Whenever somebody brings up the topic of how to stop binge eating, I vividly remember the day I caught myself binge eating like crazy.
It was a Friday, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. My plans with my fiance just fell through; he decided to accept an invitation from his buddies to watch a game. I was left alone with no plans on a Friday night.
I thought I’d just stop by the grocery on my way home, don my PJ’s, and watch some movies. At the grocery store, I grabbed a frozen family-size pizza, some fresh mozzarella, a bag of mini brownies, and a pint of Dulce Haagen Dazs ice cream. Food was going to be my companion as I hit the couch for a romantic movies night.
By the time the first movie was over, I was sitting there on my couch with an empty box of pizza, half empty bag of brownies, and an ice cream pint just about done…I wondered what just happened.
I suddenly felt the sting of self-loathing. Soon, I was beating myself up, calling myself names that I wouldn’t call my worst enemy. As a bullied myself, I quickly cleaned up and made all evidence disappear out of fear of anyone knowing.
I have been very hesitant in sharing this story with you. As a matter of fact, I have never shared my binge eating story with anyone. I never shared out of fear of judgment and because I was so ashamed of my previous choices.
But I want you to know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you and you aren’t broken. There is a reason why you do this. Until you find it and work on healing it, the binge eating will not go away.
What is Binge Eating?
Psychologists define binge eating as eating more food than most people would in a specific amount of time under similar circumstances. It is characterized by a sense of lack of control and is associated with negative emotions. Binge eaters have difficulty regulating their emotions and use food to cope with them.
At the time, I knew that what I was doing was called binge eating or overeating, but I had no idea why I was doing it. I just thought something was wrong with me, so I kept it a secret. Afraid that others might judge me, I hid my shame and guilt behind a façade of strength. Then I punished myself by restricting food the next day.
I now know that I overeat to numb the emotions I didn’t want to feel. In this very personal example I just shared, it was the feeling of abandonment and rejection. Because I was a victim of bullying when I was younger, rejection is a BIG, nasty emotion for me.
How to Stop Binge Eating: 3 Easy Solutions
I recently interviewed Dr. Carolyn Ross MD for the Crave Cure series on The Beyond The Food Show, a podcast that I host. Dr. Ross is a world renowned expert in overeating and binging behaviors. She shared some insights that helped me realized a lot about binge-eating and why I did what I did that lonely Friday afternoon.
In my interview with Dr. Ross, she shared three of her best tips on how to stop binge eating:
- Have at least one meal a day without distractions. Sit at the table and eat your meal, relishing every morsel you put into your mouth. Don’t eat at your desk or watch TV. You need to be present and mindful when you eat.
- Eat some protein. It could be nuts, nut butters, meat, chicken, fish, etc. Protein reduces your craving for sweets and keeps you satiated longer.
- Be more self-affirming. You can start asking what you love about yourself. It could be your eyes, hair, nose, or whatever. Just pick one part of your body and express gratitude for it. Doing so will help you have a more positive relationship with your body.
To learn more about binge eating and overeating, listen to my entire interview with Dr. Ross here on The Beyond The Food Show or listen to the audio or video file below:
My Relationship With Food Today
To this day, I still feel the urge to turn to food when I don’t want to feel certain emotions. However, I already know how to stop binge eating before it even starts. When the thought of binge eating / overeating comes to me, I’m able to recognize it and use the tools I have learned over the years to figure out what’s really hiding behind my desire to eat.
I learned so much about myself when I started delving into my relationship to food. There is nothing wrong with me or with you. All we need to do is take steps towards healing the emotions that drive us to eat. It’s not easy, but we can do it!
Next Steps to Stop Binge Eating
It’s time to stop struggling and start taking charge of your eating habits! I have a gift for you — The Crave Cure Guide. It’s a handy e-book that will help you learn how to stop binge eating by mastering your cravings. Find food freedom today! You can download the Crave Cure Guide here.