Did you know that binge eating affects 3.5% of females and 2% of males in the U.S? Even more astoundingly, up to 30% of individuals seeking weight loss treatment can experience bouts of binge eating. And although there’s no scientific cause, binge eating has been shown to be tied to emotional fluctuations and can be triggered by happiness, sadness, anger, or even boredom. Being such a complicated issue, it’s no wonder binge eating is hard to get under control.
What is binge eating?
Binge eating is described as compulsive eating that can get out of control and lead to weight gain and even obesity. It is characterized by periods of excessive overeating, and is a serious condition that can have negative implications (high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few) on your health if not addressed.
So how can I stop this?
In order to curb binge eating, we recommend starting with these four helpful steps that will encourage you to find the reason for your binging and help you control it so that it doesn’t control you. It’s not enough to merely look at the problem from a physical standpoint; to see the results you want, you need to understand the emotional and mental roots of the problem.
So here’s where to start:
1. Eat more frequent meals throughout the day. Fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are best. Eating substantially throughout the day will help curb your appetite over the long run and will leave you with less moments where you crave food.
2. Honor your feelings and emotions. Don’t dismiss your feelings – everyone has the right to their feelings and emotions and realizing how you feel is an important step in validating your feelings.These feelings are vital in controlling your eating habits.
3. Develop a strong support network. Having outlets, along with tools and resources to help you navigate through the feelings associated with binge eating, can help you get rid of feelings of isolation. It’s also a way to develop healthy coping tools and mechanisms. Reach out to someone.
4. Minimize time and exposure to unhealthy situations. If you know that spending time with your family increases your stress and acts as a trigger for binge eating, minimize or avoid those situations. Keeping yourself safe and happy, while limiting exposure to unhealthy situations, can help you stay on a routine and avoid bad habits in the future. Make sure that you don’t isolate yourself, though- it is important to stay connected with people that you trust and that make you feel comfortable.
This list is a good starting point to getting on a healthier and happier road. Try these four helpful tips, and for more information on how to stop binge eating, contact us. With the holidays approaching and all the emphasis on food that will be coming up in the next few months, now is the perfect time to change your relationship with food back into one of health and happiness. The Hungry Heart is here to help you do just that.