How to stop binge eating

If you overeat once in a while, does that mean you have a binge eating disorder? Not necessarily. Overeating is something most people have experienced, and it's usually related to emotions.
  • You stuff yourself at Thanksgiving surrounded by family and tempting traditional foods. 
  • You feel miserable after a breakup and overindulge in desserts with a friend.
  • You celebrate on vacation by clearing your plate at an expensive restaurant.

If you do this once in a while, your experience is pretty common. But if you binge regularly or feel like it's a shameful habit, your eating may be disordered. Here we'll review several ways to be aware of your eating habits and how to stop binge eating habits.

Plan meals

Planning will help you avoid the impulse to binge eat. When you intentionally pick the food you have on hand, you take your emotional state out of the picture. Plan your meals when you are calm and have some time to consider healthy options. Your cravings and emotional triggers will prompt you to binge. Working with a dietician can help you understand how to meet your nutritional needs while managing your eating patterns.   

Manage your stress

Stress is a common trigger for binge eating. If you have a strong association between feelings of comfort and eating, stress will be one of your biggest challenges. Often this becomes mindless eating connected to your feelings. It's about reacting to emotional ups and downs instead of preparing for them. Find ways to cope with stress proactively. Daily exercise, supportive conversation, and deep breathing can keep your stress levels under control.

Understand your triggers

Do you find yourself binge eating in patterns? Think about specific times of day, situations, or emotions that trigger your binge eating. When you notice the same issues coming up repeatedly, you can be proactive against these triggers. Take a few minutes to think about the last few times you binged. Write down the date, time of day, and anything significant going on at that time. What happened right before you ate? Why did you pick those foods?

Remove temptation

Now that you've identified your triggers and foods you eat when you binge, brainstorm some ways to remove your biggest temptations. Remove or avoid purchasing these specific foods. If it's not convenient when you become emotional, you'll be forced to cope differently.

If your food choice is more about quantity, make sure you make smaller meals and reduce the chance of leftovers. Only buy what you'll eat in a few days. Enlist whoever you live with to help you with this part of the plan. Nobody likes having their options limited, but you can make something work if they understand the importance of your situation.

Avoid diets or skipping meals

Diets are attractive because they look like a shortcut to a more attractive body. However, diets are built on restrictions, and the list of rules can seem endless. When a person realizes how much they have to give up when they diet, they feel deprived and empty. Skipping meals can seem like a quick fix, too. But they are based on the same ideas of restriction and deprivation.

So instead of following one diet after another, choose your food wisely. Pick a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, starchy foods, and proteins. Keep an eye on your quantities and avoid too many sugary desserts or salty, fatty junk food choices.

Getter better sleep

Sleep deprivation can make you reach for food when you don't need it. It also makes you more irritable and stressed. And if you're not paying close attention when you're tired, you're more vulnerable to your emotional food triggers. Aim for a full night of sleep and try to avoid extreme swings in your sleep schedule. You'll be more even-keeled through the day and manage stress better when it comes up.

Drink plenty of water

It's surprisingly easy to get thirst and hunger mixed up. You may be eating when your body is actually asking for water. Instead of reaching for food, drink a full glass of water. If your sense of hunger goes away, you were probably thirsty. And if you're still hungry after your glass of water, you're already filled up on water and won't eat as much. If your urine is dark and cloudy, you need more water during the day.

Consider therapy

If you're concerned about binge eating patterns, consider reaching out to your doctor. Binge eating is connected with feelings of shame, anxiety, guilt, and more. Your doctor may recommend a therapist who specializes in binge eating and a dietician for guidance.

Stop binge eating - start with support

Binge eating once in a while won't cause much trouble. But if you're concerned about binge eating and want to stop, reach for support. Talk to a family member or a friend, and consider therapy as well. You don't have to face it alone.

New Dimensions Can Help!

New Dimensions provides Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment to adults and adolescents who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.  We have programs in The Woodlands, Katy, and Houston, Texas.  Our online programs are also available to anyone who resides within the State of Texas, including Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, League City, Huntsville, El Paso, Laredo, College Station, Waco, Tyler, San Antonio, Abilene, and Beaumont.  To learn more about our services, contact us at 1-800-685-9796 or visit our website at

09 May, 2021

Latest articles

Share on