Binge eating: Here are the signs to watch out for

At some point in our lives, most of us have overeaten. However, is it just a one-time thing or something serious that we need to look into?

BEAT, an eating disorder charity, estimates that 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, with binge eating accounting for 22% of these cases. Binge eating is when a person feels overwhelmed by the want to eat that once they begin it's hard to stop consuming enormous amounts of food in a short period, often even when they're not hungry,

What causes a binge?

Binge eating is inextricably linked to emotions and can be triggered by stress, sadness, sorrow, loneliness, or boredom. Stress is a 'significant trigger for binge eating because it causes the body to produce more cortisol (the stress hormone), which the mind then has to balance off with serotonin (the feel-good hormone),' says Emily Hall, Hypnotherapist and founder of Fresh Forward. Other causes of binge eating include low self-esteem and a strained connection with oneself.

What are the signs of a binge eater?

There are specific indications to look out for and the most significant sign is someone eating a large amount of food in a short period. Hall told The Sun:

Binge eaters won’t generally eat in front of others because they’re saving the calories for a binge, plus they often avoid social situations especially where food is involved.
You can still have a binge eating issue and not be overweight.
Some binge eaters will have a binge and then starve themselves in between so as not to put on weight.

How to put an end to binge eating?

Because it is your mind, not your body, that craves unhealthy foods, you must first work with your mind to overcome a binge eating problem. Improving your relationship with yourself and lowering stress are both vital since a chaotic mind implies a chaotic diet. Here are other things you can try:

Get in touch with your feelings: This will help you in deciding what is triggering your mind to indulge in binge eating behaviour. You can then work on those things specifically to avoid them in the future.

Stop being so hard on yourself: Food always provides quick gratification and as such, it is essential to cut ourselves some slack. Stop berating yourself and start treating yourself as you would your best friend.

Social media usage should be limited: We all know on an intellectual level that a lot of things on social media aren't genuine, but it can be tough to realise this when you don't feel good about yourself. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, which can easily cause a binge.

Press the pause button: Many of us have jam-packed schedules, whether it's due to job, social obligations, or family obligations. As a result, it's critical to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

The best way to put an end to binge eating, however, is to visit a professional who is experienced with eating disorders. Managing and overcoming mental health conditions look different for everyone, so it is integral to get treatment that has been designed to fit your specific needs.

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