7 Helpful Tips to Stop Binge Eating

Note: This is a guest post by Andrew Bolis.

Weight loss, the million dollar question, how do I lose weight? Well I got to ask you, how did you gain the weight in the first place?

Being overweight isn't the real problem, it's just a symptom of overeating. Forget dieting and exercising.

In order to lose weight and keep it off you need to get to the root of the problem. If you are overweight and are trying to just exercise or diet then you are trying to cover up your unconscious overeating with a bandage. Underneath the bandage the overeating habits will still be there. And even if you were to lose the weight, you won’t be able to keep it off unless you take a deep look at why you eat.

Binge eating is the most common overeating mechanism. Binge eating is simply eating too much food. Often people binge eat to deal with stress, fear, anger or other tough emotions. A common binge eating episode is eating a whole tub of ice-cream at the end of a stressful day. Another common binge eating episode is dieting and crashing. This was my biggest problem when it came to weight loss. I would diet extremely, eating too little, and I'd be able to keep it up for a few days. However on the 6th or 7th day I would crash, and binge eat – basically eating all the fatty sugary foods I've been avoiding.

Binge eating is something I personally dealt with for years. Which is why I wanted to give you 7 tips to stop binge eating, or avoid binge eating in the first place.

1. Do NOT diet.

Dieting doesn't work. I've tried all the diets. I would be able to keep a diet up for a few days. But then I would have a day where I would crash, and binge eat. Rather than trying to diet to lose weight, try to slowly improve your eating habits. Instead of eating 5 junk foods a day, try eating 4 for the next 7 days. Once you have done that successfully then trying eating 3 junk foods for the next 7 days etc.

2. Eat fatty or sugary foods in controlled moderation.

Do not deprive yourself of foods you crave. Otherwise you will keep increasing your craving for that food. One day you will crash and binge on that food. Eat fatty and sugary foods you craved in controlled moderation. Control the portion size. It's not a good idea to order a whole large pizza for yourself if you only plan on eating 2 slices. Rather it's better to order a personal sized pizza.

3. Understand that weight loss is HARD.

Commercials for weight loss products make weight loss look so easy. It's NOT. Loosing weight and keeping it off is one of the toughest goals one can achieve. However you can achieve it slowly over time. Trying to lose weight too quickly by eating very little or exercising for extremely long sessions will not work. It will lead you to crashing and binge eating.

4. Forgive yourself.

There will be days where you are too week to say no, and will binge eat. It's ok, forgive yourself. Don't let the feelings of guild creep in. Don't try to be a perfectionist. You are NOT perfect. Rather forgive yourself, and move on. If you let feelings of guilt and disappointment creep in, you probably will feel overwhelmed, give up, and binge eat some more.

5. Tell a friend.

Tell a trusted close friend of family member about your binge eating or overeating habits. More often than not they will be very supportive. They will even ask you what they can do to help. Request that they ask you every now and then about your progress with improving your eating habits. This will help you stay accountable with your commitment to stop binge eating.

6. Read up on how to stop binge eating.

If you can't stop binge eating, and this is a very serious problem for you then make a commitment to get it handled. Read everything you can find about the subject. You can start by reading many of the tips articles I have on my website.

7. Team up with others who are trying to stop binge eating.

Check out the Food Addiction online support group. It is free to join and will keep you motivated.

Andrew Bolis writes on the subject of binge eating at his website.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I am surprised to see no mention of drinking water in this list. Sometimes, when we think we’re hungry, we are actually just thirsty and drinking water would quell the craving.

    OTOH, I am not an expert on binge eating, and perhaps this is not applicable in that specific circumstance.

  • I so understand that this is not the point of this post on any level, but man do I want a double double.

  • I was a compulsive overeater. But, since I was also a compulsive exerciser. So, you couldn’t tell I had any issues with food unless you saw me devour my meals: second, thirds, and even fourths were not uncommon. Why did I eat like that? My parents grew up very poor and showed their love for me and my 3 younger sisters by making sure we always plenty of everything deliciously sugary, fatty, and spicy to eat. No real affection. Just food. It took many years of seriously thinking about all those issues to slowly overcome my compulsive overeating. Food was nothing short of an emotional panacea for me. I’d overeat if I was happy, excited, sad, mad, afraid, anxious, or simply bored. As I learned to start dealing with those powerful feelings more directly and why I felt them, the need to overeat slowly disappeared. That’s what I try to do on my blog — teach people how to deal with those underlying emotions that we all try to mask or stuff with food so we don’t have to numb those feelings with food so much. I love my new freedom from food! I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. I couldn’t pass a fast food restaurant, even if I had just eaten a huge meal at home, without my mouth watering for a burger and fries! Now, I look at that photo of the In-N-Out Meal (which by the way I could have easily eaten all of it all by myself in about 20 minutes back then!) and it does absolutely nothing for me. I could just as easily be looking at photos of flowers or rocks — pretty colors and shapes, but no longer considered food (except in emergencies) in my book.

    Another thing that really helped me was water fasting. I could never diet. But, fasting is a way of breaking old habits all at once, detoxing the body, and resetting our taste buds (and thinking, though that’s more difficult) to not even want toxic foods. Now, my meals are 2/3 raw foods, I feel more alive and energized all the time, and best of all I don’t even have to exercise to keep the body shape and size I want (but I do anyway b/c I have so much excess energy to burn!). For all who are interested, I chronicled my water fast in a “Fasting Log” at http://shanelyang.com/2008/07/03/fasting-log-day-1/ that explains exactly how to do it and all the risks and benefits. Good luck, Everyone! : )

  • High stress month meets birthday party tonight, a jackpot binge night for this stress eater. A month off the wagon, I am hoping to get things back in order by next week (all summer visitors will be gone and life can go back to normal). Right now, all I can say is I understand how the python feels after eating a cow.

    Thanks for the list, I will be looking into it.


  • I’ve never really had a problem with weight, but I do get a bit of a belly if I’m not careful. I try not to be too worried about the whole thing – I think people can spend far too much time and energy worrying about this. But then I know it’s easy for me to say since I’ve always been reasonably slim.

  • Hi, I am a person vexed with searching solutions on sites for weight loss. Of course, sometimes binge eating can also be one of the reasons for overweight! So, your information could help me somewhat when the weight problem caused by binge eating.

  • C Horan

    This article gives the impression all overweight problems are emotional and down to binge eating. This is not the case. Some people just just do not have the right regulatory pattern to naturally know the right amount to eat – One apple aday over the number of calories expended can cause a person to put on lbs over a period of time. This article, like others on the subject simplifies the matter too much.

  • For a long time, I was unable to control myself on any diet to any real extent. I think this has a lot to do with the negative, beat-yourself-up mindset that a diet creates.

    However, I eventually stumbled upon some books that took a new view to diets: eating well to stay healthy. For me, all of the additional, healthy years that can be had from healthy eating is well worth the effort, and eating is not a chore because of it.

    For more, look into the work of Roy L Walford.

  • My boyfriend is a personal trainer and I have been an athlete all my life; and since we’ve both been working out a lot, we’ve decided to increase our protein intake and monitor the carbs…What I’ve found is that when I cut back on eating the things I’m used to, it only makes me crave them more…It definitely helps to not starve yourself or prohibit yourself from eating the foods you generally enjoy. The key to eating healthier is (as you’ve already stated), eating in moderation as well as exercising and getting plenty of rest :)

  • Sid Savara mentioned increasing water intake, which is a good decision.

    Some other points would be:
    -Eat more often, but less total food. This is to help reduce binge eating later in the day after missing a meal.
    -Many fad diets suggest portion control. Chris Shugart knows the flaw to this system: “Telling someone to stop eating before they’re satisfied is like telling someone to stop having sex right before they climax.” Volumize your diet with vegetables. You can have as many, great-tasting vegetables as you want because they’re very low in calories. As an added bonus, they’re very nutritionally beneficial!
    -Watch your carbs. Don’t eat them unless you deserve them (post-exercise). Stay away from the refined stuff, please!
    -Just do it! It sounds hard, but once you start to alter your eating habits, the cravings go away in a couple weeks.

    Those are a few things to think about. I encourage others to try a fat loss diet out if they need to lose some weight!

  • Grammar Nazi

    week? guild? weak? guilty? :)

  • Overeating is the biggest key to keeping your weight under control. I know that when I’m under stress I use food to help calm my nerves, I have to make a conscious effort to not eat just to sooth my nerves

  • I thought this article was very helpful and it motivated me to get over my eating problem. I am going to try. Starting today.

  • your site seems helpful but one reason i don’t like surfing to unknown, or not well known binge sites is because they seem to not think about the binger “FIRST” . they think about the general public first. because they always have a huge picture of fast food on the page. does this not trigger people? if i am coming to a help site”7 Helpful Tips to Stop Binge Eating” i don’t want to be triggered or challenged with pictures of foods i want to binge on. how is this helpful? you might want to help, but it is defeating the purpose.

  • Every diet i have tried has failed and this was due largely because I am an emotional eater. I would always go for the fridge when i am bored and food is always on my mind. I tend to want sweets when I am stressed too.

    Currently I am trying a online program through http://www.totellwellness.com to help me stop the compulsive eating and binging so far I am liking it and it has open my eyes to how I eat foods and checking my emotional state.

    I really enjoy their online videos which go through the exercise programs, it feels as though you have a coach working with you the entire time.