How to Find Freedom From Binge Eating

by nina on December 29, 2013

free from binge eatingIt is an alarming fact that only 50% of people who suffer from overeating or binge eating actually seek out help, according to the National Center for Eating Disorders.

Are you frustrated with your attempts to stop eating compulsively and can’t seem to find a way to intercept the destructive behavior?

What is compulsive eating and binge eating?

Compulsive eating is generally characterized by episodes of out of control eating, beyond the point of being full. It is also associated with obsessive thoughts about food before and after a compulsive eating episode.

Other characteristics of compulsive eating:

  • Feelings of extreme guilt and depression after a compulsive eating episode
  • Loss of control
  • Fantasizing about food
  • Eating in secret
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Eating after you are full

How can you stop eating compulsively?

There are steps that you can take to prevent the episodes from occurring.

It is important to acknowledge your triggers and your behavior and to keep working at bringing your body and mind into balance and union.

  1. Eat food that you actually like. This seems counter intuitive, especially in today’s; diet driven world, but every time your body feels like it is being deprived or not getting what it wants, it fuels the obsession to eat and triggers a compulsive eating episode
  2. Stay away from online food and diet web sites. Compulsive eating thoughts are often triggered by being bombarded with too many online food images and ideas. Try replacing these sites with positive,inspirational ones.
  3. Keep binge food away from the house. It is always best to keep anything triggering out of the house. Out of sight out of mind.
  4. Watch your exercise. Sometimes too much exercise will set off compulsive eating, especially if you have been restricting calories
  5. Get help and support – Stick with people who understand eating compulsively or other disordered eating behavior, but who are also focused on recovery
  6. Use alternative behaviors when you are feeling compulsive. Examples include calling someone and talking about it, meditation, journal writing, posting an online blog or asking for help
  7. Talk about it before it happens – the best way to intercept a compulsive eating episode is to shed light on it by talking to other people who you trust
  8. Don’t get too hungry – avoid dieting and going for too long without eating
  9. Avoid excessive meal planning – Take the focus off food and diets. Too much meal panning fuels the obsession
  10. Don’t isolate – Compulsive eating often comes from loneliness and boredom. Make sure you do not isolate yourself – this is where disordered thoughts begin.
  11. Keep track of your progress and encourage yourself. Writing in a journal and tracking your progress is a great way to motivate yourself. Be sure to focus on what you are doing right. Acknowledge all of the small steps and accomplishments – they will all add to your recovery bank and build your self esteem

Do you have any other tips that have helped you to stop eating compulsively?

Leave your comments, questions and personal experience below!

Nina 🙂

Nina Vucetic

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Evi February 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Hi Nina,

I started intuitive eating a few weeks back and have been struggling a lot since then. I eat what I want so that my body doesn’t feel deprived of anything, but I keep overeating and therefore gaining weight. When I spend all day with someone else like on a trip or vacation, I eat completely normally and feel happy, but as soon as I am eating by myself again I can’t control myself. Why is this ? I tried but I can’t arrange all my meals to take place with friends or other people. Eventually I will have to learn to eat alone… Do you have any advice as to how I could learn to control my eating when I am alone? I don’t think that I am still stuck in the diet mentality because even though I am not exactly happy with my body at the moment, I have accepted that dieting is never gonna work for me; so i don’t know where these binges are coming from…

Reply

Erin January 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Nna, i’m in a terrible place. I cant stop binge eating. Im getting enough food, but i cant seem to listen to my body. I keep telling myself that chocolate/pasta/bread/cookies will make me fat and give ne diabetes. I’ll eat it, but only so far. I still count calories. I keep focusing on losing weight and i think about food when im not hungry. Im not malnourished, but i guess im on a semi diet. I dont know how to stop obsessing. I feel unattractive in comparison to other girls and i dont want to do anything but either eat, or read about/research food. Its hard to admit because i like to pretend i have a grip on everything, but i really dont. Im not that overweight, at most about 30lbs, but im dearly obsessed. I dont know what to do 🙁

Reply

nina February 1, 2014 at 6:28 am

Hi Erin
I’m really sorry to hear that you are in that dark and awful place.
Here is the first thing that jumped out at me from your message:
“I still count calories. I keep focusing on losing weight”
Now I know very well how hard it is not to. When we are obsessed it is like some mental virus has taken over.
BUT there is a way end this obsession… read my post for the rest.

Remember:

Our brains can only hold one thought at a time, and the thought is completely up to you.
So the question is what are you going to choose?
Choose Now. Choose Well.

Nina 🙂

Reply

Em January 1, 2014 at 1:27 am

“Keep track of your progress and encourage yourself. Writing in a journal and tracking your progress is a great way to motivate yourself. Be sure to focus on what you are doing right. Acknowledge all of the small steps and accomplishments – they will all add to your recovery bank and build your self esteem”
Could you please elaborate on this point a little in terms of what progress to keep track of? If I’m supposed to be taking the emphasise off food, should I track my progress in how in-compulsively I eat etc or what? Sorry I’m just a little confused, I hope you could give me a few ideas 🙂

Reply

nina February 1, 2014 at 7:25 am

Hey Em,

Absolutely! And a great topic that you have brought up.
The short version is that writing in a journal is one of the best ways to process your thoughts and to almost do the job of a therapist.
There is a saying that “I didn’t even know what I was thinking until I saw it on paper”
I find this is often the case with me and what I do each morning is write 3 pages. Just totally free writing about absolutely anything.
It gets all the crap out of your head and clear the way for some new and empowering thoughts to come through.
It also works at times when you feel stuck – like in a panic or obsessive thinking. Just write until you get to the bottom of what is going on – because it is never about food…

Finally what I meant about acknowledging the things we do that are positive – this can be anything from walking your dog, opening the door for someone, finishing a major project or figuring out who killed John F Kennedy. Whatever it is, acknowledge it. Because far too often what we do (myself included) is just focus on the things we screwed up, the things we missed, the things we forgot to do, how mch we ate, how fat/skinny/short/purple we are… and we miss everything that is positive and all the actions that actually prove we are not as screwed up as we think.
You are a whole person, with many parts to you.
Acknowledge them all. Try not to even label them, just acknowledge the numerous ways that you do show up in life and that they are all part of you – with
nothing wrong with any of them.
You can do something like this to take stock of your life in general – to get perspective on who you are as a human being.
I will be posting a worksheet in this soon.

Love Nina 🙂

Reply

Em January 1, 2014 at 1:25 am

“Keep track of your progress and encourage yourself. Writing in a journal and tracking your progress is a great way to motivate yourself. Be sure to focus on what you are doing right. Acknowledge all of the small steps and accomplishments – they will all add to your recovery bank and build your self esteem”

Could you please elaborate on this point a little in terms of what progress to keep track of? If I’m supposed to be taking the emphasise off food, should I track my progress in how in-compulsively I eat etc or what? Sorry I’m just a little confused, I hope you could give me a few ideas 🙂

Reply

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