If you feel like you are stuck in the cycle of binge eating, noticing there are days or times when you just can’t seem to control your eating, you are not alone.
Binging is more common than many people like to admit - there is indeed an element of shame that sufferers battle, and this often makes it hard to bring your binging to the forefront.
But take solace in knowing that regardless of where you are on your health journey, there is a way to overcome binging.
Here are four techniques for you to try:
- Consume adequate calories – One of the biggest underlying reasons why many people find themselves in a cycle of binging is due to calorie restriction. If you are dramatically restricting your calories and your body is not getting enough fuel, when given the opportunity, it will take in whatever fuel it can. In other words, once you start eating, your body will not know when it may get fuel again, and so it will send you down the binge path to compensate. The solution? Don’t restrict your calories. Eat the food that fills you up, stop when you are full and eat when you are hungry. Obeying your body’s natural cues will allow you to feel satiated, your body won’t feel deprived and you will see the binging cycle will gradually disappear.
- Identify your triggers – For many people, there are certain foods or certain groups of foods which inevitably send them into a binge. Sometimes this is a food that has been dramatically restricted in the past, or one that is affiliated with specific emotions or events. While you can help reduce your binging by avoiding your trigger foods, a more reliable and sustainable solution is to get to the root of why this food is the trigger and what has caused you to form this relationship.
- Ride the Wave – There is a phrase used in helping to address binging behaviors, known as “ride the wave.” Essentially it means, ride out the binge until it passes. You can do this by distracting yourself with other stimulating activities, taking yourself out of the place which is eliciting the binge (i.e. leave the kitchen), or go be with other people so that you are not alone – most binging happens when you are alone.
- Identify your Circumstances – Just like there are certain foods that may be your trigger foods, there are also certain other factors which can set you up for a binge. For example, perhaps it only happens when you have had a really stressful day of work coupled with a lack of sleep and you get home tired, stressed and frustrated. Or maybe it happens on the same day each week because you have to get up super early and you have an extra packed day at the office. Alternatively, maybe it only happens when you talk to or interact with certain people, such as an ex boyfriend or a relative. See which (if any) of these are applicable to you and work to eliminate the triggering circumstances.
While reducing your binge behaviours will be a process and a journey, using these techniques will be a great way to get you started and help push you over this hurdle through your weight loss journey.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition