Each one of us has experienced – at least once in our life – craving something that one thing satisfy our taste buds. And there’s even a time when we feel like eating too much for many different reasons.
However, such practice becomes alarming if it has been habitual. Meaning, you regularly overeat while feeling out of control and powerless to stop. And when this happens, you could be suffering from binge eating disorder. It’s like you have the tendency to eat to the point of discomfort. Then, you would be plagued by feelings of guilt, shame, or depression afterward, beat yourself up for your lack of self-control, or worry about what compulsive eating will do to your body.
BED: What You Should Know
Binge eating disorder (BED) is a common eating disorder where you frequently eat large amounts of food while feeling powerless to stop and extremely distressed during or after eating. During a binge, you may eat even when you’re not hungry and continue eating long after you’re full. You may also binge so fast you barely register what you’re eating or tasting.
You could even find that binge eating is comforting for a brief moment, helping to ease unpleasant emotions or feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. The worse you feel about yourself and your appearance, the more you use food to cope with. It becomes a vicious cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse, and then turning back to food for relief.
As much as you may feel powerless to break this cycle, there are plenty of things you can do to better manage your emotions and regain control over your eating and your health.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have binge eating disorder, you may feel embarrassed and ashamed about your eating habits, and try to hide your symptoms by eating in secret.
Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating:
- Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
- Rapidly eating large amounts of food
- Eating even when you’re full
- Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
- Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
- Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes
- Emotional symptoms
- Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
- Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
- Feeling numb while bingeing!
- Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
- Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
- Desperation to control weight and eating habits
As powerless as you may feel about your eating disorder, it’s important to know that binge eating disorder is treatable. You can learn to break the binge eating cycle, develop a healthier relationship with food, and feel good about yourself again.
To get started, here are some of the things that you could do to kick the habit:
- Understand the behavioral and emotional symptoms of binge eating disorder
- Recognize the factors that contribute to binge eating
- Discover the ways to break the cycle of binge eating
- Identify your binge eating triggers
- Start lifestyle changes that support a new healthier relationship with food
- Learn how to help someone with binge eating disorder
Hence, on a regular basis, the following tips may help you with your rehab goals towards this unhealthy eating habit:
Develop a healthier relationship with food. Eat regularly and don’t wait for you to begin starving. Stick to scheduled meal times, as skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day.
Avoid temptations. Clear your fridge and cupboards of your favorite binge foods like junk foods, desserts, candies, and chocolates.
Focus on what you’re eating. Instead of eating mindlessly, be a mindful eater. Slow down and savor the textures and flavors. Not only will you eat less, you’ll enjoy it more.
Make healthy fats your friends. Contrary to what you might think, dietary fat can actually help keep you from overeating and gaining weight. Try to incorporate healthy fat at each meal to keep you feeling satisfied and full.
Take back control of cravings. Sometimes it feels like the urge to binge hits without warning. But even when you’re in the grip of a seemingly overpowering and uncontrollable urge, there are things you can do to help yourself stay in control.
Distract yourself. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, distract yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, read, or take up a hobby such as painting or gardening. Once you get interested in something else, the urge to binge may go away.
Support yourself with healthy lifestyle habits. When you’re physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. But when you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed, any little hiccup has the potential to send you off the rails and straight toward the refrigerator. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without binge eating.