How To Deal With Binge Eating
I received a question in my Instagram DM’s asking me for advice on how to stop binge eating. It is such a common problem these days for so many people so thought I would address it in an article.
Binge eating or binge eating disorder (BED) is a common problem that a lot of people struggle with which can sabotage your weight loss goals as well as cause serious harm to your over all health.
When we think about eating disorders, the first one that usually comes to mind is anorexia but binge eating can be just as dangerous for your health.
Commonly mistaken for over eating or overindulging, binge eating is a a psychological illness which effects your mental and physical health. Possible weight gain is only the start of what it could lead to.
Everybody overindulges or eats a bit more than they should have from time to time but binge eating is classed as compulsive overeating or consuming abnormal amounts of food being unable to stop or control yourself.
As the person starts to gain weight from the binging episodes, it spirals out of control and indirectly leads to further binging as a way to cope with emotions. It is a vicious cycle that the longer it goes on, the worse it will get.
1.) WHY AM I BINGING?
The first thing you need to do when you realize you have a problem is find out why you are binging. The reason will be different for everybody and often it is hard to accept.
A common reason for a lot of people is that they are severely restricting their calorie intake leaving themselves get overly hungry. For example, you might barely eat any food all week from Monday to Friday. This will leave you fatigued, hungry and irritable. You are put in a tempting situation at the weekend and at this stage your will power is extremely low. You can’t say no and give in and end up eating everything in sight. Monday comes around and you feel extremely guilty and disappointed with yourself for breaking your diet. You decide you need to punish yourself for your food choices over the weekend. You restrict calories and maybe even fit in some extra gym or cardio sessions thinking this will help. This is the start of a vicious cycle that will continue to spiral out of control (binge, restrict, binge, restrict).
You might have a bad relationship with food thinking of certain foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. You deprive yourself of the ‘bad’ foods. At the end of the day, we are all big children and want what we can’t have so if you completely try to restrict these foods from your diet, eventually you will break and give in. When you give in to temptation, it is not just one square of chocolate! You end up eating every bit of chocolate that you can find it sight.
Another common reason for binging is stress. You might be living a highly stressful life whether it be work, family, personal or training related. You are completely exhausted to the point where to you turn to food for comfort and as a coping mechanism.
For a lot of people binge eating stems from something else. It can be a result of depression or a way of coping with something traumatic that has happened in their life.
The list of possible reasons is endless so the first thing you need to do is sit down and be real with yourself. Identify why this is happening and what is behind these binging episodes.
WHAT ARE MY TRIGGERS?
Once you have determined the why, you need to identify what your triggers are. Triggers are situations that can bring on a binge. When you know what your triggers are, you can take action and have a strategy in place to combat the binging episodes.
Some common triggers include;
Foods – Most people have at least one trigger food. Something they can’t have in moderation. One biscuit that leads to a whole packet. One spoon of peanut butter leads to eating the full jar.
Environment – The environment you put yourself in can lead to binge type behaviors. For example you always go for brunch on a Saturday. This leads to you drinking two bottles of wine and ordering a pizza every Saturday night. Or you go for one drink on a Friday after work and you end up out all weekend. Monday comes around and you are dying with a hangover.
Cultural – It’s normal to drink and eat junk food all weekend. Everybody does it, right?
Know why you binge. Know when you are likely to binge. Do something about it!
Change your environment.
Work on your mindset with food.
Educate yourself on nutrition.
Seek out support & guidance.
It’s not an easy thing to do but you can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting the same results. Something has to change.
There is help out there so don’t be afraid to reach out to someone.
I would be more than glad to help if you feel like you have been effected by this so don’t ever hesitate to send me a message if you need any help or advice.