Do you struggle to stop at one chocolate? Do you turn to food when you’re feeling emotional? Do you want to learn how to stop binge eating? Yes, yes and yes! Comfort eating and binge eating are problems for many women, and they can be difficult to control. Once you’ve decided you want to change your behaviour, read our top tips on how to stop binge eating, and remember that you’re not alone!
We’ve all been there: you’ve had a hard day at work and the kids just won’t stop whining, so when they’ve finally gone to bed, you lock yourself in the pantry and work your way through two packets of biscuits. Then afterwards you feel disappointed with your behaviour – but that doesn’t stop you from repeating the whole cycle in a few days.
Put an end to this unhealthy relationship with food with our top tips on how to stop binge eating.
1. Clean out all the junk food in your grocery cupboard and replace it with healthy food. We all know it’s much better to snack on veggies and fruits than a slab of chocolate or packet of crisps, and this way you won’t be as tempted to binge eat.
2. Now get rid of any other trigger foods. Think about the food you’re most likely to binge on and give it away, or tell the family to finish it, stat — it may not be junk food, but if you eat a whole tub of peanut butter, you’re not doing yourself any favours. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever have peanut butter in your house again, but this will make it easier for you to start to control your emotional eating.
3. Now that you’ve got rid of all the trigger food and junk food in your house, don’t buy any more! Before going grocery shopping, make sure you aren’t hungry and that your emotions are in check. Always go shopping with a list, and stick to it.
4. Start a food diary and make a note of what you eat, your mood, the date and time. Keeping track of what you eat every day and the reasons behind your choices may help you identify — and change — how your mood affects what you eat.
5. Use your food diary to identify your emotional eating triggers. A lot of us binge eat when we’re stressed, bored or unhappy. Figure out what’s happening in your life and pinpoint where the emotional distress is coming from. Do everything you can to make life easier for yourself by getting rid of these sources of stress.
6. If you can’t eliminate sources of stress or unhappiness, find another way to deal with it other than comfort eating. Some of our favourite activities to replace binge eating are exercise, talking to a friend, meditation or even an adult colouring in book. As soon as you are tempted to binge eat, turn to your replacement activity. Before you know it, you will have replaced a bad habit with a good one.
7. Many women who want to know how to stop binge eating forget that the people around them can make a huge difference. Tell your friends and family you’re trying to get on top of your health by eating well and ask them to support you however they can.
8. Up your activity levels. Any exercise, whether it’s gentle or vigorous, increases endorphins, which make us feel good. Try walking, swimming, taking the stairs or having more sex. You’ll feel better about yourself, and you’ll be less likely to comfort eat.
9. If all else fails, do whatever you need to do to distract yourself from binge eating. Find a new hobby, take on more responsibilities at work or repack every cupboard in the house to avoid boredom. Just think about everything you’ll get done, and, more importantly, you’ll be controlling your emotional eating.
10. If you can’t stop comfort eating on your own, get help. Find a psychologist in your area or join an overeaters anonymous group — sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is the key to putting a stop to binge eating.