How to Stop Binge Eating — Take These Steps
From an early age James has struggled with his weight. James’ classmates often made jokes at his expense. He became so self-conscious that talking to girls or making friends seemed impossible. James has tried many different diets; each one ends when he feels stressed out and turns to food for comfort. Often, when James begins to eat to push aside his stress, he can’t stop. He feels ashamed and out of control. Afterward, he feels sick.
If you’re a binge eater, overeating is different—and so much more painful—than simply not realizing you’re full. Overeating is a regular, uncontrollable part of your life. You binge eat when you feel bad. You might not even register the taste or texture of the food you’re consuming; numbness takes over.
If you’re like James, and your relationship with food is a source of shame rather than nourishment, there’s good news: you’re not alone and things don’t have to be this way forever.
Living with binge-eating can be painful and hard, and learning to live without it isn’t easy, but you can start by taking it a step at a time.
Here are some steps to help you begin to stop binge eating and take back control of your life
Brainstorm ways to manage your stress – Binge eating almost always occurs when you’re feeling bad. Recognizing patterns in what makes you feel stressed and trying out different ways of coping with that stress can reduce the urge to turn to food.
Try to stick to a regular eating schedule – Binge eating is partially rooted in biological causes—eating three meals a day can help regulate the signals your brain sends out to let you know if you’re hungry or full. Skipping meals during the day makes you more susceptible to binge eating later on. Additionally, eating a good breakfast helps get your metabolism going.
Avoid dieting – If you’re feeling bad about how you see yourself or how you’re perceived by others, it can be all too tempting to try another diet. The truth is that depriving yourself of food for a little while usually perpetuates the cycle of overeating and regret. Instead of going hungry, focusing on eating more manageable and nutritious meals can help you get to a happier place.
Exercise – If you’re stuck in a loop of overeating and wishing you hadn’t, chances are you’re also feeling pretty low. When you’re depressed, exercise can seem like the last thing you want or even can do; however, walking just fifteen or twenty minutes a day can have positive physical and psychological benefits. If you’re feeling up to it, a little bit of physical activity can be a good way to reduce stress.
Combat boredom – Binge eating episodes often happen when you’re feeling bored or agitated. You start snacking and can’t stop. If you’re able to spend your free time doing something you enjoy and that you’re actively engaged in, turning to food can be less of a temptation.
Ask for help – Talking about your struggle with food and eating is understandably difficult. Sharing what you’re going through with someone you trust can lift an enormous weight off your shoulders. If you’re able to find a support group, discussing what’s going on in your life with people who understand firsthand can feel really good. Help and understanding really is out there; asking for it can be the hardest part.
Let yourself off the hook – Binge eating comes into your life as a result of biological, social, and psychological factors—it’s not your fault you feel the way you do. Feelings of shame and guilt can keep you down, preventing you from making changes in your life. Forgiving yourself for binge eating and for the slip-ups you make on the road to recovery will make getting better a lot easier.
Get Help Today to Stop Binge Eating
If you’re tired of struggling with binge eating and would like additional support, our therapists in Houston, Tx can help. We specialize in helping women and men overcome binge eating and find a new freedom in their relationship with food. Our services include:
- Individual Therapy – binge eating is often a symptom of an imbalance, unmet need or habit that developed as a coping strategy. Therapy can help you identify your unique relationship with food and ways to heal and overcome binge eating.
- Make Peace with Food Program – this is a 12-week structured program to help you learn strategies to manage root issues triggering binge eating behaviors. The emphasis in this program is healing from within and creating a new relationship with food, your body, and your self.
Read more about binge eating disorder.
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