How many times have you busted your butt dieting and restricting yourself just to have someone tell you, “a little bite won’t hurt.”? So you give in and try a piece of cake and next thing you know you just can’t stop yourself from obsessively thinking about what’s next on the menu. You convince yourself that you’ve already screwed up the day and afterwards it’s all a blur. You start calculating things in your head, wondering how it was even humanly possible to consume that many calories. You are left feeling worse than ever, and in the process of beating yourself up, you often console yourself with more food.
It won’t be easy and you’ll need to work on yourself constantly. Work towards learning something new everyday, and create new healthy habits and keep a positive attitude.
Here are seven ways to start breaking your binge eating habit.
1.) Find Out What’s Triggering You and Avoid It
Ever hear the saying, “anything is okay in moderation”? Well, that’s easy for someone who has never struggled with an addiction to say. Could you imagine saying this to a recovering alcoholic? How about a recovering drug addict? Seriously? We have to eat to live so this is a hard addiction to overcome, but the foods that are triggering you are not necessary in order for survival. Personally, if I eat one piece of ham I am no longer going to have the self-control to stop with one piece. After losing 150 lbs, I thought I would be able to overcome these problems, but found when reintroducing these foods, they caused the same reaction for me as before. Even though your mindset might have changed, these naturally addictive foods have not, and they still have the same effect on the human brain. By avoiding these foods altogether, you build a new healthy habit, building up your self-control and self-discipline, which are necessary to overcoming your food addiction.
2.) Eat Well, Plenty, & Balanced
If you are making healthy food choices, you won’t have to deprive yourself. This is so important because the hungrier you allow yourself to get, the more likely you will lose control and the urge to binge will take over. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you get hungry in between, allow yourself healthy, natural snacks. Make sure you are getting enough protein, as it reduces cravings by controlling blood sugar. And remember that you don’t need meat or dairy products to get enough protein! Don’t blindly follow ads or ideas pushed by the media. Do your research and learn what’s best for you. I started my journey with The Daniel’s Fast. It is very strict, but eliminates anything that could be causing your addiction. No added sugar, no added salt, no caffeine, no bread, no meat… let’s just say it’s a fresh start, and I recommend you to check it out. But even though the choices I could make were limited, I did not have to limit how much I could have. If I’m hungry, I eat, and I may get cravings, but it is never because my body is feeling deprived. *You should consult your doctor before starting any new diet change to make sure it is right for you.
3.) Keep Bad Foods Away
Those who binge eat usually do so in secret in the comfort of their own home. Especially when their trigger foods are conveniently available to them. Don’t buy the junk! You know, the packaged snacks and easy to grab, artificially made food. Don’t even have them in your house. If the devil comes over to visit, are you inviting him in? NO! Well, hopefully not. At first, you will be weak, and you need time to strengthen your mind. By avoiding my trigger foods completely, I have enough willpower to cook the foods I love for everyone else without taking one bite. Everyone is different and you’ll know what’s best for you. Better to avoid in the beginning, especially since the first 2 weeks and maybe even 2 months are the hardest.
4.) Never Stop Learning New Habits & Information
Part of our problem is that we have learned and developed bad eating habits throughout our lives. Generation after generation passes down unhealthy eating habits, and on top of it all, the foods we eat continue to be made more poorly, making us eat more quantity as our bodies struggle to obtain sufficient nutrients from such low quality food. This is one reason why you must study, study, study. We have to learn new healthy habits. Everything we have learned needs to be re-learned correctly. I have learned more about food choices and nutrition in the last 3 years than I have in my entire life. Plus, you need to turn your unhealthy relationship with food into a positive one and learn what good food can do for you. If you continue to study and learn new things it will serve as a constant remind of why you need to stay on track and why you started in the first place.
5.) Find Other Feel-Good Strategies
Negative emotions can trigger our compulsive mind to want to binge. We feel the need to feed ourselves to fill the voids we have inside. When we allow our mind to focus on the negative thoughts like sadness, stress, anxiety, and depression we are more likely to follow this with a negative action, like binge eating to temporarily cover that pain. Turn these thoughts into positive ones. Exercise, meditate, pray, and reward yourself with other things besides food. This is not an overnight process by any means. You have to retrain your brain and that will take time and repetition. Good habits are not made overnight but small consistent steps will lead you to the right path and this will greatly heal you in your recovery from food addiction.
6.) Keep a Food Diary/Journal
I recommend you keep a food journal and a personal diary to track your improvement along the way and make you aware of any patterns or triggers that you might be overlooking. In a food diary you should be tracking a few things:
*What time you ate? *What foods you ate?
*How much? * How you felt at the time?
Track your personal journey too. I look back to my diary and realize how negative my attitude was. I blamed everyone for my food addiction, and hated myself. I never realized that that was the root of my problem. I looked to food and others to comfort me. I thought I needed to be loved to love myself, and it’s quite the opposite. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to love others and others won’t be able to love you, you’ll never be satisfied, and you won’t take care of what you don’t love (yourself).
7.) Focus On Why You Started
Constant reminders of why you are on a journey of self healing are crucial. Especially in times of weakness. If you are at a party and the food is tempting move to another area where the food isn’t the center of attention. Rather, focus on enjoying the people’s company rather than the value of a meal. Also, if you don’t want to avoid the party altogether, which you shouldn’t if you really enjoy that sort of thing because you are punishing yourself, you should plan ahead. Eat before going to the party or bring a healthy dish you and others can enjoy.
I hope these tips can help you start your journey of healing! Always pray for strength and guidance, and know that you are worthy to live a happy life. We are given a spirit of self-control so that we can enjoy this life. Self-discipline can cause temporary unpleasantness but you will be well rewarded in the long run. ❤ Much love to all of you!