How to Avoid Binge Eating: 6 Steps to Avoiding Binge Eating
Practical tips to combat the tendency to binge eat uncontrollably.
Binge eating is, according to the DSM 5, the ingestion, in a given period of time, of an amount of food that is clearly higher than what other people tend to eat in similar circumstances.
Among its main characteristics are loss of control, a high rate of eating and feelings of discomfort, including feelings of shame, guilt or guiltlessness.The main characteristics of binge eating include loss of control, high eating speed and feelings of discomfort, including feelings of shame, guilt or even self-disgust after binge eating. It is for this reason that it is usually hidden from other people, and can be kept secret sometimes for years. Binge eating usually occurs with "forbidden" foods that the person tries to avoid.
Binge Eating Triggers
The main triggers for binge eating are the following are the following:
- Diets: especially if they are rigid or strict, and are carried out for long periods of time.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Unpleasant emotions.
- Lack of eating habits or routines.
- Being alone: most binge eating occurs in secret.
How to avoid binge eating in 6 steps.
Here are the guidelines to follow to combat the tendency to binge eat.
1. Be aware
Stopping binge eating is no easy task; it requires a lot of effort and dedication, and most of the time it also involves making a change in our routines. Therefore, the first question we should ask ourselves is: Are we willing to make this change? are we willing to make this change? Is it worth my efforts and energy at this point to stop binge eating? If the answer is yes, we can move forward with the following steps.
2. Start eating regularly
Some of the main triggers of binge eating are strict diets, the feeling of hunger, and lack of planning. This is why a planned, satiating and regular diet is necessary.
Eating regularly implies establishing a schedule that includes 5 meals a dayBreakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. Try not to leave more than four hours between meals and snacks.
With this type of problem, the type of food ingested is not important, but it is important to that you eat enough to not stay hungry.. You may feel a bit full at first, especially if you are used to eating fewer meals a day, but it is important not to compensate for this in any way (self-induced vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise, etc.). You will see that in the long run the results are worth it.
3. Find alternatives to binge eating
When you start eating regularly, it is common for the urge to eat between meals to manifest itself..
For these cases we will elaborate a list with alternative activities to binge eating, which we will implement in the moments in which we detect these impulses. Some of these activities could be going for a walk, calling someone you trust, or taking a bath. The activities chosen should be active, enjoyable and realistic.. As long as these criteria are met, almost any activity that comes to mind will do.
The important thing is that time passes so that the urge to eat decreases, which will be more intense during the first hour but will then decrease. That is why we will look for activities that distract us during this period.
4. Develop problem-solving strategies
Binge eating is often triggered by unpleasant emotions, in many cases related to problematic situations.In many cases related to problematic situations of sentimental or work-related nature, stressful events or emotionally painful circumstances.
Therefore, developing problem-solving strategies will be one of the fundamental points to avoid binge eating. In this regard, various psychological studies identify six phases when it comes to solving problems effectively:
- Identify the problem causing discomfort as soon as possible and define it precisely.
- Think about the possible solutions we can choose from when faced with this problem, and what each of them implies.
- Choose the solution that best suits what we need and the resources we have available, or the best combination of solutions.
- Take action by putting into practice what we have chosen to do.
These phases can be applied to solve virtually any type of problem in an effective and structured way.
5. Analyze the results
At this point, it is time to stop and take stock, it is time to stop and take stock of efforts and results.. It is important to find out if the efforts we are making to eat regularly, seek and implement alternative activities to binge eating and solve the problems that trigger it, are bearing fruit.
At this point we should already notice a significant decrease in binge eating, or in some cases its complete disappearance.. If this is not the case, we should ask ourselves if we are following the previous steps correctly.
If we have decided to skip any of the steps, for example, and at this point we do not notice results, it is time to recapitulate and reinstate it. On the other hand, if we are really making an effort to follow the above steps to the letter, but we do not notice any change, it may be time to think about it, it may be time to consider asking a professional for help..
Perhaps our problem is too serious for us to deal with on our own, or there are factors standing in the way of recovery that we have not been able to identify adequately. In any of these cases, consulting a professional can help to unblock the situation.
6. Maintaining progress and dealing with relapses
This phase consists of maintaining over time those steps or strategies that so far have been useful to end binge eating.
Relapses are frequent during the weeks or months after overcoming these eating problems.. Sometimes they can also occur years or even decades later. This is why we must have a plan in place to deal with relapse, even if it may not seem necessary at first.
It is important to remember that relapses are part of the recovery process, and therefore do not mean that we are going to start from scratch: the learning we have done so far will help us to face the relapse in a much faster and more effective way than in previous occasions, to get back to normality.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)