Did you know that around 9 percent of the world’s population is affected by eating disorders? Additionally, every fifty-two minutes a person dies from an eating disorder. These disorders and disordered eating habits can be traced back to several factors.
They can be a consequence of following fad diets, societal pressures, poor physical and mental health, and low self-esteem.
Among the most prevalent of these is binge eating. This refers to frequent, uncontrolled consumption of copious amounts of food in a short amount of time. If this is something that happens often, and to the detriment of your physical and mental health, it might be symptomatic of a binge eating disorder.
Perhaps you have been diagnosed with it yourself, suspect you have it, or know someone who does. Maybe you are susceptible to binge eating and other unhealthy habits.
This article can help you, regardless of what brings you here.
Today, we’re going to outline some simple, actionable tips to help you get better and make real progress no matter where you are in your journey.
Let’s get right to it!
Understand Your Triggers
Before you know how to fix a problem, you must understand its underlying causes. So take a moment to really think about this. What makes you want to binge?
Think about the times you’ve indulged in a binge eating session, and consider the circumstances surrounding it. You can even keep track of your subsequent binges, henceforth, and make note of the emotions you felt leading up to your binge.
What time did you binge? If you are someone that menstruates, at what point during your cycle was it?
Additionally, also keep track of the food you’ve eaten prior to your binge, during the day. The type of food we eat, and the kind of nutrition we give our bodies, can also have an impact on our cravings and impulses.
Read through your notes and identify what kind of circumstances, foods, and emotions are most likely to cause a binge. What do your binge eating episodes have in common? Over time you might notice a pattern of behavior beginning to present itself.
Maybe you tend to binge eat when you are under a lot of stress. Perhaps, the urge to binge is more frequent when you haven’t eaten in a while. Some people also find that binge eating is a coping mechanism for when they feel depressed, overly critical, or irritated.
Say No to Overly Restrictive Diets
Now, overly restrictive diets are one of the primary causes of binge eating and disordered eating habits. Abstaining completely from broad food groups, or committing to stop eating specific foods you previously enjoyed can be difficult and actually harm your progress.
Consider this situation. You’ve found new motivation, you’re feeling energized and capable and you’ve decided to swear off sodas completely. Now, while sodas aren’t doing your health any favors, if you’re someone who’s accustomed to drinking coke and mountain dew every day, it is going to be incredibly challenging for you to just give that up.
You might successfully stay off the coke for a few days, but over time the craving might become so intense that you overindulge when you finally can’t take it anymore.
The same principle applies when you decide to skip meals and give up certain food groups altogether. You decide that you can make do without breakfast, and you are convinced that you can get through the day with a couple of fruits and a salad at lunch. Now, come dinner time your body craves the energy it did not get before and overcompensates for what it did not get.
The key to losing weight or making any major change is to employ a gradual process. Eat small, nutritious, and frequent meals. Make small, meaningful, and consistent changes.
Give up the sugar, by all means; but don’t jump in the deep end before you get accustomed to the kiddy pool.
Mindfulness is all about being aware. In the context of eating, it would refer to being aware of what you’re feeling (are you really hungry?) and what you’re eating. Pay attention to the feeling you have before you eat your meal.
Consider what would make that feeling go away. Often, we eat because we simply do not have anything better to do. We might also eat in order to cope with bad news or unpleasant feelings.
Know that eating is not the answer to anything other than genuine hunger.
Here are three things you need to remember about mindfulness:
- You need to have honest and genuine intent to be more present and aware of your actions
- You must pay attention to what is occurring within a given moment
- Maintain an attitude of genuine curiosity and willingness to grow
Mindfulness isn’t something that you learn overnight, so be patient with yourself, and practice frequently until it becomes second nature to you.
We often mistake thirst for hunger. That’s one of the many reasons it makes sense to keep your body hydrated throughout the day.
Not only does this help curb food cravings, but it also helps you stay full.
As you learn to become more mindful about your eating habits, you will also be able to tell when you’re hungry from when you just need a bit of water. If you’re still uncertain, you can always precede your unplanned meals with a quick sip of water to see if that helps.
Add Some Movement to Your Day
Stress, boredom, anxiety, and lack of sleep can all contribute to a binge eating episode. However, a daily dose of intentional movement or exercise can help address these issues, and in turn, prevent binging.
You don’t need a gym membership to get in regular exercise. All you have to do is dedicate a bit of time during the day to doing something that requires physical movement. This can be anything!
Do you like tennis, maybe dancing, or even walking your dog? Yoga, in particular, has been known to help prevent binge eating. If you have access to classes near you, they’re worth considering. Alternatively, you could also invest in a yoga mat and look up some simple yoga sessions on YouTube.
You could also, of course, get that gym membership, if that’s something you think will help.
However, choosing something you enjoy is more conducive to consistency. Commit to doing your chosen activity five days a week for at least thirty to forty-five minutes.
If you find it difficult to commit to thirty minutes every day, start by exercising for ten minutes a day, and then progress to longer periods.
Eat Fiber and Protein-Rich Foods
Your meals must be efficient. This means that they should be able to give you the nutrients you need to sustain yourself while keeping your body full for the right amount of time.
Now, fiber and protein-rich meals are a great way to make sure you stay full for longer and keep those pesky cravings at bay.
Beans, lentils, broccoli, berries, avocados, popcorn, whole grains, and apples are some great options for fiber-rich foods. Similarly, tofu, beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts, nut butter, and lean meats are high in protein. To optimize your meals you can eat foods that are high in both, fiber and protein, like beans and lentils.
Experiment with various recipes until you find something truly satisfying. Eat these meals slowly and mindfully to ensure that you stay full, content, and well-nourished for longer periods of time!
Talk to a Professional
If your reasons for binging run deeper than boredom, thirst, or simply feel like something that is beyond your reach, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
This could be in the form of talking to a therapist, consulting a dietician, or working with a wellness specialist. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable, as well as make sure you’re addressing the root causes of your problems, rather than seeking out a quick fix.
Make sure you find someone you are comfortable with, and who takes the time to understand your unique needs. If you do not feel safe communicating with your therapist or wellness specialist, don’t be afraid to try other options until you find what works for you!
Tweak Your Environment to Avoid Binge Eating
In the initial phases of tweaking your habits, it is better to avoid temptation altogether. This means staying clear of food that might trigger a binge.
Do you tend to binge on chips or Doritos? Maybe, keep them out of your sight or stop purchasing them at all. Keeping these foods around you will only serve as a temptation to binge.
Limit your snack options to fresh fruits and healthy snacks that are low in calories and high in nutritional value. Strawberries and watermelon are great options.
Additionally, consider shopping when you’re fully satisfied, rather than when you’re hungry. Choose healthy snacking options and foods that are enough to satisfy you, but aren’t foods you are likely to crave.
Get Your Sleep in Order
Your sleep schedule has the ability to influence your eating habits. For example, sleep deprivation can cause binge eating. Further, having an established and healthy sleep routine can positively influence your eating habits throughout the day.
Make sure to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every day at around the same time. Once you pair this with eating your meals at the same time, it will help you create an overall healthy lifestyle that reduces your susceptibility to binge eating.
Plan Your Meals
Binge eating stems from a lack of control. So why not focus on what you can control?
Planning your meals in advance will allow you to shop for groceries in advance, and also limit your options for binge eating when the urge strikes. This will make it easier to resist those cravings.
Create a meal plan for every week so that you know exactly what to expect for your meals. Thinking of your food as fuel to get through the day, might help you plan healthier meals.
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself for staying consistent and making progress, no matter how little it seems to you!
Of course, make sure your reward has little or nothing to do with food, but rather, focus on other things you consider enjoyable. For example, you could splurge a little on a massage, or take yourself out to an amusement park. Find ways to treat yourself outside of food, and bask in the enjoyment.
This will help to keep your momentum going and also remind you that there is more to living than snacking!
Get the Help You Need Today
Do remember that while these tips can help, they are no substitute for professional help, for someone who is diagnosed with a binge eating disorder. If you or someone you know is living with an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, orthorexia, or binge eating disorder, it is important that you find the support you need to get better.
Additionally, if weight loss is something you’ve struggled with for a while, you might also benefit from talking to a professional.
Our providers are here to help you! Know that a healthier, well-balanced life and diet are well within your reach, even if it doesn’t seem like it is right now.
Find a provider https://uncraverx.com/find-provider today, and get personalized assistance with your diet and health today!