If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve binged eaten or eating uncontrollably.
Is it ever OK to binge? Is eating right through the week and then going crazy on the weekend normal? Will I ever find a happy balance between eating the foods I crave and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
What is binge eating?
Bingeing is an uncontrolled ingestion of large quantities of food within a short time period, often accompanied by feeling out of control over the eating taking place.
We have all overeaten at one time or another, most notably around the holidays or on a special occasion. I think we have all gone back for seconds (or thirds) at a wedding or family function, or had an extra slice or two of cake at a birthday party. So when does the occasional overindulgence cross the line into the realm of real binge eating?
It should be easy to determine –if sessions of overeating and guilt are becoming more common through the days and weeks, if thoughts of “bad” food and “good” food are constantly on your mind; and the lines between enjoying one mithai on occasion and eating the whole box are becoming more obscure, it might be time to step back take notice.
How do you keep bingeing at bay?
Don’t go on a diet.–Denial of foods make you crave them more and it is this denial that often makes people binge on the foods that are not allowed on the diet. Learn to eat a wholesome diet including all foods in moderation. This will take time.
Recognize that you binge.–Be aware that you cannot control your eating at times. Make a note of the time, place and triggers.
Is it stress?–Many times the trigger is stress, frustration, exhaustion or all three!
Think addition instead of deletion.–What can you eat — this is what you should be considering instead of what you cannot eat. Make an effort to choose a food from multiple food groups such as veggies, fruits, meats, dairy, nuts, etc
Don’t go the scale.–Weighing yourself often is counterproductive. You moods will swing along with the scale and if you see some high numbers will bring you down and into the kitchen.
No cheat days allowed.–Instead have “cheat bites” allowing yourself two or three bites of the foods you really want.
Banish binge foods. —There are different approaches to handling the foods you binge on. The one that works the best is not to keep them in the house. Out of sight, out of mind. If it is in the house then the tendency to eat ‘just a little’ and since it tastes so good the entire box/packet is gone before you realize it.
Understand hunger. —There is a difference between appetite and hunger. Learn how to identify physical hunger. Most of us don’t really know hunger, food has been abundant all our lives. We mistake hunger for appetite. A smell, a memory, or a thought can arouse appetite, hunger is a physical attribute where the stomach is empty causing weakness and discomfort.
Pace yourself.–Eating a few scoops of ice cream through the week is better than having the entire carton in one sitting. If you know you can eat foods then chances of overeating are less.
Never eat from the box, carton or bag.–If you eat like this you can’t see how much you are eating. Put the foods on a plate to give a visual of the portions you are consuming. It takes some more effort to get another helping.
Do not skip meals.– Skipping meals makes you famished by the next meal which can cause you to gorge and overeat at the next meal.
Enjoy your food. — Eat slowly and savour food. Eating slowly will help you to avoid bingeing.
Recover and carry on. — If you do slip up it’s not the end of the world, don’t be hard on yourself — you can always get on track. Make your next meal a healthy portion-controlled one.
Remember, the overall goal is to try to find a balance. Even the healthiest eaters in the world aren’t perfect all the time. It’s the overall combination of your food choices over time that will create a lasting healthy lifestyle.