Cravings, Binges & Emotional Eating
First of all, stop trying to be perfect, you’re not. I’m not. No one is. That’s why striving to eat “perfectly” isn’t a healthy or realistic. This is another reason why I always hated the One Perfect Week challenge. What happens after that week?
Also, binging, cravings and emotional eating are so much more common that we realize. So many women and men suffer from this, you aren’t alone! What’s important to realize also is that it can take a lot of work to overcome these issues. At the end of the day working to discover the underlying reason or cause of them is what will set you free.
These are some strategies and things I’ve personally found have worked for myself and clients. You never know which one will work for you so it can be worthwhile to try multiple ones! Initially I separated these strategies into categories: binging, craving and emotional eating but in reality any of these strategies could help with the aforementioned.
- No matter what, remember that progress is the result of what you do on average. So, stop being yourself up about 1 slip up. Just be realistic if it’s one slip up or a regular occurrence. If you make a mistake, own it and move on RIGHT AWAY. If you catch yourself, binging or start to eat out of happiness, boredom, stress or sadness, make a point to stop. Reflect and then move on. I realize this is easier said that done but saying “screw it” I already messed up and continuing to eat will only make things worse.
- Take time to be proud of the good choices you’re making instead of always focusing in on the mistakes. Finish off each day by writing or verbally stating:
Three things I did well today are:
- Stop restricting food! Let go of the idea that there is “food you can eat” and “food you can’t eat”. Knowing you can’t have something usually only makes you want it more. Restricting foods is also a sure way to end up binging on it later. Instead, incorporate foods and treats you love (just keep in mind serving sizes).
- Don’t be ashamed to admit that there may be some foods that you struggle to demonstrate self-control with. There is a reason I wrote day 7 of the challenge, “when to cut foods out of your diet”. If certain foods always result in binges, eliminate them from your home.
Put your treats in a bowl/cup instead of eating directly out of the bag.
- If you’re really craving something, eat it and move on. Food should not become all-consuming which it can be when we strictly regulate: what you can eat, when you can eat, how much you can eat.
- From my experience (which I know will not reflect everyone’s) you can normally tell when you’re about to binge on something. That’s the moment you need to catch yourself. The moment you need to drop everything you’re doing and go for a walk, chew some gum, take a bath, call a friend, basically preoccupy yourself with something else.
- Getting to the bottom of why you binge is extremely important. Consider downloading my stress eating worksheet. Download it: Stress Eating Worksheet
- If you find you eat when you’re happy, sad, or stressed you might want to try my emotional eating worksheet. Download it: emotional eating journal
- Drop the screw it mentality. So what, you ate a slice of pizza, or 3. Saying screwing and continuing to eat isn’t going to make you feel better or get you closer to your goals.
- Spread out your treats and treat meals throughout the week, there’s not rule that says you have to wait to the weekend to enjoy yourself.
- Try to incorporate more healthy versions of your favourite foods into your life. Make pizza on small tortillas or using cauliflower crust. Do half pasta and half zoodles or edamame noodles. Half half a burger bun or a naked burger (wrap it in lettuce).
- If you’re tracking macros/calories and you want a treat, enter it into My Fitness Pal the night before and plan your meals around it. You’ll either be able to make it work or decide its not worth it.
- Read the labels. This one helped me a lot. I’d read the label and think this just isn’t worth the calories.
- Stop and think about how you feel after binging. Sad? Shame? Dissapointment? Are those feelings worth it?
- STOP DIETING! If you’re like me and have spent years jumping from diet to diet, you constantly feel like you’re missing out. Dieting can result in disordered eating and the need to binge because so many things seem off limits. Years of dieting leaves us with a giant list of things we should and shouldn’t do which not only damages our relationship with food, it also can result in disordered eating. You don’t have to constantly diet to be healthy or your best self. So drop the diet mentality and commit to living a healthy lifestyle. If you no longer think of yourself as being on a diet, it can mentally be a lot easier to make small sacrifices long term.
- If you’re really struggling with overeating sweets, it might be worthwhile to try going cold turkey. This isn’t a solution for everyone. However, I have had several clients who really benefits from no added sugar (honey, stevia, splenda, agave, etc) and no foods (candy, protein bars, cookies, etc) with added sugar for 3 weeks. It really helped them to reset and reduce their cravings!
How’s the 30 day challenge going for you? Send me a DM and use the #JGF30DayChallenge