Would you like to know how to overcome binge eating? Well, you’re just at the right spot. You see, binge eating disorder is very common eating and feeding disorder in the United States and other parts of the world (1).
Binge eating disorder isn’t just about food. It is a psychological condition. This implies that binge eaters will require the services of a medical professional to overcome it.
Binge eaters usually eat large amounts of food at a time, even if they don’t feel hungry. After a binge eating episode, they’ll be overcome by a sense of shame or guilt.
Binge eating regularly can lead to weight gain, which may, in turn, result in complications such as heart disease and diabetes.
However, there’s good news. Here we have helpful tips on how to overcome binge eating. These strategies can be implemented both at home or under the guidance of a professional – to minimize your binge eating episodes.
Here are some tips on how to overcome binge eating.
DISCARD THE DIET
Fad diets may be very unhealthy at times, and studies have shown that restrictive diets can trigger very serious episodes of binge eating.
For instance, a study involving 496 girls, all adolescents, found that fasting drastically increased the risk of binge eating (2).
Also, another study involving 103 women showed that restricting oneself from certain foods triggered intense cravings and a high risk of overeating (3).
Rather than restricting yourself to certain diets, it is much better to make healthy changes.
Fill your daily diet with unprocessed, whole foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, and reduce your intake of treats instead of cutting them out of your diet altogether. This will help you to overcome binge eating and also enhance good health.
DO NOT SKIP YOUR MEALS
One of the best tips on how to overcome binge eating is maintaining a regular meal schedule.
When you skip your meals, you may crave and this will increase the risk of binge eating.
A particular 2-month study showed that eating one heavy meal per day increased blood levels of ghrelin and glucose than eating three meals daily (4).
Another study involving 38 people showed that maintaining a regular eating pattern drastically decreased binge eating frequency (5).
Mindfulness involves paying attention to your body and your feelings at the moment.
Mindfulness prevents binge eating by helping a person to know when they’re no longer hungry.
A review of 14 studies showed that mindfulness reduced the frequency of binge eating and emotional eating (6).
Another study showed that a combination of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy improved self-awareness and eating behavior (7).
Always pay attention to your body so you’ll know when the hunger tapers off. Also, when eating, eat slowly and savor the food. This is an effective tip on how to overcome binge eating. Note that slow eating also promotes healthy eating behaviors.
HYDRATION IS IMPORTANT
Drinking enough water during the day is a very effective way to stop overeating and also curb cravings.
According to research, drinking much water is associated with decreased calorie intake and hunger.
For instance, a study involving 24 adults found that taking 500ml (17 ounces) of water before eating caused a 13 percent reduction in the number of calories consumed, compared with a control group (8).
Also, another study involving adults showed that intake of 13-17 ounces of water half an hour before a meal caused a significant reduction in calorie intake and hunger while increasing satiety (9).
The amount of water to be consumed each day depends on several factors. However, the best tip as it pertains to drinking water is to drink when you feel thirsty.
YOGA MAY BE OF HELP
Yoga may be described as a form of exercise that incorporates both the mind and the body through the use of specific poses, breathing exercises, and meditation. It aims to enhance relaxation and combat stress.
Research has shown that yoga helps to overcome binge eating.
A study involving 50 people with binge eating disorder showed that 12-week yoga therapy caused a significant reduction in binge eating (12).
Another study involving 20 girls found that a combination of yoga with outpatient eating disorder treatment decreased anxiety, depression, and body image disturbances – all of which contribute to emotional eating (13).
You can register at a local yoga studio to include yoga in your daily exercise routine. Some online videos and resources can help you do yoga at home.
ADD MORE FIBER TO YOUR FOOD
Fiber doesn’t rush through your gastrointestinal tract. It moves slowly, and this allows you to stay full for longer (16).
Studies have shown that increasing one’s intake of fiber can reduce cravings, food intake, and appetite.
A 2-week study found that supplementing twice each day with a type of vegetable fiber decreased the intake of calories as well as hunger while boosting satiety (17).
Another study involving 10 adults showed that a daily intake of 16g of prebiotic fiber increased the level of satiety hormones while also causing a significant reduction in hunger feelings (18).
Some examples of fiber-rich foods include legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN
Having too much junk in your kitchen triggers binge eating.
On the other hand, stocking your kitchen with healthy foods can reduce one’s risk of emotional eating by placing a limit on the number of unhealthy choices.
To begin with, clean out all processed foods and replace them with healthier alternatives.
When you stock your kitchen with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, protein-rich foods, and seeds, your diet automatically improves and your risk of binge eating unhealthy foods reduces.
THE GYM PLAYS A BIG ROLE
Hitting the gym is an important tip on how to overcome binge eating.
For instance, a study involving 77 subjects showed that engaging frequently in weekly exercises stopped emotional eating in over 80 percent of the subjects (19).
Another study involving 84 women found that combining regular exercise with cognitive behavioral therapy drastically reduced the frequency of binge eating compared to therapy alone (20).
Also, research has shown that exercise decreases stress and enhances the mood, both contributing to the prevention of emotional eating (21).
Some exercises that can help reduce binge eating and relieve stress include running, walking, playing sports, and biking.
NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST
Having a healthy breakfast is the best way to start your day. Of course, it not only keeps you healthy but also acts as an important tip on how to overcome binge eating.
Also, eating the right foods can keep you full and curb cravings throughout the day.
For instance, a particular study involving 15 subjects found that eating a diet high in proteins at breakfast reduced ghrelin levels much more than a carb-rich breakfast (22).
Also, a study involving 48 subjects showed that eating protein-rich and fiber-rich oatmeal improved appetite regulation and satiety (23).
To avoid overeating, you can try combining some fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, or fruits, with a good source of protein.
SLEEP IS IMPORTANT
Do you know that sleep affects your appetite and hunger levels? It is on record that sleep deprivation triggers binge eating.
A study involving 146 subjects found that BED patients had more symptoms of insomnia compared to those who did not have a history of this condition (24).
Another study showed that not sleeping adequately was linked with higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin.
Also, not having up to 8 hours of sleep each night was associated with higher body weight (25).
Try to sleep up to eight hours each night to checkmate your appetite and also lessen your risk of binge eating.
WRITE A FOOD & MOOD JOURNAL
With a food & mood journal, you’ll be able to track your daily food intake and how you feel. Both serve as very effective tools in identifying potential food and emotional triggers while promoting healthy eating habits.
A study involving 17 subjects showed that using an online self-help application that involved writing a food dairy was associated with a reduction in binge eating (26).
It is easy to get started. Just record what you eat and how you feel daily using either an app or a journal.
TALK TO SOMEONE
Talking to a peer or a friend when you feel like eating can reduce the urge.
A study involving 101 adolescents undergoing sleeve gastrectomy showed that social support reduced the likelihood of emotional eating (30).
Another study involving 125 obese women found that social support reduced the severity of binge eating (31).
So, when next you want to binge-eat, try talking to someone, whether physically, or over the phone. It is an effective tip on how to overcome binge eating.
EAT MORE PROTEINS
Eating more protein-rich foods can keep you full and help check your appetite.
A study involving 19 people showed that increasing the intake of proteins from 15 percent to 30 percent reduced fat mass and body weight significantly, while also decreasing daily calorie intake by around 441 calories (34).
Also, another study found that a protein-rich diet promoted satiety, enhanced metabolism, and increased the blood level of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), an appetite-suppressing hormone (35).
Make sure you have a good source of protein in each meal – examples are legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs, or meat. You can also quell your hunger with protein-rich snacks to prevent giving in to cravings.
Binge eating disorder is a common condition, affecting millions of people globally. The good news, however, is that it can be overcome with the right plan of treatment and healthy lifestyle modifications.