Updated: Feb 23
Has this ever happened to you? You head to the pantry or fridge and load up on unhealthy food choices. Chips, snack treats, ice cream galore. You start mindlessly eating, and you end up eating the whole thing.
Binge eating is often triggered by having too many Stress Switches turned on
The standard definition of binge eating is people who frequently consume a considerable amount of food and feel that they cannot stop. Binge eating often occurs in front of the TV or computer.
There are many reasons people binge eat, but the main reason is due to stress.
When people experience a stress response, whether it is physical or mental, the survival part of the brain automatically takes control of the rational part of the brain. So, for example, you could have all the right intentions not to binge eat, but your rational part of the brain has been hijacked by the part that is only concerned with survival.
You could have taken all the preemptive measures of making the unhealthy snack foods hard to reach, only to find yourself forging through cabinets to get it like a junkie looking for a fix. A stressed body is burning through glucose (the body's fuel source) at a much faster rate. It is like putting your car in neutral and flooring the gas.
When given a choice between eating donuts or fresh veggies, the brain will go for the donuts because they provide more glucose to fuel the stress response. So when people are in a stress response, even their brain can take sides against your long-term health because it is only concerned with immediate survival.
Further complicating matters is that when people are stressed, the body releases a hormone called cortisol which increases the appetite.
All the best plans will go out the window when you feel stressed. That is why it is tough to STOP binge eating. The only successful way is to PREVENT it.
Being stressed or being in a stress response causes many people to start binge eating. Even the most disciplined people may find themselves binge eating after a stressful experience.
Binge eating may be very unhealthy from a physical standpoint, but it does help relieve stress. That is why people do it. However, it can become harmful when it becomes a daily habit, leading to weight gain and health issues.
If Stress is the main reason people binge eat, then avoiding stressful situations may be your best approach. People who binge eat have turned on a lot of Stress Switches. A Stress Switch is a person, place, or thing that causes Stress. Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the center. On the left side of the line, write down everything that causes you Stress or is Stress Switches. Be honest with yourself.
Watching the news
Toxic Friends/Family Members
You may want to ask for the help of a friend or family member. Then, on the right side of the line, write down everything that helps you relax.
Taking walks in nature
Curling up with a good book
Listening to relaxing music
This simple action can help you identify the Stress Switches you have turned on and allow you to turn them off. As you stop the inflow of Stress and increase the things that help you relax, you will find the desire to binge eat will fade away.
I hope this brings encouragement and insights into succeeding on the Stress Free Diet.