We need food to survive. It is something to be savored, enjoyed, and thankful for. It can also cause great discomfort for some, especially when they feel a loss of control over food.
People who binge eat often eat in large quantities and in an uncomfortable amount. They feel that they cannot stop eating. A binge may be considered eating more (like 7 cookies) or eating less (like 2 cookies), depending on the person. In general, binge eating can vary significantly from person to person. While one person may binge occasionally, for another, binge eating may be a daily occurrence. Occasional binge eating is not considered an eating disorder per se, but rather is classified under the broader meaning of “disordered eating” behaviors.
Seeing your family doctor or dietitian for support when experiencing binge eating behaviors can greatly help.
Tips for getting a balanced diet;
The following are some approaches that can help us have a more balanced relationship with food. Aim to implement these changes gradually, within your comfort level, and while being kind to yourself.
1. Be aware of your word choices!
It’s completely natural to feel that food calms our brains and helps calm our emotions. Our choice of words is extremely important when expressing the delicate relationship between our emotions and our food choices. The goal is to try to notice ourselves when we say things like:
“Before every exam, I can’t help myself: I’m eating a bag of chips.”
“Whenever my wife and I fight, I turn to food.”
“I’m so tired that I feel like I have no willpower.”
When we articulate the relationship between our stressors and binge-eating foods, we begin to reinforce this relationship in our minds. The ego kicks in and it’s easy to identify the ego when we find ourselves using “I am” expressions. For example, ” Myselfunstoppable I am” or ” I’m someone who eats a box of ice cream when I’m stressed.”
The thing about the ego is that it doesn’t like to be proven wrong. So much so that even if we are given the option to skip the binge eating behavior, we may still not skip it. This is because we have always defined ourselves as someone who overeats.
Getting out of a loop we believe is so true becomes difficult, even if we actually want the behavior to end.
It takes time, consistency, and a genuine belief that it can be an act of the past. It helps to know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming binge eating tendencies. What works for one person may not work for everyone. Use the tips and strategies in this article that work best for you.
2. Be careful about emotional eating!
If we eat when we are tired, we may find that there is not enough food to fill the void created by our emotions. Does this mean we shouldn’t eat at all when we’re upset? No it is not. We may have a way of life that is upsetting for the moment, and it’s perfectly normal. It’s okay to enjoy soothing foods at times like these, but it’s important to be mindful when this type of behavior persists.
What can help is allowing us to enjoy treats and comforting food while in a good mood and positive state of mind. This helps break the association we may have created between a particular food and a particular emotion. Before we enjoy any treat, we may ask ourselves if we really want to have it. If not, maybe we’re in a different mood. Controlling ourselves may seem strange at first, but it is a way to pay attention to our eating behaviors.
3. Leave your inner voice!
Our evil twin is the inner voice that tells us what to do and what not to do. Some of us may have one evil twin, some of us may have two or even all three of us:
Our hard part: “Don’t eat that cookie. You’re on a diet and it’s not following your plan!”
Our extreme side: “well you’ve already messed up and you’ve already eaten 2 cookies so now you can finish the whole box. We start again tomorrow!”
Our encouragement: “Did you practice a little? Well done! Now you deserve that second slice of cake.”
We can begin to listen to this dialogue in our head and identify when one of our other sides is speaking. After all, we’re not always the ones talking.
Once we realize that talking is our “bad side,” we can start repeating the word “feed” in our head. We ask ourselves, “Is this feeding my mind, body or soul?” we ask. By doing this, we can realize that eating a box of cookies does not feed our mental state. But by the same token, restriction is not nutritious either. Especially if a cookie is something we want to enjoy and can really enjoy when we are in a good mood.
4. You shouldn’t “do” yourself !!
When we use the word “should” there is a feeling of resistance and guilt that gets in the way when we don’t fulfill the word “should”. Saying “must” sometimes causes us to rebel – it’s the inner child who doesn’t like being told what to do. In the end, we may do the opposite, making us feel guilty or inadequate. Instead of saying “should” it could beWe can benefit greatly from saying “.
By saying “could” we give ourselves the option to choose which option feeds us more.
Instead of saying “I shouldn’t eat the cookie” it’s “If I’m in the mood I can have the cookie”. The answer may be no, in which case we would rather not eat the cookie. Or the answer is, “Yes! I would feel nourished if I ate this right now. It will make me happy and I’m really excited about it.” If we choose yes, it allows us to enjoy it and we can honor ourselves for attuning to our true desires without self-sabotaging.
5. Talk to someone!
Telling someone that we have a tendency to binge can be a scary thought, but the right support can change everything. Find someone you know you can trust and who you believe will understand. We also strongly recommend you to see a dietitian for reliable support. Share your feelings about the issue and why you think you’re doing it, what your triggers are, and what support you might need. Sometimes, the simple speaking process can help us reduce the burden and gain clarity. When we paint a clearer picture of ourselves, it may be easier to move towards gaining strength and self-control over food.