We all have different things that make us want to binge eat.
For you, it could be stress at a job.
Or maybe it’s an emotional need not being met.
It can even be a certain person that triggers the urge to binge.
If you’re not sure what triggers your own binge eating, here are four possibilities you may want to consider:
1. Stressful situations. You find you’re coming up on a deadline. Or you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover the bills this month.
Your heart races. You start to sweat. The panic sets in.
Next thing you know, you’re rooting through your desk drawers looking for candy bars. If you’re at home when the trigger happens, you scan the refrigerator’s contents for that leftover birthday cake, or half-gallon of ice cream.
If this sounds like you, then you might be binging as a reaction to a stressful situation. What makes most of these negative situations stressful is that they are unexpected.
Of course, many situations we face are unexpected. The only thing you can know for sure is that, sooner or later, you’ll face unexpected situations, so prepare for the unexpected.
Write down 10 examples of situations you “never saw coming,” but led to you binge eating. Now, write down 5 ways you could have dealt with these situations other than eating.
For instance, you don’t have enough money to cover your bills? Are you keeping a budget? What would happen if you tracked every purchase you made for one month? Could you talk to a friend or financial counselor about your money management problems and get advice?
2. Emotional Reaction. Similar to the “stressful” binge is when you eat as an emotional reaction. Do you find when you’re home alone you want to binge? Do you have a hard time expressing your feelings during a fight, or in a stressful situation? Maybe your significant other and your friends are far away and you have an empty feeling you’re hoping food will fill?
When you have emotional needs that aren’t being met, you turn to food. You have an unhealthy relationship with food, because you “feed” your feelings.
The problem with this emotional binge eating is you never feel full. You’re lonely, or sad, and you stay that way– no matter how much you eat.
I had my worst binges when my husband was out for the evening. I wasn’t happy alone, in my own skin. I hated the feeling of being by myself. So, I binged, which made an already emotional situation worse. I was lonely. guilty, depressed and frustrated with myself.
How do you know if you’re an emotional binger? Think back to your last few binge episodes. Were you by yourself? Was it after a fight with someone you care about? After a rough day at work?
You don’t address the issues as they come up; you push the feelings down deep and then binge later when you’re alone. You do this to feel like you’re taking back control. But it always has the opposite effect.
Once you’re aware of your emotional issues, you can begin to make changes. For example, if you know you’ll be alone on Tuesday night, make plans with a friend to get out of the house.
If your friends aren’t available, then go to the movies or a mall. Sometimes being around other people can help you feel less lonely.
Before you have another confrontation with someone you love, practice how you’ll talk to them in advance. You might say, “I don’t like how you spoke to me. Please change your tone,” or “You can say or do whatever you want, but I don’t have to stand here and take this.”
You need to practice these responses because being assertive doesn’t come naturally for many people.
And if you want to improve, remember– practice makes perfect.
3. Hunger. Are you a “hunger” binge eater? Are you trying to cut corners during the day when you’re busy and active and then paying for it later? Do you get so hungry you’re willing to consume everything in sight?
Here’s an example: Let’s say you decide to save up calories (or points) because you want to have that delicious dessert you’re craving. So, you skip a meal, or eat too little throughout the day.
Your body can only go so long without fuel. It’s like trying to drive across town on fumes. Sure, you might make it, but it’s more likely you’ll break down.
Your body needs fuel too. But you’re withholding that fuel. So you’ll start craving foods like simple carbohydrates (candy, soda, baked goods) that give you a quick fix. But these foods are most often empty calories with no real nutritional value.
To avoid these type of binges, don’t skip a meal! Instead of consuming junk food, eat the proper amount of protein and complex carbs (fruits and veggies). You’ll get the energy you need and your hunger won’t derail your weight loss efforts.
4. Toxic people or relationships. Toxic people are a drain on you. They are the people who emotionally take, and take, and take and never give you anything in return.
They are the people that bring nothing positive to your life. You don’t feel good whenever you’re around them. Everything is a negative.
These are the kind of relationships you really want to unload. You’re responsible for your own happiness. You might believe you’re responsible for the happiness of people in your life. The constant need to appease these people causes you stress and frustration. And that’s what causes you to want to binge eat.
You feel like you’re not in control. So, it’s time to take control. List out all the relationships in your life. write down or think about how you feel whenever you’re around each person.
Ironically, if you’re living to fulfill someone else’s happiness, you’ll never feel fulfilled, or happy, yourself.
So, what about you? Do you see any of your own triggers in these four examples? Or do you have other triggers?
Please share your experiences in the comments to help others who are struggling to find their own answers!