Stop overeating and binge eating with these 8 tips of exactly where to start. Maybe you have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder and just don’t know where to start? Or you tend to binge or restrict and really want to make a change to your eating habits, but don’t know where to even begin? Keep reading, because this blog is exactly for you. I am sharing 8 things if you want to know WHERE TO START to stop overeating and feel normal around food again.
1] Challenge Dieting and Restricting Rules
Research is clear. The biggest reason people binge eat, over-eat and compulsive eat is dieting and restricting. Indeed, the core problem is the conditioned ‘food rules’ we create and adhere to. For instance, ‘Avoid sugar’, ‘Carbs are bad’, ‘Don’t eat gluten’ and ‘Fat is a no-no’. These are actually constructed notions from society and the diet industry; essentially categorising foods as ‘naughty’, ‘good’, or ‘bad’. There are so many rules, it becomes overwhelming to know what we actually can eat. Ultimately, we become scared of food, which is not helpful if we want to stop overeating or binge eating.
Similarly, when you tell a child ‘You can play with any toys you want, except the red truck’ – what toy do you think this child will want to play with? Well, the red truck of course! Essentially, adults are exactly the same way with food! If you tell someone they can eat anything except cake , they will most likely become obsessed with cake. The cake becomes the forbidden fruit and very appealing.
Challenge Diet Rules
So the first step is to challenge these preconditioned food rules. Even if you do nothing else – do this step. We need to challenge these voices. The eating disorder voices or ‘food rule voices’ need to be quietened. Of course, if you have actual allergies or intolerances, then yes- keep some rules. But, if your body is OK with gluten, have a little bit of bread. Sometimes the strict rules create so much emotional pain and discomfort, that it causes more damage than just having 1 piece of bread per week.
An Entire Jar of Peanut Butter
So, what food do you have strict ideas about? What food do you avoid without specific reasons other than being scared you will gain weight or eat it uncontrollably? For me, it used to be peanut butter. I used to have this feeling, that if I ate peanut butter I would eat the entire jar in 3 days (as I used to eat it with a spoon). So, because of that experience I started believing that I can not keep peanut butter at home. I would avoid it at all costs and I would even ask my partner to hide it! But when I started working on my relationship with food, I started introducing the forbidden peanut butter. Ultimately, this is my first suggestion for you!
I recommend introducing your forbidden food on a regular basis. Your mind might be thinking, ‘No! I will not be able to stop!”or “I will eat it all!”. If your thing is peanut butter, start having one teaspoon every day for 3 weeks and see what happens. Yes, I am really suggesting 3 weeks. And you HAVE to eat it. Your natural response might even be you don’t want to eat it some days. Many of my clients come back and say they did not even feel like eating it. Ultimately, if we face the fear around the forbidden foods, they will lose their power. Then, you will feel more in charge over food in general.
2] Counter-Condition Yourself to Heal Your Own Body Image
Body image is the second main reason for disordered eating. The pressure we place on ourselves and what we are ‘supposed’ to look like and ‘be like’ is all-encompassing. The bombardment from the media, TV shows, social media and magazines inform our sense of worth and what we are supposed to look like. Then, we suddenly feel inadequate to live up to these impossible expectations. We think, ‘If I don’t fit into that, then I am not good enough, beautiful enough, successful enough, lovable enough’. Thoughts that we are a failure creep in. We feel we won’t find a partner who will love us because we are a certain shape. In our mind, we become ‘not enough’.
We need to counter-condition ourselves. I suggest unfollowing any pages or people who trigger a sense of ‘I am not good enough’. Unfollow any pages or people who make you feel inadequate or like you need to change. It does not mean they are doing anything wrong, but for now, the comparison is not good for our soul and growth. So anything that is keeping you in the disordered eating mind frame, let it go, for now.
Further, I suggest to stop looking at paleo, keto recipes or any other food related things for a while. When we unfollow these things, we create capacity and space to focus on other things. We start focusing on hobbies, people, passions and connecting to what soothes us and fills us up with joy.
3] Eat Balanced Meals – Give Yourself Permission to Eat Enough Calories and All Food Groups
This step involves eating balanced meals, but not by following a diet. If you find yourself having food cravings, give yourself permission to eat a little bit more. It means you probably need more calories or are restricting too much. In particular, it is critical to integrate all the food groups and have enough calories. For example, the perfect balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fats will stop food cravings because your blood sugar will be stabilized. You will have enough macro and micro nutrients and your body will stop asking for food all the time. Above all, focus on whole foods that give enough nutrients. For more on exactly what to eat, check out my blog on the Balanced Diet Framework.
4] Stop Overeating and Binge Eating by Learning Emotional Management and Self-Soothing Techniques
Emotional management can help us to stop overeating. Do you sometimes numb emotions when you are sad, frustrated, emotional or tired? Do you use food to comfort yourself and soothe yourself? Maybe almost like a self-medicating technique ? I think we all do this to a degree. This step is a simple matter of cultivating self-awareness and learning to soothe ourselves in other ways, other than food.
Now, don’t get me wrong, food is one option, but there are other ways. One technique that works for me to stop overeating is, if I feel sad, connecting to that feeling. ‘Where in my body do I feel sad?” Close your eyes and feel the feeling …where can I feel it in my body? Take a deep breath. For me, sometimes it is in my heart. Other times in my belly. And if I feel sad, I gently ask myself, ‘What do I desire? What do I need? ‘. Perhaps it is ….
- Some slowing down time
- Chilling out in a blanket
- Watching something light and funny on Netflix – because that is what relaxes me.
- Chatting to a friend
- A hug
Really connect and acknowledge those emotions and needs. Connect to the inner child, and become the inner-loving mother; ‘What do you need. I’ve got you, I am here for you. I will be looking after you’. Self-soothing is very powerful and sometimes we need to re-teach ourselves these techniques as we were perhaps not taught during childhood.
5] To Stop Overeating and Binge Eating – Break Old Habits and Routines
Look into your routine and habits. Binge eating, emotional eating and overeating often starts because there was a trigger, or we learnt it from our environment or parents. Without a doubt, if we binge once, the brain picks up on it and goes “Oh that feels good! I like that!”, and we feel high from the sugar and processed food. We will repeat this cycle as our brain felt the reward, and it felt good. It solidifies as a habit and a routine. So, it is a simple matter of breaking the routine.
Undoubtedly, we need to integrate new habits. You need to make the conscious decision that if you feel angry you will now do ‘self-soothing’. In this way, you will do something that you consciously decide you will be doing if you feel angry. It could be a run or walk with music. It could be sitting with the anger and saying ‘this will pass, I will sit with the anger’. You can easily break the habit and routine by integrating something else into your habitual behaviour.
6] Integrate What Truly Matters to You: Hobbies, Connection, Family, Adventure, Friendships, Health and Well-Being
This relates to the previous point. We use food as a drug to entertain ourselves or comfort ourselves. Sometimes, food is the only pleasure in our life, it becomes our main source of joy. And that is our ‘go to’. So every time I feel sad, I might eat because I get pleasure. Or every time I am lonely, I eat because I do not want to feel alone. It numbs my thoughts for that moment…
It is important we change the focus from food to other things in our life. For example, integrating hobbies that are meaningful to you. What is something you have always wanted to do? What is something you have always wanted to try, but have had 1000 excuses and reasons? Go and try yoga, maybe you will love it? Maybe learn painting? When we have pleasure in other areas of life, we don’t require food to give us that. Now, don’t get me wrong, food is a valid source pleasure, but it should not be the only source of pleasure in our life. We need to have that balance.
7] Address the underlying reasons for binge eating
When we don’t know what’s causing our food cravings, overeating and binge eating in the first place, we can’t target the very specific issue. We end up trying anything that we come across and often nothing seems to work. It’s like shooting with a shot gun. It might work, it might not.
Therefore, I always suggest to indetify the drivers of your overeating and kick those urges once and for all.
To help you understand your hidden reasons for food cravings, overeating and binge eating, I have developed a FREE workbook you can download which will help you identify which of the 6 reasons are responsible for your overeating urges and what exactly you can do to eliminate them.
6 KEY STEPS TO
END BINGE EATING CYCLE &
RELEASE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT
Regain power over food!
Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.
We can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.
8] Open up to a friend or professional
It is critical we stop holding onto emotions around life and food. Undoubtedly, the more we hold it in, the more we feel like the only one. In this way, we feel bad, disconnected and lonely. Furthermore, we then use food to make us feel better and more connected. So it is important to find someone who you feel safe to open up to. Go and talk to a trusted friend or professional. If you are not comfortable with anyone you know, we have a free facebook group. You are more than welcome to join us. It is called ‘Finding Freedom With Food MindFoodness Community’.
I hope these 8 places to start help you on your journey. If you have any questions please let me know. Feel free to message me directly at Eugenia@mindfoodness.nz or send me a private message on facebook. Check out this success story with a client of mine who found freedom with food using many of these steps – Client Success Story – Weight Loss and Food Freedom Without Restrictions or Feeling Deprived