“Just stop eating so much!” Hands up if that was the advice you got from someone who has never tried to stop binge eating. It isnt quite like over eating in a sense that you over eat foods you may not even want! However, theres something inside of you driving you to eat the fridge and everything in it. First off, you are not crazy or weak if you struggle to stop binge eating. There are biological reasons to why you are doing this and I am going to give you my best 10 tips to stop bing eating FOREVER!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
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My history with binge eating disorder
My history with food and body issues go way back to when I was 15 and started my first diet. Key word is diet – the main event that triggered my eating disorder and lead me to binge eating. I restricted my calories so low that I lost about 30lbs in a couple months which is a lot for me. I put myself in starvation mode and I eventually couldnt hold onto eating that little so my body prompted me to eat more and more.
- I couldnt stop thinking about food (I knew everything that was in my cupboard by heart)
- watched “what I eat in a days” ALL THE TIME along with calorie challenges
- cooked delicious food for others but was too scared to eat it myself
- If I got a taste of “bad food” it was game over.
This is all due to the fact my body was STARVING so it went for the most calorie dense food that contained carbs, fat, and salt. Its insinct for our bodies to seek these foods when we are physically or mentally deprived.
I gave into binges more often until it became a habit. I had gained all the weight back and then some but was still bingeing dispite my body being at a healthy weight. So, what gives?!
Why we binge eat – the science
researchers suggest nearly 60 percent of binge eaters are women. Therefore, biological factors may play a roll in the development of BED. However, other external causes may include but are not limited to:
- extreme dieting
- childhood trauma
- unrealistic beauty standards
The reason we binge eat is not always because we are hungry. Yes, the urge to binge is canalized by feeling starved. However, the continuation to partake in this behaviours is to seek pleasure.
Much like emotional eating, Binge eating urges can be triggered by emotions or situations that make us feel uncomfortable and we don’t want to feel. Therefore, we eat to numb the pain or unwanted feelings. This then becomes our way of coping with those feelings so when they come up – our brain automatically wants to eat until you can’t feel them anymore.
10 Tips to Stop Binge eating
1. Stop Dieting
The first and most important step to stopping binge eating is to stop dieting. Put weight loss on the back burner (for now) and focus on fuelling your body with ENOUGH FOOD.
Physical restriction of food or food groups like carbs are fats can also lead to us wanting them even more and overdoing it when we get access to them. Make sure you allow all foods including your fear foods into your diet to normalize them.
Mental restriction also plays a role in binge eating. When we feel like we have too much we can get in the mindset of “well I f***ed up so I mine as well binge now and start again tomorrow”. Which then leads us into skipping meals the next day to make up for the extra calories. It’s a toxic cycle that needs to be nipped in the butt, starting with restriction.
2. Delete you calorie tracking app
Delete my fitness pal right now if you have a poor relationship with it. By poor relationship I mean: you can’t go a day without tracking, you feel like a failure if you go over your calories, or you use it as a way to restrict yourself after binges.
For some, tracking food can be useful in their pursuit of binge eating recovery by normalizing foods they once considered “bad” or “off limits”. You know which category you fit into so govern yourself accordingly.
3.. Eat often and regularly
The urge to binge eat is often triggered by extreme hunger. If you binged and tried to fast for the whole day after you probably ended up binging that night as well. Don’t beat yourself up after a binge, use it as a tool to learn and eat as you regularly would the next day.
4. Keep a binge journal
No, not a journal to keep track of your binges. A journal to jot down how you felt before, during, and after the binge. some prompts you can use are:
- What did I eat before this binge?
- Did I restrict the day before?
- was I feeling down or stressed?
- What did my body and mind really need in that moment?
- what could I have done instead of binging?
5. Do not keep track of you Binges
similarly to keeping track of calories, we do not want to put unnecessary emphasis on binges. Why? because in the grand scheme of life, its not a big deal if you slip up. You will slip up and the faster you bounce back, the better!
Perfection is not the goal and don’t expect yourself to stop cold turkey right out of the gates, It most likely won’t happen like that. you will gradually start to binge less and less until you no longer need to.
6. Incorporate binge foods into meals
I’m talking about the “off limit” or “too high in fat” foods that you avoid at all costs, then binge on all of them later in the week. To normalize your relationship with those foods (for me it was cookies, chocolate, and cake) one should incorporate them within their meals. For example: if you binge on peanut butter and therefore, do not keep it in your house, I want you to incorporate spoon with your oatmeal or toast in the morning. This will dethrone the foods you have given power to.
7. Social media reset
Take a look at who you are following. When you look at their pictures, are they serving your goals right now or do they make you feel less then. Following fitness models on instagram can destroy your self confidence when going through binge eating because they look like they have it all together and you don’t. that is not at all true, instagram in a highlight real for everyone so take it with a grain of salt. I suggest unfollowing those people because we want to feel good in our bodies and build self esteem, not tear it down.
8. Work on your body image
I am a firm believer in “fake it till you make it” which is the exact tactic I used to improve my body image. In addition to that, I stopped picking my fat or looking at the parts of my body I disliked, I noticed body checking was a habit i was doing and left me feeling ashamed of myself. Next time you look at yourself in the mirror and want to bash your body, think of 3 things you admire about yourself instead, eventually positive talk will become your default.
9. Grieve the skinny you
Women need fat, there is no possible way you can walk around looking like a fitness model and be healthy (for most women anyways) Maybe you are healthy already and just have an unrealistic expectation on how you should look. Many women use photoshop and other editing tools to eliminate their cellulite or belly rolls! let go of the expectation that you can get rid of the last little bit of fat, maybe its hard to lose because your not suppose to lose it:)
10. Get Help
Last but certainly not least, get some professional help. Get a coach, tell someone you care and trust. You need someone to talk to during recovery or it will be a lonely journey. I could not have recovered if it wasn’t for my coach:)
Thats all Folks! I hope these tips will help you on your path to food freedom and body respect. If you have any questions or need someone to talk to send me an email, id be glad to help or apply for coaching and lets stop binge eating together xx
until next time,