Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in America. Research shows that 1.25% of women and .42% of men have Binge Eating Disorders.
Because of this, many of our students are struggling to stop binge eating when they first join our Mindful Nutrition Method™ community. Often times they come to us feeling confused, frustrated, and helpless.
We never want our Method members to feel this way, and we don’t want any of our community members to feel this way either.
So keep reading to learn about what binge eating is, and how to stop it.
How to Stop Binge Eating
1. Listen to Hunger and Satiety Cues
These hormones along with various other mechanisms in our bodies, work to tell us when we’re hungry and when we’re full. When we listen to these cues, we’re able to avoid bouts of extreme hunger and extreme fullness.
Sounds easy, right?
Well, there are various situations we can get into that don’t allow us to listen to these cues as easily as one might assume. Maybe you’re on a diet that says we can only eat three times per day. Or maybe you’re intermittent fasting and despite feeling hunger in the morning, you force yourself to wait until the afternoon. You could even feel hunger but also feel stressed about your workload, and therefore continue working through your lunch break to get ahead.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?
When we do this, we often lead ourselves to a sensation of extreme hunger. Eventually, we hit our “hangry” breaking point, and finally, get something to eat. Because we’re so hungry and let our hunger cues get out of control, it is much easier to eat past the point of fullness.
This is often how a binge-eating episode starts.
When listening to hunger and satiety cues regularly, we’re able to eat portion sizes that are right for us, which prevents recurrent over or undereating over time.
2. Eat Mindfully
It sounds so simple, but it makes a world of a difference.
Mindful eating is a practice that allows you to be more intentional with your eating habits while also maintaining a healthy relationship with food.
When eating mindfully, we’re present, aware, and engaged in the eating process.
Conversely, when we’re eating mindlessly, we’re distracted, unaware, and disengaged with the eating process.
To get started with mindful eating to help you stop binge eating, start by removing any and all distractions when you eat. Rather than eating in front of the TV, while on your phone, or even amidst reading a book, just eat. This will heighten your awareness and make listening to hunger and satiety cues (as we just discussed above) even easier.
3. Remove Morality from Food
Have you ever heard of assigning morality to food?
While this title may be new to you, I have a feeling you may already understand the concept.
Assigning morality to food is the process of deeming food as good or bad, right or wrong. Those who assign morality to food often believe that when eating foods that are “good”, they, therefore, are good. In turn, when they eat foods that they’ve deemed to be, “bad”, they are then bad and should feel shameful.
When we get into this cycle of assigning morality to food, the most common next step for individuals is to restrict “bad” foods and encourage “good” foods. The problem with this is, we always, and I mean always, end up having the foods that we try to restrict. And because morality is in play, we may lose control.
The food items we’ve deemed to be bad seem so much more enticing – just like a little kid who’s been told they can’t have the candy on the countertop! It’s human nature.
So when we do finally have those “bad”, shameful food items, we’re so much more likely to experience a binge eating episode and eat far past our satiety cues. We eat so much of it, barely experience it because it’s completely mindless, then after the fact feel stressed, shameful, guilty, and upset.
The response? To never have said “bad” food items again, and go back to “good” ones only. This is the binging and restricting cycle.
By removing morality from the picture, there are no more good foods, bad foods, right or wrong. Food is simply food. We’re able to choose what we want, when we want, in a calm, cool, and collected way.
4. Practice Balanced Eating
So far I’ve recommended you not follow a diet or plan. I’ve also recommended you simply listen to your personal hunger and satiety, eat mindfully and remove morality from food.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Ok Erica, so how am I supposed to ever reach my health and wellness goals if I’m just eating whatever, whenever?”, this is where balance comes in.
Here at Nutrition Stripped, we define balanced eating as the process of prioritizing nourishment and enjoyment in our eating. Where food is not good or bad, but simply nourishing, enjoyable, or a combination of both.
This allows you to eat what you truly want, when you want it, preventing a binging and restricting cycle from taking place as a result of deprivation or guilt.
You’re able to eat for your physical health, alongside for enjoyment. This creates a sustainable, consistent eating pattern that makes you feel great.
What To Do Next To Stop Binge Eating
In order to stop binge eating, the first step is to heal your relationship with food.
Building a balanced relationship with food allows for you to eat nourishing, balanced meals that you truly enjoy. It allows you to listen to your hunger and satiety cues as well as get out of the diet cycle. You’ll even develop a strong sense of appreciation and compassion for yourself and your body.
This is exactly what we teach individuals how to do in our Mindful Nutrition Method™. We walk you through the steps for healing your relationship with food. We teach you how to build a new relationship that allows for growth, stability, and support.
You can watch our free workshop to learn the method and how to be more balanced with your food choices so you can be free from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, and cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body.