Self-Help Tips for Binge Eating Disorderby Eileen Bailey Health Writer
What is binge eating disorder (BED)?
Binge eating disorder can be described as compulsive overeating. Those who binge eat feel as if they can’t stop eating, even though they aren’t hungry or are full. They consume a great deal of food in a small amount of time. People with binge eating disorder often feel shame and distress after an eating episode.
Treatment for binge eating disorder can include many different medical professionals, such as therapists, psychiatrists, nutritionists and obesity specialists. Effective treatment works on behavioral strategies, health issues and addresses the emotional triggers that lead to binge eating episodes. During treatment, there are a number of self-help strategies you can use to help.
Try to relax
Use relaxation strategies to manage stress. Stress is one of the common emotional triggers for overeating. Relaxation techniques include meditation and deep breathing. Incorporating these in your daily life can help to reduce stress levels.
Add some physical activity to your daily routine. Moving your body reduces stress and improves overall health. Talk to your doctor about what types of activities would be best for you.
You might think that dieting is the key to losing weight but eating healthy foods, in moderation, is much better. Dieting can lead to feeling hungry and then you might be tempted to overeat. Instead, make sure to eat three healthy meals each day and have a variety of healthy snacks around for in between meals.
Shop with health in mind
When food shopping, avoid buying junk food and desserts. If it is in your house, you might be tempted to eat it, if it isn’t around, you can grab a healthy snack instead.
Pay attention to your body
Recognize the differences between emotional and physical hunger. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If your mind says you want to eat but you know you have recently eaten or your stomach doesn’t feel hungry, you are probably emotionally eating. Instead of stopping to eat as soon as you decide to eat, give yourself time to allow your cravings to pass.
Make a list of activities you enjoy
You might sometimes eat out of boredom. Keep a list of activities and hobbies you can participate in instead of eating. If your list is short, consider taking up a hobby that would give you satisfaction.
Keep a food journal
Write down everything you eat. Keeping a food journal can help you see what you eat and how much you eat. Write down how you are feeling physically and emotionally. This can help you narrow down “food triggers” and work on specific ways to combat these triggers.
Reach out to others
Having a network of people who support you is helpful. Your therapist can be one of those people but you can also talk to supportive family and friends. If you are finding it difficult to create a network, look for an in-person or online support group where you can openly talk about what you are going through.
It is important to use self-help strategies and make lifestyle changes when fighting binge eating disorder but it is also important to work with health professionals.