I have been asked the question about binge eating from mythineats readers and how to overcome this habit.
I believe a lot of people struggle with this, so today I will broach this subject and give you a few tips that work for me; you must remember that I am not a medical or professional or doctor and before you change anything in your life please consult a medical professional.
BINGEING PRESENT PARTICIPLE OF BINGE
Indulge in an activity, esp. eating or drinking, to excess: “she cannot help binging on food”.
This is the dictionary definition. What I mainly want to discuss and help understand is why are we bingeing and how to overcome it.
To me there is a huge difference between eating to excess and eating one more piece of cake. I also believe that the reason people binge is because we are stressed, unhappy, angry, lonely, bored and more than anything tied to the idea that food is bad and we shouldn’t eat it if we want to feel good about ourselves or look like the girl in the magazine then we need to abide by the rule of no eating. Right? Wrong!
Society sets us up to believe that we are gaining weight or miserable because we eat too much, they publish a ton of articles with skinny, long legged models on the cover and then next to it say “want to look like her here is the diet”. So, we go on this diet because for some reason we think that we are going to end up looking just like the model if we do it and then when the diet comes to an end we are left to fend for ourselves except that we feel starved and possibly still unhappy (because not much has changed) that we decide to eat whatever we want because we were good and we did the diet and we deserve this much, and of course not to mention that our body just wants food but we don’t have a guide to follow after the diet so we eat everything and anything and lose control. This is what I think leads to a lot of binges. If we just had a healthy relationship with food we could stop constantly thinking about it and obsessing over everything that we put in our mouth and just really eat when we are hungry and hopefully be conscious about making healthy decisions not just for weight-loss, but mainly for health. If you are unhealthy there is no way that the food you eat is beneficial towards a gorgeous figure but more likely towards healing our bodies, and using up energy just to keep us functioning.
As you know I believe in eating everything in moderation and that if you listen to your body you will know when and what to eat. You are not going to get fat because today you ate a handful of chips, or because you had a piece of chocolate cake after dinner, but you will gain weight (and binge) if you put it off too long, restrict and tell yourself you can’t have it at all; because the minute you are stressed or let your guard down you are going to attack the whole bag of chips or end up eating the whole cake in one sitting, giving you the feeling that you have done something horribly wrong, and punish yourself by never eating a chip or cake again until the next time comes around and you are weak and do it all over again. It’s a cycle.
I’m fortunate enough to have been blessed with good genes and also with healthy eating habits since a very young age, with that being said I still had my shares of struggles. As you know I started cleansing about 7 years ago and after the 3rd time I got pretty addicted to it doing it about twice a year. Initially I started doing it because I really felt and looked good, I had energy, my skin glowed, I felt fantastic; but with that also came 10lbs of weight loss (mostly water and muscle mass) little did I know that I started using it as a crutch, I would cleanse and then when I would come off it in order to maintain I would try to eat about as little as humanly possible.
Let’s say just a green salad all day because I knew that I would gain all weight back if I ate normally, the problem is that you can only go so long (especially if you are a foodie as myself) eating just salads and 10 almonds a day. Then come the weekends and I would allow myself a glass of wine maybe some warm fresh baked bread (my utter addiction) with some cheese, you feel bloated and think “what the hell I ate badly already I might as well have more bread and maybe some chocolate and some of this and some of that”. I never binged to where I would eat a whole pint of ice cream but I definitely felt hopeless at times because I just over did it and started to look for more food in the cupboard to eat because I messed up and needed to punish myself tomorrow by not eating anything so I needed to eat as much as possible today. Then I would cleanse to be able to get “back on track” with my weight and eating only a salad bowl. Bad! But true! So, here as some tips that I use and that have completely and utterly changed my life for the better, I feel great and am in the best shape of my life, but mostly I eat what I want, when I want and I don’t punish myself because of it. Yes, there is bread in my life and many more foods that you would be shocked about (Lasagna, Pasta, Pizza, etc..) I eat it when I really want it and don’t actually crave it as often as you would think because it’s not forbidden it’s allowed and I know I can have it when I want it. It doesn’t have those bad effects on me because my body is in a good shape and these foods are not staples but mere accompaniments to my healthy Lifestyle where I mainly (because I love) eat Vegetables, Fruits, Lean Proteins, Nuts and Whole Grains. I hope that you find these tips helpful.
1. No more Dieting
I know this is hard but trust me they don’t work. Just try to live a healthy life style, food is fuel and it’s what we live on so it will be around your whole life. Make it your friend not your enemy. Eat mainly lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (aka nuts, olive oil, avocados), whole grain carbs and starches. Eat foods in their natural state as much as possible. Like raw sugar vs. white sugar, or dark 70% chocolate vs. white sugary chocolate, or steamed, grilled, baked, roasted, sautéed vegetables, meats vs. fried or battered.
2. Portion Control
Try not to eat out of the carton, bag or box. Serve yourself and let that be your portion. Say you want Almonds, serve yourself a ramekin and take it with you and let that be your portion. Just because they are healthy doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole container today, remember you are not on a diet so you can have them again tomorrow. Same goes for any other food, try to serve your snacks or treats in small bowls or ramekins. Your body will thank you.
3. Listen to your Body
Learn the difference between hunger and cravings. Say you get a sudden craving for sweets but you just ate; drink a nice tall glass of water give it 20 minutes and if you are still craving something sweet have a delicious apple or any fruit. This should satisfy your craving for sweets. Now, if you continue to have the craving the next day or later on in the day I say go for it; serve yourself a scoop of ice cream and enjoy every bite of it. I say no dieting, but make mindful decisions also. Choose the best for your health, what is going to make you feel better about yourself, not disgusting and gross.
4. Keep a food Journal
I started keeping a food journal about 5 years ago, I write everything I eat throughout the day and how I feel. I have since figured that I am intolerant to soy (because although everyone said that it was good for me and milk was bad) I still always felt fatigued, bloated and really uncomfortable, turns out I am really intolerant and have a very hard time processing it. I eliminated it from my life and I am back to enjoying my cappuccino in the morning. Again this journal helps with listening to your body and its needs, but also helps you with tips 1 & 2 because you need to write everything down and sometimes you don’t want to write down “ate pint of ice cream today”. Catch my drift. 😉
5. Don’t deprive yourself
If you forbid or deprive yourself from foods that you might crave but don’t necessarily fall in the “good for you list” don’t put it off too long or you will be just setting yourself up for failure and a binge. Remember tips 2 & 3 and enjoy! Don’t overly restrict your diet. I like to follow the 80/20 rule which is you eat healthy 80% of the time and then you can indulge 20% of the time it’s easy and fair.
6. Move on
Come to terms with the fact that no one is perfect and there will be times when you might not be able to say no (say Christmas, Holidays, your Birthday or Special Occasions) you had a piece of cake more, well move on. No one got fat off eating 2 pieces of cake you don’t have to go on a binge to punish yourself. You indulged now make better choices for your next meals. Maybe instead of having a scoop of ice cream for dessert have a fruit. It’s ok!
7. Set yourself up for success
You will reach your goal of weight loss or feeling fantastic. No one got toned and looks fantastic from starving and bingeing. It takes determination! Live a healthy lifestyle and try to go for walk, get some exercise these are the only ways you are going to get rewarded for the hard work you are putting into your life. Starving will only make you lose mass and without mass you get skinny fat, which means that if you binge you gain weight and if you gain weight without muscle mass you look bloated and soft, no definition and you retain a lot more fluids. So, set yourself up that if you do eat a cake for dessert you won’t lose all the hard work of eating healthy and exercising that you put in everyday. It might be a slower process but its long lasting. Believe you me.
Also don’t buy a bag of chips if you know that you can’t control yourself around them. Don’t spend money on failure. Why are you going to buy the bag of chips for just incase you start craving them you have them around? The store doesn’t go anywhere, so leave them at the store and if you get a real bad craving for them and really, really want them at 10 o’clock at night get dressed, get out of your comfy, warm clothes and go to the store to buy them, make it to where failure is harder to achieve not right there in your cupboard.
8. Take Control
Most importantly you need to remember that you are in control of your body and you make the decision of what you feel like eating or need to eat based on how you feel or what you want for yourself. No one can tell you what to do. Suggestions are welcome but don’t allow them to overwhelm you. We are all different and respond to foods differently. Just because I can’t drink soy and feel better on lactose-free organic milk doesn’t mean that you can’t feel great on soy or drink it. Don’t stress if you are invited to a restaurant to have dinner with friends just because you feel that you are going to lose control remember what you had the day before or for lunch and balance your meals out. If you feel like ordering the baked potato go for it, try to have it as healthy as possible (like just the sour cream, or just the butter and chives, not cheese, bacon, sour cream, etc.. all at once), and if you do and you really were craving it then don’t order the fried chicken or fried shrimp as well order a nice side salad, some steamed veggies and some grilled protein. Balance! Train yourself to remember that this is not your last meal; today you are craving the baked potato, eat it. If you still want the molten lava cake then come back tomorrow and order it. It’s not your last meal; it’s one of many to come. Take control of your life and enjoy it.
I hope that this helps answer how you too can live a healthy and binge free, balanced lifestyle. No more punishments and no more restrictions. Just try to make healthy choices and train your body to crave good for you pick me up foods not the bad foods that make you feel worse about yourself after the 2 seconds are passed. Enjoy life and mostly the array of foods this world has to offer. Here and here you can learn some healthy eating habits. Regain control of your life and know that you are gorgeous and there is only one of you so no need to compare because no one in this world will ever be you! Have a fantastic week.
This is me at the beginning of The 90 Day Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Method. I started doing it in November of 2012 and I will post about that and how it’s going soon. A lot has changed and I feel fantastic considering that I’m up to day 130….My body looks and feels great. It’s tighter, way more toned (yes I have kind of a six pack). I’ll post about that and a new picture too soon. For now I just wanted to show you that you can eat and be in shape too! That’s why I picked a picture of only eating healthy without the workout body! Ciao