The inclusion of Binge Eating Disorder into the DSM-5 this month will allow many BED sufferers to reach out, have better access to information and resources and seek treatment. With more research and evidence backing this eating disorder, Binge Eating Disorder will become more understood and lasting solutions for recovery will become readily available. With any eating disorder, recovery is an ongoing process. In this article, we’ll provide some info on how to avoid staying in the Binge Eating Disorder cycle. Avoiding triggers and moving on with new behaviors As Binge Eating Disorder is usually triggered by an emotional impulse which causes the person to want to eat, here are some alternatives to the emotions that can contribute to a binge: If you eat when you’re happy
- Be creative. The next time something fabulous happens — you get promoted, or your daughter makes the soccer team — invent a new kind of feel-good ritual. For example, to recognize your daughter’s accomplishment, join her in an activity like skating or biking. Begin to retrain your brain to celebrate without food.
- Learn how to party. To prevent mindless grazing, stay more than an arm’s length away from any snack bowls. And if you get a good conversation going, put your plate down.
If you eat when you’re anxious
- Take a quick walk. “Walking for only a few minutes lifts serotonin levels — and that boosts your mood and leaves you feeling less anxious,” explains Robert Thayer, Ph.D., author of Calm Energy.
- Say “om.” A recent study from Oregon Health & Science University found that overweight women who performed daily relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or even writing in a diary for 20 minutes, lost an average of 10 pounds after 18 months — without consciously dieting. “We suspect that these relaxation techniques helped serve as a buffer to stress, so the women were less likely to overeat,” explains study author Anne Nedrow, M.D.
- Check your watch. The likeliest binge time for anxious eaters is late afternoon or early evening, because that’s when stress levels are usually at their highest, says Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Runaway Eating. So steer clear of the kitchen (or vending machine) during those hours.
If you eat when you’re bored
- Work for your food. If you’re munching just because you have nothing better to do, choose a snack that requires time and energy, such as microwave popcorn, unshelled nuts — even crunchy foods like carrots that involve a lot of chewing.
- Skip Leno or Letterman. If you stay up late, there’s a good chance you’ll get a case of the munchies. “It’s very easy to overeat if you’re bored, especially if you’re doing something sedentary like sitting in front of the TV,” explains Abramson. A better move: Get in bed an hour earlier and catch up on your zzz’s; several studies show a clear link between obesity and too little sleep (say, less than seven hours).
If you eat when you’re sad
- Get a daily dose of vitamins and sun. It can help cheer you up, report researchers at the University of Washington School of Nursing. They asked 112 women who were mildly to moderately depressed to walk briskly outside for 20 minutes five days a week and take a daily dose of vitamins. The women also upped their exposure to bright light, both natural and artificial, during the day. After eight weeks, almost all the women reported feeling less depressed.
Typically, treating Binge Eating Disorder on your own isn’t effective. But in addition to professional help, you can take these self-care steps to reinforce your treatment plan:
- Stick to your treatment. Don’t skip therapy sessions. If you have a meal plan, do your best to stick to it and don’t let setbacks derail your overall efforts.
- Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Talk with your doctor about appropriate weight management strategies for you — don’t diet unless it’s recommended for your eating disorder treatment and supervised by your doctor.
- Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But, if you eat breakfast, you may be less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.
- Don’t stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation and ability to binge eat.
- Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn’t mean you’re eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy. Understand that they have your best interests at heart.
- Get active. Ask your health care provider what kind of physical activity is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.
There are also three types of therapy that can be especially helpful in the treatment of binge eating disorder. These therapies are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): A type of therapy aimed at helping individuals understand the thoughts and feelings that influence their behaviors.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): A form of therapy in which the focus is on a individual’s relationships with family members and peers and the way they see themselves
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): A type of therapy that focuses on teaching individuals skills to cope with stress and regulate emotions
In addition to these methods, group therapy sessions led by a trained eating disorder therapist, as well as eating disorder support groups, may also be effective methods of establishing recovery from BED. If you have Binge Eating Disorder, it’s crucial that those close to are aware of what you are going through and are knowledgeable about the disorder. They should be educated of the behaviors associated with BED and ways that they can support you in your recovery. Information sources: Eating Disorder Hope, Women’s Issues, Web MD, Mayo Clinic, If you are interested in following along with BED Week, you can join the event on facebook or follow it on twitter by using the hashtags #BEDWEEK, #DSM5, #BEDAWARENESS, #EATINGDISORDER and #ED.