By Jessica Sepel

Bingeing: It’s a dirty word for many people. Binge eating can be a truly scary experience, and I believe it has become an epidemic.

For those who binge, food takes over. They eat more than they know they should. They eat past feeling full, until they feel sick. And they feel like they’re out of control of their own bodies.

There are several reasons behind bingeing: stress, anger, depression and even happiness (self-saboatge), dieting and deprivation, and, in my opinion, it’s the result of having a complicated relationship with food as well as not feeling good enough. Combating binge eating is a multi-step process, the most important of which is working on your self-love and building up your self-esteem. My book and program go into detail on how to overcome binge eating and emotional eating.

Along with the emotional factor, bingeing can stem from physical needs. To keep your hunger and appetite in check, you need to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients in your meals, as well as protein-rich snacks. When you skip meals, or eat non-nutritious foods, you’re likely to overeat later on in the day (such as when you get home from work). This is because your body is crying out for nourishment, and your physical nutrient needs are unsatisfied.

Here’s what a typical binge looks like:

You fear or deny yourself certain foods.

One day, you crack.

You eat as much as you possibly can until you feel ill. You literally can’t stop.

The guilt and self-loathing kick in.

Then you repeat out of anger at yourself.

It’s a horrible, vicious cycle.

How do you break the cycle?

– It starts with forgiving yourself. You fell “off the wagon”, but you’re only human. It’s time to get up and remind yourself that we all fall sometimes. What matters is that you’re strong enough to learn from this experience, and strong enough to turn away from extreme or restrictive dieting.

– Let go of the “I blew it” mentality. It happened, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the day or week is a write-off. I see this all the time: clients have high standards when it comes to their eating, so when they eat something that doesn’t align with their ‘perfect’ diet plan, they punish themselves with a binge. It’s really important to stop classifying food as good/bad, so that in turn, you can stop describing your eating as perfect/imperfect.

– Ensure you eat 5 small meals a day that include the important macronutrients to keep blood sugar levels stable and enjoy the JSHealth 4-5pm protein rich snack daily – I cannot tell how how much this has helped people overcome binge eating.

– Remove the pressure to eat perfectly and be a perfect human in general. I have an entire page dedicated to relieving pressure in my book, Living The Healthy Life, and in my 8 week online program I teach you how to overcome bingeing and form a healthy relationship with food and your body.