Overcoming Binge Eating Habits - Focusing on a Healthy Life

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : March 30, 2022

Table of Contents

Overcoming binge eating habits – focusing on a healthy life

  1. Overcoming Binge Eating by Eating Right
  2. Can My Beliefs Affect My Health?
  3. Overcoming Binge Eating – Start Right Now!

Binging is very common these days. You, too, must have done so in the recent past. However, if these episodes occur frequently, then it can become an issue. Overcoming binge eating is possible. But you need to understand why you binge eat so that you can know how to overcome binge eating.

Let us first understand why we binge eat. There are times when we feel too stressed or depressed. At times, we may eat way more than needed just to feel good. Culturally, eating good food is always being seen as a sign of prosperity or happiness. Celebrating is equated with good food and overeating!

However, binge eating is eating large amounts of food in a short period. For example, you might eat an entire box of chocolate because you are feeling low. Such episodes of binge eating are mostly related to emotions or eating habits.

Girl overcoming binge eating by skipping role and playing with dog in park

Chapter 1:

Overcoming Binge Eating by Eating Right

Food habits can vastly affect your health. Unhealthy food habits can lead to sleep disturbances, excessive hunger at night, not feeling satisfied even after eating a meal, etc. All this can lead to episodes of binge eating. To overcome binge eating, you must start eating right!

Ten tips to start eating right
  1. Eat at fixed times
  2. Eat healthy and nutritious meals.
  3. Drink lots of water
  4. Do not miss breakfast.
  5. Eat leafy vegetables and fibrous food.
  6. If you feel hungry, eat healthy snacks. Keep healthy snacks ready.
  7. Do not restrict yourself – the more you stop yourself from eating something, the more you crave for it.
  8. Don’t follow extreme diets.
  9. Don’t associate eating with activities like watching TV.
  10. If you get the urge to binge eat, try to redirect your focus to doing something else. You can read a book or go for a walk.

These simple strategies will help you in your attempts of overcoming binge eating.


Chapter 2:

Can My Beliefs Affect My Health?

If we try to go deep and understand why we binge eat, then you may find it is all in your mind. What we do depends on what we think. Our thoughts and beliefs are very strongly rooted in our psyche. You might not even be aware of how your beliefs or values influence you.

Firstly, let’s try to see how these beliefs and values are formed. A lot of these beliefs are formed when we are young. You might have experienced some good or bad events in your childhood that form some of your strongest beliefs. These beliefs affect your day-to-day functioning, even as an adult. These beliefs can cause hindrances in your effort to overcome binge eating habits.

How are these beliefs formed?

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario that will help you understand how these beliefs interfere with your efforts of overcoming binge eating. When you were a child, your parents and relatives compared you to your cousin, who was physically fit and good-looking. You must have always heard the saying, “she looks so nice. She is so slim and trim. She is wonderful”.

Thus, growing up, you always felt conscious about your own body and how you looked. You probably started believing that to gain recognition or approval from your parents; you also need to “look good”, “be slim and trim”. These thoughts and beliefs start overpowering our thinking. You may not even be aware, but you must be doing so many things to stick to these beliefs.

Like in the above example, as an adult, you might give “beauty” and “looking good” top priority. You might spend a lot of money buying the latest trendy clothes and accessories. You might spend hours in beauty rituals. But still feel that you have failed. You feel that you can “never be as good as her”.

Effects of these beliefs

Besides the time and money you waste in chasing something false, you might also start engaging in binge eating or other harmful habits. You do these things because you “feel good or comforted”. It boosts your ego and makes you feel happy momentarily. So, you tend to do these activities like binge eating again and again. Yes, you do feel guilty later, but at the moment, to overcome that thought or to feel it works wonders. Thus, overcoming binge eating gets difficult.

Anytime you feel like you have failed to gain your parent’s and later in life – society’s, friend’s, partner’s approval or you feel that “you are not good enough”, all the memories and emotions from the past are triggered. You get restless and upset, and then what – you binge eat!

How do I change?

The best way to change is to change your beliefs. You need to break the associations you have formed. To back a step, you first need to understand what your beliefs are. So, next time you are in a situation when you feel emotional, stressed, or upset, try to analyse your thoughts.

If you want, you can keep a diary where you note down all the thoughts or emotions you feel when you are in an upsetting situation. Sometimes, you will realise that you are feeling depressed or upset only after the event. At that time, try to remember and write down the situation and the thoughts that triggered your feelings. Note down the people who were present when your feelings were triggered. Write down everything – the events, situations, dialogues, emotions, thoughts, etc. in as much detail as possible.

Once you write these incidences, you will be able to pinpoint the exact thoughts or beliefs that bother you. If you know what your beliefs are, then you can take charge and change these thoughts.

Going back to the above example, when you feel upset, you can say to yourself, “I am beautiful the way I am” or “I value myself and am strong and a winner”. These positive thoughts, when said out repeatedly, will increase your self-confidence and replace the negative beliefs over time. Overcoming binge eating and other such habits will become much more achievable as you will have dealt with the root cause of the problem.

Will understanding my emotions help me overcome binge eating?

Many a time, we tend to binge eat because we are feeling angry, sad, bored, or upset. These emotions are triggers that make us do things like binge eating, going on a shopping spree, etc. This is not a good thing as it might lead to even more problems.

A few tips that will help you in your target of overcoming binge eating are

  • Keep a diary or journal where you will note down any emotions or stress you feel
  • Before going into a situation that usually upsets you, is ready. Clam your down by saying positive things to yourself. Remind yourself to stay calm and act normally.
  • When you are in that trigger situation – repeat that you will not react quickly. It helps to focus on other things so that you are more in control of your feelings.
  • If things start getting out of hand, try to remove yourself from the situation
  • If you cannot leave the situation, you can use some simple relaxation techniques to keep calm. For example, count 1 to 50, focus on breathing, drink a glass of water, think of a pleasant image in your head where you feel good and happy, etc.


Chapter 3:

Overcoming binge eating - start right now

The first step to achieving a target is to start right and start right now! Do not feel ashamed to seek help if you are not able to manage on your own. Family support and professional help can help you strengthen your motivation and achieve your targets successfully.

In conclusion, if you have noticed that you binge eat and want to stop, then take immediate steps to change. Start by changing your food habits and eating healthy. Work on finding out the root cause of your binge eating habit. Change your limiting and negative beliefs and replace them with positive and ego-boosting thoughts. Try to deal with your emotions in a creative and healthy way by channelizing your energy in the right direction. Start exercising, take up a hobby, and take control of your life!

If you are interested in learning more about how to overcome binge eating and are motivated to take control of your life, go through the “courses” page of our website. You will find certain courses there that will help you to work on yourself.