5 Steps To Conquer Food Binges

Many eating disorder experts will argue that binge eating can stem from unmet emotional or psychological needs, but conquering the behavior also requires a practical approach to changing habits.

In addition to working with a therapist or joining a peer-led support group (like Overeaters Anonymous), conquering food binges starts with overhauling your routine and preparing for setbacks so you may better deal with challenges as they arise.

1. Eat before you’re hungry.

According to Dr. Sooji Rugh, obesity expert and founder of weight-loss company GreenLite Medicine, avoiding binge eating involves learning to eat before you’re actually hungry. If you wait until you feel physical hunger pangs, you’re very likely to overeat when you finally sit down with a plate of food. Regular meal and snack times, then, are critical. Eat at those regular times, even if you don’t feel hungry. The idea is hunger prevention, not hunger satiation, she says.

2. Make protein your friend.

A diet rich in protein will help keep you feeling full longer, while preventing binges. Protein, along with healthy fats, helps trigger satiety cues that tell your body it doesn’t need more food. Minimize refined carbohydrates and include more protein and fiber, Dr. Rugh suggests. This will help keep your appetite in check and prevent the extreme hunger that often arises when your diet is overloaded with carbohydrates.

3. Reorganize your kitchen.

Out of sight, out of mind – this is an idea you should make your motto. Arrange your refrigerator and cabinets so healthy options are front and center, while not-so-healthy choices (like your kids’ sugar-filled snacks or treats) are harder to access. Putting treats in locked cabinets or in the back of shelves – or even just putting them away instead of leaving them on the counter or in front of you on the couch – will help reduce binge eating. Some studies from Cornell’s food brand lab suggest that mere proximity to food can trigger binge eating behavior.

4. Make preparation a priority.

Without preparation, you’re much more likely to grab fast food or unhealthy options from your own fridge. Make your weekly shopping and meal planning priority activities. Always have healthy snacks on hand – whether you’re at work, in the car, or at home – so you have access to hunger-curbing eats. On that same note, make meal time important. If you can, take time to prepare your meals with care and sit down to enjoy them with loved ones. This is part of changing the relationship you have with food, Dr. Rugh explains, and realizing that you deserve to take your time with food and nourish your body in healthy ways.

5. Protect your needs.

It’s easy to get triggered into binge eating by social situations, emotional hurdles, or stress. If something or someone in your life seems to contribute to the problem, put your needs first and avoid the trigger in the first place. Taking care of yourself allows you to handle life more proactively than reactively, which will help you cope with the triggers that cause binge eating.

Source: GreenLite Medicine
Image via Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.