We’ve all hear the phrase I am sure and quite possibly more than a few of us have been guilty of it, but what is it and how do you stop binge eating?
Binge eating is an eating disorder where a person will compulsively overeat. I am not talking about a second helping of your favourite meal – lets face it, we’re all guilty of that! I am talking about consuming thousands of calories in a very short amount of time.
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A binge almost feels like an out of body experience
It is a loss of control so to speak. Eating becomes pleasurable as dopamine is released and this is what makes binge eating so addictive and such a compulsive activity to engage in.
What causes binge eating? The answer is very complex. For some it can be a result of mental illness, environment or experiences from childhood. For others it can be an emotional trigger, a way to escape emotions that are hard to deal with like stress, anxiety or grief.
Now when it comes to binge eating I am going to be completely honest with you. There is no easy fix.
How do I know? Because I was a binge eater and today I am going to share with you five facts that can help you in your journey to stop binge eating.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Most binge eaters feel alone and isolated and the best place to start is by seeking help. The causes of binge eating are so diverse and so are the ways to treat it. The first step is acknowledging the behaviour and making a conscious step to stop binge eating.
As an emotional eating coach I work with women who want to stop feeding their feelings by emotionally binge eating. I am not qualified to help guide someone who is experiencing mental illness and that is why it is important to find the professional who is the right fit for you.
Start using a food journal:
Why is keeping a food journal so important?
A food journal can give you valuable insight into your eating habits and can also reveal the type of eating you are doing (boredom, pleasure…)
By keeping a food journal for a few weeks you will be more aware of what you are eating and when. Look at your location, do you eat more at home or do you sneak into the break room and raid the biscuit tin at work when no one is looking? Location and also the people who are around can also greatly affect you when you are a binge eater.
List the foods that you are eating to see the pattern in your mood vs your food choices. Maybe you eat sweet foods when you are sad and fatty foods when you are stressed. Having all this information in front of you is a great way to see not only your triggers but your response to them.
Begin listening to your body:
Binge eating has nothing to do with physical hunger. When you are making the effort to stop binge eating you need to learn to reconnect with the signs of true hunger again.
Begin to practice the art of mindful eating. When you sit down for a meal with your family I want you to focus on the smell, the taste and the feelings you are experiencing. Eat slow and enjoy each bite, savour the aroma and the flavour. By doing this often enough you will start to appreciate the food that fuels your body.
Understanding your triggers?
Think about when you tend to binge eat:Are you lonely? Bored? Sad? Happy?
These are the things that you will start to notice as you use your food journal. There will be moments within your day that you will begin to pay more attention to now that you are writing it down.
If you are committed to stop binge eating, then is it important to know what your triggers are. What situations send you running towards your comfort foods. We are all wired differently and what you find stressful someone else might not. Try not to see your triggers as weaknesses either. Sure they are not a strength but the knowledge of them makes them puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to breaking the hold binge eating has on your life.
By knowing what your triggers are you will also be able to have healthy non-food related strategies in place when you feel compelled to binge eat.
· Go for a walk
· Call a friend
· Read a book
· Go to the gym
Forgive yourself if you slip up:
We are all human and the habits and behaviours of a binge eater are hard ones to break. When you make a conscious decision to stop binge eating then you need to also be ready to forgive yourself when you slip up. Get up, dust yourself off and move on. Don’t skip your next meal because you ate all the chocolate chip cookies but acknowledge your emotions in that moment, journal it and eat your next meal when you are hungry.
Please don’t start to skip meals or make foods off limits. By putting restrictions on certain foods will only make things worse because no one likes to think that they are missing out on something.
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