What is Binge Eating?
Binge eating is not just over eating. It is defined as recurring bouts of eating large quantities of food, often very quickly and to the point of discomfort. Over eating is picking up a bag of chips and mindlessly eating until you hit the bottom of the bag. Over eating and emotional eating is not considered binging as one is still in control of their body and actions.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
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If you have never experienced a binge, I hope you never do. However, if you are wondering whether you are or not, here are some ways to decipher between binging and over eating:
|BINGE EATING||OVER EATING|
|One is restricting in some way (mentally or physically)||There is no restriction prior to overeating or after|
|feeling uncomfortably full or sick||feels full but not sick|
|extreme guilt||moves on|
|Eats random food||overeats because food is tastey|
|eats in secret due to embarressment||eats with friends or family|
|may purposefully buy foods for binges||had a bad day and wants an extra bowl of ice cream|
Emotional eating is less serious in my opinion, you can read my tips for emotional eating here
How Binge eating Develops
researchers suggest nearly 60 percent of binge eaters are women. Therefore, biological factors may play a roll in the development of BED. However, other external causes may include but are not limited to:
- extreme dieting
- childhood trauma
- unrealistic beauty standards
I developed Binge eating after extreme restriction and about 4 years of yo yo dieting. Firstly, teenagers have underdeveloped brains and act on emotion. This is why we do not see as many eating disorder cases in adults, they are simply more equipped to handle their emotions. However, I was 16 at the time and the urge to binge engulfed my thoughts, so I went to the pantry when everyone was gone and ate chocolate until I felt sick. Then, I migrated to the fridge where I stuffed my face with breads, peanut butter, and leftover spaghettis my mom had made the night before. All within 30 minutes.
I got such a high off of all the food I ate that day, I decided time and time again to do it again. Even though I truly didn’t want to. From there, binging became an issue as I experienced the consequences:
- weight gain
- stomach pains
- heart burn
- constant thoughts about food and weight
I want to stop this horrible behavior, I remember thinking to myself as I promised to “start a diet tomorrow”, loss the weight, and my binging will disappear! I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t work that way. My brain had developed strong neural pathways that compelled me to binge whenever I was sad, lonely, very hungry, even excited. With that said, Dieting is not the answer to your binging problems. Actually, its quite the opposite.
10 Tips to Stop Binge eating
1. Stop restricting
Do you remember when you were young and your parents told you not to do something? It made you want todo it more, right? Well, same goes for mentally and physically restricting food.
mental restriction presents itself in your thoughts and internal dialogue, telling yourself a food is “bad” or “off limits” will put unnecessary enfaces on that one food or food group. The more you think about it, the more you want it, and the more you restrain yourself, the more likely you are to binge.
physical restriction is the restriction of the amount of food and/or calories you are eating. Similarly to mental restriction, this causes the brain to think about food often as a way to get you to eat. The body cannot tell the different between a diet or a famine. Therefore, after a long period of restriction you may find it hard to stop eating even though you are “full”
2. Delete you calorie tracking app
If you are just looking to be a healthy individual, there is no need to be obsessives about macros or hitting your calories for the day. This leads to unsatiating meals and mental restriction. So, do you see that toxic person (MFP), WALK THE OTHER WAY!
I get some people may find it useful to calculate macros and have a more structured approach to recovering from binge eating. If it helps you eat more regularly, then go for it! However, for myself and other recovered binge eating, intuitive eating was a more effective approach. Intuitive eating does not include the mental restriction that counting your macros might have.
3.. Eat often and regularly
In addition to physical restriction, fasting or going a long period of time without eating (over 4-5hours) can cause binge eating or nighttime binges to occur. Do not skip breakfast or wait until 12pm to eat just because your eating window is 8 hours! Eat when you are Hungry.
4. Keep a food diary
No, not My fitness pal or one that tracks your calories… I mean a diary where you jot down how you feel, how your body responds, and your satiety levels when you eat meals. This will help you get a good grasp on weather binge eating is caused by your emotions.
one may also use the diary to play detective after binges. Write down how you felt before, during, after, what you ate, what you were doing, if you had a stressful day, etc. From there, you can begin to understand your binges better and cope with them more affectivly
5. Do not keep track of you Binges
similarly to keeping track of calories, we do not want to put unnecessary emphasis on binges. Why? because in the grand scheme of life, its not a big deal if you slip up. You will slip up and the faster you bounce back, the better!
6. Incorporate binge foods into meals
I’m talking about the “off limit” or “too high in fat” foods that you avoid at all costs, then binge on all of them later in the week. To normalize your relationship with those foods (for me it was cookies, chocolate, and cake) one should incorporate them within their meals. For example: if you binge on peanut butter and therefore, do not keep it in your house, I want you to incorporate spoon with your oatmeal or toast in the morning. This will dethrone the foods you have given power to.
7. Forget about Weight Loss, for now
Weight loss implies restriction, We do not want any kind of restriction when recovering from binge eating. Once you start eating regularly and enough, weight loss may not even be a goal of yours anymore!
8. Work on your body image
I am a firm believer in “fake it till you make it” which is the exact tactic I used to improve my body image. In addition to that, I stopped picking my fat or looking at the parts of my body I disliked, I noticed body checking was a habit i was doing and left me feeling ashamed of myself. Next time you look at yourself in the mirror and want to bash your body, think of 3 things you admire about yourself instead, eventually positive talk will become your default.
9. Grieve the skinny you
Women need fat, there is no possible way you can walk around looking like a fitness model and be healthy (for most women anyways) Maybe you are healthy already and just have an unrealistic expectation on how you should look. Many women use photoshop and other editing tools to eliminate their cellulite or belly rolls! let go of the expectation that you can get rid of the last little bit of fat, maybe its hard to lose because your not suppose to lose it:)
10. Get Help
Last but certainly not least, get some perfectional help. If you cannot afford it, tell someone you care and trust. You need someone to talk to during recovery or it will be a lonely journey. For me, I got help from and amazing women named Aleana (I will link her Instagram here) She is a dietitian and help many women stop binge eating while working on body image and emotional eating. I could not have recovered without her.
Thats all Folks! I hope these tips will help you on your path to food freedom and body respect. If you have any questions or need someone to talk to send me an email, id be glad to help.
until next time,