Are you tired of feeling out of control with food, tired of being unable to trust yourself when home alone with food, and tired of feeling horrible about yourself after a late night binge that puts you into a food coma? If you answered yes to the above questions, you are not alone! I totally get it! I’ve been there before – binge eating on all the healthy foods at home like peanut butter and whole grain pasta, only to find myself regretting it, going to bed with an uncomfortably full stomach and not allowing myself to eat the next day to “make up” for my late night overeating sesh. UGH. Ladies, life does not have to be that way! After working with many women and helping them overcome binge eating, I’ve pinpointed the top three ways to reduce binge eating episodes.
1. Eat Enough
Really, eat enough! I cannot stress the importance of this enough. So many of the women I work with eat like birds during the day and wonder why they feel out of control with food later on. It’s only natural for our bodies to want and crave foods if we restrict them all day long. It’s not a lack of willpower if you find yourself in a kitchen frenzy after a long day with little food – it’s our bodies natural biological system, taking overdrive and eating what it can, while it can, because it expects to only get a small amount of food the next day (what it’s used to) so better stock up now while it can! Many of the women I work with are fearful to eat more during the day, afraid it will make them gain weight. If this sounds like you, try slowly increasing the quantities of food you eat at breakfast, lunch and snacks. My general recommendation is to not go more than 4 hours without eating!
2. Stop keeping foods off limits
One of the ways I treat binge eating with clients is by having them actually eat their binge foods. I encourage them to go to the grocery store, buy one binge food, or off limit food, and keep it in their house. If you decide to do this, remove the off limit label, stop calling the food “bad” and allow yourself unconditional permission to eat this food. You might find in the beginning that you overeat these foods, but overtime, keeping off limit foods in your house and allowing yourself to eat them whenever you’d like, causes these foods to lose their alluring effect. If you can have them whenever, and wherever you’d like, are they really that special anymore? The more you are exposed to your off-limit, binge foods, the less alluring they become, and the less likely you will be to binge eat those foods. But start slow, with one binge food at a time. Once you’d mastered keeping one binge food in the house without overeating it or obsessing over it, repeat the process with a new binge food.
3. Deal with your emotions without using food
Life is stressful! Between work, school, family responsibilities, and even our own self-care, our lives are jam-packed to the brim and busy, busy, busy. Many women are so busy that they don’t take time to check in with themselves, and stay in tune with their stressors and emotional triggers. Oftentimes, many women end up turning to food because of this without even realizing it. If this sounds like you, try to get more intune with your emotional triggers that have you turning to food. The next time you binge, ask yourself what you were feeling and what could have led you to binge eat. Next, create a list of activities you can do when dealt with those feelings in the future. These could be activities such as cuddling with your dog, sitting alone with your emotions and having a good cry, calling your BFF, or taking a yoga class to put you into a calm state of being.
And there you have it! My top three tips on overcoming binge eating. If you’d like additional support and accountability so you can stop the restrict/binge cycle and feel confident in your food choices without guilt, stress or shame, apply to my 3-month 1:1 Food Freedom Coaching Program where I help women just like you achieve food freedom by letting go of their food rules and living the life they deserve.