Binge Eating Recovery-Find Food Freedom
Food Freedom Is Possible

Binge Eating Recovery-Find Food Freedom

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Is Binge Eating Recovery Possible?

How To Recover From Binge Eating Disorder

Like most eating disorder, binge eating disorder actually stems from a place of food restriction. 

Binge Eating Disorder is Complex in that we are often dealing with episodes of binging and restriction.  In addition, co-occuring mental health conditions such as anxiety, OCD, or depression may also be present.  

We must address the unique needs of each individual, as well as the underlying causes leading to restricting and binging for successful recovery in binge eating disorder. 

This often involves a physician, a dietitian, and a mental health practitioner. 

person holding phone taking photo of food
Are You Binge Eating? Here Are Some Signs.

Am I Binge Eating Quiz

Are you unsure about wether or not you are experiencing a binge or binge eating disorder?  

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I eat until I’m uncomfortably full? 
  • Am I eating very rapidly? 
  • Do I eat large quantities of food without actually feeling hungry? 
  • Am I eating alone frequently because I’m embarrassed by my choices or quantity of food? 
  • Do I eat large quantities of food when I’m not physically hungry? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be having  overeating or binging behavior. 

How Do I know if I have Binge Eating Disorder? 

If three or more of  symptoms listed above, you may be experiencing binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder will also be marked by these two things: 

  • Eating in a specific amount of time (say a 2 hour time frame) a significantly greater quantity of food than others might in that time frame. 
  • Feeling a lack of control over food (e.g. I can’t stop eating even if I’m full).

In binge eating disorder, a binge will generally occur once a week for a period of 3 months or more. 


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Why Do We Binge After Restricting?

Why Do I Binge After Restricting?

Our bodies have spent millions of years learning to adapt to periods of feast and famine. 

In reality, a binge is actually the body’s way of protecting itself following restrictive eating behavior. 

Your body will begin to decrease leptin, which is will ultimately increase hunger and decrease metabolic rate. 

A binge is really just a way your body is trying to take care of you.  

Signs You're At Risk of A Binge

A binge can have many triggers.  A few of the most common binge triggers can include: 

  • Avoiding eating certain foods or food groups
  • Feeling bad , out of control or guilty about certain food groups
  • Waiting to eat despite feeling hungry
  • Avoiding food
  • Eating pattern isn’t sustainable (e.g. dieting) and engaging in “cheat days”
  • Excessive thoughts about food
  • Restricting food as a result of feeling like you’ve over eaten
  • Feeling out of control with food in social situations or other settings where you may not have complete control.
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Breaking Binge-Restrict Cycle

Ways To Break The Binge Restrict Cycle

The best way to prevent a binge is ultimately to reduce or eliminate restriction.  

  • Incorporate restricted food groups (if you’re avoiding carbohydrates, add these into your day)
  • Build fear foods into your routine
  • Identify triggers (are you eating food when you feel lonely, bored, stressed, or have a large school project due)? 
  • Spread your food intake through the day. Eat breakfast within 2 hours of waking up and then every 3-4 hours. 
  • Build a support team.  This can include having meals and snacks with family or friends or a trained professional like a dietitian or therapist. 
Things To Do Instead Of Binge Eat
What Are Some Things I can Do If I feel A Binge Coming On?

What To Do Instead Of Eating If I have an Urge To Binge

While the best method of action when it comes to a binge is to prevent restricting and normalize daily intake, there are a few things you can do when the urge to binge hits suddenly. 

These can include

  • Stretching
  • Imagining a stop sign
  • Calling a friend
  • Walking a dog
  • Play a video game
  • Hula hoop
  • Go for a drive
  • Say “stop” out loud
  • Make a gift for someone
  • Meditate
  •  Declutter
  • Write a letter/journal
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Learn a new language (duolingo)
  • Play with a pet
Woman with hand on forehead
What Should I do After A Binge?

What To Do After A Binge

While it may seem counter-intuitive, the best thing you can do after a binge is resume your regular meal and snack schedule.  

Try to choose the same amount of food for your next meal/snack at the time you would normally consume it.  This helps to restrict the binge-starve cycle.  

Have a list of activities you might do for self compassion. These might be taking a bath, a walk, calling a friend or journaling. 

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How To Break The Binge Starve Cycle

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Fridge In Dark Room
Food Freedom Is Possible

How Can I Find Food Freedom?

Freedom with food really comes when at the moment when we no longer have extreme thoughts, feelings or emotions surrounding food. 

While we will honor our hunger and likes in a healthy relationship with food, the thought should not create extreme spikes and drops in our mood. 

Food freedom with binge eating disorder will come from identifying underlying triggers, reducing restrictive behavior, and dismissing food rules. 

We must divest from stigmas attached to diet culture to achieve food freedom. 

What are some strategies you’ve built into your recovery to help you achieve food freedom? 

©2021 Shenajaramillord.peaceandnutrition

Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian
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Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I believe in choosing plants first, honoring your hunger, and that a little humor goes a long way.

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