Binge eating: the consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time.
- Do you feel out of control when you’re eating?
- Do you eat in secret?
- Do you eat until you feel sick?
- Do you eat to escape from worries, relieve stress, or to comfort yourself?
- Do you feel disgusted or ashamed after eating?
- Do you feel powerless to stop eating, even though you want to?
Everyone has been here whether you want to admit it or not. You shovel 3 dinners, 8 cookies, and 2 bowls of ice cream into your mouth at a special occasion or holiday. You're not even hungry... but you feel out of control and you just can't stop eating what's on your plate in front of you. To the point of discomfort and until the buttons to your jeans are nearly popping off. Then comes the self shaming... You feel like crap because 1) you're so full and want to throw up and 2) you most likely feel pretty ashamed and upset with yourself.
This type of problem is more common than not. It happens to everyone at some point and that's ok. You derail from the plan, fall off the wagon, and break your diet pretty badly. But it's most important to take these things as learning experiences, move on from them, and make better choices next time. Mistakes are all apart of the journey no matter what your goals are, but growing/learning from them is what is most important.
So, WHY are people binge eating so often? We need to start by identifying the triggers that ultimately lead them to binge so it can be prevented.
Is it social pressure? Boredom? Stress or depression? Not eating enough throughout the day, then feeling ravenous, resulting in mindlessly eating?
Regardless of the why, it’s important to empathize and to find what is leading to this behavior. If you feel that you have binge-eating behaviors, I would recommend eliminating all temptations inside your house that could potentially result in grabbing a bite of something that you really don’t need. This is more of the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. Anyone will be much more likely to overeat just by mentally knowing that it is readily available in their home.
Next, I would recommend practicing a more mindful approach to eating. Really take the time to plan out meals, that way you are much more likely to stick to the plan. Planning out meals allows less opportunity to have no food readily available. Ask yourself before you start eating, do I REALLY need whatever food it is they are about to eat. Does this align with my goals? Is this going to help me make progress in the right direction? Am I just bored? Am I going to feel better just because I had a bite of this?”
Most of the time when people binge, they are eating mindlessly, without really thinking about what it is they are actually doing or how it will make them feel afterwards. Finding distractions can also be helpful in these situations of boredom. Going for a walk or getting out of the house might help. Going to the gym or hanging out with friends or family is always a great excuse to get out of the house and keep busy.
Ultimately, if people are more focus on their own behavior and the reasons as to why they are binging, the problem can be eliminated with some mindfulness and support from a coach, friend, or others around you. Chances are you aren't actually hungry.
YOU are in control.
Find your triggers, eliminate them, and start taking control over your eating habits.
Live well. Be well.