Quit Binge Eating With These 6 Tips
It’s half past ten in the evening and for some reason, you just can’t sleep.
You tossed and turned for a few more minutes and then finally gave up on the idea of a snooze.
You picked up your phone and almost instantaneously, you heard a “ding” - your handy dandy food app just told you that the fastfood a few blocks away can deliver your favorite pizza in a few minutes.
What do you do?
If you’re one of those people who manages to put down the phone and tries to fall asleep again, then good for you.
If you’re not, then you’re probably finished half of the pizza, like the rest of us, and you’re not even hungry to begin with.
They say “eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored”, but when you’re at the cusp of stuffed crust pizza with lots of melted mozzarella (or whatever food you’re into), how do you even tell which is which?
You probably have struggled with binge eating before and you’ve seen and felt the after effects. Shame, guilt, bloating - we’ve all been there and it may sound trivial, but when you’re almost always at the receiving end of these things, it stops being funny.
Want to quit those nasty binge eating habits? Try these 6 tips:
Know your why and remind yourself of it
Why do you want to stop binge eating? The “why” is different for each person because we are motivated by different reasons.
“I want to be healthy.”
“I want to be able to grow old with my kids.”
“I want to travel the world.”
Know yours by heart and sit with it. Remember it with every slow breath you take everytime you’re confronted with the temptation to binge eat. It’ll be hard, oh it will be very hard, but your “why” will pull you back.
Write it on a piece of paper, stick it on the fridge door, make it a screensaver on your phone, or write it on a post-it-note next to your laptop. Whatever you need to do to see it and be reminded of it, go do it.
Your “why” will not only “taste” better than a pizza, it’ll last you a lot longer too than the 30 seconds of glory you’ll have after eating a slice.
Don’t deprive yourself
In a society where it’s almost always a norm to see people being celebrated for their amazing bodies and 6-pack abs, it’s not difficult to get people to subscribe to whatever diet they see that promises such outcomes.
As a result, a plethora of fad diets and programs that promise to give you drastic weight loss results have taken over the world by storm. How many IG influencers in your newsfeed say they’ve done at least one kind of diet?
One key component of these diets though, is restriction. If you come to think of it though, as human beings, don’t we always want the one thing we’re told we can’t have?
The more you deprive yourself of one thing, the harder your mind tells you you want it, and the more stressful it becomes to keep the cravings and urges under control.
Oftentimes, binge eating happens in a state of mindlessness.
To counter this, try incorporating mindful eating practices like eating slowly and without distraction and engaging yourself in the full experience of your meal. Simple habits like appreciating your food, and not just gulfing it down, will make you more conscious of what you put in your body.
Water helps you feel full - simple, effective and cheap. Try carrying a bottle of water with you at all times so you can easily drink when you need to.
When you’re full, a slice of even the most mouth watering pizza will be less attractive.
You can’t eat what’s not there
If you do grocery shopping, then you can dictate what’s going to be in your pantry. As such, buy items that you know will be good for you.
You can’t binge eat a gallon of ice cream while watching Netflix on a Sunday night, if it’s not there.
If food apps are what’s keeping you awake at night, delete them! Or at least turn off all notifications so you’re tempted to order every single time there’s a new burger joint in town.
You can also try meal planning! Hundreds of meal planning tips and templates are available online, each one can be customized according to your preference.
Find a fitness routine that works for you
A fitness routine is a win-win when it comes to binge eating. Not only will it distract from wanting to eat at a given time, it will also make you burn calories!
It is important to find a fitness routine that works for YOU - remember, it is you who’s going to do it so it’s imperative that it fits your lifestyle, your energy level, your time and your capacity to commit.
If you have 20 minutes to yourself every morning, why not try yoga and meditation? Or if you have a park or even a road nearby, how about going for a 3km run?
Whatever sports or activity that gets you off the couch and moving, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, is already a step in the right direction.
Don’t be scared to get help
What happens when “harmless” binge eating habits turn into a far more serious eating disorder?
“Binge eating disorder (BED) is a severe, life-threatening, and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating.”
BED may be severe and life-threatening, but the operative word is “treatable”. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help! Resources are readily available at your disposal.
Gone are the days when disorders like these are unrecognized and swept under the rug. The earlier you detect it, the sooner you’ll be on your road to recovery.
In conclusion, binge eating may feel gratifying the moment you’re doing it, but like how all bad things that camouflage as good will eventually show their true colors, the feeling isn’t going to last.
Eating should be a happy, light and feel-good way of bringing people together. Let’s not confuse it with “overeating”. The next time you’re tempted to binge eat, what are you going to do?
Hero Image by Marcel Heil on Unsplash