Binge eating is more than just “pigging out” every now and then. It is a serious psychiatric disorder that leaves those who suffer from it feeling ashamed, disgusted and out of control. If you struggle with binging, you’re not alone. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in America. Here’s how you can learn to control binge eating and regain control over your life and emotions.
Step 1: Understand what binge eating is.
The first step to learning to control binge eating is to understand what it is and what causes it. Simply overeating from time to time does not mean a person has binge eating disorder. Most people with binge eating disorder exhibit the following signs:
* Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider abnormally large amounts of food.
* Feeling unable to control yourself or stop eating, even if you’re uncomfortably full.
* Eating faster than normal.
* Eating alone due to shame, embarrassment and fear.
* Symptoms such as depression, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia.
* Secretive eating patterns, including hiding food in strange places so that it’s convenient to eat at a later time.
* Feeling extreme guilt and torment after binging.
No one knows for sure what causes binge eating disorder, but it is usually a combination of genes, emotional problems (such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, etc.) and/or traumatic experiences. These can lead to a compulsive need to “push down” one’s feelings with food instead of coping with emotions and stress in a positive way.
Step 2: Find positive ways to manage stress and negative emotions. Try exercising, talking with a friend, yoga, or any activity that calms you down and lessens the compulsive urge to eat.
Step 3: Learn how to process your emotions. Eating disorders, such as compulsive overeating, are symptoms of a deeper issue. Instead of pushing down your painful emotions by eating food, learn how to face your emotions and positively work through them.
Step 4: Identify the emotional and external triggers that lead you to overeat. Do you overeat when you feel lonely? Does visiting a certain family member trigger an episode? Spend a week paying special attention to what you’re feeling right before an overeating episode and write it down. You may uncover some surprising triggers and be able to avoid them in the future.
Step 5: Don’t diet. Eating foods you’ve restricted will only make you feel guilty and fuel your desire to overeat. Learn how to shop for and make healthy meals that are satisfying yet low in calories and fat.
Step 6: Get help through counseling and therapy. It’s very hard to overcome the underlying issues that have lead to your disorder without outside help. Professional treatment can help you resolve the emotional issues that lead you to overeat, learn coping skills to manage these emotions, and rebuild your confidence and self-esteem. You’ll also receive nutritional counseling to teach you how to keep a balanced diet.
The most common and effective types of treatment for binge eating disorder are:
* Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Teaches you techniques to monitor and change your eating habits as well as to change the way you respond to difficult situations.
* Interpersonal psychotherapy: Helps you examine your relationships with friends and family and to make changes in problem areas.
* Self-help groups: Provides support from people, just like you, who are struggling to overcome their binge eating disorder and the issues behind it.
* Medications: Sometimes medications such as antidepressants can be helpful for some individuals.
If you struggle with binge eating disorder, you’re not alone. At Casa Palmera, we know that you’re not a bad person and that your binging is not a simple matter of will power or self-control. Let us help you identify the root causes of your disorder and help you resolve them while at the same time teach you how to control your binge eating and develop a healthy relationship with food.
Call Casa Palmera today at.