I’ve been a therapist treating eating disorders since 2005 and I’ve been keeping this blog since 2007, and I continue to get emails from people, almost daily asking how to stop binge eating. All I can say is that I have so much compassion and empathy for you. And I share in your frustration. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave at you that would cure you from your binge eating. I wish I had a cure that was easy. I wish it were as simple as taking a pill or doing one thing differently.
But it’s not. It’s a process of mindfulness, self care, and patience. Lots of patience. Let’s think about this, if you wanted to run a marathon, but you’d never run before, you wouldn’t expect that you could wake up one morning and run the Boston Marathon. You’d have to start by running a block, then two blocks, eventually a mile, then each week you’d do more and more and more. After 4-6 months, you might have the endurance to do it. That’s what healing from binge eating disorder is like. It takes endurance and strength and you have to build that.
That being said, there are a few things that you can do to help this process go a little bit quicker. There are some props that you can use to help you. Start by looking at the calendar and pick a day to quit bingeing and dieting. Know that even though you’ve picked this day, even if you binge again, you’re going to be kind and patient with yourself and remind yourself that this is a process.
1. Add a little more protein to your diet. If you find that you are about to binge or that you want to eat something that you’re going to binge on, try to eat something with some protein in it first, like a hard boiled egg or two, or or some Greek yogurt.
2. Don’t go on a no-carb diet, but try to keep your carbohydrates low by eating unprocessed and whole carbs (beans, fruits, dairy with fat in it). Let yourself eat something like 1-2 squares of chocolate or cookies each day, but not until after you’ve had a full meal with lots of protein in it and not in the morning.
3. Eat 3 meals a day no matter what. This is so important! So many binge eaters skip breakfast and lunch or skip other meals. Try it for one week at least to see how much of a change it makes. If you can’t commit to that, try to at least eat a good healthy breakfast every morning. Something like spinach and eggs, or whole fruit in plain yogurt. Then, try to give yourself at least three or four hours between meals.
4. Consider Amino Acid and mineral supplements: Ask your doctor or nutritionist before following this advice. That said, taking 500- 1500 milligrams of L-gulutamine a few hours after you wake up, and then later in the afternoon (like around 2-3pm) and taking 200 mg of Chromium with each meal and before bedtime can help with decreasing binge cravings. Chromium is supposed to help stabilize your blood sugar levels which will keep your cravings for sugar and carbohydrates at bay. Glutamine is an amino acid that squelchs sugar cravings quickly. It gives your brain quick energy which can help you calm down a bit when you’re feeling like you REALLY need to binge. If you open the capsule and put the powder under your tongue, you might find that the urge to binge just stops. Taking GABA can help your mind and body find some peace so that you have the ability to let go of the binge.
5.Try hypnotherapy for quitting binge eating. Listen to it more than once, listen to it often. It helps your body and mind relax and it helps you to remember and become conscious of what you’re doing. Binge eating is a largely unconscious act and this brings mindfulness to the process. It really does work!