More often than not, we eat when we don’t need to. This usually leads to overweight and obesity. It’s not your fault, sometimes we can’t help it. It may be due to stress, anger, lack of sleep, boredom and other things.
Identify the problem
Like any other issues, we have to first identify the problem. To identify whether you are binge eating, here’s a checklist from the book Think Thin, Be Thin written by Doris Wild Helmering and Dianne Hales:
- Eat when you are not hungry.
- Continue eating even when the food tastes bad.
- Eat when you are bored.
- Eat when you are emotionally vulnerable, tired, frustrated or worried.
- Eat after an argument or stressful situation to calm down.
- Eating is one of your favorite ways of enjoying yourself.
- Eat to reward yourself.
- Keep eating even after you are full.
If you eat due to one of the reasons stated, then you are eating in response to what you feel instead of what you need.
Try out this 3-step plan to keep binge eating in check
Know your triggers.
Identify what is your problem. Become aware what sets you off to start binge eating. Record the food you consume every time you’ve eaten and in what emotional state were you.
Plan your meal
This doesn’t have to be a rigid plan. You could start simply by setting the time-window when you have to eat. Outside that time, have the power to resist snacking. Don’t skip breakfast or other meals so that you won’t feel so hungry and eventually binge eating. If you have this sudden urge to eat or snack, try delaying it. Take a walk, drink water, call your friend, distract yourself. Chances are that the feeling will pass.
Focus on your feelings
You’ve identified your trigger to your binge eating. Now find another outlet to channel your feelings other than eating. For example, take a warm bath, boxing class, running, write your feelings in a journal, and so on. Find which one works for you other than eating.
Here’s a comparison of physical hunger and emotional hunger that leads to binge eating. This list should give you a better understanding of the two.
|Physical hunger||Emotional hunger|
|Builds gradually||Develop suddenly|
|Below the neck (e.g. stomach growling)||Above the neck (e.g. “taste” for ice cream)|
|Occurs several hours after a meal||Unrelated to time|
|Goes away when full||Persists despite fullness|
|Eating leads to feeling of satisfaction||Eating leads to guilt and shame|