Overcoming binge eating is one of the most difficult roads to navigate. Food, just like drugs or alcohol, is something many people become addicted to. Some may use food as a source of comfort, or to cope with (or numb from) difficult feelings. Yet, unlike drugs or alcohol, there is no “detox” from food, making the road to recovery a complicated one. At HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, we recognize the holidays can be a difficult time for those who struggle with binge eating, and work to support individuals in finding balance with food.
Binge Eating Disorder
The holidays bring more gatherings, parties, and celebratory events. This may sound fun for some, but for those who struggle in their relationship with food, the holiday season can be an extremely stressful time. While it is not uncommon for people to overeat during the holidays, overeating is not the same as binge eating. Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States today. Those with binge eating disorder consume large amounts of food (often in a short period of time) and eat past the point of feeling full. People who struggle with binge eating often eat alone, to avoid the embarrassment of others witnessing their behavior with food. Those who binge eat often experience feelings of guilt, shame, or disgust following a binge.
People develop binge eating disorder for a variety of reasons. For some, there is a genetic component involved while others may engage in binge eating as a result of an underlying mental health issue, such as depression.
Overcoming Binge Eating
Whether you struggle with binge eating from time to time, or have been diagnosed with BED, overcoming binge eating is hard, especially during the holidays. Yet, there are things you can do to help decrease your stress and manage your urges to binge.
- Plan your meals ahead of time (when possible) and stick to your meal plan.
- Educate yourself on emotional vs. physical hunger.
- Check in with physical hunger and fullness (before and after meals).
- Ask for support. Having a trusted friend or loved one with you may help you be more accountable and stick to your meal plan.
- Say no to things. Just because it is the holidays, does not mean you have to go to every party, function, etc. It is OK to simplify your schedule and only attend the things you really want to attend.
Getting through the holidays is important, but if you are working on overcoming binge eating disorder once and for all, you may want to consider seeking mental health support. While there are many approaches to binge eating treatment, research shows cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective. CBT uses cognitive restructuring techniques to help individuals challenge and change their unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their binge eating.
In addition to CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), family therapy, and nutrition counseling are also often part of a treatment plan for overcoming binge eating.
To learn more about binge eating or the eating disorder treatments offered at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, contact us at 518-218-1188.