12 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Occasionally, we all eat too much. However, you may be suffering from binge eating disorder if you often gorge while getting out of control and are helpless to prevent it. Binge eating disorder is a prevalent eating disorder in which you eat enormous amounts of food regularly while feeling helpless to stop an excessively upset while doing so. You may overeat to the point of pain and discomfort, then be tormented by guilt, shame, or despair, or you may punish yourself for your loss of self, or you may be concerned about the effects of compulsive eating on your body.

How To Stop Binge Eating

Binge eating disorder usually develops in adolescent years or early childhood, following a substantial diet. During a binge, you might eat even if you’re not hungry and eat until you’re completely satisfied. You could also binge so quickly that you don’t notice what you’re eating or tasting. There are no recurring efforts to “make up” for the binges through fasting, vomiting, or over-exercising, unlike bulimia.

For a brief period, binge eating may provide relief from unpleasant emotions or sensations of tension, despair, or anxiety. But then reality sets in, and you’re overwhelmed with regret and self-loathing. Binge eating frequently results in obesity or excessive weight gain, reinforcing the cycle of compulsive eating. The more you rely on food to cope with your negative feelings about yourself and your looks, the more you will do so. It spirals into a vicious loop of eating to feel good, feeling much worse, and then resorting to food for relief.

It’s crucial to remember that binge eating disorder is treatable, no matter how powerless you feel about it. You may learn to overcome the binge eating cycle, improve your emotional management, build a healthier attitude towards food, and recover command over your eating and health.

Binge eating is characterized as eating more than most people would in a single sitting. Even though this is a somewhat subjective definition, binges are substantially greater than a standard meal and can often contain thousands of calories.

A fundamental component of binge eating disorder, or BED, is repeated episodes of binge eating, which involve a lack of control (LOC) in eating throughout the episode. If somebody doesn’t have LOC, they may be simply overeating, which is not the same as BED with LOC.

Binge eating is often described as a feeling of being “out of control” or of not realizing how much one is eating. Most people describe the feeling of being “zoned out” while eating, then looking down to see empty boxes or containers.

Trigger Events

It’s crucial to understand that the model above, which is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, depicts how a binge cycle is sustained. It makes no mention of how the eating condition began.

Every binge cycle is started by an event or a sequence of events. These triggers do not necessarily have to be the source of the eating problem; in many situations, the inciting events or feelings are unique each time. These triggers, on the other hand, begin a fresh cycle of bingeing and purging.

How To Recover From Anorexia

Many binges are caused by a lack of food. People who diet or restrict their food in any way, even subtly, are setting themselves up for binge eating. Food is a basic need, once that need isn’t met, it’s natural to consume more than you normally would when you do eat again.

Many people believe that certain emotions, like sadness, guilt, loneliness, or feelings of inadequacy or hopelessness, are triggers for binges. These feelings, which are frequently hard to manage, can occur over a day or several days.

They can be triggered by a single event or a sequence of events, including a fight with a dear one, workplace criticism, or self-criticism. When people have been restricting their meals, they are more susceptible to emotional eating. Identifying your triggers, irrespective of the emotion or situation, is one approach to spot “red flags” that indicate you need to take action.

In conjunction with social support and counseling, this article looks at some lifestyle strategies that can help you combat binge eating. It discusses how the tactics work and some of the causative factors of binge eating. The following are binge eating disorder recovery tips and some of the ways to stop binge eating.

Strategy 1: Stop Curtailing Yourself

Extreme calorie restriction diets rarely succeed, and they usually result in cravings that contribute to overeating. If you have BED-2, this is especially true.

Most of these diets offer a “fast fix” by advocating drastic dietary modifications, such as eliminating entire food products or taking only liquids for a week. Even if some of the claims appear to be reasonable, they are rarely supported by sound nutrition research.

Avoid any diet plan that includes the following:

  • Rapid weight loss is promised.
  • Foods are classified as “good” or “bad.”
  • Complete dietary groups, such as carbs, are eliminated.
  • Claims that you can lose weight without doing any exercise.
  • It entails strict dietary restrictions and a limited range of food options.

At the end of the day, losing weight is all about consuming more calories than you take in. This involves not only calorie restriction but also some type of regular activity.

A progressive approach is not only more sustainable but also enables you to make incremental changes that lessen cravings and binge eating risks.

Strategy 2: Do Not Skip A Meal

Another element that can encourage binge eating is skipping meals. It can make your body starve for nutrients and make you more prone to overeating. It’s been proven that sticking to a regular eating schedule reduces the likelihood of binge eating subsequently in the day.

Breakfast is vital because it kick starts your metabolism and gives you the energy you need to go through the day until lunchtime. In the morning, have a high-protein breakfast that comprises almonds, eggs, Greek yogurt, oats, and chicken breast.

Eat dinner and lunch with healthy snacks in between to keep your metabolism and energy levels up (spaced around 3 to 4 hours apart). Binge eating is triggered by a drop in energy levels. This also helps to stop binge eating at night.

Strategy 3: Drink Plenty of fluids And Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated has multiple health benefits, but it can also aid in the reduction of overeating and cravings. According to research published in the Journal of the American Dietary Association, 24 individuals who drank 17 ounces of water before eating took fewer calories than those who did not.

Adults should drink the following amount of water each day, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine:

  • Males need about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of hydration every day.
  • Females need about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of liquids every day.

Drinking enough water can also help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism.

Strategy 4: Increase Your Fiber Intake

When compared to refined grains, sweets, and processed meals, eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed foods might help you feel replete (satisfied and full). This type of food usually gives you a surge of energy that is quickly followed by a “drop” that might lead to cravings.

Dietary fiber can also be found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber passes gradually through the gastrointestinal tract, allowing you to feel fuller for longer.

Among the nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods are:

  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Barley
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Rice (brown)
  • Berries
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beans, green
  • Oatmeal
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Bread made with whole grains
  • Pasta made with whole wheat

Fiber-rich diets also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Strategy 5: Physical Activity and Relaxation

Binge eating is frequently triggered by stress. Exercise, on the other hand, aids in stress reduction. Routine aerobic workouts combined with short, quick, high-intensity exercises significantly reduced the number of binge-eating episodes in women with BED, according to a study in the journal Nutrition in 2020.

You don’t have to go to the gym to make the strategy work. Binge eating can be avoided by just taking a 30-minute stroll, riding your bike, dancing, or swimming.

Yoga is another practice that has been proved to reduce stress levels and so avoid binge eating. Mindfulness meditation or regular breathing techniques (pranayama) may also be beneficial. Sleep has an impact on appetite and hunger, and some research suggests that BED is linked to insomnia.

To avoid late-night binge eating, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Yoga at night can also assist to calm the mind and facilitate restful sleep.

Strategy 6: Practice Insightful and Intuitive Eating

When you eat intuitively, you eat when you’re hungry and quit when you’re satisfied. It entails allowing yourself to eat and trusting your body to make healthy food choices.

We are born with intuitive eating, but we lose it as we get older and “use” food to offer comfort or diversion. It may take some time to re-learn intuitive eating, but with practice, it may be possible to overcome compulsive eating.

The following are the ten principles of intuitive eating:

  • Some diets need to be rejected
  • Taking care of your appetite
  • Getting along with food
  • Taking on the “food cops” (individuals who can tell you what and when to eat)
  • To avoid excessive consumption, find out what the ‘satisfaction level’ is.
  • Managing your fullness consciously
  • Kindness as a means of coping with emotions
  • Taking care of your body
  • Incorporating movement into the routine
  • Gentle nutrition to honor your health

In 2020, an 8-year-long study published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorder found that intuitive eating was linked to a lower risk of binge eating.

Intuitive eating has also been related to improved mental health. Depression, body dissatisfaction, and low self-esteem are less common in people who eat intuitively. They are also less likely to engage in hazardous weight-loss practices (like skipping meals and fasting) or suffer from eating disorders like bulimia.

Pay close attention to your hunger signals and eat just when you’re hungry to develop intuitive eating. Give yourself the right to eat whatever you want and don’t define food as good or evil. Unlearning harmful eating patterns is a long-term process that can take years. Patience is essential.

Don’t Keep Track Of Your Calories.

Engaging in programs that ask you to track calories to keep a record of how much you have eaten in a day is another type of dieting. In theory, remaining inside a set calorie range prevents you from overeating. In many circumstances, however, this doesn’t work. In reality, the exact opposite can occur. Binge eating can be triggered by reducing your food options.

The same study that discovered a link between flexible dieting and avoiding overeating also discovered a link between overeating and calorie counting. People who used calorie counting as part of a restrictive diet were more prone to overeat, particularly when dining alone.

Overcome Boredom

Many persons who suffer from binge eating disorders eat out of being bored. When you’re bored, instead of grabbing a snack, try entertaining yourself. Having a walk, listening to music, calling a friend, reading, or taking a bath can all help you avoid binge eating. You may also take up painting, gardening, learning to play a musical instrument, or sewing as a hobby.

You’ll have less time to worry about food if you keep yourself occupied, and you’ll be less inclined to binge eat.

Some additional tips to improve your mood and overcome binge eating are: 

  • Even with all these strategies and lifestyle changes, you may occasionally revert to your old habits of thinking. You may stay positive by doing the following:
  • Give yourself some motivation. Write inspirational messages on sticky notes all over your house, such as “You Can Do It!” Put them on mirrors and other surfaces where you will see them frequently.
  • Make a list of ten qualities you admire in yourself. Read the list whenever you have a chance.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you experience a setback. Just remember to get back on course the next day.
  • Make sure you’re surrounded by folks who make you happy about yourself.
  • Credit yourself for your achievements. For instance, get a massage or enjoy a warm bubble bath.

Because binge eaters sometimes try to cover up their symptoms and consume in secret, it can be difficult for friends and family to detect warning indications. You can’t always tell whether someone is binge eating by their appearance. While some people are obese or overweight, others maintain a healthy weight and control eating.

Finding stacks of empty food wrappers and packets, cleaned-out cabinets and refrigerators, or secret stashes of junk food or high-calorie are all warning indicators to look for. Bring up your worries if you feel your dear one has a binge eating disorder. Starting such a sensitive topic can be intimidating, and the person may refute bingeing or become furious and defensive. However, there’s a chance he or she will appreciate the chance to share the challenge.

Don’t quit trying if the person initially rejects you; it may take a little time for your loved one to acknowledge having a problem. And keep in mind that, as unpleasant as it is to learn that someone you care about has an eating disorder, you can’t make them change. They must decide to get treatment. Throughout the treatment process, you can help by showing compassion, support, and encouragement. Binge eating help is also available in various inpatient and residential treatment centers for eating disorders.

Additional binge eating tips for assisting someone suffering from a binge eating disorder

Urge your loved one to get medical assistance. The more an eating disorder goes undetected and untreated, the harder it will be to recover, so encourage your loved one to seek help.

Be encouraging. Try and listen without passing judgment and show that you care. If your loved one falters on the road to recovery, reassure them that it does not mean they will never be able to stop binge eating.

Lectures, Insults, and guilt trips should be avoided. Binge eaters already feel horrible about themselves because of their actions. Condemning, being enraged, or offering ultimatums to a binge eater will just add to the stress and exacerbate the situation. Make it apparent that you care about the person’s health and happiness, and that you will be available.

Set a positive example by eating well, exercising regularly, and coping with stress without the use of food. Make no harsh remarks regarding your own or other people’s bodies.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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