Do you ever wake up and instinctively know this isn’t going to be a successful diet day? Can you just feel the urge to binge in every pore of your body? Or perhaps your binge feelings come on over the course of the morning and by midday you are in full food binge mode. No matter what the scenario, bingeing does nothing good for weight loss. Here are three steps to stop the food binge in its tracks.
1. Recognize the Signs
A true food binge is usually different from just feeling a craving for junky foods. You probably know what I mean. When you are craving junky foods you might aimlessly wander from room to room but always end up looking in the refrigerator or standing in front of the pantry. Nothing really appeals to you but you settle on an apple or perhaps a handful of chocolate chips if your diet isn’t going so well.
A food binge is intense, unrelenting, and hard to control. You may feel an unstoppable urge to eat all the ice cream in the house, go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of chocolate, or eat all the little bags of chips you had set aside for your child’s lunch.
2. Take Immediate Action
When the food binge feeling starts and you have identified it, you’ve got to take quick action before you eat 1,000 calories in a Mississippi minute, as they say in the South.
In other words, really fast.
Here are five ideas to make it harder to binge.
– Ruin the food. I know it seems drastic, but if there is one particular type of food in the house that you are getting ready to binge on, pour some water on it, throw it in the trash, and make sure it is inedible.
– Get away from the food. Remove yourself from close vicinity to the food. Get out of the house for a while, leave the grocery store if that’s where the binge strikes, or if you can’t leave your house, jump in the shower or take a long bath. Taking a step away from the immediate vicinity can help you control the urge to binge.
– Call or text a supportive friend or your therapist. Reach out to someone you know will help you through the difficult time. This can be your therapist, a close friend, or even a trusted co-worker. Talking through how you are feeling lessens the intense desire to binge, and a friend can help hold you accountable. Eat something indulgent. Although not for everyone, this technique works for some people who are on the verge of a binge. It often worked for me. Try eating a small amount of an indulgent food like an ounce of dark chocolate, two spoonfuls of your favorite ice cream, or a cup of coffee with a dollop of whipped cream.
Even though these aren’t low-calorie options, they can take the edge off the binge until you get your feelings under control. And, let’s face it, a spoonful of ice cream has hundreds of calories less than a whole container.
– Start writing down the calorie content of foods you want to eat. Part of the problem with binges, besides the fact they are often a sign of an eating disorder, is that you can consume a tremendous number of calories in a short time. Write down the calorie counts of the foods you are tempted to binge on. Think about how you will feel after you eat that many calories and what that will do to your weight loss efforts.
3. Wait for the Urge to Pass
Part of the food binge cycle is its urgency. The good thing is that food binges tend to come on quickly and fade once you’ve practiced some self-care.
Wait for the urge to overeat to pass. Eventually, the urge to eat large quantities of food will pass and you will be free of the binge–for now.
As you move forward with your weight loss efforts, pay attention to how often you get the urge to binge. An occasional food binge may not indicate an eating disorder, but frequent desires to binge certainly can. Don’t be like some people who avoid seeking help for a true food disorder out of a sense of embarrassment. Get in touch with your doctor and ask for help.