Binge-eating used to be a big problem for me. Being an emotional eater my go-to comfort used to be food. Super sad? I ate. Super happy? I ate. Super bored? I ate. Even now, I have to catch myself from eating just to eat or simply because I’m bored or it’s there. Bingeing was a big problem and hindrance of my weight-loss efforts.
Whenever I give advice, fitness or otherwise, it’s from my own experience and what worked for me. If bingeing is a deeply-rooted issue for you and could be a borderline eating disorder, do not be afraid to seek help from a medical professional. It’s actually best that you do.
The number one thing that keeps me from continuing to be a binge-eater is knowing how I’ll feel physically and mentally afterward. I’ll feel full, stuffed, that itis demon will come around. My stomach will cramp and turn. I’ll be nauseated and probably have a headache for a couple of days. I’ll be slower in the gym and get tired more easily. Then, I’ll feel guilty and beat myself up about it which will make me just want to binge again.
So here are some practical tips that worked for me:
Don’t Keep Junk Around
If you walk into my kitchen, more often than not you won’t see any junk food. And if you do, it’s left over from a party or it belongs to my roommate (she doesn’t indulge much either so it’s rare). One thing I learned about myself is that my self-discipline sometimes sucks. If I see it, I’m going to want to eat it, whether I’m hungry or not. And then, to make myself feel better I’ll think “the quicker I eat it, the faster it will be gone and I won’t think about it anymore.” WOMP. WRONG! The quicker I eat it, the faster it will be gone, and then I’ll be on my way to the store to replace it.
“Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t work here for me because if I’m having a craving, I don’t need to see it to want it. But, it does prevent me from over-indulging and eating things just because they are there.
Read Your Labels
Understanding just how these companies are sneaking ingredients we’d never think we’d put into our bodies, in junk has definitely helped me a lot. Also noting the sugar, sodium, and calorie amounts really put things into perspective. My favorite donut from Dunkins is 340 calories and 17g of sugar. To work off that one donut alone for me would be about 30 minutes on the elliptical. For ONE donut.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
Not keeping junk food around doesn’t mean you can’t indulge at all. The quickest way to get me to binge is to deprive me of something. I learned this after my first round of Whole30. Deprivation doesn’t work for me. It only makes me want junk even more.
So pace yourself. Enjoy it in moderation. Every once in a while or after a milestone is reached. I love Reese’s and occasionally when I’m in CVS they’ll have the candy bars on sale. I can grab one and eat it guilt-free knowing that I won’t have another one for awhile and that I’m not bingeing on them. I usually tell myself to add another 15 minutes or so of cardio that day just to make it a little better lol
Find Healthy Snack Alternatives
I’m a big snacker. I always have snacks. The key is to find healthier ones. They don’t always have to be super-healthy and/or nasty. And not everything labeled “gluten-free”, “organic”, or “light” is healthy either, this goes back to reading your labels.
Some of my favorite alternatives are trail mix (I can get a chocolate fix in small doses), unsalted and roasted sunflower seeds, cashews, applesauce, pineapples, and grapes.
Other examples of healthy snacks are yogurt, hummus cups, carrots & guac, dried fruit, veggies chips, and so on and so forth.
Find Healthy Comfort Alternatives
This part. A major cause of binge-eating for me was me being an emotional eater and food bringing me comfort. Even if it was temporary. Making an effort to find healthy alternatives to not only snack choices but comfort activities. Find something you enjoy doing instead. Call a friend, go for a walk, workout, listen to music and dance around, journal… Whatever it is, make an effort to find it.
Protect Your Peace
If life events and situations are a trigger for you to binge eat, make an effort to protect yourself from that. This could be a post within itself. If you know going certain places or around certain people triggers ill-emotions for you and cause you to eat, don’t go. Limit your time around and interactions with these individuals.
Understand that eliminating this unhealthy habit won’t be an overnight success. I still have to fight with myself when I’m wanting to binge eat or overindulge. The more you work at it, the easier it gets. Eliminate your excuses and let’s do the work.