Los Angeles Christian Counseling
Stress is a normal part of life for many of us. It could be because we are going through something difficult. Maybe we tend to overcommit in our personal, social, and professional lives. Or perhaps we never switch off our numerous devices, which prevents us from being able to just unwind and take it all in. As a result of this overstimulation, we frequently find ourselves looking for methods of self-soothing such as binge eating.For many people, comfort comes from food. And while emotional eating may make us feel wonderful at the time, it frequently has detrimental long-term consequences.
How can we tell if our connection with food is unhealthy? The following are possible indicators that emotional eating may be having a detrimental effect:
Craving particular meal types.
Foods that are the worst for us are typically the ones we choose when we eat to comfort ourselves. When attempting to feel better, people don’t frequently seek healthy foods like broccoli or spinach. Instead, we are lured to fried, fatty foods or sweet desserts.
Although these foods may at first improve our mood, they don’t offer us any genuine nutritional value. Additionally, if we frequently select them, we are more inclined to yearn for them under pressure. This can feed an unhealthy cycle.
Eating more than is appropriate.
We are more likely to overlook the signals our bodies provide us when we are full when we eat emotionally rather than to satiate our hunger. Through thoughtless eating, many people attempt to fill an inner sense of emptiness or attempt to drown painful emotions. However, since the food never fully satisfies the demand we’re trying to meet, this typically results in overindulgence.
Concerns with health and weight gain due to binge eating.
Regular overeating and consuming meals with low nutritional value can cause weight gain and a variety of medical conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart difficulties.
Eating disorders and yo-yo dieting.
If someone is gaining weight because they are eating in an attempt to self-soothe, they may be more prone to often go on diets or miss meals. Others may begin a harmful cycle of bingeing and purging to prevent weight gain. Both of these patterns have the potential to be quite damaging to the body.
Self-esteem issues due to binge eating.
Emotional eating can hurt how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. If it seems we are unable to manage stress in ways that support both our physical and emotional well-being, it can cause us to eat, resulting in decreased self-esteem. This additional difficulty may make it even harder to successfully manage the stress we are already striving to manage.
Why do people binge eat?
Overeating and binge eating are not the same things. On occasion, a lot of folks consume more than they intended to. While attending a party or watching a movie, one could overeat. In other cases, a person could have a routine of regularly consuming unhealthy amounts of junk food.
A stricter definition applies to binge eating. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines binge eating as consuming a lot of food in less than two hours. The individual feels they have no control over what or how much they eat. Additional warning signals of a binge eating session could be:
- Eating in a hurry.
- Eating a lot even though you’re not hungry.
- Eating after feeling satisfied.
- Eating alone because one feels ashamed of how much they are eating.
- Feeling extremely repulsed, guilty, or depressed following the binge.
An individual may eat between 1,500 and 11,000 calories in a single sitting during a typical binge session. Therefore, binge-eaters are much more likely to put on weight. About half of the calories consumed during a binge may still be absorbed, even if someone promptly purges. Regular bingers are much more likely to become obese in the future.
It’s crucial to remember that the majority of overweight or obese persons do not experience periods of binge eating. Numerous conditions, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, hereditary predisposition, and others can contribute to obesity. Although obesity is extremely widespread, bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) are far less prevalent disorders.
Binge eating disorder.
A person with BED won’t vomit or use laxatives to expel their food, unlike someone with bulimia. They also won’t try to make up for binges by fasting or exercising excessively. Although some BED sufferers do attempt to diet, bulimia is more common in persons who continuously restrict their eating in between binges.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1.2% of Americans will experience BED at some point in any given year. In the US, it is the most prevalent eating disorder. Women are twice as likely as males to have BED, and it appears to affect all racial and ethnic groups equally.
Binge eating treatment.
If left unchecked, binge eating can eventually harm both physical and emotional health. Recovery from binge eating requires seeking expert assistance. It is entirely feasible to combat binge eating on your own, but without figuring out and overcoming the root causes, any adjustments you make might not stick.
Try any of the following methods if you think you might have an unhealthily negative relationship with eating:
Become mindful when you eat.
We can start eating healthily by becoming more conscious of our eating behaviors. We pay less attention to what we are doing and might eat more than we intended if we eat in front of a computer while watching TV, or texting. We can start eating more deliberately by removing all distractions and sitting down at a table. This helps us recognize when we begin to feel full because we are properly tuned in to our bodies.
Start eating healthier by beginning with simple measures.
Not all of your eating habits need to be altered overnight. It’s frequently simpler to start with little adjustments. Consider bringing more healthy snacks to work, consuming fewer processed and quick foods, giving up or cutting back on soda, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Ask a qualified specialist for assistance.
You might find it beneficial to speak with a therapist with experience dealing with eating and food issues if you feel like you are having trouble controlling your eating patterns or if you think you could be dealing with an eating disorder. Your efforts to get back on track can be assisted by the encouragement of a sympathetic therapist or counselor.
Some of the preceding advice may be useful if you feel your connection with food has deteriorated or if you are having trouble controlling your eating patterns. As you attempt to create healthier eating habits, exploring them on your own or with the assistance of a competent professional can be beneficial.
You can deal with stress more successfully and productively by making tiny changes at a time, and as a result, self-soothing eating may cease to be a habit. In addition to making us physically feel better, being able to eat healthier can also affect how we feel about ourselves.
Counseling is available for binge eating.
Contact us and speak to a therapist who understands disordered eating patterns. Your therapist will work with you to identify binge eating triggers and discover additional coping mechanisms during therapy.
You could learn, for instance, how to counteract negative beliefs like I’m not good enough with ones like I feel lonely and sad. By refocusing your thinking, you can better understand the situation and accept your circumstances without feeling guilty. By doing this, you’re more likely to find a solution to the issue at hand than to give up in despair.
You could also investigate the root causes of your binge eating in therapy. You and your therapist might talk about emotional dysregulation, problematic interpersonal connections, traumatic events, health problems, or problems with stress management. You may feel less inclined to binge eat after you recognize these factors and start dealing with their repercussions.
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