3 Easy Steps to Beat Binge Eating
Binge eating is common, and it’s also one of the most misunderstood problems with food. When you hear binge eating what do you think?
Do you see someone gorging themselves on bags of chips, cookies, and candy? Do you see someone that has no self control? Or do you see someone who can't get their cheat meal under control? Someone who just can't stick to a diet?
In most cases binge eating is a classic case of good intentions pave the road to hell. The journey down that road to hell almost always begins with a diet. We’re taught in order to improve our health, we should diet. We want to be so perfect that we only crave salads and green juices all the time. The reality of what dieting does to our body is much different than the perfectly airbrushed person who never struggles with food cravings we’ve all imagined.
Fact: Dieting causes binge eating.
There’s no way around this one. Our biology is set up to create a binge eating episode every time we diet. The classic cheat day or weekend binge is a prime example of this. We can hold out for several days, maybe even weeks or months if we haven’t dieted in awhile, but eventually we all give in to cravings. The cravings are actually a sign that your body is trying to protect you. Your body doesn’t understand the difference between a famine, you know complete and total starvation and lack of food, and your diet.
In order to end the cycles of binge eating and dieting we need to take 3 key steps to rebuild trust with our bodies.
1. Stop Dieting
First, stop dieting! Did you know dieting is the number 1 predictor of weight gain? Yup, that’s right the more you diet the more likely you are to weigh more than when you started. Pretty counterproductive right? So if you’re struggling with multiple binge episodes a week or you’re clearing out the kitchen cabinet on your weekly cheat day, the way to end the madness is to simply stop dieting. Which leads right into step 2...
2. Stop Restricting
When you stop dieting you stop restricting your food. Restriction can come in many different forms. So let’s cover the most common offenders. Restriction can be: avoiding specific food groups (think carbs or fat), weighing and measuring all your food, counting calories, counting steps or calories burned during exercise, always choosing a ‘healthier’ option when you really want a different food, skipping dessert when you really want it, filling up on lower calorie options, counting macros or points, and generally using any external tool to decide if and when you should eat. If you want to stop binge eating for good, the restriction has to go.
3. Learn to Honor Your Cravings
When you stop dieting and learn to live without food restrictions the first couple weeks or months (all dependent on how long you’ve dieted), can seem like crazy craving central. You’ll crave all those foods you haven’t been able to have. We’re you on a sugar cleanse? You’ll probably crave sugar. Did you try a round of keto? Carbs may be all you can think about. Did you go vegan for weight loss? Hello animal products. While all your experience with dieting has taught you to simply binge on a cheat day and go back to restricting, the way to end this cycle is to simply lean into your cravings. I know it sounds crazy but it’s the exact thing that works. Allowing yourself to have the foods you crave knocks them off their super special pedestal. Ice cream begins to look a lot like broccoli, because it’s just food. Allowing full freedom around food will cause all those crazy cravings to subside before you know it.
New to ditching diets and not sure where to start? No worries we've all been at the beginning. Download my free guide to ditching diets once and for all.
Till next time,