I wanted to write a post regarding binge eating because I know it can be such a huge struggle for so many people. If you are familiar with my story, you know that I struggled with binge eating for years. At the peak of my Binge Eating Disorder, I was binging every single day. It was such a dark time of my life and I felt so helpless, out of control, and as if there was something seriously wrong with me!
There can be many different things that contribute to binge eating, but for a lot of people (myself included) it ultimately stems from restricting food in some way. Whether you are doing some extreme diet, simply telling yourself to try and eat less sugar, trying to follow a slight calorie deficit, or even just telling yourself that you need to lose some weight. If you ultimately aren’t allowing yourself to eat what you want when you want to, that is restriction and the body sees this as a famine and sets your desire for food into overdrive in an attempt to survive.
Now, binge eating can also be spurred on by emotions via emotional eating as well, when you are dealing with difficult emotions and are ultimately turning to food for comfort, numbing, and as a means of coping. I just want to point out here that there is nothing inherently wrong with emotional eating – to have a piece of cake at a birthday party is a great way to celebrate, or to have a bowl of ice cream at the end of a tough day, once in a while, is a great way to help you relax. However, if you are emotionally eating large quantities of food to the point of feeling sick (as in bingeing) and you are doing this on a regular basis, then it’s likely that your self-care if lacking somewhat.
First, it’s important to get clear on the above factors and what may be driving your binge eating episodes – is it restriction, a need for more self-care, or maybe a bit of both?
Next, here’s my four biggest tips to do going forward:
- Eat earlier in the day – do you make sure to eat breakfast within an hour or two of waking? One of the most common things for people who struggle with binge eating is that they don’t eat breakfast. Maybe they don’t feel hungry, or they drink a big coffee filled with cream so they don’t think they need a meal, but when struggling with binge eating looking at what you are eating earlier in the day is a must! So, make sure to eat within an hour or two of waking and include protein, fat, and carbohydrates in your breakfast to help ensure it doesn’t create too much of a blood sugar spike and starts your day with all you need to get going!
- Eat every 2-5 hours throughout the day and make sure you’re eating enough! Again, include a variety of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in each meal and snack – all of the macronutrients work together to help you absorb the micronutrients, keep your energy levels nice and level, and to keep you satisfied! Once again, one of the largest causes of binge eating is simply not eating enough throughout the day!
- Avoid restriction, including mental restriction – mental restriction is when you allow yourself to physically eat the food, but you beat yourself up about it and feel guilty during and/or afterward. Ultimately, satisfaction is very vital and if you aren’t fully allowing yourself to enjoy the food you are eating, it won’t be as satisfying, and you’ll want more of it than if you just fully allowed yourself to enjoy it in the first place!
- Prioritize self-care – if you do all the things above and you still struggle with binge eating ask yourself what do you do for self-care on a regular basis? This doesn’t need to be anything elaborate like getting a massage or having a bubble bath. Even simply allowing yourself to unwind each night while watching your favourite show, reading a book, or listening to some good music. Of course, meditation, journaling, yoga, or light stretching are all very helpful as well. When you feel the urge to binge come on, instead of going to the pantry on autopilot – pause and ask yourself what do you actually need at this moment? Even just stopping and asking yourself that you’ll be surprised what might come up. Maybe you need some connection and calling a friend is what you actually need, or maybe you just need the opportunity to relax for a bit! Don’t try and force yourself to not binge, some nights maybe that’s what you truly need, but if you prioritize some daily self-care routines you will notice that this emotional urge to binge on a regular basis will subside.
I hope this helps you to overcome binge eating!
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