If you struggle with binge eating, you may have made the connection that food is rarely about food – it’s just a coping mechanism to deal with some emotional factor going on in your life.
We recently discussed the prevalence of binge eating among Black women in another piece on MadameNoire, and to follow it, we spoke to Dr. Ebony, author of “Food is NOT Bae,” to go over healthier ways to cope with stress, other than eating. In a perfect world, one would just eliminate the stress, so they weren’t scrambling to find some way to handle it that didn’t involve over-eating. But, this isn’t a perfect world. Stress will continue to come up. And, it’s the human impulse to self-soothe when it does. Self-soothing can happen in a number of ways. Unfortunately, many of them, like binge eating, can cause consequences that are almost more stressful than the original stressor. With binge eating, there can be concerns about health issues or weight issues. There is even the cost associated with it, as, if it’s very severe, the individual may spend a lot of money on food. Dr. Ebony shined some light on how to recognize those stressful moments as they arise, and what to do besides over-eat.
Watch for restriction
Dr. Ebony highlighted restriction as one reason that binge eating happens. Keep in mind that many diets today require the total restriction of certain foods. Research has found that fasting can be a predictor of both binge eating and bulimic behaviors. If you are trying to lose weight for health reasons, be aware of those heavily restrictive diets, as studies indicate they may lead to adverse consequences. And there is the emotional component of restricting – of telling yourself, “I can’t have that.” It can cause stress surrounding that very food.