How to Stop Binge Eating

by Jaime Brenkus

Binge eating is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling less in control and powerless to stop. A binge eating episode can last an hour or more, or happen periodically throughout the day.

Binge eaters are not eating because they are hungry. They are eating as a reaction to an emotional issue. This is why binge eating is tied to emotional overeating.

The key features of binge eating disorder are:

  • Frequent episodes of uncontrollable binge eating
  • Feeling extremely distressed or upset during or after binging
  • No regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising

The Difference Between Binge Eating and Emotional Eating

People with binge eating disorder struggle with feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression. They worry about what the compulsive eating will do to their bodies, especially the weight gain, and beat themselves up for their lack of self-control.

Though emotional eating and binge eating are related, they are very different. A binge eater may eat because the food is there and they have no control to stop eating it. An emotional eater reacts from an emotion they are having.

If a binge eater happens upon a box of donuts in the break-room, they can react by eating several in one sitting for no apparent reason other than the fact that they see the food there. An emotional eater would react to the food only if an emotion leads them to feel the donuts will numb their feelings.

Techniques to Stop Binge Eating

To determine if binge eating is the cause for weight gain, examine the emotional reasons for it. Processing these emotions are hard and takes time, but there are some good techniques that can help you modify behavior and combat binge eating while working on the underlying issues. Here are a few:

Stay Clear of Binge Foods

Stay-clear-of-binge-foodsDon’t buy or let into the house anything that triggers a binge – whether it’s cookies, chips, pretzels, cheese, or ice cream. If it’s not there, it won’t be there for a binge. Avoiding binge foods at work and other social situations may take some patience, but if that includes avoiding break-room goodies and missing out of social events, do whatever it takes to protect your health.

Decorate the Fridge With Images That Motivate You

Decorate-the-fridge-with-images-that-motivate-youClip pictures of fit bodies from your favorite magazines and keep them right where you can see them before you grab some food. Even having a picture of your fit self (or unfit self to stay motivated) will keep you from binging on some of your favorite foods.

Call a Friend

Call-a-friendInstead of grabbing that bag of chips (which should not even be in the house), reach for the phone and call a friend. Distract yourself with lively conversation. If you really want the chips, pour out a couple and put the bag in a location where they can’t be readily seen.

Grab Your Journal

Grab-your-journalWrite about all the good things you have been doing for your health lately. Write about all the positive comments others have given you. Jot down notes on what you can do better with adjusting to a new healthy lifestyle. Draw pictures! Anything that gets the mind off eating saves inches off the waist.

Go Pamper Yourself

Go-pamper-yourselfDo something positive versus destructive. Paint your toenails, take a bubble bath, get a massage or facial, go to the gym and burn up a sweat. There are many places to go and healthy activities to take part in that can lead you away from the temptation of food.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Don't-be-too-hard-on-yourselfIt takes time to break a bad habit. The weight did not appear overnight and it won‘t disappear that way either. Each day is a new learning experience, so there are no slip-ups, back-slides, falling off the wagon, or do-overs. If you do have a binge, don’t beat yourself up about it – a slip is not a fall – pick yourself up, and work even harder to finish the day strong.

Last updated: 11.21.2017
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Written byJaime Brenkus

Celebrity exercise guru and Evergreen Wellness® Fitness Coach Jaime Brenkus is an early innovator of exercise videos in the 90s, having created the highly successful “8-Minute” video series featuring the blockbuster-selling “8-Minute Abs” video. Jaime has helped millions of people get fit, having also developed other well-received health and wellness products, including the Perfect Portions control plate. Jaime is also certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as an Exercise Physiologist – a designation he has held for nearly two decades. By teaming up with Evergreen Wellness, Jaime brings his fitness expertise to older adults through easily performed workout videos, in-person events, live streams, seminars, classes, and endorsed wellness-related products. As an Evergreen Wellness Fitness Coach, his goal is to add more “boom” to baby boomers’ lives, inspiring them to look and feel better by leading happier, healthier lifestyles.

Coach Image

Written by Jaime Brenkus

Celebrity exercise guru and Evergreen Wellness® Fitness Coach Jaime Brenkus is an early innovator of exercise videos in the 90s, having created the highly successful “8-Minute” video series featuring the blockbuster-selling “8-Minute Abs” video. Jaime has helped millions of people get fit, having also developed other well-received health and wellness products, including the Perfect Portions control plate. Jaime is also certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as an Exercise Physiologist – a designation he has held for nearly two decades. By teaming up with Evergreen Wellness, Jaime brings his fitness expertise to older adults through easily performed workout videos, in-person events, live streams, seminars, classes, and endorsed wellness-related products. As an Evergreen Wellness Fitness Coach, his goal is to add more “boom” to baby boomers’ lives, inspiring them to look and feel better by leading happier, healthier lifestyles.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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