What is binge eating and how to stop binge eating?

We have all probably eaten far more than we needed to at some point. Perhaps it was overindulgence over the Christmas holidays, or even tucking into a whole tub of ice cream to console ourselves after a breakup. That kind of occasional overeating is nothing to be concerned about at all, and the worst effect that it will have on your health is that you will probably feel pretty sick afterwards and wish you hadn’t done it. For some people, though, consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time becomes a regular event and a thing that they can’t control, and that’s when binge eating is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Binge eaters often have a very low self-esteem and they hate themselves for their overeating, but, try as they might, they find it almost impossible to break the cycle of over indulgence. If you think that you have progressed from the occasional loss of self-control to regular, uncontrollable eating, red these ten tips on how to stop binge eating now.

1. Stop dieting

Binge eating is often triggered by dieting and people get into a cycle of binge eating and then dieting, over and over again. You need to move away from both the extremes of eating habits and learn to regulate your consumption of food. When you diet, you deny yourself many of the types of foods that you really enjoy, so the temptation will always be to make up for lost time when you come off the diet.

2. Add healthy foods to your diet, rather than remove the bad ones

Whether it’s ice cream or chocolate that you tend to binge on, removing your favourite foods from your diet is going to be difficult and, if you deny yourself these foods completely, you will be more likely to give in at some stage and binge on them. It is a lot easier to add more healthy foods to your meals, like vegetables and fruit. If you fill yourself up on healthier food, you will be less tempted to binge later on.

3. Be mindful of your food when you eat

Another tip on how to stop binge eating is to avoid eating food while watching the TV or using a computer, always sit down to your meals at a table and concentrate fully on what you are eating. If you eat while you are distracted, you will lose track of what you have eaten and just keep on going.

4. Never eat food straight from a packet

If you are going to eat a snack, always take what you need from the packet, return the packet to the cupboard or refrigerator, and then eat the food from a plate. If you take a whole packet of cookies from the cupboard, you will be far more likely to eat “just one more”.

5. Remove all the temptations

Next tip on how to stop binge eating is to identify the foods that you are likely to binge on and remove them from sight or, even better, remove them from your home altogether. Of course, you can always go to the store to buy some more, but if you need to make a special effort to get the food to binge on, it will give you more time to think about what you are about to do.

6. Understand what triggers your binging

For most people, binge eating is usually triggered by certain emotions, or situations. If you can identify what your triggers are, you will be able to control your urges to eat better. Once you understand that you are lonely or bored, rather than hungry, you will be able to focus your attention on resolving the root cause of the problem, rather than eating to smother your emotions.

7. Learn how to put the brakes on a binge

When you binge, you are acting on an urge and you have the power within you to resist that urge. Even if you have started on a binge, try and stop yourself as soon as you recognise that it is happening. Recognise that, just because you have started to eat a bar of chocolate, you don’t have to finish the whole thing.

8. Distract yourself

Next good tip on how to stop binge eating is to distract yourself. The urge to overeat is often is quite short-lived, so, when you do feel the need to binge, simply try distracting yourself and keeping yourself busy. Go for a walk, read a book, or telephone a friend. The longer you delay giving in to the temptation, the less the urge to binge will become.

9. Focus on your health and not on your weight

Most people who binge eat have concerns about their weight and the cycle of dieting and binge eating is driven by what they see when they weight themselves. Try to stop worrying about your weight and think instead about what is healthy for you to eat. Your fitness and your general well-being are far more important than a number that appear on your bathroom scales.

10. Be patient with yourself

Our final tip on how to stop binge eating is to be patient with yourself. As we said at the beginning of this article, everyone overeats sometimes, so don’t beat yourself up over the occasional slip. It will take time to break out of the binge cycle and it will take a lot of will power on your part. The important thing is not to give up trying just because you occasionally do give in to temptation.

Do you have other tips on how to stop binge eating?

Stay happy!

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