Binge eating is the kind of disordered eating that causes a person to eat uncontrollably, large quantities of food.
Binge eating is usually done in secret from others and is a source of shame and self loathing for many.
It is perceived as the ultimate lack of self control, and is associated with shame and depression.
After an episode of binge eating, balance is then sought to be restored by compensatory behavior, usually purging by using emetics (to induce vomiting) or laxatives (to induce diarrhea).
Needless to say, binge eating can be very destructive to a person’s mental as well as physical health, and there is the worry that it may create a lifelong relationship with food that is destructive in itself. Into this equation of the pattern of unhealthy eating there has been seen to be an unusual savior â€“ the ancient practice of Yoga.
A study conducted in Australia showed that obese women struggling with binge eating were seen to benefit from practicing Yoga. The several different facets of yoga â€“ including breathing, relaxation techniques, assuming the different postures (aasanas) and meditation helped them control their behavior.
The practice of Yoga was seen to increase Mindfulness and a clearer acceptance of thoughts, emotions and feelings, even sensations. The practice of yoga over a period of 12 weeks was seen to result in lesser binge eating among the women as well an improved self esteem.
The body image of the women who practiced yoga was also seen to improve, thereby resulting in less self destructive behavior.
Not just that, the physical discipline of Yoga was seen to produce significant physical results as well â€“ the BMI was seen to reduce in general and the measurements of the waist and hips were also seen to reduce.
According to experts, yoga works to help people with disordered eating by equipping them with the tools to deal with their feelings rather than turning to food for comfort.
There is the tendency to dissociate from oneself when one is feeling sad, angry or anxious, and food is used to numb those feelings, in order to try and feel better. It is a rejection of what is happening and the feelings this is engendering and Yoga can help to break this destructive cycle.
Yoga helps to break that habit of dissociating from the body, to try and make the person stay connected with their body. It can literally help you breathe through the whole stressful experience and by teaching you body acceptance; that the moment will pass; you can survive it.