BBJ Fitness Corner | How to avoid binge eating during home quarantine

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DUE to the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities are enforcing a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and there is limited social interaction as everyone is stuck at home with not a lot to do.

Hana and Maja are eating cake and soba at home.  Contributed photo

When bored, some choose food to fill the void.

“As a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified fitness nutritionist, I can help clients, family members and friends understand their eating habits,” said Gold’s Gym personal trainer Jerry Diaz. “But I am not a registered psychotherapist or a dietician who can provide evidence-based scientific support to help those with an eating disorder.”

As a fitness nutritionist, however, Diaz said he has learned that the common indications of binge eating disorder include eating large amounts of foods quickly, in secret and until uncomfortably full.

Binge eaters will eventually feel shame, disgust, or guilt. They resort to purging, fasting for long periods or excessive exercises to compensate for the binging. They then repeat the pattern.

Individuals with a binge eating disorder include gym goers, fitness trainers, athletes and even the cover models of a fitness magazine.

This disorder may increase the risk of medical complications involving heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Regular and flexible eating is one of the techniques used when dealing with binge eating. An individual should try to eat at least 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, no more than 3-4 hours apart.

“As a trainer, I recommend this approach even if a client doesn’t have an eating disorder. This strategy requires individuals to plan, each day, what will be eaten and at what time,” Diaz said.

Another approach is food exposure. Many people have a list of food items that can cause considerable anxiety and trigger binge eating. But individuals must slowly reintroduce these “trigger foods” back into their diet. Eventually, they will no longer trigger binge eating.

Activity scheduling

Now that most of us have to stay home, it is recommended that we create an activity schedule individually or with our family members.

Think of things that can bring pleasure to our lives. These include learning how to plant, taking up an online art class, working out with friends online, dancing, teaching children to improve their reading skills or a cooking exploration.

Implementing this approach requires patience and perseverance. If you are struggling with binge eating, please don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to healthcare professionals such as a psychotherapist or a dietitian.


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