You’re stressed out at work, and the only thing that seems to make it better is shoving your face full of junk food. Or you’re fighting with your significant other, and instead of working it out, you eat your feeling and end up regretting it later. Maybe you’re just outraged, and instead of punching a pillow, you demolished an entire pint of ice cream. It seems that the only thing that can calm our nerves or feelings is to eat something. Eating is like a tranquilizer.
Binge eating is a common problem, so don’t blame yourself. I used to be an icon of binge eaters. Whenever something wrong happened, I stuffed my tummy with something. Did it work? Yes, of course. But then I felt guilty and ashamed that I could not stop myself from taking hundreds or even thousands of calories in 10 minutes. The result? At the age of 30, I was almost 250 pounds. But I rolled my sleeves. And I got rid of this bad habit by learning how to handle my negative emotions by exercising and having a healthy lifestyle.
The first step I made was to understand that I was a binge eater, not someone who just liked eating. Here are the typical symptoms I experienced.
As I ate, I felt like I had no control over what I was doing
When the binge came, I ate until I felt sick. I couldn’t stop. I put a big box of ice cream in front of me, and I finished it. When I was on my way, I ordered 2-3 burgers and stuffed them all inside me. I felt out of control while eating. I couldn’t resist the food. After bingeing, I felt ashamed and like a failure.
Of course, before eating, I had decided to eat moderately, but I couldn’t stop. After a few bites, I felt a sort of release and enjoyment that pushed me toward eating more and more.
I ate even though I wasn’t hungry
Food is often considered a nutritional source when people think about food. However, eating was not about getting the proper nutrients for me. For me, eating brought happiness and well-being. I ate for pleasure, even though I wasn’t hungry.
My binge eating was a way to cope with stress, fatigue, or boredom. Whenever I had a bad day, I would turn to it as a way to comfort myself.
I ate really fast to get happiness as soon as possible
I was eating fast and not paying attention to what I was putting in my mouth. In my rush to get food into my system, I totally ignored everything else. And, in most cases, unhealthy foods. The majority of my diet consisted of processed foods and sugary snacks. You know, it was easy to get access to them anywhere. Of course, I didn’t get the nutrients my body needed—just an enormous amount of sugar, fat, and artificial ingredients. Of course, I gained weight and felt sluggish.
I felt guilty or ashamed after eating
Binge eating left me feeling guilty or ashamed. And it led to a vicious circle, where I felt terrible about myself and then engaged in more binge eating. Of course, that was damaging both physically and mentally. It was so important to break this cycle if I hadn’t wanted to end up with an unhealthy fat guy at the age of 30. Luckily, I was strong enough, and I made it.
What did I do to stop binge eating?
- I recognized the signs. As I mentioned initially, the first step was to understand I have a severe problem. You might also have binge eating problems if you suffer the same symptoms.
- I sought out the causes. Stress or difficult emotions may lead to this behavior. Others may binge eat as punishment for wrongdoing. Some people simply have difficulty regulating their food intake and overeat frequently. For me, it was stress, so I needed to find an alternative method to handle it: exercise.
- I made a plan on how to avoid it. I got rid of all the junk from my kitchen. Now I eat mindfully. I only eat when I’m hungry. I eat five small portions of healthy meals daily to avoid hunger attacks.
- To prevent binges, I avoid triggers. Whenever possible, avoid foods or situations that trigger your binges. For example, I don’t have chocolate at home, which was my favorite binge food.
- I talked about my problem with my friends and family. It is not easy to talk about something we feel ashamed of, but opening and telling the truth helped me be honest and make the decision.
- I pay attention to sleep enough. A tired body forces us to eat for pleasure, energy, and as a form of compensation for exhaustion. So, tiredness increases the risk of binge eating. I always have at least 7 hours of deep sleep every night.
With the techniques mentioned above, I could overcome my binge eating. I didn’t turn to a therapist for help, but I suggest you do it if you see no results. Now, I feel myself much better in my skin. I have lost almost 50 pounds and look better than ever (my wife said, not me). I hope my story will help you!