Learning how to stop binge-eating

Until recently, very few diet programs have dealt with the issue of how to stop binge-eating or emotional eating. When you read a diet book, it seems very simple. . . just eat what is recommended, do the required amount of exercise and then you will lose the weight. But the books don't discuss how to stop binge-eating when it's more about emotional upset than it is about hunger.

(This article does not address the eating disorder known as "bingeing and purging". Please consult a physician if you feel that you are suffering from any eating disorder.)

Many people are overweight because of emotional eating. It's not because they don't understand nutrition or the role of exercise but because they eat to feel better about themselves or deal with difficult emotions.

Most of the time emotional eating has nothing to do with the food itself. People who eat for emotional reasons just don�t know how to properly handle their emotions. Food is used as comfort for emotional pain or stress.

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Why do you think they call it "comfort food?"

When we experience painful emotions and turn to food for our comfort, we are demonstrating to God that we like our way of dealing with our problems better than His way of healing and repentance.

When faced with a painful or distressing emotion that normally causes us to engage in binge-eating, ask God for help. If we will trust Him, He will reveal the problem to us and give us an opportunity to join Him in the healing process. But we must first admit that we have a problem and then ask for help in healing it.

Stress, boredom and binge-eating

Sometimes we engage in binge eating because we are stressed, bored or depressed. And sometimes it's just plain old hunger! To figure out how to tell the difference, the book "You:On a Diet" has a helpful scale that will help you learn to judge your hunger and fullness:
    Empty Tank - Really, really hungry

    1/2 Tank - You can go a little while but not too long before you eat again.

    3/4 Tank - Satisfied and can go much longer without food.

    Full Tank - Full and satisfied, right after a good, healthy meal.

    Overflow level S - Stuffed.

    Overflow level OS - Overly stuffed

    Overflow level BP/O - Button Pop/exploding. You actually feel sick you are so full.

The recommendation from the book is to stay in the 3/4 to full tank range at all times. Everytime you reach for something to eat, rate your hunger. If you are not in the hungry category, stop and think what is causing you to reach for food instead of dealing with whatever is bothering you.

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