7 Reasons to Stop Binge-Eating

Your body experiences more than just a stomachache after eating a huge meal.

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Why do I binge-eat?

“Binges are set up by your brain,” says Elyse Resch, a registered dietitian, and co-author of the book Intuitive Eating.  People eat excessive amounts of food after dieting or rebounding after previous food restrictions, explains Resch.  If you find yourself overeating to the point of discomfort more than once a week for over three months, get in touch with your healthcare provider to rule out a binge-eating condition.

Below are seven reasons why you should practice mindful eating and kick your binge-eating habit to the curb once and for all.

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1. You’ll sleep better

Overeating makes it harder to rest effectively, says Denise Wilfley, PhD, Scott Rudolph University professor at Washington University in St. Louis and National Eating Disorders Association representative. Once you overeat, it can take a longer time to fall asleep. And once you do drowse off, you might wake up more frequently because you’re thirsty or are experiencing acid reflux. Chronic acid reflux, or GERD, is common in people who frequently binge-eat.

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2. You’ll know when you’re full

When it’s time to eat, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin, which boosts your appetite. And when you’re full, your body decreases its appetite after releasing another hormone called leptin.

Studies show people who frequently binge-eat have lower levels of ghrelin and have difficulty responding to hormones in general. Binge-eating on a regular basis makes it harder for your body to figure out if you’re still hungry or satiated.

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3. You’re less likely to catch a cold

Your organs become traumatized after overeating. The high surges of glucose and insulin your body creates after binging on food can cause your body’s immunity to dip for up to 24 hours – leaving you more vulnerable to catch that bug that’s been going around the office.

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4. Your brain stays in control

Believe it or not, but your brain checks out when you overeat. “In order [for the body] to even tolerate it, there’s a shift in mental state,” explains Kari Anderson, executive director for the Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating. Similarly, studies conducted by the American Psychological Association show that people turn to binge-eating to escape self-awareness.

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5. You’ll be more relaxed

When you overeat, your body produces stress hormones to strive for homeostasis (or balance) says Wilfley. That’s the reason why you might feel the rush of an increased heart rate or sweat after eating a big meal, followed by a “crash” which often leads to lethargy and irritability.

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 6. Your pancreas will thank you

If you’re over-eating, chances are you’re indulging in foods containing a lot of sugar and simple carbohydrates instead of on veggies and lean meats. So after you indulge in that huge slice of dark chocolate cheesecake, your pancreas goes into overdrive. Your pancreas pumps insulin into your body to try and manage the extra surge of sugar that’s suddenly in your blood stream.

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7. You’ll be happier

When you eat a healthy balanced meal, it’s normal for your brain to release dopamine, the hormone responsible for pleasure. However, binge-eating high-fat and high-sugar foods can cause your brain to release extremely high levels of dopamine.

This means that if you have a habit of over-indulging on a pint of ice cream every Friday night, overtime, it can take more and more ice cream for your brain to release the same amount of dopamine and reach that same level of happiness.

Sticking to balanced servings can help you to experience more of that feel good sensation without the negative side-effects you experience after over-eating.  Your body will feel so much better and healthier when you stop binge-eating.