Binging is one issue that so many women deal with, and a quite perplexing one at that, because so many of us have a hard time finding the reasons for binging to begin with. Binging causes both emotional and physical problems for women, young girls, and even many men. Yet, something about the entire binging cycle makes it incredibly hard to stop. It’s not only physically painful, but also mentally exhausting. Day after day, you wake up and want things to change, but somehow it happens again and again, no matter how many times you promise to stop. I can say this because I’ve been there many times, I know how difficult it is. Even at a low weight, I still had a problem overeating and binging, until I did some hard work, and really dealt with myself to find the reasons for binging to begin with. Once I did, I was able to overcome the issue easily, even though it took hard work and awareness on my part for many months and years. If you need help to stop binging, consider some of these reasons for binging that I found were the most prevalent in my own life. I realize they might differ a bit from your situation, but I find for most women, they’re very similar to their own.
One of the biggest reasons for binging is the fact that some area in your life is causing loneliness. This can come from physically losing someone, living with someone who doesn’t understand you and makes you feel lonely, friends who leave you, moving, having trouble at a job that makes you feel alone, or many other reasons too. If this is the case for you, try your best to meet new friends, allow yourself to grieve from the loss of a relationship, or allow yourself to find new areas in your life that make you feel full. Find new hobbies, find new people to hang out with or relate to, and find someone to confide in.
Another reason might be that you have people in your life and perhaps a good job, but something just doesn’t make you happy, leaving you empty. If something in your life is leaving you feeling empty inside, be sure to acknowledge that and address it. Then, work to change it so that you can heal the real reason behind the binging.
3. Food Addiction
One chemical reason you can’t quit binging is because you’re addicted to certain foods that are like drugs to your brain and body. Sugar is one of the worst causes for food addictions, and one of the number one things women binge on. Starchy carbohydrates, especially processed ones, also turn to sugar in your body quickly, leaving you craving more. Be sure to stop eating all refined sugars and processed, refined carbohydrates. These foods are addicting, and removing them is one of the best things you can do to overcome food addiction. Get rid of it in your home and stop buying it at the store. Fill your home with whole foods. If this sounds boring, then address the reasons you feel you need addicting food in your life. Why? Why doesn’t the idea of whole foods satisfy you? If they don’t, then quite possibly, you’re using food to fulfill something in your life that is unsatisfied for some reason. Food is fuel for your health, and shouldn’t be a fuel for addiction.
4. You’re Always Dieting
Always on a diet? Then your binging will likely always be a problem, because dieting is not the way to live, nor the way to prevent binging. You need to be eating enough during the day, so you’re not starving at night or in the late afternoons when most binges happen. Stop dieting and start eating real food- it’s so much better anyway!
5. You’re over-exercising
Trying to exercise the calories away? If you binge, most likely you over-exercise to try to compensate the next day, or later after the binge. Guess what this causes? A huge appetite, leading to binging later! Over-exercising is not healthy and studies have shown it doesn’t really help you lose weight. In fact, it just makes you hungry and tired, leaving you more susceptible to binging. Exercise no more than 45 minutes a day most of the time. Mix it up between cardio and strength training, and then try yoga sometimes too. This is plenty of activity for your body, and will keep your appetite and metabolism regular. Be sure you eat something with protein, produce, and healthy carbs right after your workout to refuel your metabolism as well.
6. You’re Stressed
Coming home after work sometimes, I’d be so stressed, I’d dive straight into the fridge without a care in the world, grab the highest calorie food in sight like chocolate or nut butter, and just go to town. I was stressed, and my body knew fat would decrease stress hormones like cortisol. The thing is, it takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s full, which is way more time than you probably give yourself before you go back for double portions. One little trick I found was to carry healthy snacks through the day, so that when I got home, I was literally not hungry at all. This also helped me be less stressed, since my body had more fuel to help it deal with emotional and physical stressors. Some of my favorite snacks to have throughout the day to prevent stress are carrots, almonds, celery, red bell pepper slices, dark chocolate, raw coconut treats that I make at home, small containers of pre-made oatmeal, and even raw smoothies. Fueling up all day will ensure you physically give your body what it needs to fight off stress that escalates when you’re hungry and tired because you haven’t eaten enough all day.
7. You’re Trying to Numb
Lastly, the most painful reason most women turn to binging is to numb themselves from a feeling they don’t want to deal with. Pain, loss, anger, embarassment, loneliness, emptiness, low-self esteem, or just boredom with their life are all possible reasons women binge. Being so physically full makes you feel sick, and it’s harder to focus on the pain of whatever else is going on when you fill yourself with food. Yet, as you know, that never works for your benefit, and doesn’t fix the problem. It also makes you feel guilty. I found that journaling, long walks, writing out my thoughts through a blog, and talking with one person in my life I could confide in helped me sort through the things I was trying to numb myself with. It took a lot of time, and it wasn’t easy, but it was the only way I was ever able to stop the binging and starving cycle.
If you’ve ever had a binging problem, I promise you, there is hope for quitting. It all happens when you decide you want more to life than using food as a drug, even if that means dealing with the hard stuff in the meantime. For more resources, check out the National Association of Eating Disorders link below, which can give you further insight, along with additional help for binging and other eating disorders. If you have ever overcome binging, how did you stop?