Photo Credit: Bill Branson

 

We’ve all been there.  You know, when that one piece of pizza turns into 3 slices, half a bag of potato chips, 2 scoops of ice cream and half a jar of peanut butter?  Most everyone is guilty of eating half of what’s in their pantry at some point.  It happens, but for some it happens much too often.  Binge eating is  an  addiction for a lot of people.  Our food obsessed culture, inactive lifestyle, and highly addictive ingredients in our food is almost solely to blame.  The urge to continue eating well past the point of full is too strong for many to resist.

Like I’ve said, we’ve all done it before.    However, there are people  who binge eat every single day.  And  I’m not talking about the “ate too much at Thanksgiving” kind of binge, I mean they eat to the point where if they have one more bite they will vomit.  If you’re at all familiar with the eating disorder known as bulimia, this is exactly what bulimics do.  They will binge on large amounts of food and then throw it back up.  It’s a heart breaking  vicious cycle that’s very harmful to their health.  Binge eaters only differ in that they do not purge their food, but their actions are just as harmful to themselves.

Like bulimia and many other eating disorders, binge eating may be a result of underlying psychiatric issues (ex. depression, anxiety).  If you think you have binge eating disorder then you may want to consult a doctor as well as follow any advice I give you.  That being said, there are many of you who do not have a full blown eating disorder, but still have a problem with binge eating.  What you need to know is that binge eating is a habit.  If you think about it, do you mostly find yourself diving into a binge around the same time each day?  Or a certain day each week?  Or when you partake in a certain activity (sleepovers, parties, meetings..)?  For whatever reason, you’ve gotten into the habit of overeating on such days and it must be stopped.  Those calories will add up to extra pounds of fat and derail any effort you put into your weight loss goals.  But here is how to break your binge habit for good.

Change Your Routine:

If you’re binge begins at certain time everyday (say when you get home from school or work) you need to find something to fill that time period.  Plan your workout for that time, join an after school club or sport,  go to your friends house for a study session….  Do anything that gets you out of your house and away from the kitchen.  You need to do something different to shake up your routine of coming home and immediately starting your binge.

Plan Your Meals:

A lot of binges start when you’re hungry and you come home and grab everything you can in arms length.  Instead plan your meals the night before.  If you can, prepare them the night before.  That way when you’re hungry  you have a meal ready for you when you get home.  You will eat that instead of grabbing handfuls of various caloric snacks from your pantry.

Eat Your Vegetables:

Still hungry after dinner?  Make sure you’re meals contain more fiber rich vegetables.  Vegetables are low in calories so you can eat as much as you want.  They are also a good source of fiber, which will keep you feeling full.    Keep plenty of low calorie fruits and vegetables around so if you still do feel the urge to eat something, you won’t be sabotaging your weight loss.  It’s better you binge on kale than Dorito’s.

Stay Busy:

It’s easy to overeat when you’re bored at home and have nothing to do but eat.  You could literally spend all day eating! But the next time that happens, go for a walk instead.  Do something, anything to keep you from going into that kitchen.  Clean your room, go run errands, take your dog to the park, get engrossed in a DIY art project.  Stay busy doing anything to keep your mind off of binging.

 

Breaking a habit is not the easiest thing to do.  It will take a lot of discipline and repeated tries before you kick it completely.  But everyday you try and every time you don’t give in you are closer to your goals.  Make sure you are thinking about what exactly your goals are when you feel the urge to binge. You will never get there if you don’t make the effort to break your bad habits.


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