Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, and with that comes Super Bowl parties filled with good company, friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition and, of course, the highly-anticipated Super Bowl food spread.
For some, this might be a highly anticipated day; but for others, it can be a time of stress, temptation and guilt. For those struggling with binge eating disorder, parties that revolve heavily around food – particularly junk food – can be an unwanted challenge.
What is a binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder (BED) is “a behavioral disorder characterized by chronic, compulsive overeating.” While everyone tends to overeat or overindulge, those who struggle with BED feel controlled by the disorder and are frequently feeling the effects on their mental and physical health.
BED is one of the most common eating disorders, according to Cleveland Clinic, as it makes up nearly half of all eating disorder diagnoses. “In the U.S., [BED] affects almost three percent of the population, including all racial and ethnic groups.” BED is also more commonly seen in teens than adults, and women than in men.
While many people may battle portion control and compulsive eating at times, binge eating becomes a cause for concern when it begins to interfere with physical and mental health, social and familial relationships and obligations like work or school.
How to avoid binge eating on Super Bowl Sunday
For those battling binge eating disorder, certain events are likely to trigger unwanted behaviors or cause an increase in intrusive thoughts. Super Bowl Sunday is one such day, and often takes some mental preparation to be able to handle it.
That being said, if you are at the beginning of your recovery journey, are feeling particularly overwhelmed with the thought of attending a Super Bowl party or do not have the energy to explain yourself or your stress, remember that you do not have to attend. Your mental wellness is most important and if that means skipping the party this year, you are more than allowed to do so.
If, however, you are up to attending, here are some helpful tips to not only “get you through it,” but to allow you to enjoy yourself without worrying too much about combating intrusive thoughts and triggers throughout the evening.
Eat before you leave
If you mostly fill up at home before arriving at the party, you will not be able to eat as much of the unhealthy snacking options being served. Eating a healthy meal before arriving will not only give you some good vitamins and minerals, it will keep you from overindulging and filling up on fatty, unsatisfying snacks.
Keep yourself aware
While snacking during the evening, check in with your body from time to time and ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” “Am I eating because I need food, or is it just something to do?” “Do I need more or am I satisfied and at a good stopping point?”
A good way to control binge eating is by simply gently asking these questions. Don’t drill yourself, but take note of your physical state and whether or not your body needs more food. If it does, go ahead and take seconds; if not, stop for a while.
Chat with people
Of course the focus of the evening is the football game, but a lot of conversation will happen during the day as well. Take the time to engage socially and have fun with the people around you – the more conversation you have, the less space you have for overeating.
Fill your plate and walk away
Lingering at the snack table is a sure way of letting yourself overindulge. Without focusing on it, you might continue to eat well past the point of being full. In order to prevent this from happening, consider filling up a plate with your snacks and then walk away from the table. Settle yourself somewhere else and once your plate is empty, give yourself time to check in with your body before going back for more.
Get an accountability buddy
It can be hard to attend parties without someone else who is in your corner keeping you accountable. If you are attending the party of a close friend, or are going with someone who you can trust, consider talking with them about your concerns. See if they would be willing to check in on you from time to time.
Even knowing that someone else at the event has your back can be highly beneficial.
Bring your own snack
If appropriate, bring your own snack to the party! Super Bowl food is notoriously unhealthy, but everyone loves a good veggie tray for a little balance. Load up a platter with plenty of fresh carrots, celery, cucumbers and pickles – not only will other guests love it, you’ll feel confident knowing you have healthy options to choose from.
Need support overcoming binge eating disorder?
No matter where in your journey you are, the staff at Seeds of Hope looks forward to helping you reach full recovery from any disordered eating. To learn more about our services, contact us online or by calling our offices at 610-644-6464.