9 Ways to Overcome Your Binge Eating Disorder
Millions of people around the world suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED). It impacts about two percent of the world’s population yet remains largely undiagnosed. While it’s more prevalent in women, BED is the most common eating disorder among men.
People with BED eat copious amounts of food but feel like they can’t stop. They feel powerless and very distraught while eating or afterward. They sometimes eat until it’s physically painful, then experience depression or feelings of shame or guilt afterward. They will blame themselves for their lack of self-control and worry about the effects of overeating on their bodies.
While the cause of BED is still unclear, several factors make one more susceptible to it, like genetics, gender, social pressure, and psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, phobias, substance abuse, or PTSD.
Binge eating is also dangerous. Aside from weight gain, it can lead to health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome BED. Here are some suggestions on how to go about it.
1. Don’t Go on a Diet
Studies have shown that restrictive eating strategies can trigger binge-eating episodes, so going on a fad diet is out of the question. One research associated fasting or abstaining from specific foods to increased cravings and a higher risk of binge eating.
Eschew diets that cut out a whole food set or drastically reduces calorie intake. A better option is to make healthy changes in your diet. For instance, you should eat more unprocessed foods, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Instead of stopping yourself from eating sweets and chips, moderate how much eat or how often you indulge.
2. Set Regular Eating Times
One effective way of preventing binge eating is to have regular eating times. Skipping meals can make you crave certain foods. It also increases the risk of overeating. One study published on PubMed showed that sticking to an eating schedule reduced the frequency of binge eating. Another showed that blood sugar and ghrelin levels are higher when you just eat one large meal a day.
Make sure you don’t skip any meals. Always eat breakfast and have a hearty lunch. Meanwhile, keep dinner light, and the snacks in between healthy.
3. Develop Mindfulness
Being mindful of your body and environment will also go a long way in curbing your tendency to overeat. Mindfulness entails being aware of how you’re feeling at the moment and listening to what your body is trying to tell you. It will help you recognize when you’re not hungry anymore.
There have been several studies on how this practice impacts eating behavior. Most reinforced that mindfulness meditation can lessen incidences of bingeing and emotional eating. It’s also more effective when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
4. Get Rid of Your Trigger Foods
You will be less likely to overeat if you don’t have junk food or the foods that trigger your bingeing at home. Go through your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and get rid of processed snacks like candies, chips, and pre-packed food.
Aside from clearing out your trigger foods, you should also stock up on healthier alternatives. Make sure you have fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grain, and protein-rich food on hand. Doing so will reduce the risk of overeating unhealthy food while helping you improve the quality of your diet.
5. Go with Yoga
Yoga can also lessen bingeing while encouraging healthy eating practices. It uses meditation, breathing exercises, and different poses to help relax both mind and body. Practicing yoga can help lessen feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. The three are the top triggers for emotional eating and bingeing.
Researchers say an hour or two of yoga can reduce stress hormone levels. Look for a yoga studio and incorporate it into your daily routine. There are also thousands of online videos and materials that you can use if you prefer to practice at home.
6. Keep Track of What You Eat
A mood and food journal can be a useful tool in identifying and understanding what triggers you to binge eat. Keeping track of your consumption and how you feel at the time will also assist you in developing coping mechanisms. It also helps promote positive eating habits.
Several studies suggest that tracking your food intake is connected to more consistent weight loss and helps manage weight in the long-term. Keeping a food diary has also been associated with fewer binge-eating episodes. It’s also easy to start a food journal. You can use a notebook to record what you eat and how you feel that day. There are also apps you can download.
7. Ensure You Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep affects you more deeply than you can imagine. It influences your mood, makes it difficult to concentrate, and puts you at risk of gaining weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Researchers say that lack of sleep is linked to higher ghrelin and lower leptin levels. The former is the hunger hormone, while the latter promotes a feeling of fullness. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. It will help you control your appetite and reduce the odds of binge eating.
8. Look for a Support Group
Talking to a friend, a close family member, or someone who knows what you’re going through will also help you control your binge eating. Having a sound support system reduces stress, which in turn lessens the likelihood of you turning to emotional eating as a means of coping.
The next time you feel the urge to binge, call someone you trust and talk to them. They can take your mind off what you’re feeling and let you focus on something else. There are also helplines for people with eating disorders. They’re free, or charge and the staff are trained to handle the situation.
9. Try Behavioral Therapy
A treatment plan developed by a professional is another great method of controlling binge eating. There are several BED treatments available to you, and they can involve therapy, medication, or both.
One of the most effective treatments today is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It explores how your feelings and thoughts are connected with your eating patterns. It will also guide you in coming up with strategies to cope with BED.
Before You Go….
Keep in mind that you’re not alone in your struggle, as BED affects millions of people. You can overcome your binge eating disorder with the right mindset, some lifestyle changes, the right treatment plan, and a solid support system.