Meal Plan For Binge Eaters


This isn’t a diet guide. The meal plan for binge eaters is a nutrition guide to help people who want to know how to stay healthy while gaining weight. You can’t keep eating like this. You see the numbers on the scale, feel how your clothes fit, and know you need to make a change. But let’s be honest — you can’t quit cold turkey. Even if you could stick to it, you wouldn’t want to. When life is stressful, eating is one of the ways we cope as comfort food is always there for us (most of the time). So what can you do? I’m glad you asked.

Meal Planning for Eating Disorder Recovery

Learn How to Plan Meals to Support Your Recovery

Meal Planning in Eating Disorder Recovery

Many people are accustomed to eating on the move rather than stocking their kitchens and making elaborate plans for meals in our contemporary, fast-paced environment where food is abundant. For many people, ordering takeout or getting fast food from the drive-thru is just a question of convenience. However, someone who is recovering from an eating disorder needs to take a more focused and planned approach to meals.

For those recovering from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specific feeding and eating disorders, meal planning is an essential skill (OSFED). Learning about meal planning is also essential for family members, parents, and other caregivers who are assisting someone in recovering from an eating disorder.

Normalizing regular eating habits is a requirement for recovery from all eating disorders. According to research, eating that is planned and structured can help you achieve your objective the most effectively.

Meals are prepared and served to patients in residential and inpatient settings. An individual in recovery must carry out an organized eating plan on their own in an outpatient environment. Eventually, every patient receiving inpatient care will need to go to an outpatient setting, where they will be responsible for food planning.

Some eating disorder sufferers steer clear of grocery shopping because it makes them anxious. A person with an eating disorder might not keep their kitchen stocked if they are worried about binge eating. In either scenario, a person may find themselves undereating and may even become more prone to binge eating.

For the families of an eating disorder patient, mealtimes can be difficult. It can be too much to handle to constantly prepare and serve meals. In order to prevent overtraining or other eating disorder behaviors, the caregivers of a person in recovery may also need to provide supervision before, during, and after meals.

Planning ahead and keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is especially crucial for someone recovering from an eating disorder because many nutritious meals are perishable.

Nevertheless, finding the time to plan, purchase for, and cook meals is not always simple.

Meal Planning Benefits

Making an effort to learn about and implement meal planning can ultimately pay off, as the strategy has many benefits, such as:

  • Having a list and a plan for a shopping trip helps ensure a person only buys what they intend to buy and doesn’t become overwhelmed by choices.
  • Meal planning is often more cost-effective compared to leaving decisions about food to the last minute.
  • Planning ahead can reduce the number of grocery trips someone with an eating disorder needs to make in a given week, which can help reduce anxiety.

Strategies for Adults in Recovery

It will be beneficial to comprehend the fundamentals of meal planning for eating disorder recovery whether you are organizing and cooking meals for someone else or yourself. Here are some pointers to help you get going.

  • Plan a set number of meals each week. Once a week, take 10 minutes to plan at least five lunches and five dinners for the week. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, however. If you end up wanting to move them around and, for example, have your Wednesday dinner on Tuesday instead, you’ll have all the ingredients on hand.
  • Itemize ingredients. Make a list of the ingredients you need to buy to make the meals you plan. You can include items from recipes that you will cook or prepared items you will assemble for each meal.
  • Decide when you will go shopping. Plan at least one large shopping trip per week to get you through the bulk of your planned meals. You might also want to plan for one additional “fill-in” trip.
  • Don’t forget about premade options. If you can’t or don’t want to cook, you can plan healthy, delicious, and balanced meals from the prepared sections of almost any supermarket.
  • Consider dining out. If you are going to have some of your meals out, add where you will go and what you think you will have to eat to your weekly plan.
  • Give yourself choices. Have at least two different breakfast options that you can alternate to ensure you have a bit of variety.
  • Include snacks. The bites to eat you have between meals are also important and should be part of your weekly plan.
  • Make a list. You’ll have fewer decisions to make if you are following a meal plan but you should still sit down once per week and make a shopping list that is based on your plan.
  • Let yourself change your mind. It’s OK to include room for a spontaneous event or outing in your weekly plan. Your meal plan does not need to be set in stone.

A meal plan is intended to prevent you from feeling too stressed out to choose what to eat and when. For instance, if you are fatigued when you get home from work, choosing what to eat (much alone cooking it) could be so difficult that you just decide not to.

However, having a meal prepared in advance—or even partially—reduces the amount of work and decision-making required to guarantee that you are constantly feeding your body while it is recovering.

Meal-Planning Strategies for Caregivers

Here are some tips to help you plan meals for a loved one who is recovering from an eating disorder.

  • Plan for the week ahead. On a weekly basis, sit down and plan your family’s meals for the week.
  • Assemble meals. Plan at least four to five dinners for the entire family weekly. Try planning meals with simple and cost-effective components that can be adjusted to each person’s needs and preferences (for example, tacos, pasta dishes with sauce and meat, salads, etc.)
  • Plan school lunches. Aim to plan at least five of your child’s lunches for each weekday.
  • Have options. When you’re planning breakfasts, try to have two meals that can be alternated.
  • Don’t forget snacks. In addition to planning for snacks as part of a weekly meal plan, don’t forget to add the ingredients you’ll need to your shopping list.
  • Keep weight goals in mind. If your child needs to gain weight, they may need to consume a very high-calorie diet. You might need to buy more food, or more of certain types of nutrient-dense, high-calorie foods, during your shopping trips.

How To Eat When Recovering From Binge Eating Disorder

You are aware that the binge cycle did not benefit your body if you are in binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. Finding the best course of action might still be challenging. Let’s examine a few straightforward eating methods that will help you break free from problematic eating habits.

Prior to getting started, it’s critical to keep in mind that restoring regular diet is not the end-all, be-all of a good recovery. Physical, behavioral, and psychological rehabilitation are the three main areas that psychologists emphasize.

Even though we’re focusing on the behavioral side of things today, you can see in these advice that we also gave the physical and psychological aspects of things a high priority. Recovery is about the individual as a whole, after all.

4 Simple Strategies for Eating in BED Recovery

Get Enough to Eat

You might be tempted to diet, try intermittent fasting, or simply limit how much you eat at each meal in an effort to achieve results as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, using this strategy frequently results in more issues.

Why? Your body may not be properly nourished and you risk feeling deprived if you don’t eat enough. As you refrain from consuming more calories than your body requires, you’ll probably exercise restraint and draw on your strong desire to maintain good health. However, you will eventually require more because your body is not receiving enough nutrition, not because of your eating disorder.

Nevertheless, it can get harder to resist a binge given your experience with an eating disorder.

You’re more likely to feel content and be able to follow your plan over the long term if you properly hydrate.

Strive for Balance

Registered dietitians Justine Roth and Natalie Guarnashcelli advise persons recovering from binge eating disorder to focus on the quality of their food rather than just the quantity. According to Guarnashcelli, starting to eat balanced meals throughout the day is more important at first than how much you eat.

Use foods you like that have a balance of protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates to sate your appetite and supply essential nutrients. A cheeseburger with broccoli and sweet potato fries is one example, as is a salad with salmon and a side of fruit.

Develop a Plan That Works For You

These affirmations will initially appear to be very straightforward. However, simplicity may be powerful. Complete the gaps with

To create a detailed daily meal plan, see a nutritionist, physician, or counselor. The following routine is recommended by breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and nighttime snack. You can skip one of those snacks, but you should strive to eat three meals and two snacks each day.

Guarnaschelli and Roth advise patients to eat within four hours of being hungry. Keep in mind that eating frequently and in sufficient amounts will prevent binges.

Treat Trigger Foods with Respect

While no meal should be regarded as off-limits, you might have better success on your trip if you identify the foods that you tend to binge on and locate a welcoming atmosphere in which to eat them.

You could start by keeping a “food and mood diary,” as advised by Healthline.

Make a conscious effort to eat these foods in a supportive setting, such as with a friend, after you are aware of the foods that are particularly high risk for bingeing.

Helpful Tips to Overcome Binge Eating

The most prevalent eating and feeding disorder in the US is thought to be binge eating disorder (BED).

BED is a recognized psychological illness that involves more than just food. This indicates that in order to overcome the illness, those who have it will probably need a treatment plan created by a medical practitioner.

When BED is present, individuals have episodes where they eat excessively, even when they are not hungry. Following an event, people could experience intense guilt or humiliation.

Regular bingeing can result in weight gain, which raises the risk of developing diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

Fortunately, there are many methods you may use to lessen binge eating episodes, both on your own and with a professional’s assistance.

1. Ditch the diet

Studies have shown that extreme dietary restrictions can lead to episodes of binge eating and that fad diets are frequently quite dangerous.

For instance, a research including 496 teenage girls discovered that fasting increased the chance of binge eating

Similar findings from a research involving 103 women showed that restricting particular foods raised desires and increased the likelihood of overeating.

Focus on making healthy modifications rather than following diets that emphasize eliminating entire food groups or drastically reducing calorie intake to lose weight quickly.

Increase your intake of complete, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and reduce your treat consumption rather than cutting them out entirely. This could lessen binge eating and advance wellness.

Summary Studies show that fasting or
eliminating certain foods from your diet may be associated with increased
cravings and overeating. Focus on eating healthy foods instead of dieting or
cutting out certain foods completely.

2. Avoid skipping meals

One of the best strategies to stop binge eating is to establish and adhere to a regular meal plan.

Missing meals can boost desires and raise the possibility of overeating.

One short, 2-month study found that compared to eating three meals a day, eating one substantial meal each day significantly elevated blood sugar levels and the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin.

Another study including 38 individuals discovered that maintaining a regular meal schedule was linked to a lower incidence of binge eating.

Consider creating and following a regular eating regimen.

Summary Adhering to a regular eating
pattern can reduce the risk of overeating and may be associated with lower
levels of ghrelin and fasting blood sugar.

3. Practice mindfulness

It’s important to listen to your body and focus on how you’re feeling right now if you want to practice mindfulness.

By teaching someone to detect when they are no longer hungry, this strategy can assist people avoid overeating.

Practice of mindfulness meditation reduced the frequency of binge eating and emotional eating, according to an analysis of 14 studies.

Another small study found that mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy could enhance self-awareness and eating habits.

To determine when hunger diminishes, try paying attention to your body. To encourage healthy eating habits, make an effort to chew your meal thoroughly and slowly.

Summary Practicing mindfulness can
help you recognize when you’re no longer hungry, which can improve your eating
behaviors and reduce the incidence of binge eating.

4. Stay hydrated

A simple yet effective technique to reduce cravings and minimize overeating is to drink enough of water throughout the day.

In fact, research suggests that consuming more water may be associated with consuming less calories and feeling less hungry.

Taking in 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before a meal, for instance, reduced the quantity of calories ingested by 13% as compared to a control group in one research of 24 older persons.

Another study in older persons found that consuming 13 to 17 ounces (375 to 500 ml) of water 30 minutes before a meal dramatically reduced calorie intake and appetite while boosting feelings of fullness throughout the day.

More water consumption, according to some studies, may speed up metabolism and aid in weight loss.

Each person needs to drink a certain amount of water each day, depending on a number of criteria. To ensure you’re staying adequately hydrated, it’s therefore ideal to pay attention to your body and drink when you feel thirsty.

Summary Drinking more water can keep
you feeling full to decrease calorie intake and prevent binge eating.

5. Try yoga

Yoga is a physical and mental activity that uses precise breathing techniques, positions, and meditation to ease tension and promote relaxation.

According to studies, yoga can promote good eating practices and lower the likelihood of emotional eating.

One short trial with 50 BED patients found that doing yoga for 12 weeks significantly reduced bingeing.

Another study involving 20 girls discovered that adding yoga to outpatient eating disorder treatment reduced melancholy, anxiety, and problems with body image – all of which may contribute to emotional eating.

Additionally, research demonstrates that yoga can reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone, to keep stress under control and avoid binge eating.

To start incorporating this kind of exercise into your regimen, consider attending a nearby yoga studio. To practice at home, you can also use videos and internet resources.

Summary Yoga can help prevent binge
eating and may reduce common triggers like stress, depression, and anxiety.

6. Eat more fiber

Because fiber passes through your digestive system slowly, it prolongs your sense of fullness.

According to several studies, consuming more fiber may help decrease desires, appetite, and food consumption.

In a brief, two-week trial, it was discovered that consuming a type of vegetable fiber twice daily reduced appetite and calorie consumption while boosting fullness.

Taking 16 grams of prebiotic fiber daily resulted in higher levels of some hormones that regulate satiety and considerably decreased feelings of hunger, according to a different study in 10 adults.

A few fiber-rich foods that can help you feel full include fruits, vegetables, lentils, and whole grains.

Summary Fiber can help keep you
feeling full to reduce calorie intake and feelings of hunger.

7. Clean out the kitchen

It can be much simpler to binge eat when there is an abundance of junk food or trigger foods in the kitchen.

Keeping nutritious items on hand, on the other hand, can lessen your risk of emotional eating by reducing the availability of harmful options.

Start by replacing processed snack items like chips, sweets, and convenience foods in prepackaged containers with healthier options.

Improving your nutrition and lowering your risk of binge eating unhealthy foods can both be accomplished by stocking your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds as well as meals high in protein.

Summary Removing unhealthy foods
from your kitchen and stocking up on healthy alternatives can improve diet
quality and make it harder to binge eat.

8. Start hitting the gym

According to studies, including exercise in your routine may help you avoid binge eating.

For instance, a 6-month study involving 77 individuals revealed that 81% of subjects halted binge eating when their weekly exercise frequency was increased.

Another study of 84 women discovered that cognitive behavioral therapy combined with regular exercise greatly reduced the frequency of binge eating.

Additionally, other studies indicates that exercise can improve mood and lower stress levels to prevent emotional eating.

Exercise can help minimize binge eating and relieve stress in a variety of ways, including walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and playing sports.

Summary Studies show that exercising
can reduce the risk of binge eating and decrease stress levels.

9. Eat breakfast every day

A good breakfast each morning may lessen the likelihood of binge eating later in the day.

Maintaining a regular meal schedule has been linked to fewer binge eating episodes and lower levels of the hormone ghrelin, which triggers feelings of hunger.

Additionally, loading up on the correct foods helps keep you satisfied, reducing hunger and cravings throughout the day.

For instance, one study including 15 individuals discovered that eating a high-protein breakfast significantly decreased ghrelin levels compared to eating a high-carb meal.

Oatmeal, which is high in fiber and protein, has been shown to help 48 individuals regulate their hunger and feel fuller.

To prevent overeating, try mixing a few fiber-rich items with a good source of protein, such as fruits, vegetables, or whole grains.

Summary Eating a fiber- and
protein-rich breakfast can prevent cravings and keep you satisfied throughout
the morning.

10. Get enough sleep

Your hunger and appetite are influenced by sleep, and sleep loss has been associated with binge eating.

In fact, a study of 146 individuals indicated that those with BED had noticeably higher insomnia symptoms than those without a history of this disorder.

Another significant study found that less hours of sleep were linked to greater levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lower levels of the hormone that promotes fullness, leptin.

Additionally, a larger body weight was associated with sleeping fewer than 8 hours per night.

To control your hunger and lessen your risk of binge eating, try to get at least 8 hours each night.

Summary BED may be linked to
increased symptoms of insomnia. Sleep deprivation has been shown to alter the
levels of hormones that affect hunger and appetite.

11. Keep a food and mood journal

A useful technique is keeping a food and mood journal that records your eating habits and emotional state. It can aid in locating potential food and mental triggers and encourage better eating practices.

Using an online self-help program that required maintaining a food journal was linked to fewer self-reported episodes of binge eating, according to one study involving 17 persons.

Tracking your consumption may be associated with improved weight reduction and support long-term weight management, according to a number of other research.

Simply begin by keeping a daily notebook or utilizing an app to track what you eat and how you feel to get started.

Summary Food and mood journals can
help identify triggers to address potential problems. Studies show that using a
food diary is associated with fewer episodes of binge eating, as well as
increased weight loss.

12. Find someone to talk to

When you feel like bingeing, talking to a friend or peer may help lower your risk of overeating.

Reliable social support was linked to fewer binge eating, according to one study of 101 teenagers who underwent sleeve gastrectomy.

Better social support was associated with a reduction in the severity of binge eating, according to a different study including 125 obese women.

A strong social support network is believed to lessen the effects of stress, which may aid in lowering your likelihood of developing additional coping mechanisms like emotional eating.

The next time you want to binge, pick up the phone and speak with a reliable friend or relative. There are free eating disorder helplines accessible if you don’t have anybody to talk to.

Summary A good social support system
may be linked to decreased binge eating and stress.

13. Increase your protein intake

Increasing your consumption of protein-rich foods can help you feel fuller longer and manage your appetite.

In one study, protein intake was increased from 15% to 30% in 19 participants. This resulted in significant decreases in body weight and fat mass, as well as a reduction in daily caloric intake of an average of 441 calories.

A high-protein meal was also found to improve metabolism, encourage feelings of fullness, and raise levels of the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which is renowned for its capacity to reduce hunger.

To avoid cravings, try including at least one high-quality protein item, such as meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, or legumes, in each meal. You can also eat high-protein snacks whenever you feel hungry.

Summary Increasing your protein
intake has been shown to decrease calorie intake, enhance feelings of fullness,
and increase levels of GLP-1, a hormone that can help suppress appetite.

14. Plan meals

Making a meal plan will help you make sure you have the right ingredients on hand to make wholesome meals. Additionally, portion control and storing leftover food may assist you avoid starting a binge.

Meal planning is really linked to better food quality and variety, as well as a lower risk of obesity, according to one study involving over 40,000 adults.

Additionally, meal preparation makes it simpler to maintain a regular eating schedule, which has been associated with a reduction in the frequency of binge eating.

A weekly rotation of your meals should be planned out over the course of an hour or two each week.

Summary Meal planning has been
associated with improvements in diet quality and variety. It can also make
sticking to a regular eating pattern easier and ensure that you have healthy
ingredients on hand at all times.

15. Seek help

While the aforementioned techniques can be useful, many times a professional treatment plan is required to help overcome bingeing.

To manage bingeing and address any underlying causes or symptoms, BED treatment may involve numerous forms of counseling or drugs.

The most effective type of counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, examines the relationship between your ideas, feelings, and eating habits before coming up with tactics to change your behavior.

Dialectical behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and behavioral weight loss therapy are further forms of therapy used to address binge eating.

There are times when BED is treated with antidepressants, antiepileptic medicines, and certain stimulants, but further research is required to assess their long-term consequences.

Summary Cognitive behavioral therapy
is considered an effective treatment method for binge eating. Other types of
therapy and certain medications can also be used.

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