Food cravings and overeating are often linked to mood problems such as stress, depression, PMS and lack of natural light (SAD ~ seasonal attention disorder).
An increasing number of people – especially young women are reporting that their appetite and eating patterns are out of control. They turn to food for comfort when feeling low. Binge eating is characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrolled overeating. Unlike bulimics, binge eaters do not purge themselves after bingeing.
Some bingeing tendencies:
– Eating large amounts of food quickly, even when not feeling hungry
– Eating until you feel uncomfortably full
– Eating triggered by uncomfortable feelings such as anger, anxiety, or shame
– Mood swings and irritability
– Hiding food (or evidence such as wrappers)
– Feelings of disgust or guilt during and after overeating
The body has natural messaging signals to indicate hunger and satisfaction. However in some people this messaging system becomes unbalance or is ignored. The hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) aids the digestive process and gives the sign that you are full after a certain amount of food. People who binge tend to have low levels of CCK as well serotonin (feel-good hormone).
– Avoid having a heavy carbohydrate-rich lunch. Instead of a sandwich, choose a large salad with a good portion of added protein: chicken, fish or cheese. This will help to balance your blood sugar levels. Prevent fluctuation in mood.
– Choose foods to boost your serotonin levels: oat bar, wholegrain cracker with hummus, fresh fruit with natural yoghurt.
– Eat a balance breakfast – poached eggs with asparagus or natural yoghurt with muesli and berries
– Snack between your main meals on fruit and nuts
– Choose fresh, unprocessed foods
– Choose foods low on the glycaemic index (an index of foods and their sugar quantity). Google the list.
– The mineral chromium helps to control blood sugar levels – ask your health practitioner to recommend the correct dosage for you.
Reduce the foods that you feel addicted to. Often these foods provide a temporary ‘high’ and when you can eliminate them from your diet, you will have a better chance of controlling your food cravings and ultimately binge eating.
To successfully tackle binge eating, a combination of psychological and physiological (healthy eating and movement) approaches is best.