How to Stop Binge Eating

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on September 11, 2019

Binge eating represents a serious eating disorder that threatens to endanger your health and life in many ways. There are many potential triggers that are causing your binge eating episodes to occur, and there are even more health risks that they threaten to cause. That is why it is of essential importance that you take the things in your hands, understand this issue of yours, and make everything that you can to put an end to your binge eating. What we offer you today are some effective and useful tips and tricks that we hope will prove to be helpful when used to stop your binge eating.

What is binge eating?

Binge eating is considered to be the most common eating disorder in the United States, as it is estimated that it affects around 2.7 million adults in the United States alone (1). In most cases, we are talking about a chronic case of binge eating, that is thought to affect more women as compared to men (2, 3).

During an episode of binge eating, the individual eats large amounts of food in a rather short period of time. The individual lacks control over the situation and is often feeling stressed, so he/she is using binge eating to reduce their stress levels.

There are many potential risk factors for developing binge eating. Among the most common ones are genetics, with strong evidence that shows that this eating disorder in many cases is inherited (4), but also a negative body image, emotional trauma, being under too much stress, and other psychological disorders (5, 6, 7). It has been estimated that around 80% of the individuals who have been diagnosed with binge eating have also been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse, among the many other common psychological disorders (8).

The risks of binge eating

Binge eating comes with multiple risks to your physical, mental, and social health. For starters, there is clear proof that binge eating is increasing the risk of obesity (9). And as you probably know, obesity, itself, increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, etc (10). Binge eating has been linked to other health issues such as sleep issues, asthma, digestive issues, and much more (11). All in all, individuals who are struggling with binge eating have a declined quality of life and an increased risk of multiple dangerous health risks (12).

Useful tips that will help you stop binge eating

Knowing how much binge eating is harming your health, it is important that you recognize this problem of yours and ask for help as soon as possible. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks that can be used to treat binge eating successfully. In the following, we will share some of the most useful tips that will help you overcome this difficult eating disorder.

Do not limit yourself with ridiculous diets

Following overly restrictive diets can only contribute to triggering binge eating, along with causing other harmful effects to your physical and mental health. Fasting, for example, has been shown to cause an increased risk of binge eating among adolescent girls (13). The same goes for diets that make you stay away from certain foods (14). Remember that if you are interested in losing weight, for any reason that might be, you have to choose a healthy diet plan that does not cause you to starve. Your diet should be well-balanced and include all of the recommended nutrients on a daily level.

Eat more fiber

Eating foods rich in fiber has been scientifically proven to satisfy your hunger in the long run, along with reducing your appetite and the calorie intake throughout the day. To avoid overeating, one of the best things that you can do is add more fiber-rich food products in your diet (15). By acting to reduce your hunger, along with reducing the number of calories that you are about to consume in the day that follows, you are acting to avoid binge eating, which is just the thing that we are looking for.

Practice yoga

Using meditation, breathing techniques, and specific poses, yoga incorporates your body and mind. It relaxes your body, but it also allows it to stretch and get stronger over time. Plus, yoga has been proven to reduce the risk of binge eating, along with efficiently treat it in the existing cases (16). Emotional eating will no longer be a problem for you once you have relied on the beneficial effects of yoga for your physical and mental health.

Do not skip meals

We understand that you are busy and that there might be times when figuring out when you would do the grocery shopping or when you would actually prepare a homemade meal for yourself can be especially hard. Skipping meals can leave you feeling hungry and exhausted, not to mention exposed to a greater risk of overeating later throughout the day. In addition, a study published in the Eating behaviors has demonstrated that people who have been eating three meals a day have a reduced risk of binge eating as compared with the ones that have the habit of frequent meal skipping (17).

Rely on protein

Protein, along with fiber, is one of the most fulfilling nutrients out there. A high-protein diet makes losing weight a lot easier, plus – a high-protein diet is incredibly healthy since it does not leave you feeling hungry or irritated at the end of the day (18). A protein-rich diet is what will reduce your hunger and your calorie intake efficiently, without exposing you to the risk of overeating later.

Identify your triggers

Find out what it is that triggers your binge eating. What is the most tempting food on your daily menu? For some, it might be pizza, candy, or potato chips, or some other kind of junk food that does not offer any nutrients whatsoever apart from the empty calories. Forget about buying these trigger foods the next time you head off to the grocery shop. The next time you think about eating the whole can of ice cream, you will have to reach out to some apple slices with a bit of hummus instead.

Find alternatives for your triggers

We are only humans, and we are not expected to get rid of all of our bad habits all at once. The same goes with these previously mentioned trigger foods. You are not expected to eliminate them all at once, nor are you expected to stop binge eating in one day. Instead, a better idea would be to find healthy alternatives to your trigger foods until you have had the help that you need to put a stop to your binge eating once and for all.

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity has numerous beneficial effects on your health. But did you know that regular physical activity is able to keep you away from binge eating as well? Not only has physical activity been shown to prevent binge eating, but it has also been proved to be able to treat it (19). And the positive effects do not stop there! The most powerful combination that you can use to treat your binge eating is to pair up regular physical activity with cognitive-behavior therapy, and there you have it – the combination that will help you overcome your binge eating fast and efficiently (20)!

Sleep in

Sleep issues are known to reflect poorly on our health, including our diet and body weight. Getting too little sleep night after night has been shown to increase the levels of the hunger hormone and reduce the levels of the hormone that is responsible for promoting fullness. According to research published in 2018, patients with binge eating disorder have been considered to struggle with insomnia commonly, with that only making their condition worse (21). To avoid all of the potential negative effects on your health, create a sleep schedule that will allow you to get around 8-9 hours of quality sleep each night to promote good physical and mental health.

Create a weekly menu

Staying organized is the key to everything, including your daily diet. Take some time to organize your shopping list as well as your weekly menu with all three to five meals a day, to prevent any additional stress that you might deal with if you are left to wonder what you should cook for yourself or when will you be able to finally go grocery shopping in the middle of the week. Plan out your meals at the office as well, and make sure that you have enough lunch options and healthy snacks that you can take with you before you head off to work.

Drink enough water

Staying hydrated all through the day has its benefits, and we cannot deny them. Drinking enough water can help you reduce the risk of overeating, eat fewer calories on a daily level, and also satisfy your hunger better (22). And all that it takes is to drink the recommended eight glasses of water each and every day! Invest in a good water bottle that you will be taking everywhere you go to remind you to drink enough water.

Clean any junk food from your house

Keeping up junk food in your house makes it easier for you to reach out and binge eat it whenever you have an episode. It is also more tempting, and it causes additional stress that you really do not need at times like this. So do yourself a favor – clean your house from any food that looks tempting and saves yourself some money by saying no to all of these foods at the grocery shop.

Practice mindful eating

Practicing mindful eating will allow your mind actually to register when your body is feeling full, and you need to step away from the table, even if that means that you still have leftovers in your plate. Make sure that you eat your meals in some peace and quiet, away from your phone, computer, or TV. Listen to your body and know when to stop before it is too late and you end up once again, eating all those additional calories that you do not really need.

Ask for help if you need it

Even if it might not feel like it, there is nothing to be ashamed of having to deal with any mental health issue, including binge eating. The first step, of course, is admitting that you have a problem. The second includes talking to another person about it. Even if it is a friend or a family member, you are doing progress. Of course, you are highly recommended to talk to a trained professional about your troubles, but you have to start from somewhere.

Conclusion

These easy and useful tips that we had to share with you today will help you control and eventually put a stop to your binge eating. Whatever the reason is that has been causing your binge eating, with these healthy habits you will be able to forget about eating a whole bag of potato chips or a whole can of ice cream in one sitting. Binge eating is not an option, and you have the power to put a stop to it today.

References

(1) https://www.waldeneatingdisorders.com/what-we-treat/binge-eating-disorder/
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28477651
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3628997/
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12655626
(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21324945
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25044613
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25103674
(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892232/
(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618062/
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2879283/
(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27553016
(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26942768
(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850570/
(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16261600
(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16340949
(16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19632546/
(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24854811
(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002798
(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8932555
(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11920978
(21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29542203
(22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589036

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