Binge eating is just one type of emotional eating. In other words, it’s using food in a compulsive way to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Binge eating affects millions of people and is more common than both anorexia and bulimia combined. Binge eating is often used to quell anxiety or fill a gnawing emptiness inside. However, no matter how much food gets stuffed in, binging simply can’t deal with the feelings, whatever those feelings might be.
What the cycle of binge eating does do successfully, however, which is why you keep relying on it as a coping mechanism, is that it changes your mind’s path. For example, if your mental train is on a particular track of thinking, binge eating has you switch tracks and go in a different direction. If you were thinking about something troubling (your job or a relationship or an insecurity), binging stops those thoughts for a few moments, puts you in what I call a food trance, and then redirects your thoughts to ones of guilt and regret about what you ate. These thoughts might not be pleasant but often they’re more acceptable than what you were originally thinking about. Not to mention that the foods that are typically binge foods (peanut butter, cheese, ice-cream, chips, baked goods) alter your brain chemistry in a way that gives you a surge of calm feelings.
No matter how much you are binging you can take certain steps to preventing your next binge:
1.Keep Things Organized
Many people report binging when they get overwhelmed with chores and responsibilities. If you stay on top of things you’re less likely to use a binge to procrastinate or escape. Create systems, pay your bills, ask for help and don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Chill Out
Knowing how to manage your own anxiety is a critical factor in avoiding binges. Whether you use walking, reading, meditating, or sports, to calm yourself down, knowing what particularly works for you is key. Experiment with different things until you find things that reduce your level of anxiety.
3. Have a Solid Support System
Having people to go to when you need to vent, get advice or hear you out is important. Remembering that you’re not alone and having solid people in your life that you can honestly share your struggles with can make a huge difference. A therapist, online community, or support group can also help.
4. Don’t Keep Binge Foods Around
Most people have certain foods that trigger their binges. If this applies to you, don’t keep those foods in your cupboards or go to places where you know you can’t avoid them. You don’t need treats for the kids, or for guests, or for anyone else. No reason to make things harder for yourself than they need to be until you have more control over what you eat.
5. Go to Bed
You’d be surprised how many afternoon and evening binges happen when you’re tired and don’t just put yourself to bed. Obviously, there will be times when going to sleep just isn’t possible, for example in the afternoon when you’re at work. However, if you stay on top of getting the rest you need, you’ll find yourself looking for food so much less.
It only takes avoiding a binge a few times to prove to yourself that you can. Also keep in mind that the mark of successfully ending a binge pattern happens one binge at a time. No one ever quits cold turkey. By using these five tools you’ll be proactive and aware which will help you start to avoid some binges. Even if you don’t avoid all binges at first, more time between binges, is a huge step on the road to success. Be sure to acknowledge all the small successes on your way. If you need help getting your binge eating under control visit my website www.shrinkyourself.com
for more information.