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Answers to more than 1000 questions about psychology, mental health, healthy living and relationships, written by a team of experts appointed by the Commission of the European Communities.
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The aim of Web4Health is to give good and useful free medical advice, help and self help in the areas of mental health, psychology, personality disorders, relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, emotional abuse, substance abuse, sexual abuse, types of mental illness, etc.

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Eating Right and not Too Much

Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.

First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest revision: 09 Aug 2008.

Question:

 How do you stop eating too much? How can you stop compulsive overeating?

Answer:

Some people have difficulty in meeting life's problems; they avoid working on them, and thus food or starving become drugs which they use for avoiding unpleasant feelings. In order to be free from eating problems, it is necessary to face the feelings which arise if they are not suppressed by over-eating or starving. When this is done, it will be noticed gradually that the feelings are not unbearable, and new constructive solutions can be found. If vomiting takes place after binge eating one avoids feeling stuffed. However, it is necessary to face even this sensation and accept it if you want to recover. There are therefore two occasions to say stop: before overeating or before vomiting.

Best is to say stop when your body signals that it does not need any more nutrition. But if you have already eaten too much, you should still not vomit, because the vomiting prevents you from eating responsibly. It is never too late to say stop. Never give up; try again and in the end you will succeed.

Those who want to correct their eating behaviour should eat at least three wholesome meals a day. More. The body then feels secure. Bulimia will stop if the body knows that it will get the nutrition it needs. Everything which is so natural and simple for a healthy person is just as difficult for somebody with an eating disorder as for a drug addict to give up drugs. It is also important to recognize the body's signals. The objective is to eat only when the body is hungry and stop when it is satisfied.

These signals, which are so obvious and easy to recognize for people without eating disorders, can be totally subconscious, or only diffusedly conscious, for people with eating disorders. It is, however, possible to train a patient to increase consciousness of these signals, and this will make it easier for them to eat normally.

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