How to Stop Binge Eating

Posted: April 25th, 2013 | Category: Eating Disorders | Tags: , , , , ,

Binge eating is when you eat a lot of food in a short time (much more than people would normally eat in that time), and feel out of control about it. It often feels like you just frantically eat and eat, and then end up feeling so guilty and angry at yourself once it’s over.


If this sounds like you, try these proven strategies to stop binging, and get your eating back under control.







1. Eat regularly

Eating regularly throughout the day really helps prevent the chance of a binge. This includes 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and at least 2 snacks (mid-morning and afternoon) each day. This makes sure you don’t go for more than 3 hours without eating, which stops you from getting too hungry. Feeling very hungry and denying yourself food often inevitably ends up in binge eating.



2. Plan your eating ahead of time

Plan your meals and snacks in advance, for example, write out your plan for the next day the night before. You should always know when you are going to have your next meal or snack and what this will be. If you take the time to carefully plan your meals in this way, you’ll have much more control over your eating. It’s much easier to resist binging when you know you only have to resist the urge for at most another 3 hours, and you know exactly what you’ll eat so you don’t end up overeating.



3. Only eat your planned meals and snacks

Do your best to avoid eating between your planned meals and snacks. Over time, you’ll get used to having times in the day when you eat, and other times when you don’t eat. This makes it much less likely that your eating will get out of control and end up with a binge.



4. Don’t vomit or use laxatives to control your weight

Lots of people think that they can get rid of food they’ve binged on by vomiting or using laxatives. This leads to more binging because it feels like binges can be “undone”. Even if you vomit immediately after eating, vomiting only gets rid of at most about half of the calories you’ve consumed. Similarly, laxatives have very little effect on food absorption or weight loss, because most of the calories are absorbed by the stage of digestion at which laxatives operate. It’s also really important to not vomit or use laxatives as these are really dangerous for your health. If you find this really challenging, start with focusing more on your pattern of eating, and not so much on what you eat. Choose food you’re comfortable to eat when you plan your meals and snacks, and over time gradually reintroduce more challenging foods so that these foods become comfortable and no longer trigger binges.



5. Think what to do between the planned meals and snacks

Doing things that aren’t connected to eating makes it much easier to resist urges to eat until your next planned meal or snack. Some things you could try are calling or visiting friends, going for a walk, checking your emails, listening to music or having a bath or shower. Social things are usually particularly good.




A lot of people find they can stop binging much more quickly if they get extra support, especially in the early days. Getting support can also help address any underlying emotional issues that might be causing you to binge.  Consider seeing a psychologist who specialises in eating difficulties, as they’ll be able to help you break the vicious cycle, and troubleshoot any challenges you have along the way.


For information about seeing a Psychologist at Indepth Psychology who specialises in eating difficulties, please call 02 8068 4361 or fill in our contact form.

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