Tips to stop binge eating, stop overeating, stop emotional eating, stop eating fast food, stop eating junk food
While coaching many binge eaters, and working with them one-on-one I’ve always found that emotional eating is the root cause of the problem or at least a major contributing factor…
Most of those I coach are individuals who’ve deals with binge eating for at least a year (some longer). And it’s not that they occasionally overeat, it’s at the point where binge eating is a pattern for them.
For example they tend to eat pretty healthy during the week but often have have out of control binges on the weekends. Or they eat healthy for 3-4 days and then binge for a day or so etc. and they’ve been stuck in that cycle for several months, a year or even longer.
Whenever binge eating becomes a pattern in ones life, it’s usually because their using food to emotionally cope or emotionally nurture themselves.
The way I describe it to my coaching clients is that a healthy eater who’s been eating healthy for several months or even years often has a tank full of positive emotions that they do not need food to cope with stress or to relax or to cope with boredom etc.
However a binge eater who has a pattern of binge eating often has an empty emotional tank…they are not getting the emotions they need to get through their day to day lives in a healthy manner. As a result they often overeat or abuse food in order to try to fill their empty emotional tank
Obviously this does NOT work, if you’re starving for good emotions and try to use food to cope it will never really work, even if it does it’s short term, however long term it’s not sustainable
A question I often ask my clients is what did you do in your free time whenever you had a period or a gap of time where you didn’t binge? Often they start remembering all kinds of things they used to do they’re no longer doing….
Some common examples are regularly exercising, regularly going out with their friends, regularly taking vacations, trying out new experiences or learning new hobbies, developing new interests, going to public/social events and regularly meeting new people…
In other words they had a FULL life, and were doing all kinds of things that filled up their tank with positive emotions and as a result they no longer overate, they just ate for nutrition and to satisfy real hunger instead of emotional hunger
Another question I’ll ask is how do you fill up your free time now? Often I’ll get answers like “well now I’m always busy” or “I watch a lot of tv” etc…they’re not even real answers more like excuses.
Obviously we all do that, we all come up with excuses that look like real problems/limitations in our heads…
I recommend that my clients slowly start incorporating some of those activities back into their lives, and i stress that they do it SLOWLY. If they no longer exercise even if they start taking a 10-15 minute walk daily, it will help them clear their head and relax etc.
If they’ve lost communication with their friends I recommend that they try calling them and checking on them…I recommend that once every couple of weeks they attend a local public event like an art gallery opening or a music concert
Once they get back into doing those activities regularly they start feeling better and filling up their tank with positive emotions and they gradually start overeating less and less
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I also write a free email newsletter that’s filled with tips on how to stop binge eating and start losing weight, you can subscribe to it here. If you’d like to work with me one on one you can find out more about my coaching here.
Note: This is a guest post by Tracy D
Hello friends, Tracy D. here. The other day I had an encounter with my friend, “chocolate” that was all-too familiar in one way, but REVOLUTIONARY in another….let me share.
My husband came home from work after a long stressful day. I could sense the tension in his energy as soon as he walked in the door.
As he unloaded his briefcase and materials from his workday in the kitchen, he plopped down on the counter a box of beautifully wrapped chocolates that was given to him from a client that day.
I had a moment of challenge IMMEDIATELY.
Prior to the box of chocolates making it’s presence in my kitchen (where I keep NO junk anymore), I had NO cravings for sugar.
My husband was in a crappy mood, and I found myself immediately feeling tense about how the rest of the night was going to go and all of a sudden……I felt like pouncing on those chocolates just because they were THERE.
Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you really felt no cravings, but an enticing junk food item made it’s presence to you unexpectedly and you felt the uncontrollable urge to eat it JUST BECAUSE IT WAS THERE?
I did that for YEARS. I felt that the food controlled ME. Like I had no choice in the matter. I was drawn to it like a zombie or something. A great day ruined.
What Andrew taught me in his powerful book on how to stop binge eating, was to STOP and talk to myself silently. What was I FEELING?
When the box of chocolates appeared in my home (intruder!), I stopped the instant I had a slight “feeling” of diving in. I closed my eyes and thought…”Ok, what is going on?”.
My husband’s level of stress bothered me. I really was NOT craving chocolate at all. I needed to think about how I was going to manage feeling tense around my husband. HE needed me to be calm and patient.
I left the kitchen to go and sit with him and help him talk about his day.
He felt better and so did I. Comfort……WITHOUT the chocolates.
The box was still there the next morning, opened, with several remaining pieces leftover after my kids took their share.
I tossed them in the garbage….BAM! Oh it felt good. I never ate one piece because I took the time to understand that I really did not even WANT them.
So, my friends, when you encounter a challenging junk food that arrives uninvited in your presence, stop, breathe, THINK…..do you have to eat it just because it is THERE?
NOTE: This is a guest post by Tracy D
Hi everyone, Tracy D. here, recovering binge eater. I want to take a moment and tell all of you what I am doing today. I am flying to Michigan to reunite with my childhood best friend whom I have not seen since 1985.
Why am I telling you this?
Because a year ago I would NEVER have had the desire or confidence to take such an excursion. Why? Because I was severely caught in the tornado of binge eating and exercise. I did not like myself at all and was ashamed of my habit.
After a long week, I would have my usual insane binges every Friday and Saturday on massive amounts of sweets. Then, completely numb and sick, I would go to bed and get up Sunday and exercise like a maniac to “start over”.
I would fall down and get up time and time again, feeling lousy. This went on for over 20 years.
This greatly affected my self esteem. I had a secret I was hiding. I had to manage this enslavement with food. I did not like myself enough to enjoy friends. I did not understand myself. What was WRONG with me?
I hit rock bottom early in 2012. I found Andrew’s powerful book on how to stop binge eating. It changed my life. Why? I learned to FEEL my feelings and understand myself.
I am 42 years old and I have NEVER survived the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas without binging almost everyday to where my clothes do not fit and I am severely depressed come Jan. 1. Last year was BAD.
Here I am in the holiday season again, except this time, I feel lean, strong, mentally clear, very happy and confident. My clothes are loose. I like myself….wow! That is huge. I do not binge to cope with holiday stress. I see past it.
I want all of you to find yourself in the same place of recovery. Take small steps.
Do you have a childhood friend you would love to reunite with?
You CAN break free from the enslavement of binge eating to gain self-efficacy and social confidence. You are worthy of that. You are worthy to LOVE yourself.
Have you been stuck in the cycle of dieting & exercising for a few days, falling off track, engaging in out of control eating for a day or two and then repeating the whole cycle over and over again? How many years have you wasted doing this? How much of your life have you already thrown away trying to get your eating and weight under control? Do you wish you can just achieve a healthy weight and healthy eating habits so you can stop worrying about it and actually start living a normal happy life?
If you’ve been struggling with dieting followed by overeating for a long time, chances are you have a lot of blind spots that leave you stuck in this cycle, almost like a hamster on a wheel, you’re constantly trying and working on it yet week after week, month after month you still probably find yourself overweight, your eating is constantly changing form extreme dieting to extreme overeating (or binge eating) and overall you’re probably very unhappy and unsatisfied…
How do I know all this? Well I spent several years in that same exact destructive cycle, and while I broke out of it eventually, I’ll never forget how bad and hopeless I felt…
When I look at my “old self” that was stuck in that cycle I can see why he was stuck, he had blind spots. From coaching several clients recently, I’ve come up with the most common blind spot that’s probably standing in the way of your healthy eating and weight loss efforts…
The #1 Blind spot is Thinking that You Can Fix Your Overeating Habits Instantly if You Find the Right Diet or Eating Plan
If you’ve been constantly dieting for a few days, falling off track, and overeating for the next few days…and you’ve spent weeks, months, or years doing this, chances are you wont be able to just fix your overeating habits overnight…it will take some work and some time for things to improve…
So here are your options, you can think I’m wrong and just go on searching for next perfect diet or eating plan or whatever and chances are you’ll find one, try it, have some success, fall off track, binge eat and eventually end up back where you started after of course wasting a lot of time, effort and maybe even money…
Or you can actually take a balanced approach to fixing your eating habits…HOW? it’s very simple you have to start with a realistic eating plan, one that you can actually maintain…in fact if you’ve been yoyo dieting for a long time, your goal should be to stabilize your eating habits, once you’re eating habits are stable then you can start worrying about make adjustments to lose weight…
What does a more balanced diet or approach look like? Well it’s a compromise between eating 100% healthy and eating junk food all the time. So lets say you eat 3 meals a day and a snack, try making the first two meals very healthy and allow yourself some junk food during the third meal and/or for a snack…
You’re probably wondering how this will help you lose weight? Well it might not at first however if you can stick to this eating plan for 2-4 weeks then your eating will be stable and you will feel confident now that you set a goal, stuck to it and actually accomplished it.
When you reach the point where your eating is stable you can move on to the next step…
For the next 2-4 weeks you can make all 3 of your meals very healthy and just allow yourself some junk food when you have your snack…at this point you’ll be more used to eating healthy meals, and since you have a little junk food everyday, it will be easy for you to keep your junk food cravings under control…and since the majority of your eating is healthy you will obviously start losing weight and be able to actually keep the weight off this time…
If you enjoy these 7 free resources to help you stop binge eating, please subscribe to my newsletter here to get a lot more free tips and resources.
Resource #1: Online Support Forums – Make use of online support forums, there are several out there and I hear and read the same story from those who start using forums: After regularly logging on to the forum for 2-4 weeks they notice that their eating habits start improving automatically, they find it easier to stick to their healthy eating plans and notice that they get less and less junk food cravings.
Resource #2: Family Support – I’m guessing your mind is already coming up with several reasons why this is a bad idea, but bear with me here and let me explain how you can effectively use your family to support you in your efforts to stop binge eating.
Resource #3: Support Group Meetings – Binge eating support groups have existed for years yet many people I meet who have overeating issues have either never tried them or have tried them and have very strong opinions on why they’ll never go back…yet I often find that those people did NOT like the support groups simply because they went into them with the WRONG expectations.
Resource #4: Committing To Friends – This is the best way I’ve found to get myself to implement new habits. How is this relevant? Trying to stop binge eating involves making small changes that add up over time to new habits, so this resource will really help you stick to those changes and those new habits.
Resource #5: Reading Books – Whenever you try and accomplish a goal in life or achieve anything really it’s a lot easier to do when you’re constantly reading about it and learning about it. From a young age this technique is used with school children yet what happens is that after we become adults we stop reading and therefore we stop learning.
Resources 6 & 7: Music & Walking – Both of these resources have to do with you taking care of your mental and emotional state. While these two resources are extremely valuable, I decided to bundle them together because there very simple and quick to explain.