Try to remember the last time you overate. How did you feel after you had consumed that large amount of food? You probably didn’t feel great, but if it was just an out-of-the blue experience for you, then you likely moved on and went back to your normal eating habits with subsequent meals.
For some people who can’t seem to stop compulsive eating, the problem is much bigger. These individuals use food as a drug to either fill a void in their lives or cope with distressing emotions like anger, nervousness or sadness.
After they eat compulsively, they usually feel a tremendous amount of guilt, and the whole cycle happens again. In some individuals who eat compulsively a lot of the time or almost every day, the problem could be binge eating disorder (BED).
How Does Compulsive Eating Start? And Is Food Addiction Real?
Compulsive eating may start when you’re a child getting rewarded with food. As you get older, you may find yourself reaching for a treat when you’re feeling low or vegging out on the sofa with some junk food after a long day at the office.
Slowly, this repetitive cycle can turn into a sort of addiction to food. Of course, some researchers would argue that addiction is too strong of a word to use for food. What scientists do know is that certain people respond to the good feelings they get from eating, and this creates a negative cycle of binge eating and guilt.
What to Do to Stop Compulsive Eating
There are a number of solutions to the compulsive eating problem, and different approaches work for different people. To begin on your path toward recovery, start by ending the restrictive diets. This is often a trigger that starts a binge.
Also, give yourself a break. That guilt you feel could be perpetuating your cycle. Finally, look for a long-term plan that will help you get to the root of your compulsive eating issue.
Finding an Out of the Box Solution for Compulsive Eating
Knowing how to stop compulsive eating can be difficult. One of the hardest parts is knowing when to ask for help. Because this issue can rapidly get out of control and cause damaging emotional and physical effects, it’s always important to reach out and talk to someone about this problem as soon as possible.
Many sufferers of compulsive eating find that they want to speak to someone who specializes in overcoming compulsive eating in particular. Others want to talk to those who have actually been compulsive eaters themselves in the past but successfully overcame their issues. The important thing is to find a solution that works for you.