Binge eating involves the consumption of large quantities of food in a very short period of time, even when not hungry, to the point of feeling extremely uncomfortable.
Modern day society has increased the risk of developing eating disorders, since the development of diet culture, social media and increased food availability.
This type of disordered eating is often triggered by different emotions, such as boredom, stress and anxiety and even excitementor being in social situations. It is also very common amongst those who diet and restrict themselves from the foods they love.
The problem with restricting yourself is that your body feels it physically AND mentally. As soon as you give yourself a chance to eat something you would otherwise label as ‘out of bounds’, you lose control mentally.
The first step towards regaining a healthy relationship with food is to eat regular meals and snacks and listen to your body when it tells you that it feels hunger or is craving something.
It is normal to eat certain foods for enjoyment. It is part of our brain chemistry to feel comforted by foods, especially those that contain fats and sugars. Sugary, fatty foods release a chemical in our brain called serotonin, which lifts our mood and relieves stress.
By allowing yourself to indulge without feeling guilty, and listening to when your body tells you that it has had enough, you will begin to mend the relationship with these foods. It may seem hard to believe, but you CAN look, feel and be healthy, while incorporating sugary and fatty foods in moderation.
The concept of allowing yourself ‘unhealthy’ foods seems scary, I know, but in the long run you will find it easier to achieve your goals whilst maintaining a healthy mentality.
It can also be really helpful to take a break from social media, or unfollowing unhelpful accounts that trigger emotions which lead you to binge eat.
Binge eating can become severe when it affects your daily life. If you feel yourself avoiding social events with food, eating very little to compensate, having digestive issues, losing or gaining weight quickly, losing your periods or having irregular periods, or engaging in behaviours that alter your weight and digestion (such as vomiting, taking diet pills, laxative use or excessive exercise) then it is important that you seek some professional support and advice.
If you think your binge eating is severe, I recommend you make an appointment with your GP to check your physical health and consult a Registered Dietician or Registered Nutritionist for advice. Also, reach out to your family and friends because the more support you have the better!