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Top Tips to Stop Binge Eating

written by: Nichole Bolton • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 12/3/2010

Binge eating is eating a large amount of calories within a short period of time, leading to feelings of shame and guilt. There are a number of tips that can help someone to stop binge eating and get their life back to normal.

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    Binge eating disorder is marked by uncontrollable urges to binge eat, even when feeling full. The urges to overeat can be brought on by a number of things - including boredom, depression, anxiety, happiness, anger and attempts to diet. This eating disorder leads to many feelings of guilt and shame, but it is possible to stop binge eating.

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    Keep a Food Journal

    For many people, keeping a food journal helps them to be accountable for what and when they eat. A food journal involves writing down everything that was eaten during the day and what emotions this created. Some people write in their food journal when they have the urge to binge eat, and they find that this helps them to overcome the urge. Looking back at past entries in a food journal can help to remind a person of the consequences of their binges.

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    Avoid Dieting and Restrictions

    Attempting to diet and restrict calories can lead to increased binging in people with binge eating disorderr. This is due to feeling hungry by the end of the day and overeating to cope with the hunger. The best way for people with binge eating disorder to stop binge eating is to consume healthy, small meals five or six times in a day. Eating breakfast first thing in the morning helps to prevent the hunger later in the day that leads to binging.

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    Increased Protein to Control Cravings

    Many people with binge eating disorder are told that they can stop binge eating by increasing their dietary protein. This is true for many people, as protein leads to a full feeling and takes longer to digest - keeping people full longer. It can be helpful to keep a can of protein powder in the kitchen, and quickly make a protein shake when there is an urge to binge. Protein shakes can be made in a couple of minutes. After 10 to 15 minutes, many people find that their cravings are gone.

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    Therapy to Stop Binge Eating

    Therapy plays a big role in the recovery from any eating disorder. This can be individual therapy, group therapy or even in-patient treatment. Many people with binge eating disorder find it comforting to attend group therapy and meet other people with the same set of problems as themselves. They realize that they aren't alone, and additionally they might find a support person to help them cope with food cravings.

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    Depression Medication to Improve Mood and Decrease Urges

    Some types of depression medications have been shown to help people with binge eating disorder. Anti-depressants aid the brain in producing feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin, which in turn reduces cravings and many of the other symptoms associated with binge eating disorder. Someone with the disorder who is having trouble coping on their own may wish to ask their family doctor about going on anti-depressants.

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    Fish Oil for Binge Eating

    Fish oil can help to stop binge eating by increasing feel good chemicals in the brain. Fish oil also provides the body with essential nutrients, which can help to decrease food cravings. This is a good option for people who do not wish to use medications like anti-depressants. Fish oil can be used in protein shakes or smoothies, or taken as a capsule.

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    Following a few or all of these tips can help someone to stop binge eating and get their life back to normal. Furthermore, dealing with underlying problems - such as depression and anxiety - usually aids the overeating recovery process.

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    References

    WomensHealth.gov: Binge Eating Disorder - http://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/conditions/binge-eating-disorder.cfm

    HelpGuide.org: Binge Eating Disorder - http://helpguide.org/mental/binge_eating_disorder.htm