Today I wanted to talk about tips on how to stop binge eating. After struggling with this for many years, I thought I would share with you some of the the things I’ve realized about my relationship with food, in hopes to help you if you are also dealing with similar issues. I find that I can put way to much emphasis on food and give it more value that it’s worth. I find that we give food emotion, celebration, and are completely missing that true point of what its for. Fuel. Food is fuel, and it is the building blocks of our beautiful bodies. Looking up keywords for this post, I saw 7,000 months searches for “how to stop eating”. Why is this even in a Google search? Again, so many are missing the point of food. So we eat fake food, over eat, or starve ourselves instead of learning to eat healthy and nutrition food to nourish our mind, body, and soul. Yes, food can nourish your mind and your soul too. In our Clean Eating Guide for Beginners ebook, we use this quote “We wouldn’t use fake materials to build the houses we live in or the cars we drive would we? So why do we do it to our bodies?”
So why do we eat?
- Fuel everyday processes
- Someone else is eating
And why we should eat?
- Fuel – for your mind
- Fuel – for your body
- Fuel – for your soul
- Fuel – for your everyday awesomeness
Over the past 10 years, I have struggled with binge eating. I would often find myself in my kitchen late at night eating almost an entire box of cereal or eating 2-3 servings of ice cream. I wasn’t hungry but couldn’t stop eating. I would go to bed upset with myself, swearing to do better the next day and the cycle would continue. Over the past few years, I have worked very hard on learning about fitness, healthy living, and putting into practice clean, healthy eating. I have come to realize that there are some foods that trigger me to just binge, cereal and ice cream are big triggers for me, so I just don’t keep them in the house anymore. I would be lying if I said I haven’t found myself in the kitchen mindlessly eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon and a handful of chocolate chips late at night. But luckily, this happens a lot less now than it used to. And I try to not beat myself up as much when those nights happen.
You see I was in a very bad relationship and a job that required 16-18 hours a day. I was trying to move up the ranks at work and was putting my health second. We had drawers of candy and junk food that I would work all day to avoid, since I knew that would be a slippery slope. The problem was that once I was home, I had exhausted my self-control and I would look to food for comfort. I wasn’t taking care of my body and wasn’t dealing with my emotional stress. Even once my bad relatiosnhip was over, and I wasn’t working as much, I still found myself binge eating, not knowing how to cope or how to stop.
This is when I started reflecting on the reasons why we eat and about my health journey. In these reflections is how I taught myself to stop binge eating. I realized that most of the time, my body was responding to a stimulus or responding the way I’ve taught it to over the years to react to food. So how do you stop binge eating without beating yourself up?
Here are some helpful tips:
Recognize hunger – This can take some work. Self actualization and realization is a state of mind, living in the present. Ask yourself the following questions the next time you feel the urge to binge. Did I just see an ad for my favorite food? Did I just spend 45 minutes looking at cookies on Pinterest? When was the last time I had water – could I be thirsty? The question likely is, are you responding to something – anger, anxiety, sadness, happiness, boredom or are you truly hungry? If you are hungry, eat. Make a normal serving and put the rest of the food away. Go sit at the table with no distractions and eat the food, savoring the flavors and the textures. Not taking the time to taste your food, chew your food, doesn’t allow your body or your mind to respond. Stay in the present.
Change your perception of food – Again, some work involved here as well. If you want to treat yourself to something – buy jewelry, a cool new electronic item, heck even a new pair of running shoes, but don’t “treat” yourself to food. It’s not a reward for something – that’s how we get into this crazy mindset. Recognize that food can be a great way to celebrate with family and friends but food is not something you should be rewarding yourself with. I found when I quit rewarding my workouts with a bowl of ice cream or my ability to avoid the candy drawer with a bowl of cereal that soon turned into 2-3. Since these were rewards, I didn’t feel guilty for serving up that next bowl, in fact I would often rationalize the next bowl before even finishing the first. Not giving food a reward quality was a way I trained myself on how to stop binge eating.
Change your perception of eating – Eating vegetables and wholesome food is not a diet. Get out of that mindset, this is actually real food you should be eating. If you have to mutter “I need to go on a diet” you might as well just say “I’m going to restrict myself from food, expect me to binge soon”. Instead, you should start looking at food for what it’s doing for your body – providing energy to function. The more processed the food is, the less bang for your buck you are probably getting from those calories. Since these foods often lack substance, they can trigger your body to crave more and more to get enough nutrients to fuel everyday functions. Alternatively, if you choose to fill your day with wholesome, real foods, the urge to binge eat or restrict will be less prevalent. You will feel satisfied with your meals and know that you are doing the best thing by fueling your body with real food. Good habits can just be as hard to break as bad ones!
Remember, food is fuel – If you want a brownie – then recognize what kind of fuel it’s providing your body and eat the damn brownie. I’m just saying – treating this as some kind of reward is giving the brownie way to much credit.
Be happy, Be healthy! All my love.
What about you?
- Do you have trigger foods that you can’t seem to stop eating?
- Do you have any tips to share on how to stop binge eating?