Prevent binge eating: 7 valuable tips for more balance
Binge eating is very annoying and has a negative impact on your mental and physical health. If you want to lose weight, but are regularly attacked by a binge, then you will not achieve your goal. But what’s worse is that you often feel guilty afterwards. To overcome binge eating, we must first understand what binge eating is and what isn’t. Where do binge eating come from? And with which 7 tips can you prevent your binge eating?
What are binge eating?
We all know binge eating. Still, it is important to consider which factors determine whether something is a binge. A binge is essentially a time when you have an overly desperate need for food. To determine if something is really a binge we can use two approaches:
We speak of an objective binge when you and your environment feel that you have eaten an excessive amount of food in a short time (2 hours). The amount sometimes runs up to 10,000 kcal. The time and quantity are therefore decisive here.
This definition provides good guidance, but is too limited in practice. Those who have just run a half marathon and eat 3 plates of spaghetti one after the other theoretically also have a binge. However, this person may feel great mentally and physically.
In this case, determining a binge depends on your personal feeling. So it may be that you have only eaten 1 bar of chocolate, but that this was out of pure emotion and you do not feel good about it. What you eat does not necessarily have to be unhealthy.
For example, you can also eat a container of strawberries excessively quickly to release some dopamine in your brain. Even time is not everything. When you calmly eat one bag at a time without hunger while you stare depressedly ahead of you, you can also count this as a binge.
The crucial factor is that it is bothering you at the moment, and probably especially afterwards. This mainly manifests itself in feelings of guilt, shame, anger, sadness or fear.
Where do binge eating come from?
The cause of binge eating says a lot about the seriousness of the problem and is the key to finding a solution. Sometimes the cause is simply great hunger. This is less serious, although it will of course also cause problems. Fortunately, the solutions for this are not that far to find. Read our blog lose weight without hunger or the blog foods for a satiated feeling.
Binge eating can also occur as a side effect of medication or even marijuana use. Alcohol consumption can also be the cause. In addition, there are hereditary, physiological and environmental factors (such as your upbringing) that play a role.
Usually, however, there is a psychological cause. Feelings such as anger, irritability or sadness are the trigger for overeating. It is important to understand that in this case nutrition is not the cause! Overeating is just a symptom or pseudo-solution to solve a psychological problem.
7 tips to prevent binge eating
These tips can help you gain more control over your mind and body. It is important to first understand where your binge eating comes from. This makes it easier to determine which tips can best help you.
1. Seek professional help
When you feel that you are out of control and this problem has been going on for too long, do not hesitate to seek help. Speaking out that you have a problem and seeking and accepting help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage. You can consult a standard psychologist, but also a specific nutritional psychologist. The sooner you seek help, the more likely you are to prevent serious eating disorders such as bulimia.
2. Stop losing weight
If the binges started during a weight loss diet, it is time to slow down. A disturbed eating pattern and feelings of guilt will not help you lose weight and you end up in a negative vicious circle. We often think: “If I have lost x kilos, then I will feel good.”
But the reality is often the other way around: if you feel good about yourself, then eating healthy and losing weight is much easier. So first take the time to build a normal and healthy diet and to balance yourself mentally. After that, it is much easier to lose weight in a balanced way.
3. Reduce stress
Stress is the root of many psychological problems. A little stress is normal and even provides the necessary drive. But too much stress creates tension and anxiety. Ultimately, it only takes a small drop to make your bucket overflow. When we think of reducing stress, we often think of meditation, yoga and mindfulness.
While these are excellent methods, it is first and foremost important to address the causes. Reduce the stress at work by, for example, organizing yourself more efficiently or taking a break more regularly. Turn off your phone, stop watching the negative news or find a fun hobby. The best way to de-stress is different for everyone. As long as you feel it helps, it’s okay.
Mindfulness and meditation are not only useful for de-stressing. One of the greatest benefits of meditating is that you become more aware of your thoughts. If you become more aware of your thoughts, you will react less automatically to certain stimuli. You will recognize certain stimuli more quickly and you will be able to direct your thoughts and behavior more consciously.
An example: Every time after your boss yells at you, you have binge eating. When you become aware of this, you can recognize this prematurely and keep it under control. You then think: “Hey, I feel that typical tension that precedes a binge. I’m going to take a deep breath for 5 minutes to relax again. ” This way you prevent it from getting out of hand. And you may also need to urge your boss to take a quiet breath.
5. Fool yourself
Prevention is better than cure. But even when you feel a binge coming on from stress, not all hope is lost. Instead of going straight to the kitchen, you can make an alternative appointment with yourself. For example, make a deal with yourself to run a round first, take a warm shower or call your best friend. And then you are “allowed” to eat something. Chances are that the urge to eat has suddenly disappeared after a good conversation.
However, if the cause is hunger, it is not wise to starve yourself even more. But even then it is possible to make a deal with yourself. Quickly heat up a large portion of soup and agree with yourself that when you have eaten it, you can continue your binge eating.
In most cases, once your soup is finished, your craving will disappear and you will regain control. The voice from your “primal brain” disappears and you are able to make the right choices with your common sense.
6. Eat enough and healthy
Even when the real cause of your binge eating has nothing to do with nutrition, a healthy diet remains very important. An unhealthy diet will make the problem worse. A shortage of fiber and an abundance of carbohydrates, sugars and fried foods cause spikes and dips in your blood sugar and cravings.
Healthy food also has a bonus effect on your mental well-being. It is therefore also an important part of the solution. For example, by eating enough healthy fats you ensure the intake of the important omega 3 fatty acid. This has already been shown to have a profound effect on our brain and psychological health. Of course, the solution does not lie in 1 nutrient, but in an overall healthy diet so that your body and mind function optimally.
7. Put things into perspective
To prevent binge eating, you should not and should not do this. Sometimes well-meaning tips and tricks add even more stress and seem to confirm your sense of worthlessness even more. Moreover, no line is black or white. If you feel like eating something unhealthy or you eat more than is good for you, this does not have to be a disaster. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We are not robots, but humans. You are good as you are.