How to Stop Binge Eating and Emotional Eating
These 6 steps will help you learn how to stop binge eating and emotional eating so that you can maintain your weight and live a healthier and happier life!
“I lost control”
“I just couldn’t stop”
“It was like a ravenous wolf took over my eating”
These are some of the phrases those suffering with binge eating and emotional eating use to describe how they feel.
Because 33% of Americans are obese and on average trying 4-5 diets per year unsuccessfully, we can safely assume this is a pretty big issue.
Why does binge eating actually happen?
According to Dr. Michael Mantell with Greatist.com, binge eating is always a result of dealing with negative emotions.
The process of compulsive binging applies equally to food, drugs, and even people with a shopping addiction.
These negative emotions have 3 categories:
- Psychological – Things like anxiety or stress
- Chemical – Pleasure chemicals like oxytocin that is released in the brain when we eat sugary and overly fatty foods
- Cultural – Where the people you are around and the culture you live in places pressure on you to consume more
Because binge eating can be caused by any of these, there is no one size fits all solution.
There are also different levels of addiction.
Not everyone who buys a pair of jeans becomes a shopaholic, and not everyone who eats a piece of chocolate eats the entire bag.
Each person will have their own level of addiction and optimal protocol to solving this problem.
These are the things we kept in mind for this list of the 6 steps for how to stop binge eating and emotional eating for life.
1. Listen to your body is first and foremost.
When we slow down, breathe, and bring our attention to our bodies, we activate our parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the rest and digest mode for our body).
By doing this, we help separate our animal brain and desires from our pre-frontal cortex, which helps us make better decisions.
This is why studies show meditation, yoga, and mindful eating are incredibly effective for those who binge eat.
Slowing down, chewing your food 20 times before swallowing, and not eating while watching tv or on your phone are all ways to be a more mindful eater.
2. Discover patterns with a journal.
We all have triggers in our lives that can lead to binging.
It could be a particular restaurant you visit, a friend you hang out with, or just any time you are on vacation.
By journaling your thoughts and walking yourself through the steps that led up to the emotional eating, you become more mindful of what’s happening.
This is why keeping journals and food logs have been proven to help dieters lose weight faster and keep it off.
We also have a short video on emotional and binge eating on our Youtube Channel, The Health Nerd, that you might find helpful!
3. Become a master of the salad question.
It’s very important for you to be able to determine if you are actually hungry or just craving food because you’re bored.
Ask yourself… Am I so hungry that I could eat a salad?
If not, you’re just having a craving! The same example works well with steamed broccoli!
4. Be aware of the “What the Hell Effect.”
This is an actual psychological effect where a small diet slip-up causes people to say “what the hell” and eat everything in sight.
Keeping triggers and temptations out of the house will help you fight this.
Also, positive self-talk can be effective. Saying things like, “Every little bit counts, so I’ll stop eating now.” mid-binge can help.
5. Become the veggie monster.
Depriving yourself too much on a diet can cause binge eating.
But here’s the thing, most veggies are so low calorie that it would be basically impossible to eat too many if eating them in their natural state (i.e. veggie chips do not count).
Eat plants, especially leafy greens, like there’s no tomorrow, and do not have a set limit for yourself.
You can binge on as much spinach salad as you like guilt-free.
6. If all else fails, get professional help.
Circling back to the first point I made, everyone is a little different. Some people have brains that are highly susceptible to addiction.
If binge eating is something you have struggled with your entire life and none of what I just said has worked, it’s time to reach out and get professional help.
If you need a plan to help you stop binge eating and emotional eating, our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge does just that.
The plan was designed to help you better recognize boredom eating, emotional eating, and binge eating, as well help you overcome all of them. It will teach you how to change your eating habits and learn what we should and should not be eating.
Our clients lose an average of 10-21 pounds in 21 days and absolutely love it! But even better than the weight loss is the feedback we get from people about how the program has taught them how to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.
You can read more information about the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge by clicking here.
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