Binge eating’s bad, right? But did you know binge eating can help you lose weight?
Well it can obviously be bad, but it can also be really helpful for you if you’re trying to lose weight and can’t seem to make long term healthy eating stick.
You’re probably confused right now – stay with me for a moment.
Here’s what I mean.
Any kind of habitual behaviour (whether you perceive it as a positive or negative habit) can give you valuable intel on your motivators, patterns of behaviour and any common obstacles that get in the way of you eating healthily.
Once you have the information on why you binge, you can forge ahead and implement actions that change the bingeing habit into one that’s more beneficial for you, your health and your waist line.
So what I REALLY mean is – understanding your binge eating can help you lose weight, because that self-awareness is a starting point for change.
Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.
How Binge Eating can Help You Lose Weight
Here’s the first step.
Firstly, Understand The Reasons You Binge
It’s time to do some self-directed research, with just a sprinkling of mindfulness.
What you’re looking for are patterns.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself in order to understand why you binge eat. This information is pure gold and is going to be the foundation for changing your binge eating behaviour.
Tip: Write down your answers to these questions. Doing so will help you to really understand what’s going on.
1. What are your triggers for bingeing?
Recognise your reasons and motivation for binge eating.
- Are the triggers emotional, physiological or are they a product of poor planning and preparation?
2. When are you likely to binge?
Discover the circumstances that lead up to you binging.
- Is there a time of day/week/month that you’re most likely to binge?
- Is binge eating a reaction to an upsetting event?
- Is the bingeing related to a physiological event such as lack of sleep or eating the wrong type or quantity of food beforehand?
3. What do you eat when you binge?
Understand the types of foods that you’re likely to binge on.
- Is the food you binge on salty, crunchy, sweet?
- Is your binging preference for carbs, proteins or fats?
- Are you able to eat these foods at other times without bingeing?
- What’s the difference in your environment or mindset when you do or don’t binge on these foods?
4. What’s the reward for bingeing?
Tap into what motivates you to binge eat.
- There’s always a reward, however fleeting. Is this reward a real winner for you or just a soothing mechanism?
- Does the temporary pleasure justify the binging or does the aftershock of guilt, self-blame and lack of confidence that you’ll ever be able to eat ‘normally’ far outweigh the reward?
Once you understand why you binge eat, and how understanding your patterns of binge eating can help you lose weight, proceed to the next step.
Secondly, Implement Strategies To Stop The Binge Eating
If your triggers are emotional
Explore how can you preempt this emotional response so it’s less likely to impact you.
For example, if you tend to binge eat after having an argument with your spouse, then the solution may be to look at the circumstances that led to the argument.
What can you tweak, avoid or compromise on to avoid the argument in the first place?
No argument = No bingeing.
If your triggers are physiological
Examine the reason for that.
Are you hungry because you’ve been too busy to eat?
Did you eat the wrong balance of foods in the morning, which resulted in cravings in the afternoon?
Is your bingeing linked to a lack of sleep?
Or is your blood sugar low because you skipped breakfast?
Go back and rectify the problem at the source and you’ll eliminate the binge eating flow on effect.
If your bingeing tends to center on a certain type of food
If you specifically binge on foods that are sweet, salty, high carb etc, you probably need to look at your ratio of macro- nutrients earlier in the day (or even the day before).
If you’re craving carbs, take a look at whether you’re eating enough protein and fats earlier in the day.
Understanding your body type can be a very effective starting place for getting your macro nutrient balance right.
And finally, if you know you’re likely to binge on a certain type of food if it’s in the house, what can you tweak in your environment to avoid them being a temptation?
If your triggers are due to poor planning and preparation
You need to take a look at what system can you put in place to ensure you’re organised for the day ahead, thus avoiding the downward spiral into binge eating.
If there’s a particular time of the week or month that you know you’re likely to binge eat, examine the circumstances leading up to that time and make adjustments to the lead up so the bingeing is less likely to occur.
For example, if you know that Friday night is the time you typically binge on chocolate and wine, you could take a look at how you can prepare for Friday night in advance.
Can you change your routine so you’re not in the same place, doing the same thing?
Can you drive home a different way so you avoid having to drive past the pub or the convenience store?
Switching up the routine can be a simple yet highly powerful way to break the bingeing habit.
Finally, the best way to replace a fleetingly rewarding habit such as bingeing is to replace it with a habit that gives you a lasting reward.
The fleeting pleasure of a block of chocolate might be replaced by the lingering pleasure of a slow stroll in the park, five minutes of meditation or a game of backgammon with the kids.
Tap into what your values are.
Look at what’s important to you and ask yourself if you’d rather eat the bag of chips or do something that’s going to make you feel great for real.
By examining your patterns of behaviour around binge eating, then implementing small, simple strategies to either avoid or confront the cause of the bingeing, you’ll set yourself up for lasting rewards that will boost your confidence, reflect your values and lead you to the health you desire and deserve.
Health and Wellness Coach
Kristine is a qualified Naturopath and Health & Wellness Coach who helps busy professionals to manage stress and get balance in their lives.
Want some help getting your healthy eating organised in a 100% foolproof way?
Book a confidential enquiry with Kristine.