Holiday parties are in full swing. And so may be binge eating for those of us who feel guilty about partaking in the foods -- and drink -- of the season.
What is binge eating?
Binge eating is officially defined as eating a larger amount of food that would normally be eaten within a short period of time (two hours or so) and feeling out of control when you do it. It's definitely subjective as to the actual amount of food that's involved. Some of us may feel like we binge eat even if it's a relatively small amount of a food we feel guilty about eating.
If you binge eat as often as once a week for a period of three months or more, you may be dealing with binge eating disorder, which is the most common eating disorder. It's frequently seen among people who struggle with poor body image, who follow restrictive diets, and/or are socially isolated.
How can you stop binge eating?
Nourishing yourself physically and emotionally is important to stopping binge eating. Consider the following as first steps in helping to free yourself of the problem.
- Stop dieting. Diets limit both the amount we eat as well as the types of food. The consequence can be that you don't eat enough and get too hungry. Combine that with believing certain foods are off-limits because of their calorie, fat or carbohydrate content, and you have a perfect set-up for a binge. Learn to eat intuitively, using your body's wisdom to tell you what, when and how much to eat.
- Get support. As binge eating is increasingly recognized as a real problem for many people, resources for getting help are growing. Check out the Binge Eating Disorder Association to find a number of resources, including a database of health professionals with expertise in treating the problem. While our year-round program offers help for binge eaters, Green Mountain at Fox Run is kicking off 2012 with the special workshop “Why Can’t I Stop Overeating? Mastering Binge Eating, Emotional Eating and Compulsive Eating,” January 8 – 14, 2012.
- Written by Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, owner and director of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women's retreat for healthy living without dieting. You can read more tips for overcoming eating struggles on Green Mountain at Fox Run's blog A Weight Lifted.