Strategies to end binge eating disorder
It’s dark, you come home after a long day of work where you’ve been on top: you’ve achieved your goals, you’ve managed really well: you feel drained of energy, you don’t want to do anything, you’re almost tired. You collapse on your sofa with a packet of cookies: you have every right to, since you’ve worked hard. You turn on your computer: natural direction on Netflix to “decompress” a bit: and there the process begins. A process whose mechanism you know perfectly well: you will spend the next few hours gazing obsessively at series, and, like an automaton, your “mechanical” hand will dive again and again into the packet of cookie until you finish it then it will be the turn of something else, you feel it, you know it is not beneficial for you, but like an uncontrollable impulse, you know you will eventually give in to the call of this routine. Insidiously, you gained weight, grams after grams, invariably, your weight increases. You feel it because you are more and more uncomfortable in your clothes. But how you avoid the verdict of the scales: “It’s not real until there are numbers to back up what you know deep down!”
You feel guilty about this situation; you feel out of control; you feel helpless to manage it, your frustration grows again and again, you end up devaluing yourself… You come home and lock yourself in a vicious and infernal circle that of binge eating (or overeating or hyperphagia)!
If the above description resonates with you, it is likely that you are a victim of it.
It is an increasingly frequent pathology in society, which is defined by the massive and uncontrolled ingestion of food, outside meals, and without compensatory mechanisms (such as vomiting in anorexia). It is part of eating disorders and sometimes has another aspect: night eating disorder. The triad associates: eating little during the day – insomnia – eating at night!
As a doctor, understanding, identifying and effectively managing these disorders is a major challenge for me because they directly impact your well-being, your health, your ability to fully express yourself:
- Physical discomfort: abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, Irritable bowel syndrome, overweight and its impacts (cardiovascular and metabolic).
- Psychological discomfort: loss of control, frustration, guilt, isolation, psychological suffering, anxiety, depression.
What are the mechanics of binge eating?
It is important to identify them in order to put in place effective strategies to control this situation.
In our current societies, eating is much more than a necessity for the proper functioning of the body. Eating brings pleasure by releasing hormones and neurotransmitters: You feel good after eating or while you are eating… And increasingly, you seek comfort when you eat rather than seeking to fulfill a need. Eating is reassuring, that’s why you “eat your emotions”, that’s why emotional eating is most often the cause of overeating. Compensating for a restrictive diet can also cause reactive hyperphagia in case of too much deprivation without considering the actual needs of your body: This is the famous “Yo-Yo effect”. Opting for food rebalancing, gently, is a more logical and more profitable tactic in the long term.
How to Stop over eating with three tactics ?
UNDERSTAND YOUR BEHAVIOUR: Need to eat, just craving or bored?
Journaling is both a therapy and an incredibly interesting and effective database to understand your behavior. It allows for a critical analysis of your thoughts and your special relationship with food! Whether you use it for yourself or are brought to work with a specialist, the strategy will be effective because it will be personalized and centered on you. I recommend organizing your journal like a table with four columns:
- What you ate: nature of the food, quantity, consumption time, etc.
- Want or Need or Boredom: were you starving, was it a “little craving”, or didn’t you know what else to do?
- Trigger (emotions): Did you eat to make up for a frustration, lack? Are you looking for a reward?
- Feeling after the urge: how did you feel after this outburst? Good? Badly embarrassed? Ashamed? , guilty?, indifferent?
You can add a very personal touch to it: it’s yours, it’s your tool. The important thing is to use it and make it a habit so that it can really help you understand and overcome this behavior.
SELF AWARNESS / DEAL WITH EMOTIONS
The acute awareness of being eating, the way of apprehending hunger, seeing you telling yourself that you would eat a good ice cream in front of your computer, knowing that it will not be just one ice cream! The self-awareness of your thoughts, your emotions is a tool to develop in order to define a framework.
Controlling your emotions is impossible, framing your desires is possible with willpower and regular training.
Meditate and increase your self-awareness: Meditation can, when practiced diligently, improve awareness, identification, understanding of your emotions and feelings. Thus, you will be more easily able to manage and regulate your cravings, to put in place avoidance strategies or later to be able to simply say “NO” with strength and resolution. This tiny word is extremely difficult to pronounce and to hold for our own desires. We come up with false justifications: We are masters at hiding face!
Breathe and put food in its place: eating is a need, you don’t have to fall victim to your emotional brain seeking overcompensation. Rationality is an effective weapon to redefine your objectives and hold your frame. To do this, give your rational brain time to strategize and deconstruct the emotional tactic! To do breathing, especially abdominal breathing, is an effective tool! It’s all about regularity and habits.
CREATE HABITS : one month chalenge
Overeating is a (really) bad habit impacting your life: great news! In this part, we’ll lay the groundwork for creating a healthy habit! It seems impossible and difficult to you, yet authors have presented different strategies in order to succeed. I offer you our technique: The One Month Challenge!
How to proceed ?
- Handwrite your aim on an A4 paper: it must be clear, for example: “I will no longer eat added sugar”
- Feel your goal deeply and reaffirm it mentally
- Start a list of 30 days on that same paper, each number below the previous one.
- Start the challenge the next day
- If you hold you succeed put a line in front, congratulate yourself and tell yourself that tomorrow you will do as well
- Every day that you succeed, put a line.
- The day you fail: put a cross and explain your failure: what went wrong? How to avoid it next time!
- Starts numbering again from zero
- If you get to 30 strokes in a row, you will have created a new habit; it’s up to you to make it a long-term success.
The genuine change is actually a profound character change! Agree to want to improve yourself for good to express what is best in you. It is at this price that the habit will take root forever!
10 TIPS to fight binge eating
- When you feel a powerful urge to eat and find that it’s boredom, drink a glass of water or go for a walk!
- In order to control the quantities, serve yourself on a plate and do not eat the food directly in the packaging.
- Eat as much as possible at set times to create good habits.
- Eat in a dedicated place (kitchen or dining table) not from the sofa and especially not in the bed.
- Don’t buy processed food! Opt as much as possible for fresh products, if possible harvested near your home (it’s good for the environment)
- Attempt to learn how to cook so that you are free to express your desires: for taste, fresh produce is infinitely more interesting than processed food.
- Avoid restrictive diets: they either create a deficit that you end up filling and ultimately promote reactive binge eating. Promotes food balance by making sure you eat everything in the correct amounts and by framing your diet.
- If you know you’re going to give in, give in for healthy, not processed food: fill your fridge with the good stuff: make it easy to do the right choice. Batch cooking allows you to plan healthy foods for the week!
- Dietary support: You may need a nutritionist to help you clarify your needs, the type of items, and even how to eat. If you feel the need, don’t hesitate.
- Psychological support / coaching: the mindset is the fundamental element that will define your future success. Doubt is normal and sometimes you may feel that you need someone to help you or reframe your goals with you. Other times, you’ll need to boost your fluctuating motivation or just accountability! This is where coaching can help you. If you feel the need, don’t hesitate, sometimes success is just that!
Overeating is a major problem for many: Societal evolution, the sluggishness of life can lead to this vicious cycle of self-destruction. Like many evils, it invariably tends to isolate. Being aware of this is the first step and many more are to be done to get out of it: the path is laborious but not impassable. Self-awareness, the creation of healthy habits will gradually allow you to find your way! Your way to build your own success!