How To Overcome Binge Eating

Are You Stuck In A Horrible Cycle?
Wondering If You Can Ever Overcome Binge Eating?

overcoming binge eatingBinge eating, to me, used to feel like an out-of-body experience during a feeding frenzy, where I fell completely out of control.

It can be frightening to you see yourself almost robotically shoving copious amounts of food into your mouth.

Having helped clients for years who struggle with their weight and overeating, I have found a couple of sure-fire things that seem to trigger binges:

  • You are a cardio machine doing 3 or more hours of cardio training per week.
  • You are on a very restrictive diet, where there are specified “right and wrong” foods to be eating.
  • You have lost a significant amount of weight recently through calorie restriction.
  • You keep yourself on a low calorie diet on a regular basis.

If this is sounding familiar, here are some approaches you can start taking immediately to prevent the urge from arising…

Try Reducing or Temporarily Eliminating Cardio Workouts

how to stop binge eatingAt the gym, I watch the same people on the cardio machines for what seems like hours and they are never the ones who lose weight.

For some people, reducing the amount of cardio they do lowers their urge to binge or makes it disappear altogether.

I am not advocating not exercising at all. Use that extra time to lift weight or take a pilates or yoga class.

Challenge yourself to try something new.

One caveat…there seems to be some discrepancy between how men and women respond to exercise and hunger. In this study, they found that high intensity exercise increases food intake in women, but decreased it in men.

Try reducing for a short period and see if you find the urges subsiding and then starting adding some cardio back in.

Don’t Rely On Willpower

Willpower is a finite resource and so it is unreliable. stop binge eating

It normally runs out towards the end of the day, when you are starving from reducing your food intake and you are not distracted by your tasks for the day.

When we are not feeding our body regularly, it thinks it is starving so it turns up the hunger signals trying to get you to eat.

You end up in a battle between your body’s urges and your self control and your body eventually always wins.

You then feel weak and disappointed with yourself. It is a no win situation.

So feed yourself regularly!

Increase Your Protein And Veggies

Adding protein to every meal and snack will help keep you feeling satiated and full even if you are reducing your portion size.

Vegetables just fill you up period, so the more the better.

Be More Flexible

The downside of following a diet where you are eating either the “right” or “wrong” foods is that people assume that healthy/right foods can be eaten in unrestrained amounts.

Starving yourselfHowever indulging in even the tiniest amount of unhealthy/wrong foods than means they have failed their diet.

This to the extreme, is now seen as a psychological condition called orthorexia.

This is where people see food as a moral choice judging not only themselves but also others by the foods that they choose to eat.

If you are following, for instance, a Paleo diet, but you are a guest at someone’s home for dinner and they are serving only pasta it is time to be flexible.

When you have a flexible mentality then you won’t sabotage yourself by thinking, “Well, I screwed up my diet already…” and you won’t beat yourself up for eating something in the “evil” category if there isn’t one in the first place.

Take A Break

If you are going to an amazing place to eat or on a dream vacation or business trip, you can allow yourself to take a break, but make it intentional.

In a study by obesity researchers at Brown Medical School they instructed their participants to take a short break from their diet. They were surprised to find that not only did dieters not gain weight during the break (compared to the control group), but also they had no problem getting back on the diet.

If you plan a controlled “free day” or two, it is psychologically very different from an uncontrolled binge.

Find Your Trigger Thoughts

Binge eatingEvery episode of binge eating is preceded by a psychological trigger thought.

It may sound something like:

“It’s ok to eat one more roll. It’s just one more.”

“You’ve been so good all week dieting, it won’t hurt to just eat this cake.”

“I am so unbearably hungry after such a crazy day, it’ll be easier to just fast tomorrow.”

If you are aware of the thoughts that precede every binge, you’ll notice they all have a few commonalities—their rationale is completely false.

Some examples:

  • I can just not eat anything the next day.
  • I can benefit from binging, because if I have a mini-binge then fast the next day, I’ll consume less overall calories.
  • I am feeling of anxiousness or out of control and this helps settle me down.
  • I’m with someone else and it will ruin their evening.
  • I’m already six drinks in.

So the first step is the awareness that you are just rationalizing and it never helps to give in.

When you examine your history of succumbing to these thoughts, you realize you are always worse off overall. This process to disrupt your thought patterns will make it less likely for you to binge.

Create Alternative Rewards

ready to overcome bingingFinally, after you catch yourself rationalizing, have at the ready some alternative rewards for a job well done or a way to ease your mind.

This way you feel like you are taking care of yourself, but not in a way that is sabotaging your efforts to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

I used to think that you can completely overcome the urge to binge eat, but I think it is the way some of us are hardwired.

You may always feel the urge to binge eat.

Hopefully the steps above can help get you started keeping the frenzies away.

Ready To Lose The Weight Forever?

I want to help you lose weight and keep it off by eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full and loving the food you eat. Sound impossible? It is not! Let me show you how.

When do you find yourself getting triggered to binge?  Have you been able to stop yourself?  Let me know how in the comments below or what you struggle with…



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