How to Stop Binge Eating and
Start Losing Weight
If you've struggled with compulsive binge eating, then you know how hard it is to stop once you've started. The best approach is usually a comprehensive one that deals with the problem directly by identifying and addressing the cause of the problem. To get started, some people enter counseling, some consult their physicians, and others gather information about measures like gastric banding weight loss programs. Seeking help and consulting professionals is a great way to start to move away from unhealthy emotional eating and begin a new, healthy lifestyle.
There are also some ways to help yourself eat better at home. Weight loss, particularly obesity weight loss, can't happen successfully unless binge eating is eliminated, so it's important to develop strategies to prevent it. Many of the following measures are simple, but they do require some practice.
Use a shopping list at the grocery store and stick to it. If you can't stick to it, bring a friend or family member with you to help. Avoid any items that you typically binge on, as they can trigger the behavior. Stock up on healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and stay away from things like cookies, chocolate, and ice cream. If you don't keep the "binge" foods at home, you'll be less likely to have an episode. If you buy any "treats," keep them small.
Never eat from the container. This will tempt you to keep eating. Invest in some small bowls or pre-portion out food in plastic bags to help you resist the urge to grab the entire container. There are also many pre-packaged foods that can eliminate that step altogether. Many companies are using 100-calorie packs for snack foods, and while they're not a solution to the problem, they can help.
Substitute exercise. If you're feeling stressed, stay away from the kitchen. Go outside for a short walk to help combat the feeling instead. Begin learning the signs of stress so you can see when it is coming on.
Snack on nutritious foods. Instead of chips, cookies or ice cream, choose vegetable sticks with low-fat dip, fresh fruit, or low-fat yogurt. Experiment with healthy comfort foods like hot oatmeal, a bowl of soup or stew, or a handful of nuts. You'll be surprised at how these foods can satisfy your cravings.
Get some support. If you're feeling drawn to the kitchen, pick up the phone and call someone instead of reaching for the bag of chips. Ask a few people to function as your support system as you work to get these behaviors under control. That way, they'll understand why you're calling and can help talk you down.
Learn how to meditate. Foster some healthy behaviors that will help you relax and de-stress. Deep breathing and progressive relaxation are both good ways to start.
None of these ideas are meant to take the place of genuine counseling and support for binge eating; they're simply tools you can use to support the work you're doing with whichever weight loss support program you've chosen.