Lifestyle and home remedies
Typically, treating binge-eating disorder on your own isn't effective. But in addition to professional help, you can take these self-care steps to reinforce your treatment plan:
- Stick to your treatment. Don't skip therapy sessions. If you have a meal plan, do your best to stick to it and don't let setbacks derail your overall efforts.
- Avoid dieting, unless it's supervised. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that's hard to break. Talk with your doctor about appropriate weight management strategies for you — don't diet unless it's recommended for your eating disorder treatment and supervised by your doctor.
- Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But, if you eat breakfast, you may be less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.
- Arrange your environment. Availability of certain foods can trigger binges for some people. Keep tempting binge foods out of your home or limit your exposure to those foods as best you can.
- Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn't mean you're eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Ask your doctor if you need vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Stay connected. Don't isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy. Understand that they have your best interests at heart.
- Get active. Ask your health care provider what kind of physical activity is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.
Coping and support
Living with an eating disorder is especially difficult because you have to deal with food on a daily basis. Here are some tips to help you cope:
- Ease up on yourself. Don't buy into your own self-criticism.
- Identify situations that may trigger destructive eating behavior so you can develop a plan of action to deal with them.
- Look for positive role models who can help lift your self-esteem. Remind yourself that the ultrathin models or actresses showcased in women's magazines often don't represent healthy, realistic bodies.
- Try to find a trusted relative or friend whom you can talk with about what's going on.
- Try to find someone who can be your partner in the battle against binge eating — someone you can call on for support instead of bingeing.
- Find healthy ways to nurture yourself by doing something just for fun or to relax, such as yoga, meditation or simply a walk.
- Consider journaling about your feelings and behaviors. Journaling can make you more aware of your feelings and actions, and how they're related.
If you have binge-eating disorder, you and your family may find support groups helpful for encouragement, hope and advice on coping. Support group members can understand what you're going through because they've been there themselves. Ask your doctor if he or she knows of a group in your area.
Although there's no sure way to prevent binge-eating disorder, if you have symptoms of binge eating, seek professional help. Your primary care doctor or other health care provider can advise you on where to get help.
If you think a friend or loved one has a binge-eating problem, steer them toward healthier behavior and professional treatment before the situation worsens. If you have children:
- Foster and reinforce a healthy body image, no matter what their size or shape is.
- Talk with your pediatrician. Pediatricians may be in a good position to identify early indicators of an eating disorder and help prevent its development.