How to Control Binge Eating
What is Binge Eating?
Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, and is usually done in secret.
When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating. If you have binge-eating disorder, treatment can help.
Causes of Binge Eating
The causes of binge-eating disorder are unknown. But family history, biological factors, long-term dieting and psychological issues, such as those resulting from childhood trauma and/or abuse, increase your risk. Many studies have documented a link between childhood abuse and later obesity. The reasoning for this is possibly because stress may cause one to overeat high-sugar and high-fat “comfort” foods in an uncontrolled way.Women who have experienced physical or sexual childhood abuse before the age of 18 are almost twice as likely to have a food addiction in the middle of adulthood in comparison with women without a history of childhood abuse. The likelihood of a food addiction is also increased further for women who have experienced both physical and sexual childhood abuse. The prevalence of afood addiction varies from six percent in women without a history of physical or sexual childhood abuse to sixteen percent among women who do have a history of both severe physical and sexual childhood abuse.
How to Control Binge Eating
Psychotherapy, whether in individual or group sessions, can help teach you how to exchange unhealthy habits for healthy ones and reduce bingeing episodes.
There’s no medication specifically designed to treat binge-eating disorder. But, several types of medication may help reduce symptoms, especially when combined with psychotherapy.
Other Ways to Control Binge Eating
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Stick to your treatment. Don’t skip therapy sessions.
- Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
- Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But, if you eat breakfast, you may be less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.
- Don’t stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation binge eating.
- Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn’t mean you’re eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy.
- Get active. Ask your health care provider what kind of physical activity is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.
Alternative Medicine to Treat Binge Eating
- Massage and therapeutic touch
- Mind-body therapies
Coping and Support to Deal with Binge Eating
- Ease up on yourself. Don’t buy into your own self-criticism.
- Identify situations that may trigger your binge eating.
- Look for positive role models who can help lift your self-esteem, even if they’re not easy to find.
- Try to find a confidant you can talk to about what’s going on. Together, you may be able to come up with some treatment options.
- Try to find someone who can be your partner in the battle against binge eating — someone you can call on for support instead of bingeing.
- Find healthy ways to nurture yourself by doing something just for fun or to relax, such as yoga, meditation or simply a walk.
- Consider journaling about your feelings and behaviors.
Support for binge eating can also come from a 12 Step fellowship. There are meetings for Overeaters Anonymous. The 12 Step program can be helpful in learning how to cope with your food addiction and binge eating and also in shaping a new, healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself struggling to cope, there are treatment programs that treat eating disorders such as binge eating.