By Victoria Q
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder. It is a mental illness in which a person, due to underlying issues and other risk factors, develops a pattern of binge eating which they come to rely on food as a way of coping. If left untreated, BED can lead to obesity, which is associated with other serious health problems.
In this article, we provide 4 steps you can do to stop binge eating and live a healthy relationship with food.
Step 1: Observe And Understand Your Behaviour
Monitoring will allow you to understand and identify the precise factors that are triggering your binge eating behaviour. Knowing exactly how you feel before, during and after a meal is important to know what’s trigger your binge eating. Once you get to identify your triggers, you’ll need to make an effort to change them.
If you don’t monitor, you’re going in blind and hoping to eventually get better in your binge eating behaviour which is almost impossible. Diary is a great idea to help you pinpoint the precise things that are going on before, during and after a binge eating.
- Time and date
- Place (in a restaurant, inside the car, dining table etc)
- With whom (alone, friends, family etc)
- What you ate and drank
- Mood (neutral, happy, tense, depressed, angry, bored, rushed, tired)
- Hunger level (no hunger, quite hungry, hungry, starving)
- Fullness (still hungry, quite satisfied, uncomfortable)
You can also ask yourself the questions below to get to know more about your inner thoughts on this issue. It’s a form of connecting with your inner self and be honest which we called “mindfulness”.
Ask yourself (the practice of mindfulness):
- Thoughts (early of the day): I will try not to skip meal no matter how busy I will be to avoid getting too hungry which leads me to binge eating at the end of the day…….
- Comments (end of the day): I started my day with a green smoothie which was filled with nutrients and it makes me feel healthy and good about my body…….
Step 2: Don’t Skip Your Meals
Skipping meals can cause blood to drop, which prompts the body to crave for a quick boost of sugar in the form of white bread, cookies, candy or other simple carbohydrates. Eating these foods can raise blood sugar levels, but then tend to crash again quickly, causing the cycle to continue. To avoid this situation, you have to plan a regular schedule of meals and snacks filled with nutrients.
Aim to eat at least three meals and two snacks a day, no more than 3-4 hours apart. Eating regularly will help you gain more control by eliminating any form of strict diet, minimizing the urges of binge and reducing your frequency of binge eating.
How to do it? Plan and write down what you want to eat for tomorrow meals and snacks. Check any leftover food you have in the fridge and try to finish them before you stock up.
Step 3: Address Your Problems
People might seek comfort by eating as a way of trying to deal with stress, boredom, loneliness, sadness and distance themselves from emotional pain. When they do this often and becomes a habit, it will eventually lead to binge eating.
Identify these triggers can help you avoid and manage them by seeking another way instead of emotional eating. In order to do this, you will have to think of a possible solution for the problem, carefully think through each solution’s consequences and pick the best and act on it.
- Identify the problem: I live alone and far away from my family. I feel lonely.
- Think about a possible solution for the problem: I could either – eat, watch TV, go for a walk, hang out with friends
- Carefully think through each solution’s consequences:
- Eat: This isn’t a good idea because, in the past, when I eat I’ll lose control and always ended up binge eating.
- Watch TV: There’s nothing really on TV at the moment, so I’ll probably get bored and have an urge to eat instead.
- Go for a walk: A walk will remove me from temptation and freshen my mind.
- Hang out with friends: I’ll probably meeting my friends in a café which will lead me to have an urge to eat.
- Pick the best solution and act on it: I’m going to go for a brisk walk – at least 30 minutes.
Step 4: Occupy Yourself In Joyful Activities
Like I mentioned before, feeling of loneliness, boredom, sadness and other emotional feelings can lead you to binge eating. To cope with these emotional feeling, you have to occupy yourself with joyful activities and focus on them.
Make a list of activities you can do in the situation – as long as you can and be creative!
- Watch any movie
- Go for a walk
- Go to sleep
- Do yoga
- Do exercise
- Talk to someone
Whenever you’re in an emotional feeling and have the urge to eat, come back to your list and pick the best you can do at the moment and act on it.