Binge eating is when an individual consumes a large amount of food in a short amount of time. People who binge eat often crave specific types of food but are unable to be in control of the amount of food they eat. Binge eating can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and depression. People who binge eat at least once a week for 3 months may have Binge Eating Disorder (BED), the most common eating disorder in the United States.
People who suffer from Binge Eating Disorder tend to eat more quickly than others, even when not hungry. Did you know that you may be able to prevent a binge eating episode if you eat slower?
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to register feelings of fullness.
Ghrelin is a hormone that plays an important role in appetite regulation. Ghrelin levels will typically rise before a meal, when your stomach is empty. Ghrelin levels then decrease shortly after eating, when your stomach is full. Taking time to thoroughly chew your food and allow your body to digest food will allow for satiety factors to kick in. When eating fast, you’re not giving your body enough time to recognize that you ate, so you may still feel hungry.
Tips for eating slow:
- Set your intention
- Put your fork down in between bites
- Thoroughly chew your food
- Enjoy and savor the food you are eating
- Eat in a comfortable environment
- Eat with minimal distractions
- Have a drink with your meal
- Designate time for your meals
- Enjoy conversation
The first step in overcoming binge eating is identifying behaviors that lead to the problem and finding ways to eliminate them. Speaking to a behavioral therapist is also a good idea if you’re having trouble developing good habits. A behavioral therapist can help determine the severity of the disorder and recommend actions you can take to practice good eating behaviors and get in control of your diet.
Get Control of a Binge Eating Problem
For those of us with a disordered eating problem, it can also help to have someone you can talk to on a daily basis, whether it is through a partner, family, a friend or binge eating support groups.
Getting control of a binge eating problem is essential to prevent more serious problems in the future and eating meals more slowly is a good place to start. Fortunately there are many healthy lifestyle strategies that can be incorporated into everyday life that can develop healthy eating behaviors and reduce episodes of binge eating. Start with cutting up food or taking small bites, which can slow down the eating process and can reduce anxiety since not as much food is taken in at one time.