It’s important to understand the difference between compulsive overeating and other eating disorders. Compulsive overeaters don’t attempt to atone for their bingeing with actions such as purging, fasting, diet pills or laxatives. Compulsive overeating typically leads to weight gain and obesity. Keep in mind that not everyone who is obese is also a compulsive overeater. People who appear to be of normal or average weight can also be affected by these behaviors.
- Avoid temptation. You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts and unhealthy snacks in the house. To keep temptation at bay, don’t keep the food within easy access. The best way to do that is not to purchase unhealthy food in the first place.
- Stop “dieting”. Having a “diet” mentality or severely restricting your food intake can increase hunger and feelings of deprivation. This behavior may trigger food cravings and the urge to overeat. Instead of being ultra strict with your food, focus on eating in moderation. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy . Try to eat more small meals throughout the day as well to keep hunger at bay.
- Start Exercising. Exercise is a natural way to boost your mood and can help put a stop to emotional eating. Not only does exercise help you lose weight and improve your health… it can also help reduce depression and reduce stress.
- Decrease stress. Learn how to cope with stress in other ways that don’t involve food. I know, easier said than done… but keep in mind, compulsive overeating has little to do with hunger. People often eat when they are not hungry or use food to fill an emotional need that they cannot cope with in other ways.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t try to change your relationship with food overnight. Try setting small goals and give yourself some positive feedback. If you tell yourself, “I need to add more fish and veggies to my diet,” it will be much better than saying, “I need to stop eating so much crap.” Think positive! =)
- No one is perfect, be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes, we all struggle sometimes… it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you are suffering from compulsive overeating and you feel like it is getting out of control, you should really seek professional help to stop the unhealthy, weight-gaining, self destructive behavior. You’re not alone. There are plenty of wonderful resources for those with eating disorders… don’t be afraid to reach out <3