Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses affecting people’s lives. Around 1.25 million people struggle with eating disorders in the UK. These disorders often have complex causes and can last for many years. They affect people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Thus spreading awareness, fighting myths and misunderstandings that surround them are so crucial in today’s society.
National Eating Disorders Week is celebrated in the first week of March. It aims to educate people about the realities of eating disorders, as well as provide support, hope and visibility to individuals affected by those disorders.
When talking about eating disorders, our first thought is usually anorexia or bulimia. Although these two disorders belong to the most common ones, we need to be aware that they are not the only ones.
Binge eating disorder affects 1 in 50 people but only 1 in 4 receive help and support to recover from this illness. This eating disorder is a serious mental health problem where individuals struggling with it eat large quantities of food over a short period of time. They also often experience distressing feelings of being out of control.
Rapid technological changes and adjusting to constantly rushing the outside world affect people’s habits, unfortunately not always in a good way. Besides following new diets, people spend more time in front of screens, where binge-watching became a new trend. In addition to affecting an individual’s sleep patterns, social life and mental health, this can result in mindless binge eating.
One problem with this behaviour is that eating becomes an automatic response to watching a screen instead of eating to satisfy hunger. Snacking on processed foods with high contents of carbohydrates and fats makes it easier to overeat.
How to break this unhealthy pattern?
We suggest introducing a few slight changes in your attitude and daily routine.
1. Challenge your diet mentality
Instead of following diets that focus on cutting out entire food groups or significantly slashing calorie intake to lose weight quickly, focus on making healthy changes. Eat more whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and moderate your intake of treats rather than excluding them completely from your diet. This can reduce binge eating and promote better health.
2. Avoid skipping meals
Skipping meals can contribute to cravings and increase the risk of overeating. Setting a regular eating schedule and sticking to it is one of the most effective ways to overcome binge eating.
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is a simple yet effective way to curb cravings and stop overeating. The amount of water each person should drink daily depends on various factors. Thus, it’s best to listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty to ensure you’re staying well hydrated.
4. Introduce a healthy habit
Introduce some changes to your daily routine. It could be trying out meditation, yoga classes, hitting the gym or simply sorting out your sleeping habits. Sleep affects your hunger levels and appetite, and sleep deprivation may be linked to binge eating. Exercise, as well as yoga and meditation, can decrease stress levels and enhance relaxation to prevent emotional eating.
5. Keep a food and mood journal
Such journals can help identify triggers to address potential problems. To get started, simply start recording what you eat and how you feel each day using either a journal or an app.
If you want to know more about EATING DISORDERS check out our online webinar.