Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Stop Binging

Serving up Korean food 
Photograph: Jenny 

Ever have one of those days where you eat more than you normally would even to the point of being uncomfortable? Perhaps you really are hungry and actually need to eat, or you may be trying to deal with emotional problems and choose to use food as your relief.

I know that I am more likely to overeat when I've been hungry for a long period of time and do not seem to recognize it. During the end of my freshman year of college to the fall term of my sophomore year, I struggled with binge eating. I would repeat the endless cycle of over-restricting during the week to eating uncontrollably on Friday and Saturday, because I was so hungry without knowing it. Sunday would be the worst because I would limit my calorie intake by a lot.  

Once I talked to someone and got help, I was able to understand that I was under eating. I started eating five small meals a day which helped me temporarily. I was also lacking protein and healthy fats which help keep you fuller. When I feel like binging now, I just eat a small meal such as a bowl of oatmeal or a banana and some Greek yogurt. But, every now and then I will have a day where I eat a lot. I do not see it as a binge anymore and see it as a way to fuel my body

Here are some ideas to help you stop doing this for GOOD:

  • First off, self-acceptance is important. Accept that you will sometimes binge. It is not a horrible act. You are not disgusting or worthless. Sometimes it is totally worth it to binge. If you do binge, then move on and eat as you normally would the next day. Ever see those 10,000 calorie challenges on youtube? Those are definitely binges, but they are fun for some. I know it may not always be pleasant once you feel uncomfortable, but the food was good right? 
  • Understand that nobody is perfect and that you do not have to diet. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle rather than going through with crash diets or detoxes. Those celebrities that you see on the media are most likely photoshopped.
  • The "I already blew it, I might as well keep stuffing myself" attitude sets you up for disaster. Have a few bites and stop eating. Eat something healthier, throw the food away, leave the table or brush your teeth. You might be actually hungry and need to eat some substantial food. You will regret it the next day and feel uncomfortable if you binge. 
  • Do not keep "binge" food around your room or house. If it's not around, then you cannot binge on it. Who wants to binge on green peppers or a cucumber? Not me. 
  • Keep a journal and log when you binge or feel like binging. What time of day is it? What are you feeling? Are you actually hungry? When did you last eat? By noticing patterns, you can stop yourself from binging or be more prepared. 
  • Do not restrict your calorie intake because you are only setting yourself up for another binge , and then you could repeat this binge-restrict cycle over and over.
  • Do not worry about weight gain. The worst that can happen is that you will gain a few pounds which will come off easily because it's temporary. The weight will fall off naturally once you stop binging. 
  • Allow yourself to "cheat" or have a small treat once or twice a week. By restricting and telling yourself that you cannot have sweets or fried food you are setting yourself up for going all out once you have the chance to be near them. 
  • Brush your teeth after eating. It helps to get rid of the taste in the mouth so you are unable to go overboard. 
  • If you feel like binging, leave the room and go outside. Tell yourself you can have the food later. In 15-30 minutes, you will not want to eat it. 
  • When eating your meals, eat slowly and chew your food. Sit down at a table and eat with friends or family. Do not eat standing up or in front of a tv because you will be more mindful of what you are eating. If necessary, eat your food with your opposite hand that you normally use to eat with. It will help you to slow down rather than shovel your food in and will allow you to feel more satisfied when your meal is over. 
  • Before going to a restaurant, night out with friends or having a treat at home by yourself, have a healthier snack. By eating a snack beforehand you are less likely to binge because you'll feel more full and satisfied. Some good snacks that are filling include: hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, fruit and vegetables. For some more food ideas, go to the Meal Plan and Food Ideas page. Craving something sweet or salty? Go to the Eat THESE not THOSE page. Everyone gets cravings, especially for sweets, but there are ways to keep them at bay and keep them under control without letting them become a binge. For some ideas on how to keep your cravings under control go to the Sugar Cravings page. 
  • If you are really struggling with binge eating, then seek help from a counselor or a friend. You may need some extra help. Everyone is here to help you and get past it. It is difficult, but it will be so worth it in the end. 
I believe in all of you. Do not be afraid to accept failure and move on. 

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