The first steps to stop binge eating.
Can I tell you a little story about a client I worked with a few years ago? Let’s call her Lauren, but that’s not her real name of course.
I’d been working 1-2-1 with Lauren for about a year when she made a confession…
After the work we’d done, she was ready to talk about something she’d been doing before she first met me. Something she’d never told me about before that point. She’d been too ashamed to talk about it.
She shared with me an example of what she used to do before we started working together.
Once she’d bought a box of chocolates to give to a friend for Christmas. She felt down one evening. Opened the box & ate the lot in one go.
She was appalled at herself.
The guilt & embarrassment was so strong, she hid the empty box from her family. She’d barely even tasted it, let alone enjoyed it!
A year later when she was telling me about this, she could see how far she’d come from the way she used to eat back then.
Here were some of her reflections:
- She could see she’d been putting too much pressure on herself to ‘eat perfectly’.
- Seeing food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ led her to want the ‘naughty’ things more. Then she’d find it hard to stop eating them once she’d started, because she felt so guilty that she’d ‘blown it’.
- Now she knew it was OK if she wanted to eat chocolate; it didn’t make her a bad person, even if she had too much!
- She knew she didn’t need to punish herself if she didn’t eat perfectly.
Since working with me she’d been focusing on changing her perspective on food and weight.
She was no longer aiming to eat perfectly or completely cut out the treats. Instead of changing everything, like she’d been told to do for years at slimming-clubs, she focused on tweaking her normal eating habits. Rather than obsessing over the number on the scales, she concentrated on making sure her meals were well balanced. The best thing was she started letting herself enjoy the treats when she wanted them.
That lead to fewer cravings & no more binges – yay!
No more guilt-tripping herself.
No more punishing herself.
Are you exhausted with trying to eat perfectly and ending up binge eating instead?
Let me share with you what I taught Lauren. Here are the first steps to help you stop binge eating:
1 – Ditch ALL that dieting bullshit!
Start with a change in perspective away from the dieting mentality. Stop looking for a quick-fix miracle cure for weight. Forget this idea that you have to eat perfectly or ‘clean’, otherwise you’ve failed or ‘cheated’. Stop labelling some foods as ‘bad’ or ‘banned’. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. Healthy eating is about the overall balance of everything you eat. When you tell yourself you’re not allowed something, you’re more likely to want it more. Then, when you have the food you see as ‘bad’, you feel guilty. You think you’ve blown it; may as well keep eating and before you know it, you’re sucked into a guilt-binge cycle. You can start to break this cycle by changing the way you look at food. See it all as fuel and leave the morality out of it.
2 – Give yourself permission to eat WHATEVER you like.
Actively allow yourself to have those treats that you’ve been telling yourself you ‘shouldn’t’ eat. Take the time to enjoy them WITHOUT beating yourself up. You’ll still over-eat them to start with. It takes practice to learn that you can have a little of what you fancy! But eventually you’ll realise that it’s ok to eat those things. It helps if you regularly remind yourself that you’re a good person no matter what you eat. NO labelling yourself as a ‘failure’ or ‘bad’ in relation to what you’ve been eating. Instead start to notice your thoughts and feelings around food. Observe, without judgement, when the binges tend to happen and what’s going on.
3 – Focus on nourishing your body with regular balanced meals
Move away from focusing on the foods you need to ‘eat less of’. Instead concentrate on nourishing and fuelling your body. Make sure you’re eating regular balanced meals with a variety of different foods (check out my free course for more info on how to make this easier). That way you give your body what it needs. A variety of foods means you’re more likely to get all the different nutrients you need and feel satisfied.
When you feel satisfied, you’re less likely to pick and snack between meals.
Remind yourself that food is fuel and won’t solve your problems.
4 – Deal with the underlying problems that leave you reaching for food.
Instead of beating yourself up, because you feel like you can’t control your eating, get curious. Start asking yourself why you’re eating. Explore how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally. Dig deep and question what you were telling yourself about the situation that led to your binge eating. Do you need help to heal from some kind of trauma from your past? Is there something you need to sort out n your life? Like a toxic relationship or a stressful or unfulfilling job. It’s painful and uncomfortable to face up to our problems but taking the first step is always the hardest. Take a step back from the situation and ask yourself, what can you do to help yourself?
If you think you may have Binge Eating Disorder then please do speak to your GP or physician, who should refer you for specialised treatment. Check out the BEAT website section on Binge Eating Disorder for more information.
It is possible with the right support and some perseverance, to stop binge eating and start to feel more in control of your eating again.
Need help to ditch dieting forever? Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily ..? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!
I can help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you can learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.
My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…
- Tea of the week has been Lady Grey. Not for any particular reason – I think it’s just coz that tin is closest to the kettle! It’s on the mantelpiece rather than on the dresser with the rest of the tins.
- If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might remember back in October I talked about ticking off something from my bucket list! I was an SA (extra) in some filming and got to dress up in period costume. I still don’t have any info on when that TV programme will be out, but I was excited to be called up again this week. I’ve already been fitted for my outfit, which isn’t too bad considering it’s a 70s costume! I’m only involved in filming one day, but it’s looking like a super early start again as I have to drive a long way to get there. I’ll let you know when I get more info on when the show is out.
- I’m still trying to get out on my morning walks along the brook after the school run. I’ll have missed two days this week because of the filming & costume fitting, but that’s ok. I’ve been trying to keep up the exercises too as I’m excited I’m starting Aerial Hoop classes tonight – I can’t wait! I really don’t feel ready at all, but as I said last week, they promise that the course helps you build things up gradually.
- Did I tell you about out little family challenge this year? We’re aiming to walk up 22 hills in 2022. With 50 hills to choose from in Shropshire, we have loads of options. So far we’ve walked up The Wrekin and Grinshill. Then at the weekend we went up Stiperstones for the first time in over 3 years. So we’re well on track – 3 hills down 19 hills to go!
- Bird Nerd Report: There have been sooooo many goldfinches and greenfinches around where we live recently. I couldn’t see them very well right at the top of the trees, but I can tell they’re there by their singing. Plus I saw a group of female chaffinches down by the brook as well. The woodpeckers have been showing up again too. I saw one yesterday and a pair of them the other day. Up the Stiperstones we saw a bird I’ve never seen before and I’m still not sure whether it was a female stonechat or maybe a brambling… Might have to go back and see if we can see it again!