Food is my most favorite thing in the world, if you know me, you know what I’m talking about. If anyone has ever spent a weekend with me, or any time in general, you know that food is always on my mind. “OOO pizza sounds good”, “mmmm Snickers blizzard!”, “oooo… wings.” Just a few sayings that constantly come out of my mouth. I feel bad for the boyfriend who has to hear and see me want to eat everything in the world every weekend. Now that you know my weakness, here is where the topic of binge eating comes in. Everyone is guilty of it, everyone has had their extra piece of birthday cake, their huge helping of pasta on vacation, or their second (or third) helping at Christmas or Thanksgiving. I admit, I have binged before when it’s not a special occasion and constantly have to work on not overeating because of my love for food. Because I recognize that I have a problem with eating too much every now and then, I’ve realized that there’s also ways to control it.
The main thing I do to control my binge eating is to not have the crap food (ice cream) in the house, because if I know it’s there, I’m going to crave it. Now some of you probably don’t crave food like I do and can have foods in the house that trigger your binges, and that’s totally fine. But, instead of scooping spoonful after spoonful out of the ice cream carton, take a 1/2 cup scoop and put it in a small bowl. A little bit looks like a lot when it’s in a small container and prevents you from eating the whole bag or carton.
Learn to differentiate between cravings and hunger. When you’re craving something, it’s more than likely a single item. When you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything to keep your belly from growling, such as a salad or veggies. Also, you tend to crave foods when you’re bored, even if you’re not hungry. A good habit to get into when you’re bored or craving is to get a glass of cold water and get out of the kitchen. Drink your delicious glass of ice cold water and see if your belly is hungry after that. If you’re craving foods out of boredom, read, go for a walk, clean your room, write a letter, anything to get your mind off of food.
Extend your meal times. Instead of scarfing your supper, take 15-20 minutes to savor every bite. Put your fork down, drink some water, talk to others, chew slower. When you eat slower, your belly has time to recognize when it’s getting full which prevents you from overeating in that sitting.
DO NOT skip meals. Skipping meals can lead to overeating when you do get food in front of you. Have 3 healthy meals per day and a couple small, healthy snacks throughout the day. If you’re one who forgets to eat, set timers on your phone for every day at the same time and have your meal ready so when you “oops” forget to eat, your timer will go off and your lunch or supper will be ready right there for you.
Keep your food in mind when you’re eating. Sit at a cluster free table, not in front of the tv, and not on your phone. Be aware of what you’re eating and how much. While eating more mindfully, you will enjoy your food more, and notice satisfaction, fullness, and flavor way more, and feel less of a desire to overeat.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat every now and then. Trying to completely cut out sweets and carbs (or your trigger/bad foods) can, in the long run, lead to a binge when they’re available. When you want a bowl of ice cream, grab a small bowl and put 1/2 cup in it. The best thing would be to take a small walk after that, too.
Had a binge? Don’t beat yourself up because of it. Go for a walk, drink a TON of water, and plan your next meal to be a healthy, low carb one. Don’t punish yourself the next few days and kill yourself in the gym or starve yourself. Carry on with your healthy lifestyle. Don’t hit the gym after a binge with the mindset of “working off” the food you consumed. Keep your workout routine the same. Focus on making the best food choices with protein, veggies, fruits, and nuts every day while continuing to allow yourself to enjoy that small piece of dark chocolate.
Just because you have a crappy day for your nutrition doesn’t mean that you can’t automatically bounce back from it. Trust me, when I had bad living situations, I ate terrible and binged on the unhealthy food in the house. Now if I have a bad eating day on the weekend, I’ll work on my meals for the rest of the week to be sure they’re healthy and low carb- right down my alley!
I hope this helps everyone when you feel as if you have a problem overeating or binge eating.
Please note: Overeating on occasion, such as your birthday or Thanksgiving may very well be considered normal. However, if you are experiencing purging behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, taking laxatives or enemas, or excessive exercising to prevent weight gain OR if you’ve noticed that you are overeating very frequently, please seek professional help. On the same note, if every “sinful” bite of food or any overindulgence episode (big or small) leads you straight to the gym for several hours to work it off, you may be dealing with abnormal food and exercise issues, such as clinical binge eating disorder (a real eating disorder) or compulsive exercise, which can be a form of bulimia—another serious disorder. Learn more about recognizing eating disorders and getting help.