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4 steps to overcome Binge Eating disorder

You might have heard this word often, ‘binge eating’, and you never know if you’re a victim of the same. Read more to understand it

Most of us overeat at some point or other for different reasons. However, many of us overeat regularly and feel helpless about it. If this happens with you too, then you might be having binge eating disorder. Binge eating is an eating disorder when you feel to eat a lot frequently and cannot do anything about it. Moreover, once you are done, you feel distressed too. You might beat yourself up for your lack of self-control and feel guilty too.

When do we overeat?

Binge eating typically starts in late adolescence mostly after a major diet. While a binge, you might eat without being hungry and continue eating even after being full. At times, people also binge so fast that they cannot register what they are eating or what it tastes like.

Why do we overeat?

At first, binge eating is comforting. It seems as if it is helping to ease your unpleasant emotions or feelings of depression, anxiety or stress. However, later you end up feeling regretful. Weight gain and obesity are an outcome of binge eating. These in turn also reinforces compulsive eating. The more you feel stressed about your appearance and weight, the more you’ll use food to cope up with it.

It is important to know that binge eating is treatable and you can learn to break this vicious cycle of eating to feel better, feeling even worse and then turning to food for relief again.

Symptoms of Binge eating

Not everyone who binge eats acknowledges that they have this disorder, as they feel embarrassed and ashamed of doing so. But there are few signs to look at:

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Hiding or stocking food for later consumption
  • Eating despite being full
  • Eating normally in front of others but gorging when alone
  • Inability to stop eating
  • Eating large amounts rapidly
  • No planned mealtimes, eating throughout the day

Emotional symptoms

  • Never feeling satisfied, despite eating too much
  • Feeling stressed out which can be only relieved by eating
  • Embarrassment on overeating
  • Feeling numb while binge eating, as if you’re on auto-pilot
  • Feeling depressed, guilty after overeating
  • Desperate to control weight and control eating habits

How to recover from binge eating

Step 1: Develop a healthier relationship with food

Like any other addiction, recovery from binge eating is also challenging. However, unlike other addictions, your ‘drug’ is necessary for your living and you cannot completely avoid it. Therefore, you need to develop a healthier relationship with your food where food will only meet your nutritional needs and not emotional ones.

Step 2: Avoid temptations

Usually, when you overeat, you eat desserts, junk foods, and unhealthy snacks. You’ll have to remove these temptations by clearing your fridge and entire house with such foods.

Step 3: Listening to your body

You will have to start distinguishing between physical and emotional hunger. If you just had a meal and you’re stomach isn’t rumbling as of now, you are not really hungry. Just let the craving pass.

Step 4: Eat regularly

Do not starve yourself as it will only lead to overeating. Create an eating schedule and stick to it. Avoiding meals at their scheduled times often leads to binge eating. Also, try to include healthy fats in your meals as they keep you feeling satisfied and full. When you eat to feel the textures and tastes of the food that you’re eating. This will help you eat less and enjoy more.

Many people binge eat when they are bored. So next time you feel so, instead of snacking, listen to music, go out for a walk, do some gardening or other things you like. Distract your mind from food when you are bored.

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Eating disorders and what they help you hide

Eating disorders have been a prevalent cause of concern among young adolescents and young adults. Due to their changing situations which occur rapidly, it may become tough to cope with hence leading to unhealthy food habits and feelings. Expressing these hidden feelings is key to lead a healthier lifestyle. Encourage mindful eating and feeling along with appropriate ways of expression and healing.
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As we begin to grow, our bodies and other areas of life also transform drastically. With an abundance of change and uncertainty , things tend to become out of control. In times like these, food may become our best friend and worst enemy. Our relationship with food and exercise is sacred just like any other interpersonal relationship. Its important to reflect on what purpose each portion of food is serving in our lives and what it may be helping us disguise.

Eating disorders are common amongst adolescents and young adults because food helps them feel in control of something in their lives when everything else is beautifully chaotic. Nobody likes to lolse control all at once, do we? Take a brief look at some of the most common feeding and eating concerns and what they might be conveying about how you are feeling

Anorexia Nervosa – People may be unwilling to eat with others, exercise excessively, believe that they are ‘fat’ when they are very thin, and refuse to eat adequate amount of food which is necessary for human functioning.

Bulimia Nervosa – People tend to overeat or eat large portions and then purge their bodies from the food they ate by vomiting, using laxatives or exercising excessively.

Binge Eating – This may include out-of=control episodes of eating which may lead to excessive weight gain due to the increased calorie consumption.

Diet yellow plate with centimeter, fork and basil royalty-free stock photo

What Triggers Your Plate to be full or empty?

Now that you have a fair idea of the basic types of eating disorders, let’s understand why these are not just about eating and feeding. They tend to project something more significant and deep rooted in a person. When we are unable to control something in our lives, we try to find other ways of coping with it. This includes food and drink. Some of the common triggers might include, low self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, anger, loneliness, the need for perfectionism, lack of love and belonging, trauma and other life related psychological concerns. Food becomes their safety net during such situations.

Triggers may not just be limited to a person’s psychological factors but may also stem from interpersonal concerns. These can be having difficulty expressing emotions and feelings, familial disharmony and strained relationships, sexual/physical abuse, unreasonable and unrealistic expectations about achievements and otherwise form the  individual and likewise. Food can also be used as a way of coping during negative or very stressful situations.

Feed Your Body and Mind Positively

Coping with eating disorders is a process. Here are some handy tips to work through them, focusing not just on the concern of eating, but also the underlying triggers.

Improve body image by putting away the weighing scale, dress for comfort, focus attention of parts of the body you are proud of, groom well in the morning, be aware that your perception of your body might be unhealthy.

Coping with eating habits can include, change the topic when others talk about food, weight, body size or shape, eat three balanced meals a day, create healthy menus for each day, surround yourself with those who support healthy eating, carry healthy snacks, walk away from the dining table after meals, eat before going to a party, start with breakfast.

Coping with feelings after binge eating can be regulated by forgiving yourself, find another activity to do, move away from your eating place, say to yourself that ‘you do not look different from what you did a few minutes ago’, encourage yourself to eat at stipulated times.

Improving your self-esteem is important and can be worked on by start the morning by self-care, acknowledge your feelings, listen to music, look back on achievements, reflect on proud moments, take a self-defence class, remind yourself that you are good enough, not perfect, be assertive, kind and compassionate towards yourself.

Remember, suppressing your emotions and feelings may become unhealthy over time and result in serious concerns. Encourage yourself to become more mindful of what you are eating, drinking and why you are consuming that food. How does this intake make you feel and how do you feel after you have consumed it. Mindful eating is helpful and effectively allow you to gently create a healthier routine for yourself. Allow yourself to feel your truest emotions and seek help if they become unmanageable or even just ‘too much’ on your plate.



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You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.


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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.