There is help for binge eating: Here's what you need to know about binge eating disorder recovery

  • 2 Minutes Read

To get help for binge eating disorder, first understand it is not simply overeating or feeling a lack of control around food. Learn the signs of binge-eating disorder and what strategies can help toward recovery.

Help for binge eating

Find more help for binge eating disorder when you learn more about it

If you suffer from binge eating disorder (BED), you are not alone. BED is by far the most common eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association describes BED as a severe, life-threatening, yet treatable eating disorder characterized by:

Binge eating episodes can contribute to weight gain and weight-related health issues, such as diabetes, joint problems, and cardiovascular disease. The majority, but not all, of the people with BED are overweight or obese. However, the majority of people who are overweight or obese do not have BED.

In addition to the physical effects, the emotional consequences of BED can be devastating. Common feelings among those who suffer from BED include shame, embarrassment, and isolation.

Treatment for BED

Help for binge eating disorder is not another diet or "trying to have more willpower." BED is a complicated medical and mental condition with possible genetic components. People with BED may have enhanced brain reward mechanisms, creating a stronger drive to eat. Research into the nature of BED is evolving and offers promise for future treatment.

Therapy

A skilled therapist can help you recognize the triggers and behaviors that drive binge eating and develop a healthier relationship with your food and body.

One therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which can help you identify and reframe distorted thoughts. A therapist will then help you develop effective coping strategies while reducing self-defeating behaviors.

Nutrition goals

A nutrition plan, an essential help for binge eating disorder recovery, typically begins with building a structured and balanced eating plan to avoid excessive hunger as a trigger for binging. Learning that there are no "bad" foods can also be helpful for BED. Indeed, overly restrictive eating plans tend to perpetuate a vicious cycle of restricting, binging, and restricting.

A qualified registered dietitian nutritionist with experience in eating disorder treatment can help you learn about healthy and appropriate food choices. Note that recovery from binge eating doesn't necessarily mean weight loss but instead building healthy eating habits while honoring hunger and fullness cues.

Mindfulness

Many people describe feeling disconnected from bodily sensations during a binge and report they don't even remember tasting the food.

Research shows that mindfulness practices can be an effective strategy to reduce binge eating and emotional eating. The Center for Mindful Eating defines mindfulness as "the capacity to bring full attention and awareness to one's experience, in the moment, without judgment." The center describes mindful eating as "bringing mindfulness to food choice and the experience of eating."

Mindful eating techniques engage all the senses, helping increase a sense of satisfaction from eating. Mindfulness can also help manage stress and anxiety, which can be common triggers for binges.

Medication

Some treatment plans include the use of medication and the approaches above as help for binge eating disorder.

A note to MyNetDiary users

Tracking food and exercise can be a valuable tool for users wanting to improve their health. Unfortunately, however, it can reinforce unhealthy behaviors for those with or at risk for eating disorders. Your health and well-being are our primary concerns. Please discontinue using the app if you struggle with an eating disorder and consult a qualified eating disorders health professional for help.

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Recommended resources

Eating Disorder Hope - Resources for Anorexia, Bulimia & Binge Eating
National Eating Disorders Association
National Institute of Mental Health: Eating Disorders: About More Than Food

Eating Disorders->Binge Eating Disorder
Sep 1, 2021
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

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