Help! I Can’t Stop Eating
Yesterday I went crashing off my weight loss program. I started with one of my favorite foods—potato chips—kettle fried. After downing nearly the entire bag of chips, I craved something sweet. Luckily, there was a box of six Snicker’s ice-cream bars tucked away in the freezer. So I ate one. And went back for another one. It made no sense to leave them as a temptation for another day, so what the heck—I ate the whole box.
When suppertime rolled around, I wasn’t all that hungry. But I had to have a meal, right? I ate half of a frozen (I did take time to cook it) pepperoni pizza. And for dessert, at least six mint candies I had stashed in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. I was on a binge and it wasn’t pretty.
I realize not all of you readers are as considerably overweight as I am. For some of you who struggle with only a few pounds, a binge might consist of a hamburger and fries. I have a friend (she’s tiny of course) who thinks she’s weak when she treats herself to an occasional Dove bar. It’s all relative.
It’s difficult to get back to wise eating after an all out binge, but personally, I’ve done that more successfully than I have preventing one. Since prevention seems to be the better answer, let’s look at some ways to keep a wild overindulgence from occurring.
1. When trying to lose weight, use a plan that lets you factor in foods you enjoy eating. Nothing spurs an overdose of food like deprivation.
2. Don’t keep large supplies of tempting foods in your pantry. (or depending on how susceptible you are to a particular food, even small amounts!) Binging is a lot less likely to occur if your trigger foods are geographically inaccessible.
3. Don’t skip meals. Ever.
4. Plan meals made up of foods you enjoy.
5. Eat slowly. Give your “I’ve had enough” meter time to kick in.
6. If you’ve started to binge, i.e. like me and the potato chips, wait 30 minutes before moving on to your next food choice. That will give your body time to recognize that it’s satisfied and your mind time to play referee to your impulse eating.
7. You’ve heard this one before, but food shopping when you’re hungry is like a pickpocket at a fairground—high on stimulus, low on brainpower. Plan shopping trips wisely. (This one was my latest downfall!)
8. Always eat when you’re physically hungry and practice stopping when you are just approaching comfortably full. Your body will be satisfied long before your emotional hunger is at rest; feed that kind of hunger something other than food.
Please share with us any tips that work for you. Binge eating is a difficult habit to overcome. It beckons to me even when I think I have all the stops in place to overcome it. I highly recommend Geneen Roth’s books on compulsive eating for anyone trying to bread the cycle of dieting and binging.
Have a great week,