A common mistake a lot of people make is thinking they have binged, when in fact they have over eaten. The vast majority of us, overeat at one point of another. Whether that’s at Christmas, social events, date nights, etc. A lot of us over eat mindlessly, we do not think about what we are consuming in a ‘guilty’ frame of mind, whereas those who suffer from binge eating will feel guilty during every mouthful but still unable to stop eating.
It is important to make the distinction between the two. Especially if you’re wanting to overcome this.
Binge eating, can seriously impact your life, it can affect your moods, lower your self-esteem considerably, you can gain weight which may lower your confidence. It can even cause further mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Things that can lead to binge eating is our thought processes toward food as a whole. Usually if we are on a restrictive diet and view foods as good and bad, this can heavily trigger binge eating, it can start from overeating and progress into a binge eating disorder.
Especially with social media and magazines/newspapers which tell us what we ‘should’ be eating to achieve that “dream body” like that celebrity they are glorifying. The choice of words used in the media can really impact our thought processes and perceptions towards how we view ourselves which can be help shape our relationships towards food.
Suffering from binge eating, does not make you less of a person, it does not make you less successful than others who do not suffer BED. Despite how it may make you feel at the time. You can overcome a BED or any eating disorder for that matter.
Signs of having a BED (Binge Eating Disorder),
Feeling ashamed, disgusted and remorseful during your binging episodes.
Feeling out of control.
Continuing to eat, even when uncomfortably full.
Having black outs / forgetting what you’ve actually eaten.
Eating large amounts of food even when you’re not feeling hungry.
Only stopping eating when you’re genuinely in pain from the volume of food consumed.
Planning to binge.
Frequent episodes of binging, daily, weekly.
Having trigger foods, or locations.
Signs of overeating/ over indulging/
Having a larger portion than you planned to.
Having more food than you’d usually have, especially around social occasions.
Eating left overs.
Continuing to eat, even after you’re full.
Eating after you’re full but not until you are in physical pain.
Rare occurrences, usually during social events.
Minimal thought process after you’ve over-eating rather than feeling distressed and remorseful.
Ways in which you can overcome BED,
Recognising your trigger foods, if you find certain foods lead you to binging, you will have to eliminate them to some degree. This doesn’t mean they are “bad foods”. If you find yourself buying something it in moderation, but once you’ve eaten it you finish it all in one sitting plus more food, then do not have it in your household. I wouldn’t even recommend buying it in a smaller version of itself until you feel confident enough to be controlled around this food. For example, if peanut butter is your trigger food, you have a tablespoon but then cannot control yourself from finishing the whole jar, do not buy peanut butter. Perhaps buy nuts rather than nut butter.
Unlike over-eating, there is a sense of control with over-eating, the feeling of satisfaction can stop us continually eating, whereas binge eaters will continue to eat despite feeling sick, very uncomfortably full, and may not have a concept of being satisfied.
Another common trigger can be a certain location, the cinema, food shops etc. Always ensure you’re in company when you go to any trigger locations. You’re less likely to binge when you’re in company. When you’re on the go, keep a healthy snack with you to prevent being tempted by the chocolate/sweets/foods available at convenience which can lead to binge eating.
Certain emotions is another common trigger, the feeling of stress, sadness, etc. If you start to recognise what moods or emotions cause you to want to emotionally eat/binge, prevent yourself from being alone, going to your trigger locations, remember, the mood/emotion won't change if you allow yourself to binge eat, the food you consume will not take away your stress or sadness, it will only bring you more stress and sadness.
Binging doesn’t bring you any positive emotions only negative. Remembering how you feel, promise yourself at the start of every day, “I will have a positive day today”. Rather than “I will not binge”. Even the “I will not binge” is negative. You do not want to read the word ‘binge’.
Changing your routine, if you find you’re binging at certain times, usually it’s in the evening when we have some free time after a day at work. So change your training times perhaps, go for a walk, read a book, watch your favourite series, call a friend. Acknowledge your ‘trigger times’ and keep yourself busy during those times.
Having a new goal. Try changing your focus, I usually find, those who are on a weight loss/fat loss goal tend to suffer BED more than those who are focusing on different goals. So try focusing on a new training approach, try focusing your new goal on strength, getting stronger physically and mentally. Try beating your pace per mile. Even non fitness goals will help you feel more focused and productive on a totally different topic
Speaking to someone, sometimes it will be VERY hard to tell someone that you’re suffering from binge eating, so try to explain to someone you trust that you sometimes struggle when it comes to food, let them know you’re trigger foods and points to help eliminate them.
Keep yourself busy whilst you’re alone. The majority of those who suffer from BED’s, binge when they are alone. So avoiding being alone as much as possible will hopefully help you to overcome this. Again, always staying busy if you are alone.
Not eating too little calories, avoid feeling hungry. If you’re someone who goes on a binge / restrict diet. Having binging episodes then starving yourself of low calories will only put you in a continued cycle of feeling too hungry from your low calorie unsustainable diet and the binge/restrict cycle will continue.
If you do have a binging episode, do not starve yourself the following day, do not think about it over and over remorsefully. Just resume back to a normal healthy eating plan, drink plenty of water, do your normal amount of cardio/exercise rather than over-doing it to burn the food off. Pull yourself out of the good/bad feeling, write somewhere that you will have a positive day, be productive, do the things that make you feel happy the following day. Seeing friends, exercise to release endorphins and so on.
Not viewing food as good or bad foods. Eating for health and performance rather than weight loss.
Holding yourself accountable to someone else, whether it’s a coach, a friend, a partner, your parents, it will help, you’ll be able to speak to someone if you feel a binge coming on, they’ll soon be able to recognise if they see a binge coming on and they can help to prevent it and support you.
Please do not suffer alone.
Disclaimer, I am not a counsellor nor do I have counselling qualifications. The above has been based on my own experiences from working with hundreds of females on a weekly basis, reading and educating myself. Please do not take anything I have written out of context. Thanks for reading.