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How to Stop a Binge Before It Happens

Stop a Binge in Progress

Practice "urge surfing." Learn and accept the cycle of your urge to binge.“If you think about a wave, it goes up, up, up, and at some point it starts to go back down,” Anderson says. When you binge, you are acting on the urge to make it stop. Urge surfing is following the urge all the way up and down, knowing it will eventually end if you ride it out.

Turn off the auto pilot. Even if you start to binge, it doesn’t have to continue, Bunnell says. “You can stop after the fourth or fifth bite, and people do get better at doing that.” A key, he says, is to slow down and see the binge as a set of multiple decisions, not one big decision.

Russell Marx, MD, chief science officer at the National Eating Disorders Association, says, “I think it’s good, if you’re starting a binge, to ask yourself, ‘What is continuing this behavior going to accomplish right now? What’s it going to do for me?’”

Anderson says, “Remember that more food isn’t necessarily more enjoyable. There’s a point of diminishing returns.”

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Reviewed on April 23, 2014

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