When you want to lose weight, changing your diet is an obvious place to start. If you’re like some, you’ll move methodically from a general regime of healthier eating to increasingly restrictive habits. Unfortunately, this can lead to eating disorders like binge eating.
Binge eating disorder (BED) is a form of compulsive overeating that plagues many who follow a strict diet and exercise regime, and even some who don’t. The disorder affects 2 percent of the general population and if you think “that could never happen to me,” you could easily be mistaken.
Read on to learn:
- What binge eating is
- Why binge eating happens
- 5 tips to overcome binge eating
WHAT IS BINGE EATING DISORDER?
BED is a condition where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis, causing them to consume excessive amounts of food. The disorder is thought to encompass both weight and eating disorder concerns, meaning a multifaceted approach to the problem is required.
People who battle with BED sometimes struggle to be taken seriously. This is because BED doesn’t manifest itself in the same way as other eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia do. It doesn’t include purging or fasting and so is often linked with other issues, like obesity. To be diagnosed with the condition, a person must binge an average of twice a week for six months.
BED is often a major concern for those trying to lose weight and take control of their well-being. But before you can take proactive steps to overcome the problem, it’s important to understand why it occurs in the first place.
THE UNDERLYING CAUSES OF BINGE EATING DISORDER
Understanding why binge eating occurs is more important than treating the weight gain associated with the condition. Without examining what prompts you to binge eat, any efforts to lose weight are most likely to fail because you’ll likely put it straight back on with the next cycle of bingeing.
Here are some of the most common causes of binge eating and drinking, and other binge behaviors:
- Psychological – Anxiety, stress, and depression are amongst the most common causes of binge eating disorder. Some people turn to eating or drinking to cope with unhappy feelings. However, some rely on bingeing because of more serious issues such as low self-esteem, poor impulse control, and the inability to cope with and manage feelings.
- Chemical – The brain releases dopamine when you eat fat or sugar, and when you drink alcohol. Dopamine can be addictive, meaning you’ll continue to seek the feeling it creates. Some with low dopamine and serotonin levels binge for the positive feelings it brings and to help cope with issues like depression.
- Cultural – Today, more than ever, society puts a massive amount of pressure on individuals to look a certain way. Because some may feel troubled or worthless if they aren’t “skinny enough” or don’t conform in other ways to societal standards, they may use binge eating as a crutch for the resulting anxiety.
- Lack of Mindfulness – People who binge are considered by some experts to “lack mindfulness.” Put simply, this means they are out of touch with their feelings and unable to manage stress in a healthy manner. As such, they use food as a way to handle emotions as they surface, instead of trying to deal with the underlying problem.
5 TIPS TO OVERCOME BINGE EATING BEHAVIOuR
If you’ve been struggling with binge eating and are unsure how to resolve the problem, there are a few simple steps you can take each day to steer you in the right direction. It’s important to remember as you begin this process that BED is a potentially serious disorder, and you shouldn’t expect to beat it overnight.
Here are 5 of the most effective ways to conquer your binge eating:
- Eat Regular, Healthy Meals – Many who binge eat restrict meals throughout the day and use this self-denial to justify their subsequent bingeing behavior. Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent a binge is to eat regular, balanced meals. Consuming foods rich in fiber and protein will regulate blood sugar, promote a healthy metabolism, and keep cravings for the unhealthy foods that prompt a binge under control.
- Understand Your “Triggers” – What situations prompt you to binge eat? Is it a certain mood or feeling? Perhaps an interaction or relationship you are struggling with? Knowing what triggers a binge is one of the easiest ways to better manage your behavior. If you can be consciously aware of how you’re feeling, you can then do something constructive to distract yourself – like talking to a friend or going to the gym.
- Remove Temptation – People who suffer from BED usually enjoy bingeing on certain foods. By removing these foods from your home, you can support your efforts to end bingeing, even if you can’t stop the urge when you encounter a trigger.
- Find Other Sources of Pleasure – Binge eating is a pleasure-seeking habit, although it’s often followed by guilt and other negative feelings. Find non-food sources of pleasure like a hobby or physical activity to immerse yourself in during the times you would usually binge. This will boost your mood and improve your self-confidence, therefore addressing two significant causes of the disorder.
- Implement Time Restrictions – The easiest way to succumb to a binge is to tell yourself you’re just going to eat a small amount, but then proceed to overdo it. If you feel hungry, force yourself to wait 10 minutes or to drink a glass of water first. This can help you avoid bingeing unintentionally and is a good strategy to use, particularly when you’re first dealing with the problem.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR EATING DISORDER
If you’ve been struggling with binge eating disorder or just binge occasionally, it’s important to confront the problem immediately and not let it take over your life. The above tips should help you to shed the excess weight you’ve gained through this behavior while addressing the underlying causes of the disorder.
Typically, excess weight from bingeing leads many to feel even more anxious and stressed about their appearance. If this is the case, you may want to use a comprehensive weight loss supplement like PhenQ to trim excess fat and keep your appetite under control.
You are more than your eating disorder. And by implementing the tips above, you can overcome it easier than you might think.