It is no secret that I struggle with a serious addiction of food and was even diagnosed with a binge eating disorder. Over the last several months I have really tried to focus in on what makes me binge and ways to address it. My therapist often had me think of reasons that I binged and then encouraged me to mentally place myself in a binge situation then verbally say how I would attack it. This sort of role play really did wonders mentally. If I could think about the situation before it happened then I was better equipped to handle it once the issue arose. Mind you, this doesn’t always work and there are still days when the urge to binge controls my mind. But I get through.
Sure I overeat sometimes, but that is normal. I rarely full on binge anymore and if I do then the next day I pick up the pieces and move on. It certainly is not as easy as it sounds but wallowing in pity will only make me eat more. So, I’d like to share with you some ways I have learned to avoid binge eating. You may have heard some of these before since a few of them are talked about a lot but a friendly reminder never hurt anyone.
- Plan ahead. This seems like a given but so many of us (myself included) fail at this. If we know that we are going to be out and about all day then it is imperative we pack a meal or some snacks for the road. Not only does this help in not stopping by Taco Bell, but it aids in satisfying our appetite so we don’t feel famished later on which could potentially result in a binge. Same goes for restaurants. Women like to have conversations over a good meal. If you know that you and friends will be meeting for lunch or dinner then try to see if the restaurant has its menu or nutrition content online so you can walk in confident in the food choice you will make and not be caught off guard when the menu arrives. Planning ahead also consists of meal planning. If you know exactly what groceries you need at the store then you are much less likely to make a purchase from the candy aisle.
- Pre-portion your food at home. I despise doing dishes and cooking multiple times a week so I usually spend one day cooking all of the meats I have purchased so I won’t have to worry about it later. Usually I will put all my cooked chicken in a big bowl and then divide it into small plastic baggies for fridge storage. Doing this helps me not put a little bit of extra chicken on my plate when I go to reheat it. This is also helpful because once you portion it out you know exactly how much you have left for the rest of the week. You could also do this with snacks like carrots or baked chips so that if you are in a hurry to rush out the door you can go ahead and grab that plastic bag and be on your way.
- Don’t focus on “bad” foods. Binge eaters tend to feel bad about themselves after a binge. Multiple reasons go into this but a main one is that we feel bad that we ate “bad”. I heard a quote recently about there is no such thing as bad food. While I do not wholeheartedly agree with this, I can see the valid argument. One french fry isn’t horrible for you, but a whole order could be. But we have this mindset that certain foods are the enemy and then when we indulge or binge in them we are left feeling bad since we believe that the food is bad. That is a bad cycle. If you must splurge on a so called “bad” food then just be aware of the portion of it and think of it as a treat and not something that is bad and horrible for you because that will leave you feeling guilty and bad yourself.
- Cards in the trunk. My biggest binge spot is my car. I pass more than a dozen lovely fast food restaurants on the way home and could easily pop through the drive-thru and go through my ritual of trying to get the employee to believe that I’m getting food for multiple people and no one else would ever know that I ate that food. The car is a danger zone. A trick I learned is to put my debit card in the trunk of my car. When I’m driving past CookOut and really craving a hot dog and milkshake then I am a million times less likely to pull over, pop the trunk, get out and retrieve the cards, then go through the drive-thru. Too much work. This trick really works for someone like me who has issues with binge eating in the car. Another card tip that I found out through a recent customer is to take a Sharpie and literally write NO JUNK FOOD on the card. When she presented her card to me I inquired as to why that was written on it and she explained that by putting it on there then she is too embarrassed to purchase fast food or junk food. That was a new concept for me but she swears by it so that may be another option.
- Brush your teeth like your dentist is watching. I’ve long heard the brush your teeth tip but taking it to the next level might be even more helpful to avoiding a binge. If you brush your teeth for a solid two minutes, rinse, use mouth wash, and then meticulousy floss then that will take up a good five minutes of your time. Time to think about the binge, reflect on why you don’t want to binge, and plus it makes your tastebuds all out of wack so you may not even crave that food anymore.
- Talk it out. Ever have something you need to do and then get a phone call and suddenly forget what you were supposed to do in the first place? If you feel a binge coming on then call a friend. Talk about the weather, the Braves game, future plans, whatever! Just get your mind off of the binge and see how you feel after. Heck, snapchat your neighbor if you have to. Anything that involves getting your mind off food and your craving.
- Drink it up! I love water. Absolutely adore it. I even wrote a whole post on why I love hydrating. Water fills me up and leaves me feeling satisfied. If I feel a binge coming on, I can fill up my bottle and focus on emptying it. It gives my hand and mouth something to do and helps my stomach out, too. 9 times out of 10 I won’t binge after really focusing on hydrating.
Hope these tips give you some insight on what works for me and tips that have aided me in becoming a recovering binge eater. Do you have any tips that work for you or that you would like to share? Would love to hear about them!