What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating is the act of consuming large amounts of food within short time intervals, with no control and feeling unable to stop. Typically as a result of the Binge Eating Disorder (BED), these episodes end with a feeling of tremendous guilt or shame. The fact that it is named as a disorder means that it is a psychological condition and people suffering from it will need a proper treatment plan by a medical health professional to overcome it. Controlling the episodes of binge eating is necessary for the health of the individual suffering from it. This article highlights some causes and guidelines on how to stop binge eating.
The Root Cause of Binge Eating
The main cause of this disorder is unknown and still being worked on but studies have shown a number of reasons for the disorder.
Food addiction or compulsive eating may be a biological result of disturbed hormones or genetic mutations.
The social and cultural factors might also contribute to this disorder. The desire of being thin and skinny, especially through media can lead to a feeling of self-loathing and low self-esteem regarding body shape and weight and can result in uncontrollable eating. Trauma or a bad experience like sexual or physical abuse can increase the risk of binge eating.
Psychological reasons like depression and anxiety coupled with the feeling of body dissatisfaction or bring unable to cope with emotions or feelings can also lead to binge eating.
Signs and Symptoms of BED
The signs of excessive eating are mostly hidden because only the person suffering from it will actually understand the symptoms. The feelings of embarrassment or guilt after binging on food are an example of some of the behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of the disorder.
Other symptoms include:
- Anxiety and stress only relieved by eating
- Eating normally in company and gorging when alone
- Being unable to stop or control what is eaten
- Continuing to eat even after being full
- Not being able to feel full at all no matter how much food is consumed
- Feeling numb while binging
- Secretly stocking food to eat later
How to Stop Binge Eating?
The results of BED can be emotionally, socially and physically devastating. Following are some helpful tips to avoid binge eating and overcome the disorder.
Avoid strict diets
When you restrict yourself from eating many food groups, you make yourself prone to binge eating episodes. Instead of following diets that eliminate the consumptions of entire food groups from your life, make healthy changes in your daily diet. This way you will not feel like missing out on good, delicious food and will also lose weight in a healthy and proper manner. Fasting can also prove to be the reason you give up after a while and binge on unhealthy treats for satisfaction. Add vegetables, fruits and non processed foods and limit the amount of sweets and treats rather than completely cutting them out of your meals.
Don’t skip meals
The most efficient way to quit binging on food is making a good eating schedule and staying consistent. If you make a habit of taking three meals a day, you are less likely to crave for food at inappropriate times. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and a good breakfast will mean you would avoid snacking until lunch or when you feel hungry. At lunch if your scheduled meal is also fulfilling you will stay energetic until dinner and the risk of impulsive eating will be reduced.
Drink plenty of water
Studies show that increased water intake can decrease food cravings and overeating. Staying hydrated is a simple and easy way to curb the longing for food and calorie intake. Drinking enough water will also boost your metabolism and initiate weight loss. The amount of water required by each individual varies but you should make a habit of drinking around 6 to 8 glasses every day.
Stress can be a major factor which causes binge eating or emotional eating. Yoga is a very effective tool to release stress and relax your body and your mind. It involves certain poses and breathing exercise which will help your mind and body become peaceful.
Get yourself a DVD which you can follow at home or simply watch videos online. If you have the facility you can attend yoga classes or hire an instructor. Meditation is also a part of yoga routine which will definitely help with binge eating disorder.
Increasing your fiber intake will ensure you feel full for longer. As it takes time to digest and remains for longer in your gut, you don’t feel hungry for longer through the day. It also cuts cravings and reduce calorie intake. Vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods are rich in fiber and other vitamins which your body requires to stay fit.
Clean out your kitchen
Rid your kitchen of all the sweets and junk food that are too tempting. If you have these options available in such close proximity, chances are you will surrender to the cravings and binge-eat in the middle of the night. Clean your kitchen and remove all processed foods, candies and junk food and replace it all with healthy alternates like fruits, vegetables, sugar free yogurt and whole grain food options.
Make exercise a routine
Adding physical activity to your life can really bring out positive changes. This can help your mental and physical health and also help you stop binge eating. Exercise enhances your mood and reduces stress levels which mean you will stop feeling the need to make yourself feel better with eating. Playing sports, walking, swimming or going to the gym can be some physical activities you can start doing.
Get enough sleep
Being sleep deprived can lead to binge eating. Sleep affects your appetite and your level of hunger and if you don’t get enough sleep, you can be prone to binge eating. Sleeping less than 8 hours results in weight gain as not sleeping inhibits the release of hormones which induce the feeling of fullness. Major fat burning occurs in the state of deep sleep as well.
Make sure that you sleep for almost 8 hours for a healthy life and overcome binge eating.
Plan your meals
If you don’t have track of what you will eat throughout the day, chances are you will end up binge eating without even realizing it. It will help you stick to a regular and well-thought diet plan and you can also ensure healthy ingredients in your food. Measure out portion sizes and intentionally add nutrition to your planned meals so you can avoid a binge.
Increase protein intake
Proteins help you feel full. Unlike processed foods and sugar, proteins don’t get digested too quickly and will not make you feel hungry very soon after a meal. Protein rich foods increase your metabolism and also help the body produce appetite suppressing hormones. Adding good proteins to your diet will help you quit binging on food. Some good protein options to add to your meals are nuts, seeds, fish and legumes.
Seek help if needed
The tips mentioned above can be very helpful but if you think you find yourself completely out of control when it comes to food, get help. Professional aid can provide you with a treatment designed especially for you which can prove to be very beneficial.
Group therapy sessions can be helpful with a trained eating disorder therapist to help you out. Also eating disorder support groups can help you.
Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on a person’s relationships with their family and friends and how they view themselves.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of therapy which helps people understand their feelings and thoughts that influence their behaviors.
You can easily misjudge binge eating as over eating. It can go undetected and prove to be fatal. This is a psychological condition that affects millions of people around the world and needs to be addressed. Binge eating is not impossible to overcome and with the proper modifications in your life and the right treatment it is a very achievable goal.