Binge eating is a source of great emotional and physical distress. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to reduce this habit.
1. Stop dieting: Dieting can lead to cravings that eventually become so strong they trigger binge-eating episodes.
2. Make sure you’re eating enough fiber. Eat regular amounts of fiber throughout the day – from fruit and vegetables in particular. Fiber slows down the digestive system and signals the brain, so you don’t feel the need to eat so frequently.
3. Get enough protein in your diet. It’s easy to feel ravenous and binge-y if you’re not eating enough protein. Protein is great for generating feelings of satiety and keeping your hunger hormone in check. Just as for fiber, protein also slows down digestion, keeping you feeling full for a longer period.
4. Don’t be a lazy eater. That means you should be prepared to put effort into making and cooking your meals rather than going to a fast-food drive-through.
5. Find some engaging distractions to fill your time when you have the urge to binge. It could be walking the dog, going for a stroll, talking to your neighbor, busying your hands with knitting, or anything else that gives you some enjoyment.
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6. Identify the emotional triggers that trigger binge eating. Once you know your triggers, start taking steps to change them or to find healthy ways of responding. It could be a relationship issue, a job issue, or financial stress.
7. Get your stress levels under control. Do your best to mitigate your stressors to prevent the spikes of cortisol that can drive your appetite to very high levels.
8. Eat before you are overly hungry. Eating at regular times of the day is very important. You don’t have to be excessively rigid, but skipping meals can lead to all-out binge eating. Keep an eye out for the subtle symptoms of low blood sugar and hunger. It could be that your thinking is slowing down, or you’re feeling irritable, tired, and dizzy.
9. Make sure you drink enough water between meals. Getting overly thirsty can trigger overeating for some people. Water also contributes to a feeling of satiation, so you don’t get overly hungry between scheduled meals and snacks.
10. Learn to eat slowly. Eating slower is better for your stomach. Think of your stomach as a cement mixer; you can’t fill it up all at one time. Fill your stomach up gradually, give it time to process the food you are eating.