17 Jan 2014

Yes you’ve done it, you have just gone and finished the whole cheesecake, you were in control, “just a little slice for me” and then in seconds it’s gone, the whole thing, it’s gone!

Does that sound like you? Or is your vice the cheese drawer at the bottom of your fridge in the middle of the night, or are you the over shy one at the party, standing guard of the buffet table protecting it from other hunters? Whatever characteristics you have when it comes to binge eating we all feel the same. The pangs of guilt that burn our insides to the core, yes we get them too. So, what now? You’ve binged, what steps do you take to free yourself from the deadly abyss of diet sabotage.

Signs of a binge eating disorder
If you answer yes to the following questions then it is more than likely that you MIGHT be suffering from a binge eating disorder.
1. Do you eat in secret?
2. Do you think about food all of the time?
3. Do you want to stop eating, but feel powerless to do so?
4. Do you feel out of control when you are eating?
5. Do you feel sick after eating?
6. Do you have feelings of guilt or shame afterwards?
7. Do you feel as if you have escaped reality for that period of time?

How to recover from a binge
1. Forgive your self – to acknowledge that it is ok and what you have done is not an evil crime is the start. The more pressure and guilt you lay on yourself the more likely you are to continue binging. Practising self-love and appreciation will encourage you to acknowledge your problem and seek the help and support you need.

2. Understand why you have binged – it is important to understand what triggers your bingeing. Is it school stress, work, relationships or an underlying issue you are not aware of? Try to pinpoint the times when you binge and see if there is a relation to your emotions, environment or recent activity at the time.

3. Treat your body with some respect – don’t over exercise, don’t starve and do not drink 10 gallons of water to flush out all the toxins. You body needs time to heal from the sudden overload of food and should not be rushed into excessive exercise or excessive fluid intake; this will only damage your recovery.

The morning after the binge
1. Drink a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice
2. Don’t weigh yourself
3. Take it slow – do not overload with tea, food, exercise or stress
4. Eat a light breakfast
5. Drink plenty of fluids – 2-3 litres
6. Eat little and often – wholesome and nutritious food only
7. Engage in light exercise
8. Go to sleep early – rest is essential for recovery

How long does it take to recover from a major binge?
This depends on you, how much food you have consumed and how your body reacts to those foods, every one is different. I would recommend sticking to an extra clean diet of wholesome, nutritious and unprocessed foods for a minimum of 3 days until you are back into your healthy eating lifestyle and actually feel better. Nonetheless it is important to note that the mental recovery can take months even years, managing your condition and the triggers can be instrumental to your recovery, as well as practising self-love and appreciation.

Strategies to avoid the binge:
1. Make meal plans
2. Schedule your workouts
3. Identify triggers
4. Distinguish between indulging and bingeing
5. Keep healthy snacks at the ready
6. Drink plenty of fluids

Do you have an eating disorder?
Its normal to overeat occasionally, but frequent binges could be a sign of a binge eating disorder. In the US binge eating is the fastest growing eating disorder. The constant advertising of unhealthy sugar and salt laden toxic goods everywhere is definitely not helpful. As well as the fact that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy foods is certainly an issue, especially when households are already feeling the pinch and looking for ways to save money. Episodes of out of control behaviour that appear more than twice a week for sustained periods such as six months are a sign of a binge eating disorder. If you experience this followed by bouts of shame, embarrassment and guilt then please speak to your doctor immediately, who will be able to refer you to a specialist clinic to support and help you. Remember you are not alone, we are all human and your shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed, with the correct support and guidance you will be able to beat your demons and live that happy healthy and stress free lifestyle you wish to live.

Written by: Eshere Ward

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