Do you always turn to food when stressed, anxious bored, or when dealing with any emotional crisis?
Unlike eating to quench hunger, emotional or binge eating is reaching out for food whenever you have a nervous breakdown with the idea that it will help curb your situation.
This makes you eat more than you should, followed by a powerless and guilty feeling of no control over food or your emotions. If not controlled, it develops into a habit and a deadly cycle that might call for professional help.
Binge eating disorder is among the most common eating disorders in the United States, with approximately 2.8 million Americans being affected, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).
But truth be told, food is never going to help solve your situation; however, there something you can do to turn the situation around, such as:
- Monitor your triggers and develop a solution around it.
An emotional eating disorder is often linked to unpleasant feelings; however, positive emotions such as celebrating an event or a birthday can often lead one to overeat.
Dieters stand to suffer the most, especially on cheat days, but having a clear distinction of your health goals, especially on weight, will help you develop self-control even though the urge is strong.
- Interrupt your pattern by learning a new pattern
The only way to change a habit is to develop a new one, and science is showing if you do the same thing repeatedly for 21 days, it’s going to develop into a habit.
First, identify your binge foods then develop an interrupting pattern whereby you associate that particular food with something awful or something that disgusts you.
Every time you’re in a store, and you want that piece of cake, imagine like you saw someone spit on it and let the image play over and over until you have no more interest.
- Avoid skipping meals
Unless it’s intermittent fasting and you’ve learned the healthy way to go about it, DO NOT SKIP MEALS.
Skipping meals often leads to reduced energy and cravings for a quick boost, which pushes you into unhealthy food choices such as candies, cakes, pizzas, and other refined carbohydrate products. In most cases, you’ll end up eating more than you should.
- Distinguish between thirst and hunger.
That first urge to eat may not actually be calling for food. Try covering it up with a glass of water and see what happens.
In most cases, you may not feel the urge in the next couple of minutes or even hours.
Likewise, studies are now showing that drinking 500 ml of water before eating may reduce your calorie intake by 13 %.
NB: make sure you’re not drinking with food as this will water down your digestive juices. Always drink water 30 mins before eating and resume after an hour and a half.
- Avoid dieting
Following a restrictive diet can deprive your body of crucial nutrients causing you to starve, which often leads to cravings or desire to binge.
You should be more focused on balancing your plate and eating healthy rather than counting calories.
Instead of fad diets, focus on nutrient-dense, whole, minimally processed plant-based foods with healthy fats from nuts and seeds, and your cravings will be well taken care of.
Emotional and binge eating can develop into a self-destructive eating disorder if not confronted. Ensure you monitor your triggers, eat a well-balanced diet, avoid dieting, and in worst scenarios, be ready to get help from a professional.
Joan C. is a Registered Medical Clinician, a content creator, and a health and wellness enthusiast. She’s all about educating clients on the power of plant-based nutrition, mindfulness, and lifestyle habits as a strategy to impact health and longevity.