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How to skip the urge to binge

health and fitness Updated: Dec 13, 2012 17:53 IST
Petrina D’Souza
Petrina D’Souza
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

There is nothing wrong with being a foodie. But it’s very easy to unknowingly become the person who doesn’t know when to stop. Though people at times find it hard to give up or reduce their need to binge, with some amount of discipline, it is controllable. Overeating is mainly psychological. A few experts will help you fight with urge to binge.

What’s wrong with overeating?
Overeating leads to weight gain and eventually obesity. That apart, it also causes hypertension, heart diseases, high cholesterol, diabetes and arthritis. “Foods that give you energy and are healthy are those that are easily digested by the human system. Improper and excessive consumption of foods causes abnormalities
in blood lipids, weight gain, liver and kidney impairment, and other degenerative complications,” says fitness guru Mickey Mehta.

Shraddha Gadit, nutritionist at Gold’s Gym, shares some negative effects of excessive intake of food:
Weight gain is one of the first symptoms of overeating. Excessive weight puts a lot of stress on the muscles as you need to carry the weight of your body. This leads to muscle and joint pain.

Overeating causes emotional distress as excessive attachment to food items prevents emotional contentment or fulfillment after every meal. You tend to feel that there is still something missing in your meal. In the long run, you keep eating more and more to defeat this feeling of emptiness.

Eating a lot of high-calorie, high-fat junk food causes serious damage to the digestive system.

Organ malfunction is another health risk due to overeating. Kidney, liver, stomach and other organs that take part in digestion and assimilation of food become highly prone to disorders.

Why it’s a hard habit to ditch
“Overeating is mainly psychological. It is the signal your body gives your mind when it sees, smells or thinks about food,” says Ramraj Yogi, fitness expert and owner of Well N Trim gym. Mehta adds, “Addiction to food can arise out of anxiety, anger, loneliness and depression. It is difficult to overcome this addiction as eating releases hormones that make one happy and relaxed.”

How to curb those cravings

Mickey Mehta gives you tips on how to control the urge to eat more:
Order extra water and other fillers like soups, herbal teas or non-alcoholic beverages to curb your appetite.

Share what is on your plate to reduce portion size.

Stay away from strict and regimented diets as this will make you crave more food.

Make a conscious effort to eat less and do not use food to comfort you.

Eat only when hungry and stop eating when three-fourths full. Do not go for second helpings. Do regular exercises, yoga, meditation that can help get rid of anxiety, depression or loneliness.

Gaddit advises a carb and protein-comprised snack one to two hours before every meal. Reduced fat cheese, crackers or cereal with low-fat yogurt are some options. Also, exercising is a great way to elevate your mood and get your mind of food, she adds.

A week without bingeing
“For people with binge-eating disorders, it is not just about eating for comfort. It reaches a stage where food becomes a compulsive requirement often leading to mental distress and guilt. Therefore, the initial weeks will be tough with discipline problems, anger, irritability, depression and other negative emotions” explains Mehta. “For the first few weeks, you might feel tired, lazy, cranky, irritable, dizzy and moody. But once your body is used to it, you will automatically feel better,” adds Yogi. However, a reduction in the amount of food helps in weight loss, which in turn brings about a change in the triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels and helps reduce blood pressure. Healthy food enhances immune response and is responsible for 70 per cent of the body’s transformation.

Healthy substitutes
“Select foods like fruits, dry fruits and veggies that can make you feel good and less irritable or temperamental. Healthy substitutes like fruits, nuts, roasted channa, low-fat yogurt should be consumed. Liquids like unsweetened fruit smoothies, low fat milk or soy milk, herbal tea, fresh lemon juice with rock salt, soups and vegetable juices are a healthier option,” says Mehta. Yogi advises to have lots of salads, soups and greens and home cooked food with less oil.