Binge eating is a behavior marked by eating large quantities of food, often poor quality food. Binge eating commonly takes place in secret because binge eaters are usually embarrassed and afraid of being judged.
Binge eaters report a feeling of being out of control while they are in the midst of a binge. The eating continues way past the point of fullness. It’s as if a binge eater experiences an altered state of consciousness which ends when the binge ends. Then the reality of what just happened sinks in.
For people whose binges occur frequently or are very severe, sometimes relief can be found by joining Overeaters Anonymous, a 12-Step self-help group. For those whose binge eating is less severe, or for people who want to try to improve on their own, here are some tips.
Get rid of food temptations. This is fairly easy to do if you live alone or with a supportive partner. But even if you have family members around who want to eat foods that are overly tempting for you, you can ask them to hide them from plain site. They might also agree to not bring certain specific foods into the house for a period of a month or two while you are trying to avoid binge eating.
Choose whole foods as often as possible. Your body was built to get the most from foods that you eat as close as possible to their natural state. So an apple is better than a bowl of Apple Jacks cereal. And a baked potato is better than a can of Pringles. The more you nourish your body with whole, healthy foods, the less cravings you’ll experience.
Identify what causes a binge. Binge eating is often brought on by stress. Figuring out what specific stressful events trigger a binge can be very helpful in avoiding future ones. If you tend to binge when overtired, for example, it’s important to readjust your sleeping patterns to avoid being overtired. Or if previous binges occurred when there was a lot of pressure from work deadlines, finding another way to manage that could be helpful.
Wait for hunger signals to eat. Your body knows when it needs to eat for nutrition and it will tell you if you listen. If you only eat when you’re physically hungry, you’ll enjoy your food more, no matter what you’re eating. And you’ll train yourself to stop eating when you’re content but not stuffed.
Maintain your body every day. Don’t neglect regular routines, like sleeping, showering, taking medications if called for, exercise, etc. The things we do to support our daily health are important ways to reduce the out of control feelings connected to a binge.
Slow down. Since binges are often characterized by eating rapidly, the slower you eat, the less likely you are to binge. So take some deep breaths in between bites. This also helps aid digestion.
Patients with a Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon have less room in their stomachs so they feel fuller, faster. This also naturally decreases the incidence of binge eating.