August 13, 2021

What to do when you can’t stop binge eating

Do you ever feel out of control when you’re eating? Do you eat well all day but then can’t stop eating when you get home? Are you looking for ways to stop those seemingly inevitable binges?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this blog is for you.

Binge eating is where individuals eat past the point of fullness and feel they have no control over stopping. You can experience binge eating behaviours without being diagnosed with binge eating disorder. If this is something that you struggle with, here are five things you can do when you can’t stop binge eating:

1) Give yourself permission to eat all foods

Picture this: You see some cookies but tell yourself you shouldn’t have one because cookies are ‘bad’. Cravings for the cookie kick in. You have one, then think “Screw it! I’ve already messed up my diet, I may as well eat the whole box and start my diet tomorrow.”

Sound familiar? When we restrict ourselves from eating certain foods, we often adopt this ‘All or nothing’ mentality. Giving yourself permission to eat all foods at any time can help avoid this thinking. When we know we can have something again in the future, we’re less likely to crave it uncontrollably and binge.

2) Eat more

Yep, you read that right. After a binge our first thoughts are often to compensate by skipping our next meal or doubling-down on a restrictive diet. Turns out, this can make us more likely to binge.  When you don’t eat enough, your body freaks out that it won’t get enough nutrients to meet your basic needs. To make up for this it starts sending out intense hunger signals which can result in a binge.

Eating regularly and eating enough throughout the day can help avoid this cycle. In fact, studies show that eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day can reduce the chances of overeating and binging.

3) Honour your hunger

To make sure we’re actually eating enough to meet our body’s needs we need to listen to our internal hunger cues. A good sign of hunger is when your stomach feels empty and may be starting to rumble. Give yourself permission to eat when you start feeling these cues rather than waiting until you’re ravenous –  letting yourself get too hungry is often a fast track to binging. If you still feel hungry after a meal, honour that hunger! Like we said in #1 and #2 – restricting yourself only leads to more binging.

4) Keep a journal

Jot down what’s going on before, during and after a binge – what did you eat or drink? Where did the binge occur? When did it happen? What emotions were you feeling? Did you eat enough during the day?

This info can help identify your triggers and give you a much clearer idea so you can potentially avoid future binges.

5) Be kind to yourself

Binge eating is not simply a lack of will power. It’s so complex. It’s underpinned by many psychological, social, cultural, and biological factors. So when self-loathing thoughts start to creep in, remind yourself of that. Do something nice for yourself instead like call a friend or go for a walk!  Seeking support from professionals like a dietitian or psychologist can also help you work through the complexities of binge eating.

The bottom line: The key to overcoming binge eating is letting go of restrictive mindsets and allowing yourself to eat enough to nourish your body. This may involve eating more throughout the day. The process to recovery can be difficult but know that you can recover from binge eating with the right support and commitment.

If you’re looking to take the next step towards binge eating recovery please reach out, book in for a Binge Freedom Strategy Call for FREE.