How to Stop Binge Eating: A Step by Step Guide
Binge eating involves eating a very large amount of food in a short period of time (food is often high in sugar, fat and carbs). A binge can happen very quickly and usually in secret. People feel very ashamed and guilty about their eating behaviour and often feel very unsafe and out of control around food. Binge eating often begins after a period of food restriction, dieting, missing meals or avoiding certain food groups. We know from starvation studies, that when people restrict food, then it is very common that bingeing is the backlash against deprivation. Quickly, bingeing also becomes an emotional coping mechanism where food provides a release, escape or distraction from life's problems. Consequently, people can struggle to stop binge eating once they get into this destructive cycle.
What You'll Need
- Pen, paper and you
What You'll Do
- How to begin to break the binge eating cycle?
- Recognise that dieting or restricting food actually increases the liklihood that binges will occur.
- Make a decision to stop dieting (no more counting calories, no more avoiding food groups, no more trying to be super-healthy).
- Start to write a food and feelings diary. You will begin to recognise your triggers for bingeing and to gain awareness about the problem.
- Plan to eat six times a day (three meals and three snacks) - include all food groups particularly good fats, protein and slow-release carbohydrates. This will help to keep blood sugar levels stable.
- You might label foods as 'good' and 'bad'. Start to genuinely permit the 'bad' foods in, in a planned and controlled way. This will reduce their allure and specialness which then often results in a binge.
- You may be relying on food as your number one pleasure. Start to find new ways of being kind to yourself.
- Binge eating can be hard to stop alone. Seek out self-help material to support you. You might also want to consider seeing a counsellor.
Tips & Warnings
- Be patient and kind towards yourself as you address your binge eating. Don't be afraid to seek out further support if you are struggling to make the changes by yourself.
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