How often have you found yourself sitting in front of the TV, munching on all your favorite snacks, unable to turn off the eating because you can’t stop thinking about how good it tastes? You know you have to stop binge eating, but you just can’t seem to put the snacks down – so they keep coming and coming until they’re all gone! Sound familiar? If so, you may be binge eating!
If you are tired of overeating or just want to be more healthy, here are some great tips for overweight men to help stop binge eating in its tracks.
1) Understand Emotional Triggers to Stop Binge Eating
Every binge eater has emotional triggers for when they want to binge. Most common triggers include feeling: boredom, shame, loneliness, and stress. Identifying what you are is an essential step in curbing binge eating because you can use different coping techniques such as:
- Distracting yourself from the trigger.
- Reaching out for support.
- Keeping yourself busy through productive or healthy activities.
- Engaging in some kind of mindful activity.
Emotional triggers for binge eating can be different for everyone. They might be boredom, shame, loneliness, or stress. The reason why you might binge also has something to do with emotional triggers too. An example is that you may overeat because you’re feeling lonely and looking for comfort in food.
Try tracking your emotional triggers for binge eating by keeping a journal and writing down any patterns. This can help you recognize which triggers make you want to binge and what types of things are likely to trigger those feelings. Then, when you feel one of these emotions come on, try doing something else instead of binge eating. By responding differently each time an emotional trigger arises, you’ll train yourself out of binging in that situation.
2) Explore What Makes You Feel Good
When you’re tempted to binge, ask yourself what makes you feel good. Are you bored? Lonely? Afraid? Exercising, learning something new, and spending time with friends can help curb binge eating. It’s hard work, but you’ll see progress as your old habits start disappearing and new ones start taking their place. No matter how long it takes, remind yourself that every day without a binge is a day closer to success.
Once you’ve established what makes you feel good, take some time to plan your day around those things. If you want to go out with friends, commit in advance. If exercise helps curb binge eating, make sure that it’s scheduled and not left as an afterthought. This will make it much more likely that you get these important activities done when they need to be done.
3) Have Healthy Alternatives Ready
One of the most effective ways to curb binge eating is always to have healthy alternatives ready and available for when you’re feeling hungry. Some good options include fruit, nuts, vegetables, or a handful of chocolate-covered raisins. That way, you’ll be less likely to turn to unhealthy foods when your tummy starts rumbling and more likely to eat something that actually tastes good without packing extra calories or sugar.
You can’t prevent yourself from getting hungry, but you can set yourself up for success by keeping healthy foods readily available. They’ll be less tempting than junk food and could help you avoid a binge eating episode.
If You Do Binge Eat – Don’t Punish Yourself: If you binge eat, try not to punish yourself. Instead, focus on identifying why it happened and finding a way to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
4) Call Someone Who Listens
When you’re binge eating, you want to speak with someone who will listen. This is especially important if you have a binge eating disorder and need more in-depth counseling. Calling a friend aware of your struggle can be a good idea; you’ll find it easier to open up about what’s going on when there aren’t any other distractions (like food) around.
If you’re struggling with binge eating, calling someone who will listen instead of resorting to food is crucial. If your friends and family don’t know about your struggle, explain that you want to speak with them about a sensitive topic over Skype or Facetime. If they already know you struggle with binge eating, explain that you wish to help control your urges around food and need someone supportive but not judgmental.
5) Follow a Non-Food Reward Routine
The trick, of course, is to create a healthy reward system—i.e., one that doesn’t involve eating or serving yourself up for binging later. Many people find it helpful to establish a non-food reward routine that helps stop binge eating urges before they even arise. For example, if you struggle with binge eating after eating out at restaurants, try going for a walk or performing some other exercise immediately following your meal instead of allowing yourself an evening dessert or snack.
If you struggle with binge eating at night, try going to bed an hour earlier or getting up an hour earlier to avoid giving in to your late-night cravings. When you’re feeling like a binge is coming on, redirect your focus onto something else for a short time period. You can also try focusing on one positive aspect of yourself or your day to break through a binge-eating cycle before it gets out of control.
6) Get Plenty of Sleep to Stop Binge Eating
Sleeping enough can curb binge eating. Without getting enough restful sleep, your body can’t metabolize food like it usually would, and you’re more likely to store extra calories as fat. What’s more, sleeping too little can make you feel hungrier—and even cause depression, according to one study. Studies have also shown that getting less than six hours of sleep a night is linked with a higher risk of obesity in men.
7) Keep Track of What You Eat & How Much You Eat
If you eat out often and constantly find yourself eating more than you think, it’s a good idea to keep track of what you eat. This will give you insight into how much food (and, perhaps more importantly, how many calories) you consume when you leave home. Online meal-tracking apps are a great way to keep tabs on daily calorie consumption.
One such app is MyFitnessPal, which allows users to input their meals and snacks in real time as they consume them. It also has a built-in database that includes over 2 million foods from hundreds of brands, so there’s no need to estimate or guess at all—it even tells you how much exercise is required for you to burn off each item you consume.
8) Maintain Good Nutrition & Exercise Habits
Before we can think about eating less, we have to start thinking about eating better. Research has shown that one of the leading causes of binge-eating is poor diet quality. Therefore, we must focus on eating nutrient-dense foods and maintaining a well-rounded diet. To avoid overindulging, it’s also vital that we exercise regularly.
Maintaining a good diet and exercising regularly also helps us control binge eating by keeping our bodies fit. Research has shown that fitter people are less likely to be obese, have lower BMIs, and have better physical health. If you are not sure about your BMI, check out these BMI charts for men.
Additionally, maintaining a good diet and exercising regularly is beneficial for us mentally. A healthy lifestyle can help us feel more positive about ourselves and boost our self-esteem. This, in turn, improves our emotional health and reduces stress. Increased physical activity has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Finally, regular exercise can keep stress hormones under control by releasing endorphins during a workout that give you a natural high afterward.
Click here if you would like to learn more about healthy habits for big or overweight men.