Habit Binge

7 Ways To Stop Binge Eating – For Good! – Fitness Volt

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Binge eating can mean different things to different people. If Netflix and chilling with a bag of chips is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions binge eating, you probably do not understand its entire scope.

Some people confuse eating too much every once in a while with compulsive eating. They think they have a binge eating problem because they ate one chicken wing too much at a buffet. If you are one of these people, you need to calm down.

According to a study, binge eating disorder (BED) is considered the most common feeding and eating disorder in the United States. BED is one of the most common, but probably the least talked about health issues. We want to change that with this article.

How Binge Eating Turns Into A Disorder

If you have been in the fitness lifestyle long enough, chances are you have come across an article that reads something like “Why you should have cheat days on a fat loss program” or “Why eating that cheeseburger will help you lose weight.” 

Binge Eating

Binge Eating

These articles can be especially fateful for (weak-willed) people on a strict weight loss or lean muscle-building diet. 

Usually, the article reasoning goes something like this – 

  1. If you keep depriving your body of cheat meals, your body will eventually stop digesting them, and you might have problems in the future.
  2. Sub-standard quality carbs can help boost your metabolism as your body has to work extra hard to digest them, and hence eating a cheat meal once a week can help you get shredded. 

A dieter who has not tasted a donut in three months usually has tears rolling down his face as he reads these lines. He then virtually high-fives the author and thanks him for his contribution to humankind. 

After reading the articles, the individual is convinced that he should (no, must) include cheat meals in his diet two to three times a month to boost his metabolism and burn fat even when he is not physically active. 

Must Read: 5 High-Carb Foods To Avoid And Their Healthy Alternatives

The Truth

Deep down inside, every sane individual knows that eating a pizza 3-4 times a week cannot help them lose weight, but they still let their hedonistic side get the better of them. The devil on their shoulder tells them to shut up and savor the new barbecue sauce topping. 

The unsuspecting dieter falls for this because he reasons how could one day of overeating do him any harm?

That one cheat meal results in the dieter grocery shopping for pizza bases, burger buns, and their favorite nachos. You probably know what they say about having junk food at home.

Here is a refresher – What is in the cupboard will end up in your stomach.

It is not much after they scrape the bottom of their cupboard that they realize they have zeroed-out their fat loss effort. The truth is, every dieter knows what is waiting for them at the end of their cheat meal honeymoon, they just do not want to believe it. 

The Math Behind Cheat Days

Too Many Cheat Meals

Too Many Cheat Meals

While most individuals set a daily macro/calorie diet goal, they forget about the bigger picture. A day’s diet alone – no matter how good (protein-rich) it is – cannot help you transform your physique. 

Remember: Diets do not work in isolation.

A day’s worth of diet is a tiny part of your overall transformation program. While you might have a daily calorie goal, what matters is the total amount of calories you will be eating over the 5-6 months of your transformation journey. 

For all the smarty pants who still believe that a cheat meal cannot harm their transformation goal, here is some elementary math that might change their mind –

Let’s say you are trying to lose body fat. According to the calorie calculator, your maintenance calories come out to be 2700kcal.

As per your diet coach, you need to be eating 2,200 calories per day to lose one pound of fat weekly. (A 500 calorie deficit can result in one pound of weight loss in a week). 

Now, imagine that you read the life-altering cheat meal article on a Friday, decided to turn Saturday into a cheat meal night, and ended up consuming 8,000 calories.

Your hypothetical daily calorie intake chart:

  • Monday: 2,200 calories
  • Tuesday: 2,200 calories
  • Wednesday: 2,200 calories
  • Thursday: 2,200 calories
  • Friday: 2,200 calories
  • Saturday: 8,000 calories
  • Sunday: 2,200 calories

Average daily calories: 3,028 kcal (21,200 / 7)

No fitness guru or Instagram fitness celebrity will tell you the truth about cheat meals. Because why waste a fancy #CheatDay post and a possible brand deal?

Coming back to the math, you stuck to your guns for the whole week and only let loose on one day. A single cheat day puts you in a surplus of 828 calories/day (3,028 – 2,200)!

Now imagine that you are on a four-month transformation program, and you discover the cheat meal preaching article in your first week of training. 

According to our calculation, you would have eaten 92,736 surplus calories (!) throughout the program. 

At the end of the program, if you could not figure out why you did not lose weight even after being on a calorie deficit for 16 weeks, now you know why. 

It is like saying, “I was on my way to the Grand Canyon, and I reached halfway in one piece, so I rewarded myself by going a quarter of the way back.” Does this make sense to you? If it does not, your next question should be – Who came up with the cheat day logic?

Related: Find Your Daily Calorie Intake

Binge Eating Disorder Is About More Than Just Food

Don’t you think it is a little odd for someone who eats 2,200 calories/day to throw all his dietary discipline out of the window and gobble down 8,000 calories in a single day?

BED is about more than food, it is a recognized psychological condition. Meaning – someone who ate 8,000 calories in a day did not end up doing it just because he missed tracking his calories. There are underlying psychological factors at play here.

People with binge eating disorder regularly experience episodes of eating unusually large amounts, even when they are not feeling hungry. On top of this, they may feel a strong sense of guilt or shame after a binge eating episode. 

Related: 18 Reasons Why You’re Always Hungry

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Three or more of the following symptoms must be present for a healthcare professional to diagnose BED:

  1. Eating large amounts without feeling hungry.
  2. Feelings of guilt or disgust after an eating episode.
  3. Eating until uncomfortably full.
  4. The person eats alone due to feelings of embarrassment and shame.
  5. Eating much more rapidly than normal.

Health Risks of Binge Eating Disorder

Heart Attack

Heart Attack

Not only is BED associated with several significant physical health risks, but it can also cause emotional and social issues. 

  1. According to a study, the increased calorie intake during binge-eating episodes results in up to 50% of BED patients contracting obesity. 
  2. BED can also cause chronic pain conditionssleep problems, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome
  3. Studies have shown that people with BED report challenges with social interactions compared with people without the condition. 
  4. Research has shown that obesity can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. On the other hand, various studies have found that people with binge eating disorders have an even greater risk of developing these health problems compared to people with obesity who do not have BED. 
  5. In women, BED can cause pregnancy complications, fertility problems, and the development of polycyclic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

How To Stop Binge Eating

1. Do Not Try Every Diet You Come Across

Keto, Mediterranean, intermittent fastingthe boiled egg diet, sandwich diet, metabolic confusion diet – the list is endless. It is almost like people are competing to bring out the craziest diet in the market.

Most people make the mistake of jumping onto every new diet they hear about from their friends, gym trainers, or aunt Suzy. The truth is that most of these diets are nothing more than fads brought to the masses by Instagram fitness models as publicity…

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