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How to Stop Binge Eating

By Lisa Mooney ; Updated August 14, 2017

The act of binge eating is to consume a large amount of food during a short time period. Typically, the act of bingeing on food occurs in a private setting as the person is typically trying to hide the behavior. Many individuals who binge do so on regular occasions. This process is harmful to the body and the mind. Breaking this habit can be difficult but necessary to have a wholesome and healthy relationship with food.

Identify your binge triggers to help you banish the behavior. Look at your patterns. Do you binge after a stressful work day, before events that make you nervous or when you are lonely or bored? Also, note if there is a particular type of food, such as bread, cheese or chocolate, that starts you bingeing. By identifying your triggers, you can avoid them or at least anticipate when you are likely to binge, so you can take action.

Eliminate the convenience foods from your pantry and refrigerator. People most often binge on easily consumed items like chips, ice cream, packaged cookies and candies. The quickness at which these foods can be eaten lends them to being common binge foods. Ridding your home of these items will require you to cook when you are really hungry or to at least take the time to make a salad or sandwich or consume a fruit or vegetable, which are items not commonly associated with binging.

Eat small meals and snacks at 2 to 3 hour intervals during the day to stop yourself from being overly hungry at any one time. Limit your intake of sugars and fats as these tend to trigger overeating. Instead opt for whole grains, lean proteins and wholesome dairy items to satisfy your desire to eat.

Put half of your meal in a "to-go" box when dining out, and send home with a friend or save it for tomorrow. Avoid the “all you can eat” and buffet establishments. Drink water before and during your meal and eat only a small piece of bread from the basket. Also avoid ordering an appetizer unless you are substituting it for your entree. Do have a soup or salad along with your entree so you will be unlikely to binge on wings, fries or other items that may make up your meal. Use wine vinegar and olive oil or lemon juice on your salad to avoid fatty dressings -- and hold the croutons. Only choose soups that are broth based. Cream based soups are higher in fat and calories.

Pick an hour in the evening after which you determine you will not eat. For example, you may decide 8 p.m. is your cut-off point. Stick to this schedule, and find other things to do in the evening to help you unwind besides snacking, such as knitting, reading, working a jigsaw puzzle or playing games. Keep your hands occupied instead of your mouth. If you do need a snack in the later evening for a particular health condition or other concern, make it one that is a whole grain coupled with a little protein, such as graham crackers with peanut butter.

Seek professional therapy and the help of a support group if you binge one or more times during a month. If you cannot control this behavior, you may be suffering from an eating disorder that requires professional medical assistance. Once it is obtained, make sure you attend all your therapy sessions and keep a written record of your progress.

Tips

Call a buddy or take a walk when the desire to binge hits. If you distract yourself for 20 minutes or more, you may find the desire to binge is diminished or gone.

Warnings

Do not go on a calorie-restrictive diet as this may cause you to binge in the long run. Though you may summon the willpower to "starve" for awhile, eventually you will give in and may binge as a result.

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