Do you feel like food controls you? Maybe you think about food most of the day. Do you sometimes eat large quantities of food even if you’re not hungry or if you’re feeling full? You might say that you just need more self-discipline or self- control, but that is not at all the case.
You’re not alone. Overeating or binge eating is way more common than you can imagine, impacting millions and millions of people across the globe.
So what can you do if you just can’t stop eating?
First, if you’re experiencing extreme hunger, it’s best to start out with a visit to your medical provider for a workup. It’s not at all common, but certain endocrine or metabolic issues can lead to increased hunger. Some medications can also have an impact on appetite. So let’s just be sure that’s not the case for you.
This may shock you: More often than not, an overeating problem is a direct response to an undereating problem. The single biggest trigger to overeating is skipping meals or eating too little throughout the day. If you haven’t had enough to eat and then get access to food, you’re vulnerable to eating faster, with less attention and in larger quantities. Physically, your body just wants and needs more food. Being overly hungry is dangerous territory for most of us.
If you often restrict your eating or keep pleasurable foods off limits, it’s just human nature to overeat on those items when you get access. Most often, the foods people binge on are the foods they don’t usually allow themselves.
It’s important to know that if your weight is down, and in a range below where your body needs to be to thrive, you can end up with increased hunger and urges to binge eat. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Your body detects that there is a decrease in energy stores, and it goes into protective mode to get you more energy fast – and then some. Typically, when weight is back in a range that is more natural for your body, the urges tend to go away.
Emotions, especially negative emotions, are also common triggers to binge eating.
The truth is that food can be a very soothing and pleasurable way to manage feelings. It becomes problematic, though, if eating becomes the primary way that we cope with our emotions.
Please join us for our next blog, where we will focus on strategies to stabilize your eating and address some of the triggers to overeating.
To watch our video about binge eating, visit our YouTube channel. If you or someone you care about is struggling with their eating, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Columbus Park. We can provide information over the phone and see if we might be the right place for you to start your recovery.