7 Ways to Deal With Binge Urges
Created by: Cesar G. Gamez Category: Eating Disorders Created on: Fri, 05/25/2012 Time: 04:01 PM
A myriad of circumstances can trigger a binge. Stress from work, relationship tension, boredom, and conflict are some of the common binge triggers my patients report experiencing. “Sometimes the simple fact that I’m driving home by a fast food restaurant where I’ve purchased binge food before, makes me want to pull off the freeway to get binge food!” someone once said to me. Here are a few alternative action steps to help you manage your binge urges.
Normalize your metabolism by having consistent meals.
Restricting can trigger binge urges. Keep in mind that balance, variety and moderation is an important part of any healthy nutritional plan. Get rid of the “I’m too busy to eat,” excuse and make time to take care of your most basic needs.
Share your concerns with your dietician.
It is important that you talk with your dietician about creating a meal plan that is appropriate for you. In many cases, having three meals and three snacks a day will help decrease binge urges. This is especially important if you also struggle with a medical condition such as diabetes.
Binge urges can come and go like ocean waves. Depending on the intensity of the urge, you can use a variety of skills, such as distraction, to decrease your urge. Throw yourself into an activity that requires concentration such as beading, gardening, painting, decorating or scrapbooking.
Eating disorders thrive in secrecy. Challenge yourself to reach out and invite someone to come alongside of your struggle. Be sure this person is a true supportive friendship and not an enabling relationship. Supportive friends tell you what you need to hear, even if you get mad. Enabling relationships tell you what you want to hear or choose to look away during times action is required.
For many people, an eating disorder has become an outward expression of an inward pain. Rather than letting your behaviors do the talking, train yourself to process your thoughts and feelings through words. You’ll be amazed how much insight and wisdom these pages are likely to reflect about the root of your binge urges.
Go beyond behavior modification.
If the only thing you do is simply ride the waves of the urge, then you could potentially spend a long time surfing them. Talk to your licensed mental health professional about getting to the root of your urges. This is where your journaling can come in handy. Through therapy, you will be able to determine the causes and triggers of your disorder. Sometimes it’s not enough to simply stop binging, but to have the awareness of what allowed these behaviors to surface in the first place.
Talk back to ED.
You are not your eating disorder (ED). The more you continue to see yourself as your eating disorder, the more difficult it may be for you to break away from a disordered identity. Externalize your ED, and talk back to it. Yell at it. Tell ED that you are making your own choices, and at least right now, you are not simply giving into ED’s choices for your life.
If you have any suggestions that you feel would be helpful to someone trying to prevent themselves from bingeing/purging and would like it included on this list, please email me your ideas, and I will add it in a future list.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cesar is the owner & clinical director at North Phoenix Counseling, LLC and the founder of the Arizona Center for Eating Disorders. He was an adjunct professor in the psychology department at Arizona Christian University. He's a professional member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) and the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). He is also a Nationally Certified Anger Management Specialist.