Listen to what I am about to say….binge eating, guilt, feeling out of control around food does NOT have to be a part of your life!
This post is about how to heal your relationship with food. It is for anyone who has struggled with the binge, or anyone who has struggled with feeling out of control around food.
Lately I have had many clients and friends approach me about tips to control overeating or binge eating. Eating disorders was one of my specialities as a psychotherapist, so I have worked with many clients on the issues of binge eating over the years. This has spilled over into my life coaching practice as well. As a life coach, I also work with clients who struggle with disordered eating on a higher functioning scale.
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as well. I struggled with binge eating all throughout high school until my mid 30’s. And it all started with a diet. Yes. Once I started dieting, that is when my binge eating began. So you can probably guess my first tip to avoid the binge…stop dieting.
Anyone who has experienced binge eating probably does not need a definition (we know how it feels in our soul), but I will share it in case anyone needs to get up to speed. A binge eating episode is one where your eating feels out of control. Usually it involves continuing to eat after you are feeling full, because you feel like you can’t stop. It involves quickly eating a large quantity of food in a short period of time (an hour or so, but it could be longer/shorter). And it is accompanied by extreme guilt afterwards. The main thing to remember is the feeling of being out of control followed by extreme guilt….not fun.
Basically, we hate ourselves after we binge.
Common binge foods are anything easy, processed, and sugary, so cereal, chips, cookies, cakes, etc.
Whether or not you experience regular binge eating or if you just feel like you are not able to control your decisions around food, I am going to offer some tips to help you today.
Before I offer my tips, I want to give a disclaimer. A serious binge eating disorder takes time and commitment to recover from. There is no quick and easy fix. It involves spiritual, physical, and emotional healing. I definitely recommend getting a good coach or therapist and come up with an individualized plan for you.
That being said, here are some things I recommend:
(Click here for the video I recorded on this matter, or just keep reading!)
- Stop dieting. Restricting food intake triggers bingeing. It is a fact. So stop restricting yourself. It is hard, because there is so much information out there these days with people who say they have the answer on how to be fit or thin or beautiful. Yes, there are recommendations that can help you, but no one has YOUR answer. You have to find your own way when it comes to health and wellness. I used to tell my therapy clients that the health recommendations they read (like eat less carbs, for example) aren’t meant for them. They obsess over and take these recommendations to the extreme. Dieting triggers obsessing. Obsessing is not a happy or healthy way to live. So if you are struggling with feeling out of control around food, treat yourself gently. Treat yourself a little differently than someone who has not struggled with this. Those diets just are not for you.
- Eat high nutrient foods. Now that you are not restricting or dieting, it is important to feed yourself well. Eat whole foods that are high in nutrients. I am not going to tell you what to eat, but you know what these foods are! They make you feel good inside and out. How does this avoid a binge? If you are eating foods that are processed or have low or almost no nutrients, your body hungers for more more more, because it is not satisfied. If you get enough protein, vegetables, fat, and probiotics, for example, your body and brain are more satisfied.
- Think about what you can eat and not what you can’t eat. Okay, so you are not restricting, but maybe you are making the decision to eat less processed or sugary foods, because you know those trigger a binge for you. You might go through a phase where you start thinking of all the foods you CAN’T eat now! I recommend moving through that phase quickly by focusing on the delicious things you CAN eat. Go to the grocery store and buy delicious healthy foods. Whenever you get rid of something, you make room for something better. Think of the new high vibe foods that you can welcome into your life now. So exciting!
- Eat Mindfully. Sit down when you eat. Put your phone away. Put your computer away. You do not have to do work or answer messages or look anything up. This is up to you. If you allow yourself to be distracted while you eat, it is on you. I say this in order to encourage you to take responsibility for your eating environment. If the eating environment in your house or at work is not pleasant or relaxing, change it as best you can. Start setting a precedence. For example, “In this house, we eat mindfully and undisturbed. We respect this time to nourish our bodies.” It reminds me of when people used to sit down at 6pm and eat dinner with the family. No phone calls allowed.
- Get back in your body and create some space between you and the food. The above recommendations are more holistic. This last one is both holistic and for the emergency moments when you feel like you are going to lose control. I realized at one point that when I binged, what I really needed was to get grounded in my body. I have always been very spifitual and my energy tends to be a little up in the air. I believe my binging was a way to keep my spirit on the ground. It was serving a purpose. I was trying to get myself back in my body. It just was not a healthy way to do it. Now I have developed healthier ways to feel more present, and in the long run, these ways have made my life better instead of worse. There are many ways you can get grounded in your body. I will list some below that have helped me and my clients. The other ways the below activities will help you (besides getting back into your body) is they will help create some space between you and the binge or the food you are not sure you want to be eating. Do not tell yourself you can’t have the food. Just tell yourself you are going to try the three below things first to see if it changes how you feel. Any addiction is strongly tied to our thoughts. If we can let the thoughts go and not act on them, we have conquered the addiction. Before the binge try:
- Yoga. I am not suggesting a miserable, hard yoga pose you hate. Let’s see, would I want to do the splits or eat this chocolate cake? My answer would definitely be the cake. I am suggesting a nourishing pose that you love. Be gentle and nice to yourself. Try a child’s pose or legs up the wall. Whatever pose feels good to you. Imagine and visualize the good things the pose is doing for your body, mind, and soul.
- Drink a glass of water (try it with a quality essential oil). According to Dr. Axe, https://draxe.com/grapefruit-essential-oil/, grapefruit essential oil https://www.doterra.com/US/en/p/grapefruit-oil helps curb sugar cravings. It also helps with depression. There are many reasons why this glass of water with the essential oil will help reduce binge eating. Drinking water helps you stay hydrated, think clearer, and make better decisions. The essential oil just boosts these benefits. It will naturally help you feel less depressed, more upbeat, and ready to do something to make your life better. Doterra is my favorite essential oil company, and I am a wellness advocate for them. The reason I decided to represent this company is because of my struggles finding a quality essential oil until I found this amazing company. You cannot trust the essential oils you buy in the store, because oftentimes they are synthetic. To get these quality oils at a wholesale price 25% off, click here, to become a wholesale costumer (or contact me for more info). They also have an amazing metabolic blend called “slim and sassy” and I have had clients have amazing results with this. Again, we are creating space between you and the binge.
- Sit, breath deeply, and smell Balance (or something else yummy and healthy). While we are on the topic of essential oils, Doterra has another amazing blend called, Balance. This blend helps balance your emotions, and it is an all time favorite of everyone! I won’t get into the research behind it here, but just know this is all based on research and science. Smell is the only sense that goes directly to our brain. I used to tell clients to smell yummy smelly lotion to get back into their bodies. But now I know those lotions on the market have a lot of chemicals and hormones in them. So while it helped to temporarily stop the binge, I don’t believe it helped their health in the long run. The time for these band aid treatments are over. We are now wiser to our bodies needs and our environment. Smell something that is healthy, natural, and that brings you back into your body! Maybe it is flowers or herbs you grow in your garden! Get happy with your nose! You will feel more grounded, and less attached to the binge or food.
You are not your problem with binge eating. Separate yourself from the binge. Look at it with curiosity. Take the shame out of it. It is serving a purpose for you. It’s just time to find a healthier way to fullfil that need. What do you want? Freedom? Balance? It’s yours. It may take time, but it’s totally worth it.
Choose to live guilt free and binge free. And if you do binge, forgive yourself as quickly as you can, and find your freedom and balance again.
If you are looking to work with a coach around this topic, contact me here.
Food Peace and Food Love,