Binge eating can destroy a low fat diet plan. The behavior often results from emotional disturbances. Depression brought on by stress at home or in the workplace could be a major factor. Feelings of pressure can lead to bouts of eating that offer a few moments of pleasure to relieve the pain of overwhelming stress. Binge eaters will partake in this unhealthy eating habit despite the consequences of weight gain, increasing cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack.
When Self Control Breaks Down
Binge eating often starts with the efforts to control over eating. At some point, dieters find themselves unable to sustain the self-control needed to stop overeating. At some point, they give in to the desire to overeat in a big way, partaking in a binge. These short bursts of over-indulging in food result in increased calorie intake, beyond those a person can burn each day.
Binge eating gives its victims temporary peace of mind. Letting down the barriers they put up to resist food urges sets them free from the limitations they have set for themselves. While they eat, they focus on the pleasure of eating, rather than boredom, depression, loneliness or anger that inspires the desire to over eat in the first place. Because these negative feelings are rooted in self-imposed discipline, rebelling brings a brief moment of genuine peace.
The joy of binge eating is in the present moment. The victim can worry about excessive weight gain later, because the ice cream tastes good right now. If there are few avenues of self-fulfillment or relief from stress in a person’s life, binge eating can be tempting; especially if it has been shown to give comfort in the past.
Consequences of Binge Eating
There are nasty consequences to binge eating; not only the prospect of gaining weight. Following a spell of binge eating, the victim feels ashamed of the behavior and becomes filled with self-disgust. In spite of these strong feelings, any memory of these after-effects is pushed aside when the temptation to escape stress with binge eating arises next time.
An interesting aspect of binge eating is that not every binge eater becomes depressed about the resulting weight gain, even if it leads to serious obesity. Some simply place no importance on a healthy or attractive figure.
Taming the Binge Beast
Repetitive binge eating often alerts the victim to the problem but is rarely enough to break the cycle. Compulsive binge eating will only stop after the victim recognizes the feelings and thought patterns that trigger the behavior. Breaking the binge eating pattern relies on setting up a series of small but life-changing routines.
One particular style of preparation can help a binge eater break the behavior. This behavioral tactic works with all problems related to self-control. The trick is to find a distraction that takes the mind off of food. Finding another activity that involves repetitive motions can be a big help. Activities such as knitting, crochet, paper folding and other crafts can allow binge eaters to keep their hands busy on other projects instead of reaching for food. The creative aspects of these activities offer outlets for stress that can eliminate the need for binge eating in the first place.
Some simply lack discipline in general and can benefit from regular meal times and set portion sizes. Keeping a lot of food eaten during the day, displayed in a prominent place, such as a refrigerator, can help eaters keep their daily food intake in perspective.
When other methods fail, journaling usually prevails. While it requires the greatest time commitment, it is also the most effective at helping binge eaters identify the source of the problem and find other ways to cope with it. Journaling also prevents dieters from fooling themselves about their eating habits.
Dieters should write down what they ate and how they felt just before eating, how hungry they were that day and the daily stressors affect that day. Over time, they can chart these factors on a graph and note similarities in days or times of day when binge behavior occurs. Writing the information down externalizes the events, allowing the dieter to see the events as if they were happening to someone else, making it easier to recognize patters and change behaviors.