Are You Binge Eating Without Noticing?

Binge eating it's characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating and a lack of control. Why does this happen and how to prevent it?.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Binge eating can be an uncomfortable feeling that goes out of control. For some people, it's a daily challenge, while for others, it might be because of a momentary lapse of emotional distress.

According to Mexican nutritionist Daniela Paciuc having "forbidden food" has shown that:

-Increases the desire to eat.

-Increases flavor and reward sensation, which means that the individual feels a greater pleasure when eating "forbidden food."

-Increases high-sugar and high-fat food cravings.

-Stimulates the brain to "turn on" when exposed to these foods and causes more intense cravings.

The nutritionist explains that when people "cheat" on their diet by eating "forbidden food," they are more likely to experience what is known as last supper syndrome, believing that it's the final episode of binge eating. When people are on a diet, many think that they will start tomorrow and they will never eat that food again (or at least in a long time), so they enjoy more "forbidden food" before coming back to the restriction. Nevertheless, "It's never the last time. That mentality is what gets us into the binge eating cycle," explains Dr. Paciuc.

The binge eating cycle includes feeling limited, craving for eating, binge eating, feeling out of control, having guilt and shame emotions, starting a strict diet to retake control, and start the cycle again.

Also read: OUR EATING HABITS DURING THE QUARANTINE

The first tip is to watch your words. They're mighty. Phrases like "anytime me and my partner get in a fight, I just reach for the comfort food," or "when I've got an exam, presentation, or interview, I eat a ton bag of chips" are very dangerous. By saying these things, you are identifying with the statement. What we say is a direct expression of what we think, and what we believe becomes our reality. When talking about binge eating, use past tense instead of present tense.

The most healthy way to prevent binge eating is to eat any food you want. There's no such a thing as "forbidden food." The purpose behind this is for you to start getting used to all kinds of food so they'll stop seeming so attractive.

Food Habituation

Habituation is our ability to adapt to repeat experiences. With each occasion, the pleasure decreases. Dr. Paciuc uses the following example to explain this technique: it's like buying a new car. In the beginning, you love to drive it and can note the smell of new. You want to get in your new vehicle any time you can. Nevertheless, as time passes by, you get used to it, and it's not as attractive as in the beginning. You don't search for excuses to keep driving it, and although you get used to it, maybe it won't make you so excited as before.

The same happens with "forbidden food." When you know that all foods are available when you want to eat them, they'll stop being so attractive. This is a healthy way, according to the nutritionist to overcome binge eating. Remember:

-Allow yourself to eat: Enjoy all kinds of food without feeling guilty. All the foods are emotionally equivalent.

-Ask yourself what you want: When you can eat anything you want, think carefully about what you truly want to consume. Maybe you're not craving chocolate that much anymore because you eat it very often. There's not a wrong answer.

-Know yourself: Apply mindful eating to your routine. Enjoy the flavor of food and be present while eating, without distractions. Is it as tasty as you imagined? If so, enjoy it. If not, you don't have to finish it.

-Say no to the police of food: Every time you tell yourself that you're eating something "bad" you are creating restrictions. Remember that those strict rules will make you binge eat. It's crucial throughout this process to be kind to yourself and listen to your body.

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