How to Overcome Binge Eating
By: Erin Bradley-Petersen, LCSW-R
Binge Eating: The consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time.
Dangers of Binge Eating after Weight Loss Surgery
- Strictly adhere to the phases (meal consistency and amount), under the supervision of the Dietician. This is for your safety. The stomach needs to heal and is at greater risk for infection or leak during this time.
- Overeating can cause discomfort. Overtime, overeating can stretch the stomach which can lead to weight gain.
Tips to Manage Binge Eating
- Manage stress. One of the most important aspects of controlling binge eating is to find alternate ways to handle stress and other overwhelming feelings without using food. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.
- Eat three healthy meals a day. Stick to scheduled mealtimes. Skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day.
- Avoid temptation. You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Remove the temptation by clearing your fridge and cupboards of your favorite binge foods.
- Eat healthier. Stop dieting and make a life style change. The deprivation and hunger of strict dieting can trigger food cravings and the urge to overeat. Focus on portion control. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy and eat only until you feel content, not uncomfortably stuffed.
- Eat Slowly. It takes 30 minutes for your stomach to signal the brain that you are full.
- Stay hydrated. This will help you distinguish if you are thirsty or hunger. Thirst can feel like hunger.
- Exercise. Not only will exercise help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it improves overall health and reduces stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of exercise can help put a stop to emotional eating.
- Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, distract yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, read, or take up a hobby such as painting or gardening.
- Get enough sleep.If you’re tired, you may want to keep eating in order to boost your energy. Take a nap or go to bed earlier instead.
- Listen to your body. Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
- Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, when, how much, and how you’re feeling when you eat. You may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between your moods and binge eating.
- Get support. You’re more likely to succumb to binge eating triggers if you lack a solid support network. Talk to family and friends, join a support group, or consult a therapist.
Tri State Bariatrics Erin Bradley-Petersen, LCSW-R discusses the dangers of binge eating after bariatric surgery and tips to help you through the urges.