Overeating or binge eating is more common than you think; in fact, approximately 2.8 million Americans suffer from it.
7 Steps to Defeat Overeating
What you might not know is that in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders formally classed overeating as an eating disorder; even more eye-opening is the fact that it is actually 3 times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined.
Overeating statistically affects more young women than any other demographic and it doesn’t discriminate. People from all backgrounds, races, ages, and social classes can and do suffer from overeating.
What is overeating?
Most people can admit that they have overindulged at some point; ordering take-out after a stressful day, finishing off a tub of ice cream to soothe a broken heart, not being able to stop after the first bite of your favorite candy, I can relate so well to this one. I guess you know where I’m going with this and I’m sure you can all relate too.
The difference between overindulgence and binge/overeating is that binge eating is often done in secret and is followed by feelings of shame and guilt.
There are 2 main characteristics of overeating
- Eating a large amount of food in one sitting
- A feeling of being out of control and being unable to stop
It is important to remember that you are in control and you do have the strength to conquer this. By learning more about it, I hope you find the motivation to make these positive changes and in turn begin living your best life!
Causes and Triggers of Overeating
Chronic dieting has become the societal norm with some people taking this to the extreme to drop weight fast, this often results in a rebound effect. This is because your brain is trying to protect you. When you are going through a calorie deficit your brain thinks that you are going to starve, it will start to crave high-calorie foods so that they can be stored as fat, fat = stored energy. This is simply your brain's animal or survival instinct.
Genetics and family
If members of your family have struggled with eating disorders, you are more likely to. When you are young you mimic the behaviors of your peers, so if you see them overeat, you’re probably going to do it too.
Psychological Aspects of Overeating
Depression is associated with overeating; poor body image, low self-confidence, and struggling to manage these negative feelings can all contribute to someone having an eating disorder. It has yet to be decided whether depression causes overeating or overeating causes depression, this is also where the overeating cycle comes in.
The first step is figuring out why you overeat. Find the courage to talk it out with friends, family, and professionals. There is plenty of help out there when you’re ready to reach out.
Are you a believer in self-help? Start by following the tips below…
- Recognise when you are full. You don’t have to clear your plate, stop when you are satisfied
- Don’t focus on dieting, if you want a piece of cake, go for it! Not allowing yourself to have a treat every once in a while will inevitably make the cravings worse, resulting in, yep, you guessed it, overeating.
- Take the time to really enjoy your food, mindfully chew more times than you normally would, bonus – this also helps with digestion.
- Buy foods that require preparation, get into cooking!
- Adopt healthy coping behaviours; get up and go for a walk when you feel like you might binge, learn to meditate and really listen to your body, keep a diary to help distinguish your triggers
- Educate yourself – discover healthy foods and their benefits, find which foods satisfy you. Remember that whole foods are an absolute must when aiming to give your body what it needs.
- Hydrate. Sometimes you think you’re hungry when really you’re just thirsty, aim for 6-8 glasses a day
I fully believe that there should be more focus on moving your body, that doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym all of the time, find what works for you and what you enjoy. Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore.
Do you have a dog? Walk him/her!
Don’t have a dog? Borrow your neighbors! I’m sure they’d appreciate the favor.
Put on your favorite music and dance! My favorite 🙂
The magical thing about exercise is that your body releases ‘happy chemicals’ called serotonin that make you feel good. Now if you were feeling low to start with how amazing is it that we can create our own pick me up just by moving our bodies!
Our bodies are truly amazing. Appreciate your body and all the incredible things it does, give your body the fuel it deserves and I can promise you, you will thrive.
Haven’t you noticed that having body confidence has become a trend? Being comfortable in your body is fashionable, get on board with this movement and love yourself more, you deserve it!
You are not alone.
Since overeating was officially recognized as an eating disorder there is now much more awareness and support available. It is important that you reach out and speak to a medical professional if you feel that your eating habits are impacting your life.
Here are a few useful contacts:
There are SO many support groups out there and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. Look forward to a future healthier you, both in body and in mind.