and can be incredibly challenging to overcome, so be easy on yourself. Read over these tips to stop binge eating and give each one a legitimate shot. What have you got to lose?
All of them may not work for you. A lot of them will. There is not one “cure-all” to end the binge eating cycle, so it will take some experimenting. After you find a tip that works for you, keep doing that one and try adding another to the list over time.
If you’re patient and consistent, you can overcome binge eating.
- Stop Trying to Be Perfect
It has been proven that those with perfectionistic tendencies tend to have eating disorders.
We want to have control over things in our lives that we have no control over and sometimes we do it with food.
We think we can control calories; the low-fatness of our food, how clean it is, how we prepare it and on and on, then something happens outside of our control and we binge eat.
I know it is tough, but you have to let go of your desire to control the things around you. People make mistakes. That is part of life.
You cannot control the world through your food intake.
- Dieting is Not the Answer
If I were to guess, I would say that a diet may have spun you into your first binge cycle.
It goes hand-in-hand with what we were saying about being a perfectionist. You will not find a single diet out there that allows you to control your feelings through food.
It is not possible. Stop looking.
Now, here’s one that may blow your mind…
- Think About ADDING Foods Rather Than Restricted Them
Anytime you add something, something else must be taken away. It is scientific fact.
Stop thinking you can never have a particular food again.
If you think you can never have your favorite food again for the rest of your life, guess what? There is a part of you that rebels against that and you will either stop yourself from having it for a little while using sheer will power only to have that collapse unexpectedly and binge on that exact food OR you will binge on something else that tastes similar and justify it by saying, “Well, it wasn’t lasagna.” Even though it was some combination of pasta, sauce and cheese.
Restriction leads to Binge Eating leads to Guilt/Shame leads to Restriction leads to Binge Eating… and the cycle continues.
Break that cycle by removing Restrictions.
Instead, think about some quality foods you like (or want to try) that you can add to your meals. Fruits, veggies, meats, nuts, etc.
Your weight does not define you.
Numbers mean nothing in the context you think they do.
Your weight doesn’t determine your success.
Stop letting where you think you should be derail you from where you want to go.
End of story.
- Leave Cheat Days Behind
Cheat days are not the cure for binge eating. Far from it.
Some people think if they are “good enough” with what they eat during the week that they can go nuts on the weekend and eat whatever they want.
Again, this is a form of trying to control your food intake. Restrict, restrict, restrict, restrict, restrict… BOOM! Saturday comes and people use it as an excuse to binge eat junk food. Step back and look at this. You are trying to “control your binge eating schedule.”
If you’ve done this, then I don’t have to tell you that after the binge day, even if it was “scheduled,” you will feel guilty. Not to mention physically ill.
Eliminate cheat days and watch your binging dissolve.
- Learn to Celebrate Every Single Little Victory
We can be so hard on ourselves that it is easy to lose sight of the positive things we’ve done.
Perhaps a gratitude journal may sound cliché, but it works. At the end of each day, write down 3 things you did correctly and 3 things that you are grateful for.
We spend so much time running around getting things done and beating ourselves up that we often forget about our victories moments after they’ve happened.
It could be as simple as:
“I felt angry at Dad for saying ________ this morning, recognized they were only feelings and instead of waiting for him to leave the house and binging on cookies, I took three deep breaths, grabbed an apple and went for a walk.” Or…
“I am grateful for my cat, Lucy. No matter what happens, she is always there for me, purring and rubbing up against me.”
They don’t have to be major things. Trust me, when you shift your focus, you shift your life.
Stop trying to regulate everything: where and when to eat, how much, how many calories, when I will run afterwards to burn those calories, etc. The rules you think are so important are holding you back.
You don’t need anyone to tell you what to eat or how to eat. Chances are you know more than them anyway.
Trust your body. Listen to it.
Are you genuinely hungry? As in, does your body need sustenance to thrive or are you swallowed up in emotions and want to eat to escape them?
Use that journal and write down when you feel the impulse to eat versus when you feel your body saying, “Hey, I could use some fruit right now. An apple sounds really good. Thank you.”
If you get centered and ask yourself what is going on right now, that will be a huge insight into when and why you are eating.
- Focus Your Energy On What You and Your Body Are Capable Of.
Everyone knows we need to move our bodies to feel our best. However, sometimes it is hard to find the motivation to exercise, especially if we are ashamed of our bodies.
Here is another cliché for you: focus on what you CAN do. Nothing else.
No one is asking you to run a marathon or lift heavy weights.
What is something you’ve always wanted to do that would make you happy?
Remember riding your bike as a kid? How freeing that felt? When is the last time you took a bike ride?
Or a simple walk? Walking stimulates endorphins and one easy 15-minute walk can completely change your body and brain chemistry.
If you’re already an avid gym goer, shift your focus. Instead of seeing how many calories you burn on the elliptical, try something new. Something out of the norm for you. The body responds positively to varied exercise.
- Write 3 Actions You Can Take Today
Stating over and over “I have to stop binge eating!” will get you nowhere.
You have to break down your intention (to stop binge eating) into actionable steps.
This is the only way to get to your destination: freedom from binge eating.
Create some easily actionable steps on a daily basis. Even one is enough.
The following is a partial list of suggestions:
- I will take the time to journal my feelings 3x per day.
- Before I eat anything, I will ask myself if I am really hungry or “emotionally hungry.”
- I will make a list of healthy foods I want to try and stock my kitchen with them.
- I will take one 10-minute walk today.
- I will eat my food slowly and be grateful for this moment.
- I will write down three things I am grateful for before I go to sleep.
Keep these mini-goals close to you, so you can refer to them throughout the day.
10. Remove Temptation Food
Sounds simple enough.
You know what your trigger foods are. Get them out of your house.
It doesn’t mean you can’t ever have them again, but make it hard to get them. You are less likely to binge if you have to drive somewhere to get the food. Keep them out of arm’s reach.
11. Exercise Patience
We all want to be “healed” yesterday.
It doesn’t work that way. It took you most of your life to get where you are and results will come, but perhaps not overnight.
It will take you diligence to overcome binge eating, but it is possible.
Write your daily victories down and review them at the end of each week. You will be stunned at what just one week of success looks like.
12. Love Yourself
When this happens, love yourself anyway. Step back, make note of what you learned and give yourself a pat on the back for being human.
13. Self Care
Do one thing every single day that makes you feel good. It is vitally important to take care of yourself in nurturing and loving ways.
A few examples might include:
- Taking a bubble bath
- Tuning everything out except your favorite music
- Playing with your pet
- Getting a massage
- Get a new haircut. Or manicure.
- Take a spa day
- Light your favorite scented candle
The list is endless. Write down all of your favorite things, pick one and do it.
14. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Who are the people in your life that help create chaos and stress?
Make a list of them.
Now, start eliminating anyone who is not supportive of you or your goals. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Politely decline invitations to hang out with them. Make time for yourself and nurturing yourself.
It may feel scary at first, but believe me, as these people slowly fade away, you will feel a renewed sense of life that is hard to beat. And, like we said earlier, when you let something go, something else has to fill its place. Fill it with loving and supportive friends and family.
If you are so mired in unsupportive people that you don’t know who to reach out to, may we suggest these two groups. Every single person there will understand your struggle. No one will judge, because they’ve all been there themselves. They will inspire you in ways you never knew possible.
Do not try to do all of this at once.
Print this page out and pick the very first one that feels good to you.
Do that and only that until you master it.
Then, try adding another one to it. And then another.
Pretty soon, you will notice major shifts in your perspective and well-being.
WRITE IT DOWN.
It is too easy to forget your progress with everything else you have going on in your life.
Take small actions on a daily basis. Be consistent. Be good to yourself.
Please share this with anyone you may know who is struggling with binge eating.
We believe in you.