Binge Eating- Recognise it!
Yes it’s true! Binge eating can sabotage our efforts and desires. In fact, many women struggle with overeating and use food to combat negative emotions. You know the foods that make most woman feel good like; Wine, chocolate, sugar, and other sweet treats to give a feeling of relief to that initial emotion.
However, once the “food rush” wears off, they’re left with the very same emotional problems—plus a self-defeating sense of guilt.
Of course, many women understand that food doesn’t help resolve “negative” emotions like fear, resentment, anger, or stress—but they still find themselves helpless, using sugar or alcohol as a coping mechanism for emotions that feel intolerable.
Unfortunately without help, some women even develop a food addiction.
The good news is that there are two key factors to appreciate here and with this knowledge many woman can take better control of this behaviour.
- Uncontrolled stress- Try recognising feelings that can overwhelm you and take a moment to take 6 breaths and calm your thoughts.
- Food restriction- Having a plan and working at it is such a great strategy and is simple. Try planning your week and it doesn’t have to be perfect! But a ‘food routine’ is a great way to manage what you eat!
It might feel like you’re hungry now… but is it really hunger?
Maybe you walked past an amazingly well know café 15 minutes ago and forgot about that. Or maybe something stressful happened this morning. So, link by link, working backwards along the chain of events, start asking yourself a few questions:
‘What was I doing just now? What was I thinking? Where was I?’
Oftentimes you can uncover the source of negative emotions.
And what do you do with those negative emotions once you uncover them? You embrace them.
If you’re feeling angry or stressed, give yourself five minutes to be mad inside your body. Yes I want you to be mad and control it! Instead of lashing out!
Feel the emotion in your body, but don’t try to over analyse it in your brain- instead feel the physical response. So you can stomp, walk around and clench your fists and even growl a little! Be Mad! Do whatever it takes. And after those five minutes are up, release that ball of anger and let it float away. Remind yourself you can now move on and deal with the situation logically instead of emotionally.
Here’s a few more tips to help:
- Recognise that beliefs and emotions can trigger a hunger response!
- Look for where your emotions are in your body. Don’t analyse. Right now just observe as you are gathering information about the physical response from this.
- Don’t rush to explain things with your immediate response, e.g. “Oh it must be my I had no protein and only a banana.”If the answer pops up quickly, that’s your brain. Your body is slow and quiet with its signals.
- Give yourself a few minutes to experience whatever emotions you’re experiencing. Check your watch if you need to, and allocate five minutes to this project. Allow 6 large breaths to deal with emotion and gather what your body is telling you. Learn to become a ‘deeper thinker’.
- Finally only eat when you are hungry! Plan your meals and plan on eating to that ‘routine’. This reinforces whether you are hungry or if it’s just an urge!
Here’s a few common reasons we binge:
Bored/ lonely- Call a friend or engage in something stimulating like conversation or reading a favourite book.
Tired- If its night go to bed! If its day do something that makes you feel good. This could be sitting quietly at a park, beach, going for a walk, doing tasks that make you feel satisfied. But again if it’s not meal time and you are well fed then recognise the trigger and deflect it.
Being motivated towards your core purpose is probably my biggest tip. I feel we often focus on the now and rationalise our actions because of it. E.g. “I have had a hard day I deserve some wine”. In this case perhaps go outside and have a chat with a friend or go for a slow walk and let the emotion pass!
I will leave you with this “Don’t shatter long term dreams for short term pleasures”! A little discipline (reminding yourself of your goal and a food plan for instance) and some commitment (practicing regularly and not giving up because of one slip up) will develop your will power and the satisfaction of being more at peace with your decisions, instead of feeling guilty will be worth it!
Make it happen!