As discussed in earlier posts, binge eating can be a difficult problem to identify, especially by people who are suffering from it.
After understanding that further dieting does not help reduce binging, the next challenge is to find ways to improve your relationship with food (among other things like self worth and self esteem).
One of the first steps to decrease binge eating is to start eating 3 meals per day along with a few snacks. By eating regularly, you will avoid feeling deprived and very hungry, which contribute to binges. Your body will start to expect nourishment on a regular basis (rather than sporadically) and will better digest and metabolize the energy. Your mood is also likely to improve since you won’t be swinging between feeling very hungry and too full.
Sometimes when our relationship with food is skewed, so are our signals of hunger and satiety. So it is not always easy to listen to these signals and only “eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full”. By having a routine with meals and snacks, you don’t have to rely on those signals. The ultimate goal is to listen to your internal cues but that takes time and practice.
Ideally you want to eat every 3-4 hours. Planning out meals and snacks may seem time consuming at first, but once you get into the habit, it becomes easier. It can help to use a guide to determine what to eat over an entire day (like the food guide) or even an outline of a meal plan that suggests ways to include the food at meals and snacks. Over time, you will find that you can plan out your meals and snacks in you head rather than rely on a written plan.
For example, most adults require:
One example of how those requirements look in terms of food is:
Planning a routine visit to the grocery store is a good start to having healthy food on hand- so make sure you make time during the week for a shopping trip.
Focusing on balanced meals can also help to reduce binging. The combination of protein, carbohydrates and fibre (from the meat and alternatives, starchy foods/grain products and vegetables) will help to sustain you between meals. However, it is important to remember that eating perfectly is not necessary! It is ok and certainly normal to have a less balanced meal occasionally.