Binge eating and 3 ways to interrupt this unhealthy habit.
Is your weight creeping up with Bingeing?
Who of us doesn’t know someone that has, at some stage, partaken in Binge eating? Maybe you have tried it yourself. There are times when we want to reward ourselves, so something we have been denied may be used as a ‘comfort’ food, others may use it as some sort of self-flagellation.
Whatever the cause, eating disorders are on the rise. 4.0% of Australians have an eating disorder according to the Butterfly foundation in a 2012 study. Of this number, 47% have a Binge eating disorder, with both males and females equally having this problem.
The beauty of what I do is that, quite often, we don’t need to know how this all started, or what the precipitating cause was. Often however, such causes are realized as we go through some of the more advanced techniques. But for those of us who have experienced binge eating at odd moments or who have sugar cravings and a tendency to overindulge, this article is for you.
I am going to outline 3 very simple ways to interrupt the urge to binge eat so that you will have other options and choices. By doing these really easy things, you can prevent weight changes, mitigate the negative impacts upon your health and prevent food from taking over your life.
Why is it important to interrupt your binge eating?
There are, of course, the obvious suggestions; that binge eating causes weight fluctuations, it can affect your metabolism and lead to other unhealthy practices like throwing up after an episode or feelings of self-loathing.
However there are far more dire side effects for having an eating disorder and these can lead to people experiencing higher rates of mental disorders. It has been reported that up to 97% of these emotional problem can lead to co-morbid disorders. The most common of which are anxiety, depression, substance abuse and personality disorders (NEDC 2010, 2012).
Alongside these problems we can see cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, neurological symptoms and suicide attempts.
So it makes sense that if we interrupt the episode of bingeng before it even begins we stand to be both mentally and physically in better shape.
1. Pattern interrupt
If we can interrupt the process before a fully fledged ‘pig out’ has begun, then the chance of it continuing later is reduced. This, I know, is easier said than done. There is that little voice inside of us that is justifying; I will only have one, I will work it off later, I will have less dinner. Or maybe it’s saying, I deserve this, I work hard and need a treat, and there won’t be the chance to have this particular food/circumstance again.
This voice can be really strong and persuasive. So we need to be able to interrupt it early on. One way to do this is with a different positive internal conversation/or focus. I don’t mean doing an affirmation, but rather finding a more compelling reason to delay the binge.
For example thoughts like; I want to eat a lovely meal out later in the week, I really enjoy feeling energised. Yay I can buy that item of clothing even sooner, or won’t my friends be impressed when they notice the new me. Some sort of focus that has a goal, a measurable outcome that you can imagine instantly, and use it to interrupt the voice that wants to binge.
Positive dialogue is compelling to motivate us and if we can interrupt that ‘tempting’ conversation as soon as possible then the likelihood of eating excessively will be reduced in that moment.
2. Use negativity to your advantage.
Occasionally we need to use a bit of negative internal dialogue to back up the positive if said desire is really strong. I try to encourage people to emote this. By that I mean to create as much emotion as possible around the negative. The stronger the feelings we can create the more intense the belief in the experience.
If you can really focus on how bad the inflammation will be if you eat a lot of sugar, or how sick you may feel and lethargic then the likely hood of wanting the food is reduced. By really investing and remembering the bloated, cramping feelings or maybe just the self-loathing experienced after your last episode of binge eating your desire to repeat this can be dramatically altered.
Have you ever burnt yourself on the stove or an iron? I bet that the next time you are handling similar equipment you are extremely careful not to repeat the experience and pain. You can probably remember the hurt and how exactly you did it. You may use a different burner, turn the hot item away from you, or make sure the surface is even more stable. This is how we learn, from experience and we have the ability to use similar strategy’s with our eating.
What did you eat, how much did you eat, why did you eat it and then how crappy did you feel after it? Were you annoyed you broke your flow of healthy eating? Did you feel the heaviness of overindulging?
If you have put these feelings and emotions with the positive interrupt above then you have really ramped up the capacity of avoid over indulging.
3. Make it Unappealing
The final quick interrupt is to imagine the food is really gross and disgusting. Perhaps you imagine it has been covered in flies. Yes I know this is the least appealing interrupt technique. But if your goals are to feel healthy, energetic, be in your desired weight range and the positive and negative conversations are not quite enough to stop the cravings, then this little action will amp it up even more.
As you think about putting whatever the fancy of the moment is in your mouth, I want you to imagine that it was left out in the heat and several big blowflies were sitting on it. Really invest in picturing that and how germ filled the food will be. Remind yourself how you could get really sick and what that feels like. Now notice how appealing the food is. Hopefully really UNappealing!.
Do you really want to put something so foul in your mouth?
These 3 little hacks or pattern interruptions can be enough to stop you bingeing and make you feel more in control. By doing them regularly you get better at interrupting the urge to “pig-out”. You get better at making healthier choices and develop a healthier neural pathway or habit.
The food will not dominate your life. These hacks will give you a quick fix allowing more time and opportunity to explore any other issues that may lead you to self-sabotage your health, your weight and your wellbeing.