Follow these 9 simple tips to stop binge eating
01/15/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Follow these 9 simple tips to stop binge eating

Even the best of us may slip from time to time and end up overeating at the dinner table. But if that sounds like an everyday thing for you that you feel helpless to stop, then you may have binge eating disorder (BED).

BED, the most common eating disorder in the U.S., is a serious disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food, often very quickly and to the point of discomfort even when not actually hungry. People who binge eat often feel a lack of control during these episodes and get wracked with guilt after. It’s not fully understood why this happens. But experts say social, emotional and genetic factors may be involved.

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Binge eating can also lead to short- and long-term health problems like digestive disorders and diseases linked to being overweight, such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

But the good news is that you can overcome these binge eating episodes by following these simple tips:

1. Don’t fall for fad diets

Eating fad diets that are too restrictive, such as those that require you to stay within a certain calorie count and those that allow only certain foods, can lead to intense feelings of deprivation or cause you to go into starvation mode. Either way, you’re just setting yourself up for another binge eating episode.

So instead of following the latest diet craze, focus on eating a balanced one full of nutritious foods. Make sure it has all of the essential food groups covered and take note of the daily calorie intake appropriate for your weight and age, among other factors.

2. Exercise

If you sometimes snack out of sheer boredom, try exercising. Besides distracting you, exercise helps boost your mood by stimulating your body to release endorphins, the chemicals that give you positive feelings.

Additionally, exercise boosts your energy levels by improving blood flow. You’ll likely be able to resist snacking more easily when you feel relaxed and energized.

3. Identify your triggers

People binge eat for many reasons. Some do it out of boredom, but others might binge eat to cope with mental health-related issues like sadness or loneliness. If you know what your triggers are, then you may be able to get on top of your binge eating tendencies by addressing those triggers.

One way you can identify your triggers is by keeping a food diary. Write down the foods you ate, as well as how much you ate, during binge eating episodes. After a while, you may start to notice some patterns. Awareness is key to curbing binge eating, so don’t underestimate how important it is that you know your triggers.

4. Learn to manage stress

When stress feels like too much, it’s tempting to drown it out with food. But when you snack to deal with stress, you’re only suppressing the negative emotions associated with it and training yourself to use food as an answer to overwhelming feelings.

Try healthy stress coping strategies like doing yoga, listening to calming music or working on new hobbies. Try taking a short walk around the neighborhood or play with your pet–anything that helps you unwind.

5. Don’t skip meals

The fact of the matter is that you sabotage yourself by skipping meals. Unfortunately, this is often lost on many people with BED who take extreme measures like skipping meals to prevent an episode. As is the case with eating fad diets, skipping meals can make you feel hungrier than usual and eventually trigger a binge.

A better way of addressing binge eating episodes is to create a meal plan. Planning your meals is a great way to feel in control again because you will know exactly what to eat and how long you need to wait before each meal.

6. Practice mindfulness

More often than not, people who binge eat don’t actually enjoy the foods they’re eating. Some people with BED even binge eat in a trance-like state, unable to stop but simultaneously distressed at what they’re doing.

Instead of eating mindlessly, try to be a mindful eater by taking things slow–literally. Chew your food slowly or take a breather before going for seconds. You may find yourself eating less food and enjoying eating again.

7. Remove temptations

Some people may fall into binge eating episodes because of certain foods. If you also have these “trigger foods,” don’t keep them in your house and avoid buying them during trips to the grocery store. If you don’t have these trigger foods around, you’re less likely to be triggered into binge eating.

8. Stay hydrated

If you find yourself reaching for a snack, drink a glass of water. Water helps reduce your hunger by making you feel full and satisfied. So if you struggle with overeating, drinking a glass of water before a meal may help.

9. Get plenty of sleep

You’re more likely to crave foods when you don’t get the sleep you need. That’s because sleep plays an essential role in controlling your appetite. To avoid binge eating episodes brought on by a lack of sleep, make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Binge eating episodes can make you feel helpless and horrible about yourself. But don’t fret. It’s possible to put an end to those episodes by eating a balanced diet and following an eating schedule, among other things.

Sources:

NationalEatingDisorders.org

MedicalNewsToday.com

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