While social media has been a centerstone for a lot of good that has come from technology, it has also accelerated a lot of issues in society. One such menace that has risen from the popularity of social media is the rise of mental illnesses and depression in all ages.
Social media propagates the idea that you need to be a certain body type or live a certain lifestyle to meet these “standards” that society has set. This has created an undue amount of pressure on everyone to achieve all this. One side effect of all this can be seen in the form of body dissatisfaction, which has consequently given rise to eating disorders.
One of the most common eating disorders seen these days is Binge Eating Disorder. About 9% of the world’s population is said to suffer from eating disorders. About 1-2% of these suffer from Binge Eating Disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) significantly impacts an individual’s physical and mental health. Recovery from BED demands a well-structured plan and consistency. It requires a series of lifestyle changes, self-awareness, and professional help.
Understanding Binge Eating Disorder
BED is a psychological condition that involves recurrent episodes of consuming large amounts of food, accompanied by a loss of control. It comprises a vicious cycle of binging due to stress and then being stressed due to guilt, and it goes on.
This leads to emotional distress, guilt, or shame post-binge. This disorder is not just about an obsession with food but is deeply rooted in psychological distress, requiring proper treatment and dedication.
Designing Your Recovery Plan
Recovering from an eating disorder has to be a multifaceted approach. Here are some crucial elements to incorporate into your recovery plan:
- Professional Guidance:
Seeking professional help in case of an eating disorder is imperative. Sometimes, you might need combined help from gastroenterologists, therapists, dietitians, or specialists in eating disorder treatment. Their combined expertise will help ensure you’re dealing with all aspects of care for a more cohesive recovery.
There are several approaches to professional treatments. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and dietary counseling are commonly used. The idea is to work on one’s behavioral and emotional connection to food and take away the toxic relationship they have with it.
Since binge eating is a behavioral disorder, the journey to recovery begins from within. The first step is to start tracking your habits to know the extent of the problem through self-evaluation of your eating habits.
Utilize a journal or tracking system to identify your binge triggers, emotional patterns, and food intake. Also, notice if you have any specific trigger foods or cravings that you gravitate toward. Recognizing these triggers can guide personalized interventions. It can also help you track your recovery by comparing the extent of improvement you’re feeling.
- Dietary Modifications:
While weight loss isn’t a priority for binge eaters, it’s still recommended to make mindful choices regarding food. Try to adopt a balanced, non-restrictive diet emphasizing whole foods. Stay away from fad diets used for weight loss since those only work temporarily and are bad for your nutrition in the long term.
If you can, establish a regular eating pattern and avoid skipping meals. Try meal planning with main meals and snacks in between. This can stabilize hunger patterns, reducing the risk of overeating.
Whenever you go grocery shopping, prepare a shopping list with the right foods for a balanced diet. Prioritize fiber-rich foods, protein, and whole grains; these will make up a blanched diet and keep you full for a longer time. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, and try to avoid having sugary drinks with your meals.
Experts also recommend “intuitive eating,” which is listening to your body’s needs and making food choices. If you’re craving something sweet, have something sweet while ensuring you take an adequate portion. This will help curb cravings and prevent binging later on.
- Lifestyle Changes:
Binge eating is also referred to as emotional eating at times. That is because a lot of it concerns how you feel in your mind. If you’re in a good state of mind, you won’t gravitate towards binging. Similarly, if you’re in a bad headspace, the chances to binge automatically increase.
Hence, while getting help, you must make healthy routine changes to get yourself in a good headspace. Incorporate mindful practices such as yoga, exercise, or meditation to reduce stress levels.
Try to avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, junk food intake, and excessive drinking. Prioritize quality sleep to regulate hunger hormones and support emotional balance. Making these changes in your daily life can work wonders to change your outlook on your life.
- Social Support:
Support from people around you can help you navigate this disorder more seamlessly. Try engaging in a support group, in person or online. Or find a good friend you can confide in.
Sharing your journey with trustworthy friends, family members, or strangers can greatly help. It can aid in navigating difficult moments, alleviating stress, and minimizing the urge to binge. Listening to other people’s struggles and success stories can motivate you to get through yours, too.
- Behavioral Strategies:
Try to develop healthy coping mechanisms to handle triggers. Utilize techniques like urge surfing, breathing exercises, or distraction to manage overwhelming cravings.
If you’re religious, reciting verses in craving moments might help you gain patience and resilience. Or you can try listening to music and/or podcasts or anything else that will work to distract you so you can avoid binging.
God, Grant me the serinity
To Accept the things I cannot change
To Change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference
Implementing Your Plan
Tailoring a recovery plan is just the beginning. Implementation is equally crucial. It involves patience, persistence, and periodic reassessment. Regularly revisiting your recovery plan, tracking progress, and adjusting strategies as needed are vital for long-term success.
Understanding Progress and Setbacks
While you’re on your journey to recovery, it’s important to realize that you will face setbacks and challenges. What you need to understand is that these instances aren’t indicative of failure on your part or the plan. Rather, they are to be seen as opportunities for self-reflection and refining your recovery plan.
You and your healthcare provider or therapist can learn from these moments and use them to fortify your treatment strategy. For example, if a certain distraction technique isn’t working, you can try a different one. Or if you were prescribed any medications and they don’t work for you, your doctor can put you on a different one instead.
In the end, any progress you make counts. It won’t always be linear progress, but as long as you keep going, you got this!
The Importance of Seeking Professional Help
While self-help strategies are valuable, professional guidance is indispensable in combating BED. Therapists and specialists provide personalized care, guiding recovery efforts and addressing underlying emotional, mental, and behavioral factors.
Binge Eating is often associated with other health problems that require expert opinion for correct diagnosis and treatment. These include:
- Obesity and Other Weight-Related Complications: Binge-eating episodes often consist of a large amount of unhealthy food consumption, leading to weight gain.
This can eventually lead to obesity. Which in turn increases the risk of various health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Obesity requires proper treatment by a certified gastroenterologist or registered dietician. Morbid obesity may require gastric bypass surgery, which has extensive follow-up treatment plans that must be followed under expert supervision.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: Binge eating can cause gastrointestinal upset due to a large food intake in a short time. The problems include indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, and tummy discomfort.
- Sleep Disturbances: Disrupted eating patterns are common with binge eating. Binge eaters might find themselves waking up at odd hours to binge while everyone is sleeping. Or they might not be able to sleep due to being too full post-binging.
All this can lead to sleep issues such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless sleep. If not addressed in a timely manner, some might need to take sleeping aid medication to correct the problem. These medications can have addictive potential and hence need to be taken with a doctor’s guidance.
- Mental Health Conditions: Binge eating disorder is often associated with other mental health problems. These can include depression, avoidance, and anxiety. Individuals might have feelings of guilt, shame, or low self-esteem.
Over time, these conditions can significantly impact mental health and overall quality of life. This is why, while treating binge eating, you need to make sure you’re addressing all facets of mental health to ensure long-term recovery.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Even though binge eating involves consuming large quantities of food, these mostly consist of unhealthy, high-calorie, and low-nutrient foods. This can lead to inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals, resulting in nutritional deficiencies.
While nutritional supplements help, serious nutritional deficiencies must be corrected via a proper treatment plan given by an expert.
- Cardiovascular Issues: Excessive calorie intake and weight gain due to binge eating are often associated with cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. If such a condition is suspected or known, it must be considered when drafting a recovery plan for BED.
The bottom line is that involving professional experts while planning your recovery helps ensure you cover each aspect of your treatment. This prevents anyone from overlooking any aspects of your health. You can rest assured that every decision on your recovery plan is made with thoughtful consideration, which is only possible if you’re taking input from all required experts.
Trust The Process
Recovering from a Binge Eating Disorder or any eating disorder is a complicated process. You need to combine lifestyle changes, social support, and professional guidance. This creates a robust recovery plan that works in the long run.
Remember, each individual’s journey is unique, and success lies in consistency, self-compassion, and seeking professional assistance.
Remember to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for past mistakes. You need to trust yourself to find your way out of this disorder, and eventually, you will.