How To Manage Binge Eating Disorder With 8 Techniques
Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious condition characterized by recurrent episodes of consuming large amounts of food in a short period and feeling unable to stop even when you want to. Many people think about binge eating as how we behave at a holiday or celebration where you “overindulge.” But binge eating disorder is much more than a few-time-a-year occurrence. If you or someone you know is struggling to stop eating in this way, it’s important to seek help.
That said, many people with binge eating read articles like this at various times in their healing. So whether you’re just looking into recovery or you’re well on your way to a healthier lifestyle, these 8 tools will help you when times are tough.
As an eating disorder recovery center, we know first hand that managing binge eating disorder requires a holistic approach that addresses both physical and emotional aspects. If you’re not yet in treatment or you’re well on your way to a healthier lifestyle, these tools for managing binge eating disorder will help you regain control over your eating habits and stay connected with your recovery plan.
8 Tips to Holistically Manage Binge Eating Disorder
- Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a powerful technique that encourages individuals to become more aware of their eating habits and the sensations associated with eating. By paying close attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food, you can start to develop a deeper connection with your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating is slower. Naturally, you spend more time with all aspects of your meal instead of rushing or skipping the experience.
When you practice mindful eating it can also help prevent overeating because you slow down the process, giving your body time to tell you how hungry or full you actually are. This promotes a healthier relationship with food and supports a recovery plan of eating until you’re full.
Mindful eating may be harder if you are not yet in a recovery plan, but once you have experienced this part of your healing, mindful eating is a fantastic tool to manage binge eating disorder.
- Balanced Meal Planning
Planning balanced meals and snacks throughout the day can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce the likelihood of binge eating. When you include a variety of nutrient-rich foods that includes a mix of whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables, you give your body the nourishment it needs, which helps to minimize the urge to overindulge.
- Stress Management
Stress and emotional triggers often play a significant role in binge eating episodes. Developing effective stress management techniques goes a long way towards having tools that you can use to help when your emotions start to get the better of you.
There are many quick and easy things you can do, even at your desk at work, that don’t have to call attention to your feelings and yet, you can still calm down amidst the stress.
A few great ideas include: deep breathing, counting quietly to yourself, or inhaling slowly to the phrase “let” and exhaling to the phrase “go.”
If you have more time to devote to reducing your stress, consider exercising (in moderation), deeper meditation (guided or in silence), yoga, or engaging in hobbies. Hobbies can be alone or with friends. The goal is to move toward greater ease, less stress and healthier choices. This becomes easier with practice, of course, but any and all of this can help you cope with emotional challenges without resorting to food for comfort.
- Seeking Professional Support
Managing binge eating disorder often requires the guidance of trained professionals. Seeking help from a trained eating disorder therapist, counselor, or registered dietitians can provide you with personalized strategies for managing triggers, addressing emotional issues, and building healthier eating patterns.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a widely recognized approach for treating binge eating disorder. It helps individuals identify negative thought patterns and behaviors related to food and eating. Through CBT you can learn how to cope with stress, manage cravings, and challenge distorted beliefs about food and your body image.
CBT is also widely available and has associated skills to help you learn how to manage your emotions and reactions independently over time.
- Identify Triggers
Understanding the triggers that lead to a binge eating episodes is crucial for effectively managing your impulse to overeat in the future. One smart strategy is to keep a food and mood journal to help you notice patterns that may cause you to overeat.
For many people, specific emotions like anger or fear as well as specific situations, or stressors, repeatedly lead to overeating. When you know your binge eating triggers, you can apply the coping mechanisms offered here or the ones your therapist or dietician has offered you to nip a binge in the bud.
Just remember that learning triggers and warning signals takes time. Almost no one gets this right the first time. It’s a learning for you to monitor your behaviors and emotions. But, once you know what (or who) tips you over the edge, you will start to feel more empowered to use these tools or try something else to stop a binge before it begins.
- Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating happens when you listen to your body and your hunger signals to tell you when to eat and when to stop eating. Your body has the ability to “clue you in” when you’re hungry and when you’re full.
Intuitive eating promotes a balanced relationship with food by eliminating strict diets and food restrictions. By learning to trust your body’s signals, you will start to feel more capable of overcoming the urge to binge eat and instead, can give your body what it’s actually asking for in any given moment.
- Social Support
Almost everyone knows the power of a truly good friend. Whether they are family or not, having someone in your life you can simply be yourself with is a huge gift. For many people with eating disorders, friends can feel scarce especially if you have been hiding your pain or you’ve been struggling a long time.
Whatever you can do to connect with friends, family, or support group who genuinely support you offers a boost to your self-esteem when you are able to really be your true self. Also, enjoying shared experiences, challenges, and successes with others who understand the struggle of managing binge eating disorder can offer you both encouragement and a sense of community.
The truth is that whether you have an eating disorder or you love someone with one, managing binge eating disorder requires a multifaceted approach. Healing needs to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects because your whole being is affected by an eating disorder.
When you incorporate techniques such as mindful eating, stress management and social support, you can take a more holistic approach and that has many hidden benefits. Because everyone is unique, you may find greater value out of one skill over another. But either way, you’re moving in a meaningful way towards regaining control over your eating habits and achieving a healthier relationship with food. Overcoming binge eating disorder isn’t an easy task, yet it’s so worth working towards.
If you or someone you know is struggling with managing binge eating disorder, we’re here to help. Please click here or click the button above or in the footer to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team.