When people think of eating disorders, they usually picture waif-thin women who rarely eat. But one of the most common forms of eating disorders is compulsive overeating. People who suffer from compulsive overeating have an obsessive/compulsive relationship with food that causes them to consume large amounts of food while feeling out of control and unable to stop. It is a serious condition that affects men and women alike, and can lead to serious medical complications if left untreated. By understanding the root causes and treatment for compulsive overeating, you can learn how to stop overeating and gain control over your life.
Am I a compulsive overeater?
Overeating is a compulsive need to eat food, even when you’re not hungry or have eaten beyond the point of feeling comfortable. It is very similar to any addiction in that a person will obsessively think about food and feel unable to control the impulse to eat. Compulsive overeaters use food to cope with stress, depression, low self-esteem and other hidden issues. In fact, many people report feeling numb, distracted or in a trance-like state during an overeating episode. This feeling of escape is quickly replaced be intense feelings of shame, self-loathing and guilt about how much they’ve eaten.
If you think you may be an overeater, ask yourself the following questions:
* Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
* Do you eat in secret or hide food?
* Do you eat past the point of feeling full, or even to the point of feeling sick?
* Do you feel extreme guilt or shame over how much you eat?
* Do you spend a lot of time thinking about what you ate or what you plan to eat next?
* Do you eat to relieve stress or deal with unpleasant emotions?
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, you may be a compulsive overeater.
How do I stop overeating?
Overeating is a coping mechanism for dealing with painful or unwanted thoughts, feelings and emotions. If you want to stop overeating, you must learn how to separate food from these underlying issues. Here are five tips to help you achieve this.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 youíre 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
If you have a problem with overeating, don’t wait. Get help today from a treatment facility that specializes in compulsive overeating and other eating disorders.