“Nic, please help I do really well and then I binge eat and can’t stop.” My StrongHer ladies ask me about this one a lot and it seems really common amongst busy women.
So today we cover my 5 steps to stop the binge eating. Firstly binge eating is a form of disordered eating so if you feel like you’re really struggling please ask for more help. There are lots of good books and lots of experts in this area. To be clear.
These are my suggestions to try and what has worked for my StrongHer ladies and myself. I’m not claiming I can solve disordered eating but I think this might help women who over eat at times.
^^^ Yes really I used to have a real Pringles thing .. “Once you pop you can’t stop.”
You’re not alone
We’ve all done it to some extent, so after a bad day at work and the kids are playing up. You end up laying into a BIG chocolate bar. Binge eating is a problem for millions of people, myself included. ^^^ Yes really I used to have a real Pringles thing .. “Once you pop you can’t stop.”
Is it your body?
Binge eating can be your body’s way of telling you need more of something. So it could be a physiological need that’s not being met. Like a baby crying your body will keep asking until it get what it needs. If you don’t give it that it’ll keep asking. If could be you’re low in magnesium for example, this is really common with modern diets especially for women at certain times in their cycle.
Have a look here to see how your cycle affects appetite and training. So if you’re low in magnesium you’ll crave sweet things maybe chocolate. Here’s a basic diagram that may help you to get an idea of what you’re body needs.
Have a look here to see how your cycle affects appetite and training. Also look at your base level of calories to see if you’re eating enough. I’ve up my calories lately and still losing weight week on week. If you’re not getting enough your body tends to hold fat and hunger increases as you’re hunger hormones become more out of sync.
It’s partly how your brain works
The brain is a pattern recognition machine. To be able to use the part of the brain for creativity and BIG thinking it goes back to stored patterns of behaviour. So that means the day-to-day decisions are stored in a filing cabinet of past events and experiences. So with each binge eating event, there will be a trigger and then the response is the binge eating. This is great news as it means, we just need to interrupt the pattern. AND it also means it is NOT you being:
It’s just your brain reacting with the same past behaviours and can be changed with a little hard work and focus.
The 5 Steps to Stopping that Binge Eating
1) The thing is not the thing The food binging is NOT the thing. It’s a reaction to something else, an old story that doesn’t serve you. And it’s leading to binge eating rather than binge eating for the sake of it. ^^^ If in doubt go back to the two items above, is it the body or the brain?
What to do: Think back to past events, what could be the root of this behaviour? For me I used to have to eat quickly as I had my dad and brother eyeing up my food. Not saying that has lead to binge eating but I sure eat fast and have to consciously slow down.
2) Remove temptation Sounds like a simple one but so effective. Make it an effort to binge eat. Whatever your go to binge food is don’t have it in the house.
What to do: ^^^ Yes the kids might have treats but keep them away or have them in a cupboard out of the way. Don’t buy them as part of the weekly shop. Instead if you’re treat is ice cream make it part of a trip to the cinema where it costs you time and money. Not mindless eating at home.
3) Change the pattern
Recognise the times and environments that leads to a binge. If I think back Fridays are work we’re often a bingey day for me. Here’s how it went: I’d start with a fry up for brekkie “well it is the weekend.” Then fish and chips with my team for lunch so we could catch up and then often birthday cake thrown in.
So if for you it’s being at home alone if the other half is out and the kids are asleep do something else instead. Read a good book. Phone your bestie. Have a soaky bath. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. ^^^ What we’re doing here is interrupting that pattern so it doesn’t just run. BUT we stop it and then reset it.
4) Be aware of triggers
Be aware of your triggers for binge eating. So what starts you off? Are they more emotional: A row with your other half? A bad day at work? Or more physical: Too tired too cook? Not eating enough during the day? ^^^ Once you know these you can counter them. So for example if you know after a bad day at work tend t binge. Get a lovely steak or healthy dinner on the way home.
5) Stop and move on
A BIG part of binge eating is NOT being able to stop. Like me with my Pringles not being able to STOP and reset. When you eat something off plan and feel bad, don’t then take that as moral licence to carry on. For example, moral licence could be: “I’ve had a bad day at work so I’m going to have a glass of wine tonight.”
But rather than stopping at the glass it then becomes a bottle. You can chose to stop at ANY time. Go back to your WHY. Go back to you reasons for changing behaviour. Such as more energy to spend time with the children. A better relationship with your husband. These are in danger if you don’t stop. We’re all human we make mistakes. Don’t let a mistake become a binge. If you struggle with snacking for example, eat more at meals and cut out snacking all together.
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