If you are consuming a large portion of food over a short duration without realizing the calorie intake and without any compensatory activity or you are experiencing a feeling of loss of control over your eating pattern. You are probably suffering from a binge eating disorder.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Briefly, it is a prevailing problematic eating disorder found in young adults, where they lose control over food consumption and are on the verge of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and raised lipid profile.
This eating disorder normally begins with the developing adolescent age and attains a peak at the age of 16-17 years but also it can affect people of all ages, body weights, and genders.
As a result, binge eating disorder affects your body shape, weight, and difficulties in normal functioning that might also end up in abnormal behavioral problems.
There is a leading notion regarding binge eating disorders that it is a lifestyle choice. However, it is a serious illness more than an eating choice that causes severe disturbances in eating patterns. Most of the time psychological eating is the root cause to overeat.
Here are the symptoms you can relate to if you are dealing with Binge eating disorder:
1.An intense feeling of craving for food
2. Eating unusually large portions of meal in a specific interval of time, such as every 2 hrs duration
3. Intentionally eating even when you're full or not hungry at all
4. Eating fast during binge duration
5. Eating until your stomach is disturbingly full.
6. Eating isolated, not publically to avoid shaming
7. Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about excessive eating
8. Frequently dieting, but with no resulting weight loss
A binge eating score of 17 out of 46 on a binge eating scale means that you don’t have a binge eating problem. A score of 18-26 means that you have a moderate binge eating problem. While a score above 27 is alarming that you have a serious binge eating disorder and you need to correct it.
Why do we overeat?
1. Food palatability
It is an important factor making us overeat. The foods that are rich in fats and refined carbs and contain more sodium, less protein, and fiber, rather than any individual macronutrient are often hyper-palatable than other foods. These foods can override the body's normal response, leading to overconsumption. All ultra-processed foods fall in this category.
2. Habitual Eater
Our body stimulates hunger at times when we are used to eating, irrespective of the energy requirement. Habitually consuming more palatable foods results in stronger hunger responses that increase appetite.
3. Reduced Dopamine levels
Overeating individuals show irregular dopamine responses i.e the restricted release of the feel-good hormone “dopamine” as the reward response after consuming foods. Therefore, they may need to consume more food to experience pleasurable sensations, which increases their tendency to overeat.
4. Emotional eating to cope with Stress and sleep
In response to stress or mood swings, many of us turn to food for comfort. 2
Having insufficient sleep can also have a direct impact on leptin and ghrelin,( the hormone that regulates our hunger) to increase hunger.
5. Food Addict
A possible hypothesis for overeating claims that in food addicts, the ability to gain pleasure from other non–eating activities impairs which they gain a sense of pleasure only while having palatable food.
Follow these effective strategies to deal with Binge Eating Disorder:
1. Ditch the diet
Try avoiding fad diets as the restrictive eating during fad diets can also trigger binge eating.
Rather, eat more whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and binge occasionally rather than excluding them from your diet altogether. This can help reduce binge eating and promote good health.
2. Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness meditation in routine can decrease the episodes of binge eating and emotional eating by making you realize to recognize when you are not hungry.
Listening to your body and paying attention can help you make better decisions about your body.4
3. Stay hydrated
Increasing water intake can effectively reduce your hunger and calorie intake.
It is reported that half a liter of water consumed before a meal can effectively reduce the calorie intake to approximately 13%, which is a significant calorie cut-off strategy to avoid overeating.5
Besides adequate water intake can also boost your metabolism and assist in weight loss.
Practicing yoga can effectively control your emotional distress eating by reducing your stress levels, inducing relaxation, and inculcating healthy habits which can reduce your psychological eating.
Yoga is known to produce antidepressant effects by reducing cortisol levels that cause depression and emotional eating.7
3 months of continuous yoga practice can reduce your binge eating score from 29.9 to 14.5 and significantly reduce your BMI.6
5. Fibrous Diet
Having a fiber-rich diet can help you stay fuller for longer. It can suppress calorie intake by inducing satiation and satiety.8
A high-fiber diet can also reduce the inflammatory substances in the body that alter the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that lead to depression. This way, a fiber-rich diet can manage emotional eating.7
Include more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains that are rich in fiber.
6. Exclude all junk items from the pantry
Limit the number of unhealthy options in your pantry and stock up with healthy substitutes that can cover up your emotional eating
Include more nuts, seeds, and whole grain snacks instead of refined, high sugar, and high sodium snacks.
Find more about sensible snacking options.
An intense workout session in the gym can also lower the frequency of binge-eating episodes.9
Working hard in the gym in a routine can suppress your hunger effectively with the release of Lac-Phe which lowers your body’s urge to eat.
8. Improve your quality of sleep
Some studies show that sleep duration is the predictor of your body mass index. Hence, improving sleep quality and quantity can be a useful strategy to help manage eating behavior.10
9. Start logging your meals
On average, a woman should eat 2000 calories and a man should eat 2500 calories per day to maintain weight.
Logging your meals into a fitness tracking app will keep you attentive to what you are eating. That will certainly influence your brain to make a purposeful decision to eat low-calorie food.
Besides, the guilt of logging any unhealthy extra snack will help improve your binge eating disorders.
10. Conversation with someone
If you are stuck with a binge eating disorder, it's important to reach out for appropriate medical guidance and identify non-food-related coping strategies to avoid its reoccurrence.
Psychotherapy is the first-line treatment option for binge eating disorder and has a more significant clinical effect than medicinal therapy. The popular psychotherapy options include: Cognitive-behavioral therapy; Interpersonal psychotherapy and Dialectical behavioral therapy
11. Plan your Meals
Plan your meals with appropriate guidance from a dietitian to learn proper nutrition and eating habits to restore or manage weight. Plan your meals for a week or a month so that your diet is sorted and you don’t end up overeating. Planning will also allow you to have your meals in moderation which will certainly reduce your binging frequency.
Studies suggest that combining nutritional therapy with cognitive therapy can significantly enhance your treatment outcomes.11
Binge eating disorder is a common eating disorder that can affect any one of us irrespective of our age or gender. It adversely affects your overall health both physiologically and psychologically.
However, it’s never too late to seek appropriate guidance to manage your health.
The most effective strategy to overcome binge eating disorder is to seek nutritional support.
DrTrust360 meal plans can provide you with appropriate nutritional help to deal with your eating disorder. You can freely, track and share your daily progress with our nutritionists to incorporate healthy eating habits.