies
Table of Contents
- 1 How to stop binge eating
- 2 Strategies for overcoming binge eating
- 3 Treatment and help for binge eating disorder
- 4 Therapy for binge eating disorder
- 5 You may also like:
How to stop binge eating
Binge eating is an addiction and it can be very difficult to overcome. This is due to the fact that, unlike other addictions, food is necessary for survival, so you don’t have the option of quitting it altogether. Therefore it is necessary to develop a healthier relationship with food—a relationship that meets your nutritional needs, not your emotional ones.
In order to stop the unhealthy pattern of binge eating, it’s necessary to concentrate on healthy eating by making balanced meal plans, choosing healthy foods as often as possible and ensuring you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Strategies for overcoming binge eating
#1: Managing stress
This is by far one of the most important aspects of controlling binge eating. It is important to find alternate ways to handle stress without using food to compensate. Consider exercising, meditating, using relaxation strategies and practicing simple breathing exercises.
#2: Get into the routine of eating three meals a day plus healthy snacks
Breakfast is an important way of jump starting your metabolism in the morning, and then followed by a balanced lunch and dinner, and healthy snacks in between a balanced healthy diet can be achieved.
#3: Avoid junk food
It’s more tempting to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Clear your fridge and cupboards of your favorite (worst) binge foods. Replace it with Healthy Foods instead, like BioTrust’s Protein Cookies.
#4: Stop dieting
By sticking to your balanced meal plan and avoiding ‘dieting’, you ca avoid the food cravings and the urge to overeat. Instead of dieting, focus on eating in moderation, ie less but frequently.
Find enjoyable, nutritious foods that you enjoy and eat only until you feel content, not overfull. Avoid banning certain foods as this can make you crave them even more.
Exercise is good for everybody and will not only help you lose weight in a healthy way, but can also really help in fighting depression, improving you overall health, and reducing stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of exercise can help counteract the urge for emotional eating.
#6: Fight boredom
Often we tend to snack when we’re bored, so sometimes it’s necessary to distract yourself by taking a walk, calling a friend, reading, or taking up a hobby such as painting or gardening.
Sometimes when you’re tired, the urge to keep eating in order to boost your energy is tempting. Making sure you get enough rest and sleep is important in many respects.
#8: Listen to your body
Learn to distinguish the difference between physical and emotional hunger. If you don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not that hungry.
#9: Keep a food diary
By writing down what you eat, when, how much, and how you’re feeling when you eat, you will probably spot patterns that reveal the connection between your moods and your eating.
#10: Get support
It’s crucial to have support and talking helps, even if it’s not with a professional but with family and friends, although this might involve confronting the problem and owning up to it. Join a support group or consult a therapist.
Treatment and help for binge eating disorder
The points outlined above are designed to help yourself stop binge eating, but it’s also important to seek professional support and treatment. Health professionals who offer treatment for binge eating disorder include psychiatrists, nutritionists, therapists, and eating disorder and obesity specialists.
There are effective treatment programs available for binge eating disorders and these usually address more than just your symptoms and destructive eating habits, but also include addressing the root causes of the problem and the emotional triggers that lead to binge eating and any difficulties coping with stress, anxiety, fear, sadness etc.
Therapy for binge eating disorder
Therapy is a key element for addressing a binge eating disorder and can teach you how to fight the compulsion to binge by exchanging unhealthy habits for newer healthy ones. Also, monitoring your eating and moods and developing effective stress-busting skills is a key component.
There are 3 main types of therapy which have proved particularly helpful in the treatment of binge eating disorders:
#1: Cognitive-behavioural therapy
The addresses the dysfunctional thoughts and behaviours involved in binge eating. One of the main goals is to become more self-aware of how you use food to deal with emotions. A therapist will help recognize binge eating triggers and help you avoid or combat them. Cognitive-behavioural therapy also involves education about nutrition, healthy weight loss, and relaxation techniques.
#2: Interpersonal psychotherapy
This therapy focuses on the relationship problems and interpersonal issues that might contribute to compulsive eating. Therapists will help improve your communication skills and develop healthier relationships with family members and friends. It’s important to learn how to relate better to others and get the emotional support you need so that the compulsion to binge becomes more infrequent and easier to resist.
#3: Dialectical behavior therapy
This combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness meditation. The emphasis of this therapy is on teaching binge eaters how to accept themselves, better tolerate stress and regulate emotions. Your therapist will also address unhealthy attitudes you may have about eating, shape, and weight.
So, the above is a guide to what can be a very serious problem, ever more common in the world today. This guide is not extensive and should be read in conjunction with professional support, but is intended to raise awareness of the condition and the fact that there is an effective way of dealing with it. (1)