Have you heard of compulsive eating? Well, people who chronically overeat may have a common eating disorder called compulsive overeating. It is also known as binge eating. This eating disorder is marked by eating large amounts of food, by eating quickly (often to the point of discomfort), and by eating when no longer hungry. There are also two types of binge eating, objective and subjective. Let’s break it down.
Objective binge eating is eating unusually large amounts of food (about 2,000 calories) in a short time frame (such as under two hours). The entire episode feels as though you have lost control and are operating on autopilot.
Subjective binge eating is where you are eating what you think is an excessive mount of food, but in reality, is not objective large. That same sense of a loss of control is still there.
Characteristics of binge eating episodes include feeling like you are eating ‘forbidden food’, feeling pleasure during a binge, but overwhelmed with guilt and shame afterwards and/or feeling a sense of secrecy to your behavior, going to great lengths to hide it. If you nodded your head to any of the above traits, you might be begging to know… what is happening here? Why am I engaging in these types of behaviors?
It is important to understand the factors behind your specific behavior to reduce your binge eating episodes. There are three very broad factors that contribute to an episode, which include, overvaluation of weight and shape, extreme dietary restraint and then binge eating/purging. Overvaluation of weight and shape is where you base your self-worth largely on your weight and shape. Dietary restraint is applying diet rules and binge eating/purging refers to over eating episodes and vomiting up the food.
Now we are going to look into the 5 proven steps in reducing or inhibiting binge eating. We also want to highlight that if you are experiencing binge eating episodes, please visit your doctor.
Observe and Understand Your Behavior
Get a diary and start to monitor your behavior. It is important to record time and date, what you ate and drank, where you were, whether you viewed it as a binge and any other comments that may help better your understanding such as, how you were feeling at that time.
Don’t Skip Meals
It is important to eat at least three meals and three snacks a day, no more than 3-4 hours apart. By eating more regularly, you are combating two dangerous dieting behaviors, which include delayed eating and calorie restriction. It is easier than you think. Each night, plan and write down when you’re going to eat your meals and snacks. Don’t stress about what to eat, because the initial focus here is to gain stability and regularity. If it makes things easier, set alarms in your phone so that you don’t forget.
Face Your Problems
If you are finding it tough to hand a bad situation effectively then the 4-step guide to problem solving may be helpful for you. First, identify the problem, then think about a range of possible solutions to that problem, then carefully think through each solutions implication and finally pick the best solution and act on it. Working through these tough times effectively and healthily may help prevent these predictable binges you are experiencing.
Immerse Yourself in Joyful Activities
If you can broaden your scope of self-evaluation by increasing the importance of other life areas, your need to diet may diminish and with it, your binge eating episodes. Try dance lessons with your friends, go for walks, go to the beach, actually read that book you’ve been putting off for a while. Whatever it is, immerse yourself in it!
Again, we want to remind all readers that if you are experiencing compulsive eating, please book an appointment with your doctor.