Proven Steps To Stop Binge Eating
And with that, its time to move into the proven steps you can take to stop your binge eating.
These steps come from evidence-based cognitive-behavioural treatment manuals for binge eating, so you can follow them confident theyll help you get into a better space.
It is better to follow the steps in order, particularly because there is good evidence to show that focusing on modifying your behaviour before your thoughts is a good determinant of future success.
You Feel Guilty About Eating
There is guilt when it comes to eating food. You remind yourself how hard you will have to exercise to get rid of what you are eating. Maybe you start to degrade yourself or feel as though you do not deserve to enjoy your favorite foods.
Usually, this guilt leads to you eating even more food, as eating is one of the number one coping mechanisms to dealing with stress. Which then makes you feel guilty because you ate a bunch of food. It is a vicious cycle of shame, hopelessness, and frustration.
How Can I Control Compulsive Eating
Seek help. It can be hard to stop overeating on your own, particularly if there are deep-rooted emotional problems involved, says Robin B. Kanarek, PhD, professor of psychology at Tufts University. Working with a counselor can help you uncover the psychological triggers — like a negative body image — that may be driving your behavior.
Avoid labels. âUnderstand that youâre not a bad person doing bad things,â May says. âLabeling yourself can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of continuing the cycle.â
The same goes for labeling foods. âFood is food — itâs not âgoodâ or âbad,ââ Kanarek says. âIt can be hard to get over those deeply held beliefs, but research shows that if you eat what you deem a âbadâ food, youâre more likely to overeat afterward.â
Take a pause. When you feel like eating, pause for a moment and ask yourself: Am I hungry? âSometimes people get so focused on what they want to eat that they donât stop and ask themselves why they want to eat,â May says. If you use food as a coping tool, you may be out of touch with the cues that signal hunger or fullness, and itâs important to bring your awareness back to your body.
Give into cravings — in moderation. Banning foods can cause you to overeat them later on. If youâre really craving something — even if youâre not hungry — give yourself permission to have a small amount.
How To Handle Eating Disorder Triggers
If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, it may feel as if virtually everything around you is a trigger. These triggers often seem to be inescapable and impossible to be ignored. Rather, they come unannounced and unbidden in the sights and sounds of daily life.
Triggers for an eating disorder come in a range of forms. Simply overhearing a conversation about weight loss, or seeing calorie counts listed on a restaurant menu can cause anxiety and even a relapse. When you encounter a trigger, any situation can become overwhelming.
Binge Eating Disorder: How College Can Make It Worse
With anorexia having the highest mortality rate among any other psychiatric illness, the focus and attention given towards prevention and treatment is absolutely essential. However, sometimes overshadowed is the equally devastating Binge Eating Disorder, also classified as a major eating disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in May of 2013. Learn more about the devastating effects of BED while at college here.
Run A Behavioral Experiment
Make a prediction, If I allow myself dessert four nights this week, I will gain five pounds, and run an experiment to test it out. Weigh yourself at the beginning and the end of the week. Have dessert four nights this week. Check to see if your prediction came true.
Over time, you will see that a number of beliefs are not accurate. This is another CBT approach.
Understanding Your Loved Ones Eating Disorder
Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating behaviorsfollowing rigid diets, bingeing on food in secret, throwing up after meals, obsessively counting calories. Its not easy to watch someone you care about damage their healthespecially when the solution appears, at least on the outside, to be simple. But eating disorders are more complicated than just unhealthy dietary habits. At their core, theyre attempts to deal with emotional issues and involve distorted, self-critical attitudes about weight, food, and body image. Its these negative thoughts and feelings that fuel the damaging behaviors.
People with eating disorders use food to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions. Restricting food is used to feel in control. Overeating temporarily soothes sadness, anger, or loneliness. Purging is used to combat feelings of helplessness and self-loathing. Over time, people with an eating disorder lose the ability to see themselves objectively and obsessions over food and weight come to dominate everything else in their lives. Their road to recovery begins by identifying the underlying issues that drive their eating disorder and finding healthier ways to cope with emotional pain.
While you cant force a person with an eating disorder to change, you can offer your support and encourage treatment. And that can make a huge difference to your loved ones recovery.
Ways To Prevent Eating Disorders
Eating disorders and disordered eating are dangerous behaviors that hurt not only a persons health, but their self-esteem and self-worth as well. Its especially heartbreaking when eating disorders manifest at a young agethe overwhelming majority of people who have an eating disorder, more than 90%, are females between ages 12 and 25. That doesnt mean that males cant suffer from an eating disorder; in fact, these disorders can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, age, race, or socioeconomic background. That is why eating disorder prevention is criticalif not treated promptly and properly, these disorders can have devastating effects.
There are several types of eating disorders, which each have their own characteristics and symptoms. With bulima nervosa, a person will binge eat uncontrollably and then follow that up with purging, intense exercise, or some other action to counterbalance the excessive eating. Binge eating is like bulima in terms of excessive food consumption, but there is no purging that follows it; this disorder carries a high risk of obesity. Anorexia nervosa is almost the opposite of binging or bulimainstead of eating vast amounts of food, someone with anorexia will hardly eat at all. The goal might be a slender figure, but anorexia often leads to malnourishment, dangerously low weight and damage to the organs. Two lesser-known dysfunctional eating behaviors include rumination disorder and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder .
How To Identify Eating Disorders
Dr Zaib Shaikh
If you have any questions or concerns about your health, or if you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, ask your Health at Hand doctor for advice through our app that can be easily downloaded from the App Store. Click here for more information.
Getting Support From Your Network
If you feel triggered, its important to reach out and get help from somebody within your support network. Nobody has to battle their eating disorder or any trigger alone. If you can reach out to a friend, family member, or support group when you feel particularly vulnerable you can reduce the isolation and shame that youre feelings. Make an appointment to see your nutritionist or therapist, or just talk to a mentor or loved one, and this will bring you extra support and help when you feel most triggered.
Its especially helpful if you can tell the person you reach out to what you require from them at that moment. Nobody is a mind reader, so your friend, family member, mentor or loved one wont know how you feel at this challenging moment. Share with them what theyre able to do to bring you the support you need, whether that be just listening to you while you vent, engaging with you in a fun and distracting activity, or helping you to find a new way to cope with your trigger.
Night Eating Syndrome: So Much More Than Just A Bedtime Snack
Night Eating Syndrome was first recognized in 1955 by American psychiatrist, Dr. Albert Stunkard. NES is an eating disorder in which the affected individual wakes several times in the middle of the night and is unable to fall back asleep without eating, even though he or she is not actually hungry. The food eaten is often unhealthy and calorie-dense.
What Are Eating Disorders
An eating disorder is characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits, and an unhealthy relationship with food. You may eat too much, too little, or not at all. There are a variety of eating disorders, but some of the most prevalent symptoms across diagnoses include:
- Starving oneself, or eating as little as possible
- Severe or obsessive dieting that involves deprivation of food and/or stimulant drugs
- Going as long as possible without meals
- Becoming convinced that you are never thin enough, even if you are underweight for your height and age
- Eating too much, until you are so full youre in pain
- Vomiting after you eat, either too relieve the pain of binge-eating, or in an attempt to lose more weight
- Eating excessively
- Not changing your eating habits, even when a medical professional has warned you that your health and safety are at risk
- Using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas in an attempt to lose more weight
- Exercising more than recommended, beyond the point of pain and exhaustion
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, its important to get help for your eating disorder immediately. Since your body needs to eat every day, eating disorders also become addictive behaviors, requiring additional support, mentoring, and monitoring.
Common Causes Of Emotional Eating
Stress. Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? Its not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foodsfoods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.
Stuffing emotions. Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or stuff down uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While youre numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the difficult emotions youd rather not feel.
Boredom or feelings of emptiness. Do you ever eat simply to give yourself something to do, to relieve boredom, or as a way to fill a void in your life? You feel unfulfilled and empty, and food is a way to occupy your mouth and your time. In the moment, it fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.
Social influences. Getting together with other people for a meal is a great way to relieve stress, but it can also lead to overeating. Its easy to overindulge simply because the food is there or because everyone else is eating. You may also overeat in social situations out of nervousness. Or perhaps your family or circle of friends encourages you to overeat, and its easier to go along with the group.
Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder
There are a number of signs and symptoms that suggest someone might have the condition and needs to seek help.The two key features of binge eating disorder are:
- eating a very large amount of food in a short period of time
- feeling a sense of loss of control while eating .
These episodes occur frequently, and involve portions of food larger than would simply be considered overeating.
Reach Out For Support
Once youve decided to make a change, opening up about the problem is an important step on the road to recovery. It can feel scary or embarrassing to seek help for an eating disorder, so its important to choose someone who will be supportive and truly listen without judging you or rejecting you. This could be a close friend or family member or a youth leader, teacher, or school counselor you trust. Or you may be more comfortable confiding in a therapist or doctor.
Choose the right time and place. There are no hard and fast rules for telling someone about your eating disorder. But be mindful about choosing the right time and placeideally somewhere private where you wont be rushed or interrupted.
Starting the conversation. This can be the hardest part. One way to start is by simply saying, Ive got something important to tell you. Its difficult for me to talk about this, so it would mean a lot if youd be patient and hear me out. From there, you may want to talk about when your eating disorder started, the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors involved, and how the disorder has impacted you.
Be patient. Your friend or family member will have their own emotional reaction to learning about your eating disorder. They may feel shocked, helpless, confused, sad, or even angry. They may not know how to respond or help you. Give them time to digest what youre telling them. Its also important to educate them about your specific eating disorder.
Eating disorder support groups
Children Binge Eating: Different Stories But Similar Storylines
Binge eating is not only a concern for adults. Many children and adolescents have secret memories of having engaged in binge eating. These patterns are occurring ever more frequently in todays image-focused, diet-obsessed world. Read two stories about young adolescents who engaged in binge eating disorder behavior.
Strategy 5: Exercise And Relax
Stress can trigger binge eating, and exercising often reduces stress levels. A small study showed that aerobic activity significantly reduces binge eating episodes in the long term. Simply taking a 30-minute walk, riding your bike, dancing, or swimming can help prevent binge eating.
Yoga is another type of exercise that has been shown to reduce binge eating. In addition to exercise, practicing mindfulness, participating in breathing exercises, and enhancing your mind-body connection can promote relaxation and reduce stress eating.
Sleep also affects hunger and appetite, and it has been suggested that BED may be linked to insomnia. Try and get at least eight hours of sleep a night to reduce the risk of late-night binge eating. Doing a nighttime yoga routine can help relax the mind and body for sleep as well.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Upping your intake of protein-rich foods can keep you feeling full and help control your appetite.
One study in 19 people showed that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% led to significant reductions in body weight and fat mass, as well as decreased daily calorie intake by an average of 441 calories .
Similarly, another study found that following a high-protein diet enhanced metabolism, promoted feelings of fullness, and increased levels of glucagon-like peptide 1 , a hormone known for its ability to suppress appetite .
Try including at least one good source of protein such as meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, or legumes in each meal and enjoy high-protein snacks when you feel hungry to keep cravings at bay.
Summary Increasing your protein intake has been shown to decrease calorie intake, enhance feelings of fullness, and increase levels of GLP-1, a hormone that can help suppress appetite.
Breaking 5 Myths Of Binge Eating
Binge Eating Disorder is the most common of all the eating disorders but incongruently, with the least treatment options for the sufferers. Until recently, BED was not even recognized as an actual disorder and could not be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by The American Psychiatric Association.
Medical Nutrition Therapy For Bed
Professional treatment for binge eating disorder will involve the collaboration of multiple professionals, including a therapist/counselor, medical doctor, psychiatrist, and registered dietitian. Each of these professionals works in their area of specialty to help address a concern that a person with binge eating disorder is facing.
Binge Eating Recovery Tip 1: Develop A Healthier Relationship With Food
Recovery from any addiction is challenging, but it can be especially difficult to overcome binge eating and food addiction. Unlike other addictions, your drug is necessary for survival, so you dont have the option of avoiding or replacing it. Instead, you need to develop a healthier relationship with fooda relationship thats based on meeting your nutritional needs, not your emotional ones. To do this, you have to break the binge eating cycle by:
Avoiding temptation. Youre much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Remove the temptation by clearing your fridge and cupboards of your favorite binge foods.
Listening to your body. Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and dont have a rumbling stomach, youre probably not really hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
Eating regularly. Dont wait until youre starving. This only leads to overeating! Stick to scheduled mealtimes, as skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day.
Not avoiding fat. Contrary to what you might think, dietary fat can actually help keep you from overeating and gaining weight. Try to incorporate healthy fat at each meal to keep you feeling satisfied and full.
Fighting boredom. Instead of snacking when youre bored, distract yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, read, or take up a hobby such as painting or gardening.
Tip 4: Support Yourself With Healthy Lifestyle Habits
When youre physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, youre better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. But when youre already exhausted and overwhelmed, any little hiccup has the potential to send you off the rails and straight toward the refrigerator. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without binge eating.
Make time for regular exercise. Physical activity does wonders for your mood and your energy levels, and its also a powerful stress reducer. The natural mood-boosting effects of exercise can help put a stop to emotional eating.
Get enough sleep every night. When you dont get the sleep you need, your body craves sugary foods that will give you a quick energy boost. Sleep deprivation may even trigger food addiction. Getting plenty of rest will help with appetite control and reduce food cravings, and support your mood.
Connect with others. Dont underestimate the importance of close relationships and social activities. Youre more likely to succumb to binge eating triggers if you lack a solid support network. Talking helps, even if its not with a professional.
Manage stress. One of the most important aspects of controlling binge eating is to find alternate ways to handle stress and other overwhelming feelings without using food. These may include meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.
Binge Eating Disorder According To The Dsm
The DSM-5 specifies diagnostic criteria that one must meet for a full diagnosis of a mental disorder. For BED, the following criteria are required for diagnosis:
- Eating, in a discrete period of time , an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode .
- Eating much more rapidly than normal.
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
- Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
- Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
- Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
Learn To Accept Your Feelingseven The Bad Ones
While it may seem that the core problem is that youre powerless over food, emotional eating actually stems from feeling powerless over your emotions. You dont feel capable of dealing with your feelings head on, so you avoid them with food.
Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary. You may fear that, like Pandoras box, once you open the door you wont be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we dont obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention.
To do this you need to become mindful and learn how to stay connected to your moment-to-moment emotional experience. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating. HelpGuides free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can show you how.
Remember How Much You Have Already Achieved And Stay Positive
Preventing a relapse in eating disorder recovery is also about reminding yourself of your progress; where you have come from and how much you have already achieved. I know that healing from an eating disorder can be a very long journey and demotivating, especially when you cant see yourself where you would like to be.
Remember all the victories you have already achieved. These victories could include identifying your triggers, eating more regularly, increasing your food selection or overcoming your urge to binge. All these achievements will help you to stay positive and motivated. They will strengthen your resolve to bounce back, when everything inside you is trying to push you back into your eating disorder.
Keep in mind that a relapse in eating disorder recovery is a fairly normal part of the healing process and it does not mean that you have failed. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Just be aware of and be prepared for the possibility of a relapse in eating disorder recovery. With the right approach and attitude you can avoid relapsing and stay on your eating disorder recovery journey.
You dont need to struggle alone on your recovery journey. Simply get in touch to discuss how I can help you.
It is entirely possible to overcome an eating disorder or body hate I have done it, others have done it and so can you!
Mental Health Treatment Locator
For more information, resources, and research on mental illnesses, visit the NIMH website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov. The National Library of Medicines MedlinePlus website also has information on a wide variety of mental disorders.
For general information on mental health and to locate treatment services, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline at 1800662HELP . SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website that can be searched by location.
Where Do I Go From Here
In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more information about eating disorders:
Jessie’s Legacy Program, a program of Family Services of the North Shore
Visit www.jessieslegacy.com or call 604-988-5281 ext. 349 or email to contact Jessie’s Legacy. Jessie’s Legacy provides eating disorders prevention education, resources and support for BC youth, families, educators and professionals.
Kelty Eating Disorders
Contact Kelty Eating Disorders at keltyeatingdisorders.ca or 1-800-665-1822 or 604-875-2084 for information, support, and a BC-based program locater for children, youth and their families. Kelty Eating Disorders is a program of Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information
Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for the Managing Mental Illnesses series of info sheets, a screening self-test for body image, activities, workbooks, and personal stories about eating disorders and other mental health problems.
Crisis lines aren’t only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal.
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