By: Jessica Johns-Green, LPC
Eating disorders are on the rise, with binge eating disorders leading the way as the standard form of an eating disorder. Post-pandemic life finds many of us living in sweatpants and leggings while working from home. Social isolation gives rise to habits and emotions that are difficult to
manage. Food, especially ‘binge-friendly’ foods high in fat, sugar, or carbohydrate, provides comforting feelings that counteract or numb more distressing emotions. Now that door-dash is a way of life, binge eating has become more difficult than ever to manage.
What is a Binge?
A binge is eating to excess. For some, this may be simply eating beyond a feeling of fulness or continuing to eat when not hungry. For others, a binge may be eating beyond physical discomfort and even until becoming physically sick with a sore stomach or vomiting.
The emotional experience is often one of shame and confusion. “Why did I do that?” or even “Did I do that?” Typically, binges result in a period of cutting back on calories, dieting, or exercising to make up for it. The unintended consequences of binges are low mood, anxiety, poor body image, and guilt or shame. Binge eating behavior often harms our relationships and ability to socialize with others.
A key aspect of binge eating is the cycle of binging and restricting. After binging, the felt need to make up for it makes us likelier to repeat the process with another binge. Binges followed by loading for ourselves or our bodies are another cycle aspect.
Breaking this cycle requires attention and effort after a binge to care for ourselves.
4 Ways to Break the Binge Cycle:
Watch your internal dialogue. Is it kind? Would you say it to someone else who had just binged? If not, check it. You don’t need to stop forcefully self-critical thinking but notice and not accept it as fact – it’s just a thought. Binging is a problem, but it doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s a way of dealing with overwhelming things, but it’s not a character trait or a sign of weakness. Being too critical of yourself will only make it easier to feel shame and binge in the future.
Return to Normal Eating:
Many binges happen later in the day or at night. It feels easy to skip breakfast the following day, but this will only make you more hungry later and more likely to binge. Even though it may feel like you can make up for overeating by eating less, the reality is that our bodies need a steady and predictable food intake throughout the day. Binging causes are multifaceted, but not enough calories are usually a primary risk factor throughout the day.
Curiosity about Emotions:
The answers may not always be clear, but it’s important to start asking – ‘What was happening for me?’ and ‘How have I been feeling?’ Adopting an attitude of curiosity rather than a judgment about binging helps to start asking what a binge helps us manage in life. Discovering this will allow for problem-solving on different ways to manage difficulties without binging.
Adequate Nutrition and Sleep:
Take a look at your day or week leading up to the binge. Were you eating enough? Or, were you restricting calories, cutting out certain foods, or labeling them evil? Are you getting enough sleep? All of these things play into a binge. Inadequate sleep creates more significant cravings for high-calorie foods. Insufficient calories will backfire fire, making it difficult not to overeat when there is an opportunity—cutting out foods that we can label as ‘bad’ fuels cravings. When willpower breaks due to insufficient calories or a tough, stressful day, we will reach for the ‘bad’ foods and over-consume them.
Partly this is because we feel that we will not get another opportunity. Instead, make sure the calorie intake is enough and steer clear of diets that label food groups or types as “bad.” Create a bedtime routine and include a little of what you enjoy with a lot of what is good for you.
Mayo clinic calorie calculator https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calorie-calculator/itt-20402304
Binge Eating Disorder Therapy in Katy, TX
Struggling with your relationship with food and ready to find a way forward? Ready to heal and gain power over these kinds of issues? We provide couple’s counseling, as well as, other mental health services. To begin couples counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information on toxic families and eating disorders.
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists.
- Find ways to thrive in your relationship!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!