How enjoying your food can reduce binge eating

enjoy food reduce binge eating

How enjoying your food can reduce binge eating

This week I wanted to talk about how enjoying your food can reduce binge eating. I mean ‘really’ enjoying your food…

You can watch the video I made on this below or keep scrolling if you prefer to read.

Over the years I’ve worked with so many people who struggle with binge eating. Like Lauren for example – that’s not her real name btw, but let’s call her that for now! Lots of people I’ve worked with were like Lauren. We’d worked together for quite a while before Lauren made a confession to me. Just before we started working together she’d bought a big box of chocolates as a Christmas present for a friend. One day she had a bad day and ate the entire box all in one go. Then she hid the box from her family coz she was so ashamed and embarrassed. She felt guilty and rubbish about the way she’d eaten, and told me she’d frequently had situations like that before we started working together.

She’d been so ashamed of her eating habits, she’d kept it a secret.

Lauren had never told me about any of this in the early days of us working together. After we’d been working together for a while she could see why she had struggled with the binges. She was always trying to eat perfectly, always banning chocolate and telling herself she wasn’t allowed to eat those kind of things. She’d label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and then either feel good about eating a certain way or she’d feel bad. Then she’d label herself as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on what she ate and she’d punish herself for being ‘bad’.

This dieting attitude towards food doesn’t help you, it leads to more binge eating and secret eating. So you feel more ashamed and guilty about your eating habits, and build a shitty relationship with food. But the good news is that what I teach about eating mindfully and changing your perspective about food can make a big difference to reduce binge eating. So even though Lauren hadn’t told me about her secret binges, we still focused on these topics as they’re so important.

How does really enjoying your food help you reduce binge eating?

I want to share with you three things to focus on to help you eat more mindfully. This will help you enjoy your food more and change the way you look at food. Then that’ll help you start to reduce this secret binge eating.

1. Ditch all the judgmental labels about food and about yourself.

Forget looking at food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – nutrition isn’t as simple as that anyway. Healthy eating is about the overall balance of everything that you eat, not the individual foods. You don’t need to exhaust yourself trying to eat perfectly or trying to eat ‘clean’ – none of that is necessary. It’s all about what you do most of the time and one day where you eat an entire box of chocolates isn’t going to make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

But if you’re telling yourself you’re a failure and you’re a bad person, you’re more likely to go on and eat more chocolates. Then you’re more likely to keep getting stuck in that guilt-binge cycle. Whereas if you tell yourself it’s fine, draw a line and move forward then you’re less likely to feel rubbish about your eating. It does take a little practice, but ditch those labels and see how much more you enjoy food.

blown the diet stop counting calories
Ditch those labels, they don’t help you!

2. Give yourself permission to eat anything and enjoy it.

You’re allowed to eat anything and everything; stop banning foods. If you’re used to dieting on and off, and some foods not being ‘allowed’ on the diet, to start with you will probably overdo it on those foods. But eventually, keep telling yourself you’re allowed to eat whatever you like, with time you’ll see you can have a little of what you fancy.

Take your time over the food that you used to binge on. Take your time to savour the flavours, the smells, the textures and really notice what you’re eating. Ignore the little voice at the back of your head telling you that you shouldn’t eat something. The minute that you ban food, you’ll want it more – it becomes naughty. Then because it’s naughty, you feel guilty when you have it. You tell yourself you’ve blown it, feel guilty and again, you get stuck in this overeating guilt-binge cycle. Ditch all the guilt by just letting yourself have what you want. Whenever you eat, take your time over your food to really enjoy it no matter what it is or how much you have and see how it feels.

3. Focus on nourishing your body with balanced meals you enjoy.

Firstly make yourself meals that you enjoy. You don’t need to force yourself to eat food that you hate. You don’t need to look for the lowest Calorie option or only eat yucky diet style cardboard food that has barely any nutrients in it. Eat meals that you enjoy – no need to cook special recipes or buy special products. Go for the meals that you normally have, cook your favourite recipes, but think about how you could tweak them if they need a little improvement. (Check out my guide to healthy eating for help with this here).

Make sure that you’re getting a variety of foods from the different food groups so it’s more likely to be more satisfying. If you nourish your body with a range of different nutrients, you’re more likely to feel satisfied. Then you’re less likely to have cravings which then lead to binge eating. You’re also less likely to pick and snack between meals if you feel satisfied. So then you’re less likely to feel guilty about food generally. Instead of thinking about how to cut down or cut out food, focus on nourishing your body. Be kind to your body by feeding it well and looking after it. Make food tasty, enjoyable and colourful, so you feel good when you eat it. Rather than eating something that’s just bland and not very nourishing, leaving you still feeling peckish and searching around for more food.

See food for what it is – just food, not some kind of indicator of morality. It’s there to feed your body and enjoying what you eat is an important part of healthy eating.

Just to recap – three things I want you to think about to help you enjoy your food:

  • Ditch the judgmental labels about food and about yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to eat anything and enjoy it.
  • Nourish your body with balanced meals that you enjoy.

Not sure how to put together balanced meals? Make it easy for yourself with my super simple free guide to healthy eating download free here.

Ditch dieting forever, because you deserve better.

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My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • Really missing having a cuppa tea this week, but at the same time I just don’t fancy it. Such a weird feeling, but I remember when I was pregnant with Genevieve I went off it and my taste for it came back. So fingers crossed…
  • I’ve had a few pregnancy-related appointments this week. Then we had a load of snow so school was shut for a day and a half. It’s meant that I’ve been a bit all over the place with my exercising. I managed a few short walks, but I’ve been too nervous to go out in the snow (my balance is a bit shit at the mo!).
  • We haven’t watched any good new films in a while now. There’s quite a few on my ‘to watch’ list, but we’ve been watching ‘Castle’ ever since we discovered all 8 seasons are on Disney! We’re over half way through and I love it, such easy watching. As long as you can stand the brief gory bits. If you’ve not come across it before, it’s a cheesy series where an NYPD homicide detective teams up with a murder mystery author to solve murders. Pretty implausible premise and amazing that they drag it out to 8 seasons. But we love it coz it has Nathan Fillion in it from the ‘Firefly’ cult series and the spin-off film ‘Serenity’. Not ashamed to admit it – we totally nerd out on spotting the references to ‘Firefly/Serenity’!
  • The 4th book that I finished for my reading challenge ’23 New Books in 2023′ was Skin’s memoirs ‘It Takes Blood & Guts’. It was so good coz I remember as a teenager back in the late 90s desperately wanting to be able to sing like her and I saw Skunk Anansie at Glastonbury 1999. I love reading about people’s journeys and how they got where they are. Well worth a read if you also grew up in the 90s and loved Skunk Anansie!
  • Bird Nerd Report: Not seen many interesting birds this week to be honest as I’ve only been out for a couple of short walks. Not been down to the brook in weeks as I’d been trying a few different places, so I still haven’t seen a kingfisher all year! Still been hearing loads of goldfinches and greenfinches when I’ve been out and there have been quite a few woodpeckers around again this week. I spoke too soon about spring being on the way though last week – three days of cold and snow and there’s meant to be a little more next week too!

Do you know someone who needs to read my blog? Please share it and spread the anti-dieting message!