Allow me to start by saying, if you struggle with binge eating you are not weak, you do not have an issue with will power and you can gain freedom from this problem.
Before we look at some of the strategies you can use to resolve binge eating, let's look at why this problem can develop in the first place.
Binge eating can be defined as a behaviour that involves eating an excessive amount of food in one sitting and the behaviour may feel out of your control.
Binge eating can occur for a number of reasons and throughout this article I am going to discuss 3 of the reasons that I see most often and what you can do to resolve them
Reason #1 You are under eating
Sounds crazy I know but hear me out.
Quite often, people who engage in binge eating tend to feel so guilty or angry with themselves that they make an effort to minimise the "damage" done by skipping breakfast or trying to eat smaller, lighter meals throughout the day.
A lot of binge eating tends to happen later on in day, typically in the afternoon or evening.
This means, most people who engage in this behaviour wake up without an appetite. Naturally it seems like a good idea to skip breakfast or to perhaps run out the door with nothing more than a coffee and maybe a quick piece of toast.
The problem with this is by mid afternoon you are going to experience a severe drop in blood sugar levels and your body is going to NEED food fast.
When blood sugar levels are low you will lose all ability to make a wise choice and you are going to want to eat carby food, fatty food, sweets, salty food or maybe all of the above and more.
When blood sugar levels are low you are more likely to engage in binge eating and before you know it, a vicious cycle of over eating followed by under eating begins.
Reason #2 You are nutrient deficient
It's no coincidence that binge eating can occur after a period of strict dieting or under eating.
When our nutritional needs are not being adequately met, nutrient deficiencies can develop.
These deficiencies affect our digestion, our nervous system health, our energy and our ability to control our eating.
Something as common as low magnesium, sodium or potassium can have a huge effect on our ability to exercise control with food and eating.
These deficiencies can trigger intense cravings for sweets, salty food or large volumes of food. Unfortunately, fast, processed food further perpetuates these deficiencies and so vicious cycle number 2 begins.
Reason #3 You are stressed or struggling to deal with uncomfortable emotions
Eating is a lovely way to soothe a stressed nervous system. Unfortunately when we are highly stressed or experiencing prolonged periods of stress, sensible eating doesn't seem to do the trick and we may find ourselves engaging in binge eating in an unconscious attempt to try to feel better.
Skipping meals, drinking coffee on an empty stomach and under eating during the day sends the body into a stressed state and eventually, you will develop to urge to do something to soothe it.
There are a number of effective strategies that I use with clients to resolve binge eating. Some of these strategies include:
1. Making sure you're eating enough food at regular intervals throughout the day to support healthy blood sugar balance.
When blood sugar levels are balanced it is much easier to do what is wise for your body.
Certain herbs and nutrients can support blood sugar balance if other underlying issues are also at play.
2. Ensuring you are receiving all of the essential nutrients your body needs to thrive. This means, focusing on eating bio-available protein, healthy high quality fats and easy to digest carbs with every meal.
Once this basic foundation is in place, it may be necessary to supplement with key nutrients for a short period of time if severe deficiencies are present.
3. Supporting nervous system health and managing stress. There are a couple of different ways to go about supporting your nervous system and a combination of techniques is typically most effective.
Hypnotherapy is a lovely tool that rapidly reduces stress and the symptoms of anxiety and overwhelm. In addition to this, herbal medicine can support you in feeling calm and in control, there are herbs available that support sugar cravings due to stress, sleeplessness and other symptoms that develop when the nervous system struggles to relax.
In addition to relaxation practices and supplemental support (if necessary) you can begin to learn to eat in a way that support nervous system health and resilience. As you do, it becomes very easy to gain control over unwanted behaviours Behaviours like binge eating only exist when the deeper need is not being met. Together we will work to discover what that deeper need is and develop strategies to resolve what is triggering the eating. Schedule a free discovery call to learn more about how I can support you