We have all been there. Indulging at a special event or devouring junk food after a long day at work.
It's common to feel guilty or agitated after binge eating. Binge eating, which involves consuming large quantities of food in a short period, is often associated with eating disorders — physically and mentally. Recovering after a binge episode can be challenging.
Ask questions to yourself
While eating, it's important to know whether the food you consume is for personal pleasure or to address certain nutritional demands of the body. "The best way to indentify your reason is to ask ourselves, ‘Why am I eating this?’ As you ask the question repeatedly, you will shift from impulsive consumption to a deliberate choice. True hunger originates from the body's physiological need for nutrients, whereas emotional eating often results from a psychological response to external triggers. Succumbing repeatedly to a poor emotional state can lead to binge eating episodes, overshadowing the body's actual nutritional demands." says Dr. Ushakiran Sisodia, a registered dietician and Clinical Nutritionist at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital.
The act of eating should not merely be a reflex to emotional stimuli, be they boredom, tiredness, or distress. Once you indentify your reasons, it becomes easier for you for making a conscious choice about everything that you eat.
Here are a few ways that can help you help you stop yourself from binge eating.
Eat breakfast every day
Starting each day with a healthy breakfast may lower the likelihood of binge eating later in the day. According to several studies, keeping a regular meal schedule is linked to fewer binge eating episodes and lower levels of ghrelin, the hormone that increases feelings of hunger. Eating the correct foods helps keep you feeling full throughout the day, reducing cravings and hunger. Try to incorporate fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and raw salads into your diet. Fiber-rich foods promote a feeling of fullness and can help regulate appetite.
Focus on mindful eating
A simple way to prevent binge eating is to focus on mindful eating. "It is about paying attention to the act of eating, chewing your food properly, and savoring each bite. Slowing down during meals helps you enjoy the experience and recognise feelings of fullness. Restricting access to items like soda drinks, bakery products, desserts, chocolates, and fast food can reduce the likelihood of binge eating." says Mrs. Malvika A. Karkare, Clinical Dietician at Sahyadri Super Speciality Hospital.
Don’t skip your meal, as it will lead to excessive hunger, making binge eating more likely. You should stay hydrated throughout the day, as thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.
Stay busy and active
Engaging in a physical activity that boosts dopamine levels is a great approach to preventing and addressing binge eating tendencies. Keeping yourself busy can divert your focus from food and prevent impulsive eating. Regular physical activity also helps manage stress and improve overall well-being. You can find alternative activities to combat boredom, such as taking a walk, calling a friend, reading a book, or pursuing hobbies like drawing or gardening.
Follow a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is important for every aspect of life. A well-balanced diet includes the right timing, proper quantity, and good quality of food. "Prioritize proper rest, regular exercise, and maintaining a daily routine. A healthy lifestyle can contribute to overall well-being and support a balanced relationship with food. By following these simple and practical tips, individuals can recover from binge eating episodes and work towards a healthier relationship with food and their bodies." concludes Mrs. Malvika A. Karkare.