Sunday, July 1, 2012

Binge Eating

It seems that binge eating is all to common.  Food is no longer a staple to provide our bodies with the fuel it needs to function.  It is a comfort, a coping strategy, a reward and something we come together for.  It is therefore no surprise then that dieting is such a difficult thing! Changing what we eat often means that we have to try and let go of something that provides for us in so many ways.... It's supposed to be easy, but as many of us know, it's not... It means changing our lives; changing the way we function.  And when we give in and run back to our old coping mechanisms, we are failures and everyone can see it by the way we look!

Because of how common I am finding that binge eating is and how it can affect people in so many ways (physically and psychologically), I thought I would post this little bit of research I have done on some strategies to try and help people finding themselves trapped in this cycle.

Binge eating is frequently eating excessive amounts of food, often when not hungry.  People often feel out of control and powerless to stop.  Binges represent a distraction that allows a person to avoid the root of the problem.  It is a coping strategy and similar to an addiction.  It feels comforting for a brief moment, but then feelings of guilt, disgust, depression and self loathing often follow.

Binge eating is often a viscous cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse and then turning to food for relief.

It is important to try and develop a healthier relationship with food, meaning that alternative coping mechanisms need to be sought to cope with the issues that food has previously been used to deal with.

It is important to start eating for health and nutrition.  Healthy eating involves eating balanced meals, choosing healthy foods when eating out and making sure you get the right vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Some strategies that may help:

1.         Manage Stress
One of the most important aspects of management is to find alternate ways to manage stress and overwhelming feelings.  Some options include exercising, meditation, sensory relaxation, breathing exercises, taking up a new hobby and calling a friend.

2.         Eat three meals a day plus healthy snacks
Stick to scheduled mealtimes, as skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day.

3.         DO NOT DIET
The deprivation and hunger of strict dieting can trigger food cravings and the urge to overeat.  Instead of dieting, focus on eating in moderation.  Find nutritious foods that you enjoy and eat until you feel content, not stuffed!  Avoid banning certain foods as this can make you crave them even more.  Include them, in small, controlled amounts, into your eating plan.

4.         Exercise
Exercise not only helps with weight loss in a healthy way, but it also assists depression, improves overall health and reduces stress.  The natural mood boosting effects of exercise can help put a stop to emotional eating!

5.         Fight Boredom
Instead of snacking when you’re bored, distract yourself.  Get out of the house.  Go for a walk, go to the library, call a friend, read a book or take up a hobby such as learning an instrument, gardening or painting.  Put a picture of someone who resembles your goal on the fridge and cupboard so you are reminded of what you are working toward every time you reach for a snack out of boredom.

6.         Get enough sleep
Being tired can cause you to eat more in an attempt to boost your energy. Take a nap or go to bed earlier.

7.         Listen to your body
Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger.  If you ate recently and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry.  Give the craving time to pass.

8.         Keep a food diary
Keep a diary of when you binge eat.  How were you feeling? Were you hungry, tired, stressed, lonely, angry??  Had anything happened beforehand?  What time of the day was it? Be honest and open.  Do not be ashamed.  If you share this information, you can share the emotions that go with it and we can deal with it together and devise strategies to reduce how often it happens in the future.

When shopping, take and list and only buy items that you need.  Do not keep tempting foods in your cupboard.

10.      Understand that WEIGHT LOSS IS HARD!
Losing weight and keeping it off is one of the hardest goals to achieve!!  Sustainable results take time!  Be proud of yourself every step of the way.  It will be worth it in the long run.

Trying to lose weight too quickly by eating too little or exercising for extremely long periods is UNSUSTAINABLE! This is what leads to crashing and binge eating.

Do not punish yourself for things you cannot change.  Nobody is perfect!  Forgive yourself and move on.  Be proud of every positive step you take, big or small.  DO NOT punish yourself or give up and binge more.... You have nothing to be ashamed of.. you are human!

12.      Get Help!
You are not alone!  Call a friend!  Binge eating is usually just a symptom of something that is happening deeper down.  If this is happening often, or if you feel out of control, talk about it. A psychologist could help you to deal with the underlying issues, can perform behavioural therapy with you or may even be able to use strategies like hypnosis.  Cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy ad dialectical behavioural therapy have all had excellent results with binge eating.

Remember, we are all growing and changing every day.  Every step we make toward health and happiness is one that is worthwhile!! 

My mottos:

Life is a journey, not a destination...Enjoy the ride!!!

This also applies to weight loss.  Learn as you go.  Enjoy the changes that are happening in your body.  It is amazing how it can adapt and grow and change to deal with the challenges you throw it.

Most of all, love the skin you're in!!!!

Taken from: at  With a little bit of knowledge from personal experience thrown in...

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