If you struggle with binge eating, it can feel like an endless cycle. Here are 5 steps that will help you stop binge eating in its tracks…..
- Stop dieting. It is a well-established fact that dieting, particularly restrictive diets, set us up for binge eating behavior. If you tell me not to eat something, it will be the first thing I reach for, even if I don’t particularly like it. Restrictive diets trigger a deprivation response in our brains. This deprivation response will eventually lead us to overeat whatever food has been deemed off limits.
- Address the underlying emotion. So many people walk around thinking that overeating was caused by boredom. We live in such an overstimulated culture, it is nearly impossible for us to be bored. My guess is that the underlying emotion masked as boredom is really loneliness and/or anxiety. We do not want to be left alone with our own thoughts and feelings, so we often use food to mask our discomfort. By recognizing and addressing the underlying emotions, they lose their intensity and the urge to use food quickly dissolves.
- Recognize you have a choice. Although we might feel compelled to eat like a moth drawn to a flame, thankfully our brain and capacity for rational thought is much greater than that of a moth. We do have a choice over what we put in our mouth and even though binge eating has conditioned us to feel like we can’t stop, we do have the ability to recognize these patterns before being hit by the freight train of addictive and compulsive behavior. The conditioned response you have created through years of binge eating has undoubtedly changed your brain. You have strong connections to food where you did not previously, but the more you change your behavior, the more you change your brain.
- Ask yourself what you want to feel. What are you hoping that food will do for you? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that? That food is providing some sort of need. If you aren’t eating for hunger, the need is emotional. The next time you find yourself heading down the binge eating road, ask yourself what you are hoping to feel by eating. Is it comfort? Distraction? Defiance? Euphoria? Maybe the goal is numbness so you don’t feel anything at all.
- Ask for help. Binge eating is rarely something you can change on your own. It can take deep emotional work, but help is out there. If you have tried to change over and over again, but continually find yourself heading back to food, check out the rest of this website to learn more about treatment options available. You don’t have to suffer anymore!