How to Beat a Binge
Binge eating behavior usually has an emotional etiology. Pure hunger eating almost never reaches the mindless frenzy that characterizes a binge. If you are a person who is prone to binge eating behavior, the following are some ideas that may help you.
- Brain activity studies have shown hat the typical binge lasts from anywhere from 8-20 minutes. If you can find something to distract yourself for this amount of time you may be able to avoid a binge. Think of a list of active things you can do, such as taking a walk (away from food), looking at You Tube, putting on some music and dancing, cleaning the floor, folding laundry, etc.
- If the distraction did not work, the next idea to focus on is to SLOW DOWN! You don’t want to shovel in half a cake before you realize what you are doing. A good way to slow down is to eat something crunchy and low calorie before you move on to your binge food. An example of this is to eat an apple before you start in on the cookies. This can be effective because a person about to binge usually has a lot of built-up emotional tension. The biting and crunching on the apple can relive some of this tension and then you will eat three cookies instead of twelve. People can also benefit from squeezing a ball of play-dough under the table at a tense meeting or during a contentious phone call.
- Never eat out of the container the food comes in, such as the cracker box or the ice cream carton. Binge eating is mindless eating behavior and we want to bring it back to more mindful eating. Take the food out of the container and put it on a plate or in a bowl.
- Brushing your teeth when you feel like bingeing can help signal your brain that eating is done. Also, the strong mint flavor left in your mouth may make certain foods taste bad. Another trick is to use some original Peppermint Listerine. You may want to dilute it a little before you gargle. Swish it in your mouth for at least 20 to 30 seconds. The alcohol and the phenol in the Listerine have a numbing effect on your taste buds and again, food doesn’t taste right.
- Finally, when the binge is over, it is important to understand what caused it and what you can do to prevent further episodes. When looking at the stressors in your life, you must determine what you can change and what you have to learn how to accept. If you have no idea what causes your bingeing, you may need to see the help of a professional psychologist. He or she may be able to help you uncover deep-seating emotions or traumas that are manifesting themselves as a binge. A good behaviorist can also help you devise a plan to release or deal with these emotions in a more positive way.