Binge eating can happen when we don’t eat properly. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a recovering overeater. Along my journey, I’ve learned a few things about how to eat, not binge. I know that having even one good day can give you a sense of success, and encourage you to keep moving in the right direction. Here are 5 tips for reducing binge eating frequency, severity, and feeling better about yourself.
Each decision you make to honour your body is like adding a new pearl to a string — it may not seem like much at the time, but eventually you’ll end up with a beautiful necklace.
Tip #1: Choose to Nourish Yourself with Each Bite
Your intention can be a powerful ally in stopping overeating for good. When you make the decision to eat for your long-term health, your confidence, your happiness, your self-esteem, your family,… you might find it easier to choose foods that support these goals.
Put it into practice:
- Remind yourself that you’re now eating for your long-term health, your confidence, your happiness, your self-esteem, your family… and whatever reasons you have for making better choices! (e.x.: I’m now eating for my bikini body; I’m now eating so I can play with my future grandkids; I’m now eating to get rid of diabetes).
- Write down your personal reminder and post it in visible places, such as on kitchen cupboards, fridge, your computer.
- Call it to mind before you eat each meal and snack. The trick for success is in repetition. Do this on the days when it’s easy to not binge eat, and it’ll be a lot more effective when it’s a tough stretch.
Tip #2: Shop Wisely
Make grocery shopping a control point for what gets into your very own food sanctuary (aka, your kitchen). It’s easier to make one decision to not buy a food at the store than trying to stop yourself from reaching for the _______ (fill in the blank) every night. Humans are creatures of convenience — make it easy to eat better by surrounding yourself with healthy choices!
Craving something sweet? Or crunchy? Here’s a list of Healthier Options For Common Food Cravings!
Put it into Practice:
- Make a list of items to buy before going grocery shopping, and stick to it!
- Purchase smaller packages of foods you want to eat less of. For example, get a small carton of the good ice cream, rather than a large bucket of the cheap one.
- Buy larger packages of foods you want to eat more of. Go bulk on fruits that store well, such as oranges, apples, and pears.
Tip #3: Minimize Distractions while Eating
Just as driving while distracted leads to accidents, eating while distracted can lead to accidentally eating too much or eating foods that don’t fit with your intentions. Unfortunately there’s no eating insurance to cover the damage done to your health, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the risks of distracted eating.
Put it into Practice
- Find a designated place for eating your meals — preferably a table with a solid chair.
- Turn off the TV, the computer, and put away your phone.
- Eating with family or friends? Put away your plate and cutlery after you’re finished eating so you can enjoy the conversation. More tips on eating in restaurants here!
Tip #4: Pay Attention to Your Hunger
Reducing binge eating can help you eat healthier and help your body to function better. But be aware of swinging too far in the other direction. Overly restrictive eating may lead to quick weight loss, but it doesn’t meet your body’s needs for energy or micronutrients, which could have negative health consequences. Overly restrictive diets are nearly impossible to maintain, and sets you up for binge eating later.
Put it into Practice
- Have regularly scheduled meals every 4-6 hours. Setting up a eating plan can be helpful if you’re not used to tuning in to your hunger and satiety cues just yet.
- Notice what moderate hunger feels like in your body — this gives you an opportunity to eat something before you’re so hungry that you’ll devour everything in sight.
- Have snacks in the car or in your bag for those emergencies when you need something to eat quickly! I prepare a small ziplog bag with almonds and cranberries. Find more snack tips here!
Tip #5: Prioritize Protein, Fibre, and Good Fats
Why? Because foods that are high in these nutrients will give you the sense of fullness that feels satisfying, not yucky! And when you feel good about yourself, you’re likely to continue to do good things for your body. It becomes a positive cycle.
Nutritionally speaking, foods that are high in protein, fibre, and good fats are usually full of other nutrients that help support everything from your immune system, to bone health, and energy production. They also will not trigger a large insulin response, which means you’re helping protect yourself from type 2 diabetes. Talk about win-win!
Put it into Practice
- Chickpeas= protein + fibre
- Bartlett pear = fibre
- Dressing (olive oil)= good fat
- Black beans= protein + fibre
- Monterey jack cheese = protein
- Salmon = protein + good fat
- Soba noodles = fibre
- Veggies = fibre
Shifting away from binge eating to a healthy eating pattern requires you to change the way you care for your body and mind. Tapping into your motivation, changing what you buy at the grocery store, eating in your food sanctuary, paying attention to your hunger, and choosing foods high in protein, fibre, and good fats can make this transition easier.
Want more tips? Check out this post on how to prevent overeating while still nourishing your body.
If you’re struggling with food and eating, know that you’re not alone, and change is possible! If you try one of these suggestions, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.