Not just songs or TV shows – we belong to a generation that binges on food as well. For as long as I can imagine, weight loss has been a constant struggle for me. Even after following a fitness regime, if you are not able to get the desired results, then you need to focus on your eating habits. Chances are that you could be suffering from BED (Binge Eating Disorder) as well.
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It is when we consume a large quantity of food at once. It doesn’t matter if you do it once a week or a month, if you call it a “cheat day” or a way to “treat yourself” – the truth is that binge eating can cause more damage to your body than you can imagine. This brings us to the million dollar question – how to stop binge eating and lose weight?
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The more you binge eat, the harder it will be for you to get in shape. It affects our metabolic activity and can make our body gain a lot of weight in less time. Not only it tampers with our diet, it can have a long-term effect on our overall health as well. Since every individual can have a different trigger and pattern related to binge eating, it is important to identify its root cause. Even if your aim is not to lose weight, you should certainly control binge eating as it can lead to sudden weight gain in the future. Here are some suggestions that can help you do the same.
- Identify the pattern and its root cause
It might surprise you, but almost every binge eater follows a pattern. If you wish to learn how to stop binge eating and lose weight, then you need to identify its triggers. For instance, it happens to me when I’m watching TV shows at night. As I keep watching the show, I keep eating snacks or sometimes ice cream for hours.
Some people simply reward themselves a good meal after a hectic weekend. Though, it gradually leads to binge eating before they can even notice it. Too often, we literally eat our feelings. Whenever we get depressed or feel lonely, we find comfort in eating our favourite food. Gradually, it becomes an eating disorder.
The good news is that it is never too late to accept the fact that you have an eating disorder. Notice the pattern of binge eating and identify its triggers in order to rectify this issue. Once you have acknowledged its root cause, you can easily work on eliminating it or making your way around it.
- Don’t work on a quick fix
Since binge eating is a disorder, you need to work on it in a thoughtful and stepwise manner. When we eat a certain type of food, it affects our brain as well. Consider the example of coffee. You can’t just leave caffeine unexpectedly in a single day since your brain is dependent on it. In the same way, you can’t stop eating certain things out of the blue. This is exactly how food addiction works.
Instead of looking for a quick fix, think of the end game. You need to gradually decrease the portion of certain unhealthy ingredients in your meal. At the same time, you need to regulate how much you are eating. Work on it by taking one step at a time. For some people, it can take weeks or months to give up on binge eating. Give yourself some time and set realistic expectations for yourself.
- Divide your meals
This is one of the best ways to stop binge eating and lose weight at the same time. Yes – sometimes, by eating more often, you can end up losing those extra pounds. Too often, we binge eat when we skip a previous meal and would like to compensate for it. You need to understand that this is not how our body functions.
Eating once or twice a day is extremely harmful to your health. You can easily digest a meal in a few hours and will be empty-stomach for the rest of the day. This will tamper with the metabolic rate of your body and can cause gastric issues as well.
To avoid this, you should divide the overall intake of your food in 5 or 6 meals. According to leading experts, we should have a small portion of the meal 6 times a day. In this way, your stomach would be filled in an ideal manner all day long. You won’t have an urge to eat big portions and can stay light at the same time. Also, it will give you a chance to include more fruits, veggies, and healthy ingredients in your meals.
- Practice the art of steady eating
If you have a strict time for having meals, then chances are that you might be suffering from fast eating problems. A lot of people try to hog as much as they can since they put a time limit to it. Unfortunately, while eating their food at such a rapid pace, they can’t judge when they are already full.
Your aim is not to finish the entire plate or feel stuffed after eating. Instead, you should feel satisfied and energetic. If you eat at a steady pace, then you can easily know when to stop. After a few minutes of starting your meal, you should also take a pause and ask yourself how hungry you are. This will further help you identify if you are really hungry or whether you are eating just for the sake of it.
Once you are able to track your food intake, you can order or prepare your food in the right ratio. At the same time, if you eat slowly, you will also feel more full and content after eating.
- Monitor your post workout meals
Hitting the gym is just a part of a complete fitness routine. Apart from grinding in the gym, you need to restrict your eating habits as well. Too often, it is observed that after a rigorous session in the gym, we end up overeating. Having a sudden urge to eat after an extensive workout is quite natural. Though, you should know what to eat and have all the ingredients in an ideal quantity.
If you will end up binge eating after your workout, then all your efforts would go in vain. Ideally, you should focus on having a protein-rich diet. Don’t include too many carbs and fatty ingredients in your meal. Needless to say, you should avoid fried and grilled food as much as you can. If you have a sweet tooth, then look for low calorie alternatives. Furthermore, you can try to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat in your food.
All of this will help you come up with a complete and nutritive post workout meal. It will let you get the needed nutrients for your body without any unhealthy side effects. You can also consider having a light pre-workout meal as well, so that you won’t feel so hungry after an extensive workout session.
- Change your habits and social environment
If you really wish to learn how to stop binge eating and lose weight, then you need to work on yourself. After knowing what triggers binge eating, you could have noticed a pattern. It is time to focus on your habits related to your eating disorder and break that pattern.
For instance, if you order food or go out with your friends way too often, then you need to restrict it. Set strict guidelines on the amount of food you will order. I know going out with our friends and being social is important. Though, you should control the urge of ordering too much. Even if your friends have ordered way too much, resist the temptation and focus on your meal.
In addition to that, you can go to the kind of places that offer healthy and organic food. Besides meeting your friends at a café or a food joint, you can think of other options. Going out with them for a drive, a morning jog, an evening walk, or any other interesting place can help you control your urge to binge eat.
- Get help from a professional
Most importantly, you should see an expert who can help you overcome your eating disorder. Firstly, you need to identify if it is a habit or if there is an emotional trigger behind it. Just like other eating disorders, it can also be closely linked to depression, anxiety, and other deep-rooted psychological issues. If you are going through a similar problem, then you should get help from a professional therapist.
Besides that, you should also visit a nutritionist, who can help you come up with an extensive diet chart. In this way, you can learn what kind of food you can eat and how much should it be included in your meals. Be honest about your history with the eating disorder. Instead of having a restricted diet, ask your nutritionist to make it more flexible in the start. This will help you complete the transition and develop healthy eating habits without setting too many restrictions.
At the end of the day, you need to understand that your body is a temple and in order to treat it right, you have to regulate your diet. After all, we are what we eat, right? It might not be so easy to give up on binge eating at first, but it will certainly be worth it in the long run.
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