What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder is “a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food … often shrouded in secrecy. You may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating.”
Want to Stop Binge Eating? Try Mindful Eating
Mounting evidence indicates that mindfulness, in particular mindful eating, can substantially reduce binge eating behaviors by helping you to:
- Resolve common binge triggers
- Increase awareness of satiety (fullness)
- Diminish self-criticism
- Improve your attitudes towards eating
- Enhance your ability to avoid automatic reactions
- Develop a wiser relationship with your eating, body, and self
- Enhance your emotional control skills
- Increase motivation to change your behaviors
- Reduce depression and anxiety
Overcoming Binge Eating – Exploring the Research
Overcoming binge eating with mindful eating has been increasingly studied in the past decade:
One study reported that meditation and mindfulness training decreased both the frequency and severity of binge eating episodes.1
Another study confirmed the growing evidence that mindful eating can lead to excellent improvement in binge eating symptoms.2
In 2007, an article reported that more mindfulness predicted fewer binges. Participants found that allowing the body to self-regulate (eating when hungry and stopping when full) was more satisfying than the diet-binge cycle they were used to, and reported being pleasantly surprised by not gaining weight.3
A 2008 study reported that mindful eating led to improvement in binge eating symptoms and increased motivation to change harmful eating behaviors.4
1Kristeller, J.L., et al. (1999) An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. Journal of Health Psychology, 4:3, 357-363.
2Baer, R., et al. (2005) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy applied to binge eating: A case study. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 12:3, 351-358.
3Kristeller, J.L., et al. (2007) Mindfulness meditation: a treatment of binge eating disorder. In The Relevance of Wisdom Traditions in Contemporary Society: the Challenge to Psychology. Eburon.
4Leaheya, T.M., et al. (2008) A cognitive-behavioral mindfulness group therapy intervention for the treatment of binge eating in bariatric surgery patients. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 15:4, 364-375.