Binge Eating 101 – what it is and how to avoid it

Binge eating,  or ‘comfort eating’ is commonly used to cope with stress and depression, making the binge eater feel satisfied in the short term but worse for wear in the long term. Binge eating is a vicious circle of over-eating, but it is resolvable. It may feel like there is no coming back from a day of binge eating, but anyone can learn to control their eating habits, developing a healthy attitude to healthy eating.

What is binge eating?

Binge eating is the habit of compulsively eating when feeling stressed and anxious. The binge eater does not stop when they are full but carries on eating. People who suffer from a binge eating disorder will often feel out of control before, during and even after a binge. While binge eating is a disorder, it is unlike eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia, as usually people who binge eat do not attempt to make up for over eating by throwing up food or exercising. As a result of this, binge eaters can often be overweight and obese.

fruitKey factors of binge eating

  • Eating when not hungry or gorging on food for long periods of time.
  • Binge eating occurs when stressed or upset.
  • Binge eating can result in weight gain, triggering feelings of guilt and depression after the binge.

The binge eating cycle

During a binge, the person may feel satisfied but this satisfaction will not last and in its place comes guilt and self –hatred. Binge eating, lasting for long periods of time can cause weight gain, which can lead to more binge eating. Binge eating can be seen as a coping mechanism for people to make themselves feel better and this cycle continues, soon becoming a vicious cycle of binge eating.

How to avoid binge eating

You can always come back from a binge. Reversing the effects of binge eating and making a full recovery will take time. Food is necessary for living and it is important to learn and adapt to new and healthy eating habits. Finding the right balance between healthy eating, nutrition and exercise is essential. Here’s how to avoid binge eating:

  • Drink water. Water is essential for hydrating your body and flushing away toxins.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables. Your body will be deprived of its nutrients and one of the main aspects of a healthy diet is eating fruit and vegetables. Always eat breakfast and stick to scheduled meal times. Skipping meals will lead you to binge eating later on in the day.
  • Exercise. Exercise will help maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle, while reducing stress, improving your health and boosting your metabolism.
  • Reduce stress. Find ways to reduce stress without turning to food for help such as keeping calm and relaxed through meditation and breathing exercises.
  • No dieting. Dieting is one of the main causes of binge eating as it starves the body until it craves foods, which leads to over-eating. Maintain a balanced diet by eating in moderation and controlling food portions.
  • Sleep. Go to sleep early and take regular naps. Instead of trying to eat to stay awake, it is important to listen to your body when it needs rest.
  • Write a food diary. Keep a record of what and when you eat, writing down your meal plans and recipes. This is also beneficial if you have had a good day of eating well and want to go back and repeat it.
  • Support. It helps to talk things through so get talking to people. You will do better in maintaining healthy eating habits if you have a good support system behind you. Get talking to your friends and family, join a support group, and talk to your doctor or dietitian.

There is an entire community for binge eaters to reach out to for help and advice – see below.

Resources

http://www.oagb.org.uk/

http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/

http://www.b-eat.co.uk/

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/binge_eating_disorder.htm

About the author

Evie Chrysostomou is a freelance writer and blogger interested in health. “I’m just a girl on a journey, passionate about being healthy, exercise, fitness and nutrition. I love to share health tips, advice and inspiration. You can find me on my Blog here: http://eviechrys.blogspot.co.uk/

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