Body & Fitness

Are you a dieter by day but binge eater by night?

It's a little known condition, but a common habit. Welcome to Binge Eating Disorder.

It’s a relatively unknown condition but is one of the most common eating disorders in the UK, more so than anorexia or bulimia.

Think about your answers to these questions:

Do you:

  • Quickly eat large amounts of (often sugary) food past the point of fullness?

  • Binge at least once a week, every week, eating significantly more food in a short period of time than you know you should?

  • Lose control when you’re eating and feel unable to stop?

  • Feel guilty and embarrassed afterwards, and perhaps find yourself hiding the evidence?

If you answer yes, nutritionist Amelia Freer, author of Eat. Nourish. Glow, has some tips on what you can do to combat the issue.

Eat with grace

“Being graceful around food can help avoid bingeing,” says Freer. “This means eating mindfully, slowly, savouring your food and being conscious around it. Listen to your body and recognise when you’re full.”

Eat slowly

“Many binge eaters eat their forbidden food too quickly, largely because they’re ashamed. Chew food slowly and thoroughly, put your cutlery down between bites and breathe – it’s harder to binge when you eat slowly.”

Eat as though people are watching

“We eat differently according to who we’re with. When you’re next alone and tempted to dive into a tub of ice cream, ask yourself if you’d do it if you were with friends and being watched. If you wouldn’t, don’t do it.”

Don’t equate food with comfort

“Many of us grow up being fed cake when we’re sad, or to celebrate something. So the idea that food can make us happy has been ingrained. Try to eat only when you’re hungry, not because you’re lonely, stressed or sad.”

Choose your foods wisely

“There’s a saying that goes, ‘The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.’ So eat in a way that makes you feel well, healthy and energised. Not sick, bloated or guilty.”

For more on Binge Eating Disorder, check out the July issue of NEXT

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