Perhaps one of the pressing issues nowadays is how to get back on track after binge eating.
While it is perfectly normal to feel some sort of food cravings and indulgence from time to time, binge eating is characterized by overeating and excessive eating that you cannot control.
This is an eating disorder associated with mental health problems that affect everyone but is more common among women.
Binge eating can become addictive with unhealthy effects if it is not curbed early on.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is an excessive eating disorder characterized by overeating that seems out of control.
It is a serious eating disorder with frequent consumption of food that becomes a regular occurrence.
Most people who binge eat often cannot stop, although they may feel embarrassed and, from time to time, vow to stop.
But then feel such a compulsion that it becomes so difficult to resist the urge.
Binge eating disorder can happen to anyone of any age. People who binge eat are usually unhealthy, obese, or may even be at a normal weight.
It is more common in women than men and mostly begins in the late teens or early 20s.
The severity of binge eating is determined by how often the episodes or occurrences are in a week.
It is characterized by certain behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms, such as;
- Eating when you are full or not hungry
- Eating alone or in secret
- Eating that spirals out of control
- Feeling that your eating habits are out of control
- Frequently dieting, mostly with no weight loss
- Having mixed emotions about your eating like feeling depressed, ashamed, disgusted, upset or guilty
- Eating abnormal amounts of food, that are unusually large in a specific amount of time.
Several factors can trigger binge eating, however, there are some that can increase your risk of binge eating;
You’re more likely to develop a binge eating disorder if one of your parents or family has or had an eating disorder.
This is because you inherited genes and other traits that make you more susceptible.
People who diet or have restrictive eating habits can develop an irresistible urge to binge eat, most especially if there are symptoms of depression.
Triggers for binge eating associated with psychological issues include stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, availability, and accessibility of preferred binge foods.
This sometimes occurs as a coping mechanism against psychological problems.
What Makes You Binge Eat
There are different reasons you may binge eat, it could be because of emotional, biological, or psychological factors, or a combination of these factors.
Here are some common causes of binge eating;
Social and cultural factors
The controversial stereotype of social standards seems to be the trend these days.
Peer pressure and the need to look a certain way can trigger emotional eating. The pressure from all these may make you feel you need to have a perfect body type.
Parents sometimes unknowingly set the stage for binge eating when they compensate, reward, or dismiss children with food.
Individuals who have been harassed, sexually abused, and often criticized for their bodies and weight may also develop binge eating at some point.
Depression is strongly linked to some psychological factors such as depression, stress, anxiety.
For most people, binge eating habits are developed as a sort of response to various issues.
Some people have difficulties with impulse control, managing, and expressing their feelings.
Body dissatisfaction, loneliness, and low self-esteem are also psychological factors that may contribute to binge eating.
Biological irregularities may also cause binge eating. Studies show that food addictions can also be caused by a genetic mutation.
Sometimes low levels of serotonin affect compulsive eating.
Serotonin is a neurochemical that transmits nerve impulses involved in sleep, depression, and memory.
There are also instances where a part of the brain that controls appetite may not send correct signals about hunger and fullness.
What Happens If You Binge Eat For A Week?
When you eat, your body naturally produces a happy chemical known as dopamine.
This chemical makes you feel good and handles a ton of processes that take place in your body.
However, binge eating, overeating, or excessive eating can become addictive and have more harmful effects than you can imagine.
Here are some effects that you may experience after binge eating for a week;
It Becomes An Addiction
Not only does binge eating become an addiction, but it also becomes a psychological addiction.
This is usually because of dopamine experiences. It makes you feel high and then you start to feel a certain urge to feel higher.
It produces a chemical reaction in your brain that triggers a behavior to keep binge eating.
For example, eating one cookie may make you feel a rush and then you just can’t get enough, making you eat more and more.
Eventually, this can have adverse effects, causing a sugar crash, making you feel tired, weak, sweaty, or shaky.
It Becomes Difficult To Tell When You Are Full
Binge eating changes the levels of leptin in your body. This is the hormone that signals your body when you are full.
When you binge eat, you mostly eat so quickly in such a short span of time. This makes it difficult for your body to register the correct time to process calories intake and release leptin.
You Get Frequent Heartburn
Heartburn is an uncomfortable sensation that occurs when you eat spicy meals or any food that is difficult for your stomach to digest.
This is also a direct effect of binge eating. Food is broken down by hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The more food you eat, the more acid your stomach has to produce.
Sometimes this acid can irritate your stomach lining and travel down to your esophagus and cause heartburn.
You Gain Weight And Become Prone To Health Issues
Eating more increases your calorie intake. When you have more calories than you lose, you gradually add weight.
Therefore, binge eating is a cycle that causes weight gain. Being overweight also makes you more susceptible to various health problems.
Cooccurring medical health issues associated with binge eating include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and hypertension.
These may also trigger heart diseases or stroke.
Everyone is guilty of a little binge eating from time to time.
However, research shows that the disorder associated with binge eating is a mental health issue accompanied by depression and anxiety, before and after the disorder.
Depression may set in after the temporary effects of dopamine wear off. Physical effects of weight gain can also trigger negative body image, low self-esteem.
How To Get Back On Track After Binge Eating For A Week
Here are some tips to get back on track after an impulsive binge eating.
Go For A Walk Or Stroll
Walking is sometimes underrated and has as much benefit as exercising. Go for a walk or stroll after overeating.
It will help clear your mind and make your body feel better. It also helps speed up stomach emptying, which relieves feelings of fullness and bloating caused by overeating.
Walking can also improve your mood, and negative feelings and reduce feelings of stress and body fat.
Eat Healthy Breakfast
Sometimes, after binge eating, you may not feel the urge to have lunch or breakfast. It disorients your eating habits.
But eating a healthy breakfast can help curb binge eating. What you eat for the first meal of the day is very important.
Starting with a healthy breakfast can help you get back on track. It helps you make healthier choices, improves your sleep habits, and helps you start afresh.
Sticking to a consistent eating pattern can lead to less binge eating.
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is crucial for overall health. Not only does it keep appetite under control, but it also maximizes weight loss.
After overeating, it is recommended that you stay hydrated throughout the rest of the day.
The amount of water you drink per day depends on several factors. However, the best way to stay hydrated is to listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty.
Increase Your Veggies Intake
Vegetables are essential for many nutritional benefits your body needs. Eating more veggies is an effective strategy for preventing binge eating.
Vegetables are high in fiber and naturally promote feelings of fullness. You can incorporate veggies into your snack to help cut back on cravings and reduce the risk of overeating.
Occasional indulgence in cravings may not necessarily pose threats, however, an overindulgence can trigger binge eating and become an addiction.
Support family and friends battling binge eating, go for walks, avoid the things that may trigger or bring about mental health or psychological issues.
Practice self love, relaxation techniques to help manage stress.
Mayoclinic: Binge-eating Disorder
Help Guide: Binge Eating Disorder
Healthline: 10 Ways To Get Back On Track After A Binge