Binge eating is when someone eats large amounts of food in a short time. Someone who does binge eat may not be able to control the type or amount of food that is consumed and can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and depression. Those who binge eat at least once a week for three months may have a binge eating disorder and is one of the most common types of eating disorders in the United States. It can also be a sign of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Here are a few tips on how to stop and what to do to get back on track.
Following a diet plan could lead to feelings of deprivation. The act of sudden and significantly cutting calories from your body can cause it to go in to starvation mode and could lead to episodes of binge eating. Fasting can increase the risk of binge eating and bulimia. Focus on filling up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocados. Some people would benefit from the 80:20 approach to eating. This involves consuming healthy foods, 80% of the time, and enjoying treats the other 20%.
Regularly working out may help binge eating because it causes the body to release endorphins that boost your mood. A better mood can reduce any risk of emotional eating relating to stress, sadness, or anger.
Identify and address triggers
People may binge eat in response to loneliness, boredom, sadness, or other things. Figuring out what may trigger your binge eating could help you avoid or manage those triggers. Some people keep a food journal of what they eat and what they are feeling at that time.
Stress can be a common trigger for binge eating. Research shows that stress reduces a person’s awareness of their hunger cues. You can manage your stress by eliminating stressors by practicing meditation, deep breathing techniques, exercise regularly, practice yoga or tai chi, get enough sleep, or use alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, or aromatherapy.
Do not skip meals
Not only can your blood sugar levels can drop from skipping meals, but can also prompt your body to crave a quick boost of sugar. Eating those foods can raise your blood sugar levels and crash again quickly, causing a cycle. To avoid things like this from happening, you should plan regular meals and snacks. Studies show that eating three meals and two or three planned snacks can lower the frequency of binge eating episodes.
Fourteen studies have shown that mindfulness meditation effectively reduces binge and emotional eating. Eating slowly will allow your body to be able to recognize your hunger cues, and you are less likely to overeat because your body will notice when you are full.
Having access to sugary and processed foods making the foods readily available. Replacing those foods with healthy options instead will help you make better choices on what to eat when you are hungry. If you are out and about good snack options to take with you are fresh fruit, no sugar added protein bars, small amounts of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Do not confuse thirst and hunger
Try drinking a glass of water if you start to feel hungry before you eat anything. If the feeling goes away, you may have just been thirsty. If you still feel hungry, then you should eat a balanced meal or snack. Research has shown that drinking 500 milliliters of water before every meal reduces the number of calories that you eat by 13%.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential to regulate hunger and appetite. Lack of sleep can increase stress and mood, which can trigger binge eating and can contribute to obesity by increasing food intake, decreasing energy throughout the day, and affecting hormones that regulate appetite. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours every night.
Keeping a routine can help you get back on track and keep you moving forward after a binge. Some people will brush their teeth, signaling an end to overeating. Treatments for binge eating disorders can include psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Therapy typically helps address the emotions and issues that underline the eating disorder and could help you identify your triggers. Individuals who suspect that they may have a binge eating disorder should speak to their doctor. They can vary from mild to severe and can be a short term issue or can last for years.