Binge eating was something I did before I even knew what it was. It would start with an urge to much on something, or to chew on something, or for something sweet, and it would continue until I had to eat. If I didn’t eat I would get increasingly anxious and annoyed until I gave in. I can feel the gnawing sensation just thinking about it. It’s like a ringing in my ears. Once I gave in, I would eat until I was absolutely too full to eat anymore. The eating would bring me the comfort I was looking for. For a time, and then I would be mad at myself!
It usually has to do with feelings of stress or hormonal shifts, but there are many different things that can trigger the start of a binge for me. Even a cheat meal can trigger a binge.
For some people binge eating is much more serious. It’s a regular occurrence and can be extremely hard to stop. It’s much more than mindless eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable and shameful. It may not be about being hungry at all, the food is just there to fill an emotional need that’s not being met. If you think you may suffer from binge eating disorder, check out this website here. And speak to your doctor.
1. Stop it as soon as you can.
Brush your teeth to get the taste of sugar or saltiness out of your mouth.
Throw the food away so you don’t keep going back to it. Pour dish soap in the trash can in you have to like Miranda on Sex and the City. You don’t want to eat cake out of the trash can do you?
Drink lots of water.
Go to bed. (My doctor told me that one. Can’t stop eating? Go to bed!)
Distract yourself anyway you can. What activity will distract you from the binge? Get in the car and drive. Call a friend.
It may be the last thing you want to do but it’s the best thing for you in that state of mind. Take a walk or a run. If it’s in the middle of the night wait until morning and start with an early morning workout. Sweat all of the junk out of your system. Get the endorphin’s pumping through your system. Release those feel good hormones into your brain so that you can start to undo all of the emotional drama and trauma from the night before.
It really will make you feel better. No one ever feels bad after a workout!
3. Figure out what triggered the binge.
Were you tired, sad, angry, hungry, grouchy, or just plain blah? Did you have a day that made you feel lonely, stressed, or overwhelmed? Did you not have foods prepped? Or did something amazing just come along, and once you caught a whiff there was just no stopping?
For me, the issue is TV. Anytime I am in front of the television is when I am at risk. I can manage myself most of the time if I’m being active or reading or typing on the computer. Eating and typing is hard to do simultaneously. I watch a lot less TV now. I don’t tell myself I can’t watch TV, I just keep telling myself “later.” I may stop falling for this eventually, but maybe not.
There are many reasons why a binge can occur, but usually people are prone to the same type of behavior.
You don’t need to be a weight loss expert, or a psychologist. You need to be an expert on yourself. Know yourself, know your triggers and know how to recognize them.
4. Get over it.
Once you know why it happened and you can take steps to prevent it from happening again, it’s time to let it go. Beating yourself up for it can only make it worse. You’ll just perpetuate the same type of behavior. Be nice to yourself.
Part of the binge cycle is the shame felt afterward. It’s not OK to beat yourself up. The world does this for us on so many occasions. We have to be kinder to ourselves. Don’t think of a binge as succumbing to weakness or indulging. Think of it as an emotional issue that you are working towards improving.
Life is all about personal growth. None of us are perfect. Some of us just have different ways of handling our stress, our grief, our emotions. We may not yell and scream and take our frustrations out on total strangers or family members. Our coping mechanisms are more self-destructive. They are still coping mechanisms. We can work to improve them once we understand what the reasons behind them are. But improvement and growth will never come unless we forgive ourselves and love ourselves!
5. Prep yourself for next time.
Of course we don’t want to think about next time. That flies in the face of all our positivity and self-confidence. There’s never going to be a next time, right? Well OK, good, but, prepare yourself just in case. There’s always going to be a moment of weakness and it’s best to be ready for it when it does arise.
How can you prepare yourself? By having someone you can talk to in case you feel a binge coming on, and by not keeping certain trigger foods around you. By having healthy foods prepped and ready to go so that you don’t allow yourself to get too hungry, which can trigger crazy carb cravings. Also, by taking time for yourself each day and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are too tired, too stressed, or too emotionally drained to make the right decisions. In other words, take care of yourself.
Remember the uncomfortable feelings that occur after a binge and remind yourself that you don’t want to feel like that again. Think of how good you feel when you stick to the proper portion sizes of healthy foods. Use these thoughts as reminders.
To sum it up, the simple way to think about it is this. Stop it as quickly as possible. Brush your teeth, drink water, throw away the rest of the food. Go to bed. Get some exercise to release some feel good chemicals. Identify the trigger. Let it go and don’t punish yourself. Be better prepared next time. Get yourself right back on track and don’t let this minor setback derail your long term goals. Move on with your life!
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