Episode 17 – Overcoming Binge Eating

Key Topics Covered

Definition

  • While we aren’t sticklers for definitions, it is important in this case. A lot of people talk about normal overeating as “binge eating” when that is really a completely separate topic
  • Definition of a binge is “Eating a larger than normal amount of food over a short period of time, while also feeling that eating behaviour is out of control.”
  • Binge eating involves 3 or more of the following:
  1. Feeling uncomfortably full
  2. Eating excessively quickly
  3. Eating when not hungry
  4. Feeling guilty, disgusting or sad
  5. Eating alone due to embarrassment
  • To meet the criteria of binge eating disorder, the above needs to occur once per week for at least 3 months. But that is where we care less about definitions. If any form of binging occurs on a semi-regular basis, even if it does not meet that criteria, it is still worth addressing.

Things That Often Make Binging Worse

Binge Restrict Cycle
  • Trying to restrict typically makes things worse – tracking macros can too.
  • Going long periods of time without eating. Hunger is not what causes binge eating, but going long periods of time without eating clearly does increase the liklihood of binging in somebody who is prone to it.
  • Putting foods on a pedestal as “bad.” This can make you want the food more.

Nutrition Tips to Overcome Binge Eating

  • The first step to beating binge eating is committing to the process and prioritising it. You should not actively be trying to lose weight during this phase, since that can be counterproductive.
  • Eat enough calories
  • Don’t restrict any individual macro.
  • Eat every 3-4 hours while awake. Aim for 5-6 eating occasions per day.
  • Reintroduce trigger foods in safe environments e.g. have small serve then go for walk with partner/family/friend.

Psychological Stuff

  • Seeing a psychologist is super important. And it is a 20-40 session style process in most cases. But because psychology and mental health is an integral part of binge eating (as it is with any eating disorder), it has to be addressed alongside food habits and lifestyle changes.
Psychologist in chair in an appointment
  • If the urge to binge comes on – wait 2 minutes – not necessarily to stop the binge, more so just to feel emotions. Getting familiar with your triggers so you can address those things down the line. Self-awareness goes a long way here.
  • Journaling around the time of a binge can be helpful.
  • Working on body image is important – negative self-talk and poor body image is only going to perpetuate the binge eating cycle. Shaming yourself often makes things worse.
  • Even if you want to change your body down the line, you do need to practice some self-love or at least body neutrality whilst working through your binge eating disorder.
  • It can be helpful stop following people on social media that make them feel negatively about their own body – example following a lot of bikini competitors. This is often seen as “standard” boring advice, but it actually can be a game changer.

Relevant Resources/Links

Useful Service

Useful Blog Post