People who binge-eat, eat a large amount of food in a short period of time and feel shame and guilt afterwards.
Strategies to Avoid Binging:
- Learn your triggers: Monitor thoughts, feelings, behaviors, situations surrounding eating. Keep a log and assess for patterns.
- Emotions? Stress? Relationships? Work? Time/schedule?
- Address your emotions/communicate your wants and needs.
- Follow a regular meal plan.
- Eat every 2-3 hours, no matter what! DO NOT SKIP MEALS
- Do not “bank” your calories by starving yourself all day and eating the majority of food in one sitting. This will not be effective toward weight loss, is hard on your body’s metabolism, and can lead to binge eating.
- Carry a healthy snack on you at all times so you do not go too long without eating.
- Create and work toward other goals. Successful lifestyle change, including weight loss and maintenance, is aided by focusing on other personal wellness goals outside of diet and exercise.
- Look for other ways to feel good.
Weight loss is not about feeling deprived and hungry all of the time. If you are really hungry, you may need to increase your calorie intake for the day. Go ahead and grab that 100-200 calorie healthy snack.
- Restrictive diets: eating too few calories in a day and going hungry greatly increases the likelihood of binge eating.
- Even if you restrict for several days, it is more likely than not you will give in and binge or go for unhealthy food choices.
- Forbidden foods: completely cutting a food out of your diet can lead to binging down the road. If you have a major problem with binging on a certain type(s) of food(s), learn to incorporate them into your regular diet plan.
- Remove temptation. Do not keep trigger foods at home and buy that food each time you eat it if necessary.
Begin to identify feelings versus hunger:
- When you feel hungry, before you eat pay attention to your feelings. Spend some time describing your feeling and determine if there is a different way to cope with this feeling. Negative coping will only intensify that feeling and/or other negative feelings.
Focus on positive self-talk, kindness, and patience with yourself. Shaming and negative self-talk create worse psychological problems and increase negative coping.
Overcoming binge-eating is not easy, but it is attainable with effort and lifestyle change. Do not take on an all-or-nothing attitude. Approach this with kindness, honesty with yourself, patience, and a positive attitude! With time, you can get there!
Also check out my article, Stop the binge sooner.