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How to Stop Binge Eating: The 7 Steps You Need to Follow

So what triggers us to ‘Binge eat’? It’s very easy to justify a day of eating more than you need.

Strenuous diets

This is perhaps the most common trigger for binge eating. Often the diet or behaviour can be so restrictive as soon as we finish we reward ourselves with a favourite food. We’re tired, hungry and had enough of living under a rock. Before we realise, we’ve almost made up for the gains we made. This is the famous “yo-yo” effect in motion.

Emotional eating

I’ll admit: I’m no expert in human emotions. But, research out there suggests that negative emotions may very well be a trigger for binge eating episodes.

Labelling foods as 'good' and 'bad'

When you label foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ healthy or unhealthy (pizza = bad, broccoli = good), you develop a black and white mentality toward nutrition.

The truth is, foods should be labelled as more and less nutritious. That way, as long as you eat enough healthy foods, you can also allow yourself some of your favourite treats. This will keep you sane and motivated.

Getting into the mindset of “I’ll make up for it later.”

This directly relates to what psychologists refer to as an empathy gap. This is our inability to think about future consequences because our current desires drive us. The mindset of “I’ll make up for it later” can be really destructive as some people tend to fall in a loop of binge eating → starving + cardio → binge eating → starving + cardio...

How to Stop Binge Eating…right in The Mouth

Lots of things can trigger binge eating behaviour. Because of that, we need to employ different tactics to break it.

1. Don’t go on silly diets. Really.

We all get a little fluffy from time to time, but you didn’t get that way in 10 days, so why do you think that fixing it in 10 days is sensible?

I know fast results sound appealing, but they don’t last. Overly-restrictive diets slowly eat at you and before you know it, you’re bingeing on leftover cake at 3 in the morning.

To achieve sustained fat loss, you need a moderate caloric deficit, flexibility to enjoy some of your favourite foods and moderate amounts of weight training. On the same note, you should be careful not to diet for too long.

You don’t need to cut out carbs after 6 pm.

You don’t need to avoid fats or sugar, because they’re ‘evil.’

And you certainly don’t need enormous amounts of cardio every day.

2. If you have emotional eating tendencies, try to do something productive instead.

As I said, I am by no means an expert on human emotions. But, taking your mind off food and into something productive can be a good distraction. Activities such as taking a bike ride, reading a good book, meditating, or going out with friends might do the trick.

In any case, don’t close yourself off and look to food for emotional comfort.

3. Stop labelling foods as “bad” and avoiding them at all cost, even when you know you want to eat them.

Sure, some foods are better for us than others. But no food is inherently “good” or “bad.” They are more nutritious and less nutritious.

Stop categorizing foods as “bad,” and avoiding them at all costs, even though your mouth gets watery when you see them. Eat plenty of whole, nutritious foods and leave some of your calories for your favourite treats.

A diet you can adhere to for the rest of your life is a diet that works.

4. Stop watching 1,000 calorie a day challenges.

Simply delete them from your phone. Don’t go near them, out of sight, out of mind.

All good? Let’s move on.

5. Stop. Having. Cheat. Days.

You can try and justify them however you like, but you know you’re sabotaging yourself. A single high-calorie day can completely erase a week’s worth of progress.

If you are hell-bent on having a cheat anything, make it a meal. You’ll still get satisfaction out of it, but you won’t feel guilty and frustrated afterward.

6. Remove trigger foods from your home.

Are there any particular foods that might trigger a binge eating episode? Food that gets your mouth watery just by looking at it? Throw it out.

If you can’t get your hands on it, you are much less likely to spin out of control and binge eat. Out of sight, out of mind.

7. Be reasonable with your future self.

Remember how I said that we are often too harsh on our future selves? Well, the next time you feel the urge to binge, think about how you’ll feel afterward. Sure, stuffing yourself with junk food is pleasurable, but what happens after that?

You get bloated. You feel nauseous and tired (to the point of falling asleep in the middle of the day). Your stomach hurts (to the point where you can’t find a comfortable position for sleep). You gain a lot of body weight (admittedly, mostly water and glycogen). You feel ashamed and frustrated.

Not to mention the fact that, unless you fancy getting fat, you need to offset some of these calories. This means more cardio and less food for a few days.

Think about these consequences. Are they worth it? Taking some time to think about it makes you resist the impulse and allows you to think clearly.


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