HERE IT IS! The long awaited post dedicated to:
Stopping the Binge
The AMAZING Cassey Ho over at Blogilates.com had a post the other day on Binge Eating Disorder that I thought was just absolutely PERFECT. Check it out here. Seriously, it SPOKE to me! I had commented on one of her youtube videos our "goals" to achieve in 3 months! And I spoke out and said something along the lines of wanting to be able to control my eating habits and control my binges, because I seriously do think that I have, or was on the verge of developing a binge eating disorder.
Also, I found an AMAZING youtube video on this that has GREAT tips and information! Check that out here! This is seriously the greatest video that I've found on the subject, so PLEASE check it out!! It talks about WHY we binge, and how to STOP once and for all! I absolutely loved it. She really takes it from a psychological standpoint!
I admit it. Ever since my lifestyle change, I have had the horrible habit of binge eating.
What is binge eating? Is it the same as just overeating? No, it's not. Here's a great summary I found online:
Difference Between Overeating and Binging
Picture Thanksgiving Day as you gather with family around a feast. So many holiday treats tempt us to try one more thing until we feel so full we can't take another bite. Although this is not healthy, for most people it's just an occasion to overeat, and the following day a normal healthy eating routine is resumed.
People with a binge eating disorder lose control of their life to food. Instead of eating for life, their life centers on eating. The urge to eat becomes strong enough that it blocks rational thought. The best laid goals are disregarded, and the focus becomes food. Those suffering from a binge eating disorder gorge themselves on a regular basis, and this behavior leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment. As part of a cycle, they follow binging with renewed promises to change their ways. However, the compulsion to eat does not go away and their good intentions are not enough to help them overcome their eating disorder. To succeed in overcoming a binge eating disorder, good intentions must be backed up with a plan.
- You continue to eat even if you are so full you're uncomfortable
- You eat more food when binging than you would at a regular meal
- You eat very fast when binging
- You struggle with feelings of out of control eating
- You diet often without losing weight
- You practice regular binging
- You regularly eat alone
- You hoard food and hide empty wrappers and containers
- You struggle with feelings of depression or anxiety over how much you've eaten
So when I say I experienced this, I really experienced this... not just overeating and loss of control which is sometimes normal, but I physically and mentally went through everything that was stated above. I hated it. Hated that food was having so much CONTROL over me and that I couldn't do anything to stop it! I felt so weak.
This would happen every cheat meal pretty much. I'd let loose that one day of the week, and then keep going. If we went to a buffet that day, I'd continue eating peanut butter Nature Valley bars into the night time or ezekiel with natural nut butters until I went to bed.
Then soon that one cheat "day" a week turned into 2, and from there I got very sloppy. It turned to little treats here and there, 3 cheat days a week, then a whole cheat WEEK. I did a cheat week hoping I could get it all out of my system, get the cravings gone and indulge in whatever I wanted, and then get REAL serious with my workouts and eating the next week. WRONG.
After that, I was as unmotivated as ever. Constantly stillll wanting all that nasty food! Even though I saw the scale go up and my measurements grow due to fat gain most likely, I still wanted it! Even though I KNEW it was so bad for me! Cassey explained it so well when she described it as an "illness of the mind". And in the video, the lady perfectly explains how it IS ALL IN THE MIND. All in our brain! I love how she psychologically explained it!
So I reevaluated my life, my goals, my food, my health, all that jazz. I realized, which is why #operationsxy started, that I AM cheating myself of my dream, of my goals and desires.
I'm taking steps backwards instead of steps forward. I'm sabotaging my own goals!
I explain all this regreat and guilt I felt about my slipups here & here (I've had a few slipups...) .
I made a new goal, a new promise to myself, to be HAPPIER, to LOVE my body, to work hard enough to get what I want, because I DESERVE it.
I deserve to be happy, I'm capable of being happy and I'm capable of getting the body and health and willpower that I want. I saw a great quote the other day,
"The food you've craved for an hour, or the body you've craved for a lifetime? Your choice".
This was such a strong message to me, because it's true! Sure, eat that brownie that tastes like heaven for maybe 5 minutes, but then your risking making your journey to fitness and steps to that goal body a lot longer than it needs to be!
Here are great tips to Battle the Binge:
These are a few things that I've gotten from research or personal experience:
Keep it interesting in the kitchen.
Don't have dull boring and bland food. OF COURSE you'll want those tasty goodies! Look up fun new recipes online! Add seasonings and spice galore! Add veggies like sweet onions and jalapeno's and squash to give different tastes! Now I'm trying to keep it different everyday so my taste buds don't get bored! And if you look online, almost every UNHEALTHY dish has a CLEAN and HEALTHY remake recipe!!
Now, being on #operationsxy, I found that for me personally, having something different to eat every day makes me a lot less likely to crave other foods. Keeping it interesting in the kitchen makes me enjoy my food more! So now I don't food prep whole meals, maybe just proteins to pack for lunch like chicken or steak, and then I make the sides fun and delicious! I found that the same meals day after day, week after week, had my tastebuds so BORED that I was looking for all these other sinful and guilty deliciously bad things! BUT NO MORE! Keeping it different in the kitchen has most DEFINITELY helped me with my cravings!
Keep a food & fitness diary/journal.
If you haven't seen my post on this, check it out here. This has helped me a lot because it keeps me accountable for everything I'm eating! That's why I've been doing my daily updates during #operationsxy so YOU ALL can help keep me accountable! This way you can track every single one of your eats, your workouts, your feelings, and a few weeks or months from now, you can go back and read them and see what you ate that made you feel a certain way, or what you ate that made you gain, or what made you lose. I've been doing this and my past journals have helped me tremendously in figuring out the types of foods I used to eat back when I wasn't craving! They DO help! And usually, since it's your diary for your own eyes, you usually don't lie to yourself! Be honest in your entries!
Set short term and long term goals.
For example, some short term goals could be: Stick to one pb sandwich. Eat one cup of cottage cheese at night.
By writing them down, you visualize it and it's mentally in your mind, making you more likely to stick to it.
Also, think of the long term goals: bangin' body by New Years, lose 1 pound by my birthday, etc. Having these long term goals in mind will make you think twice about overindulging because you know it'll just make it that much harder to get to your goal.
Think about the calories.
Now I usually don't count calories anymore, because I hate anything having control over me mentally and physically, such as food, or numbers on the scale, or the amount of calories I eat. Now I'm just aiming to eat enough of the healthy things! BUT it does help to stop a binge by thinking about the calories in it. Think about that cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory, some up to 900 calories! And then think of how much work you're going to have to put in at the gym to burn it all off.
I know for me, on a GOOD night (So I've eaten way over this...), I would have maybe 6 slices of ezekiel with natural peanut butter! Each tablespoon of peanut butter is around 95-100 calories! And each ezekiel slice is 80 calories! So: 6(80) + 6(95) = 1050 calories!!! If I had thought of that as almost 1/3 of a pound (a pound is approximately 3500 calories) or that I had to workout for 2 intense hours to get rid of that, I probably wouldn't have binged!
Know the difference between hungry and bored.
Don't mindlessly eat.
Give yourself 30 minutes, and most likely the craving will be gone!! Cravings don't usually last too long, so try and wait it out! If you ARE hungry, grab fruit or veggies instead! Fill up on some fiber or low calorie foods so that you get full so you're not tempted with other foods! Things rich in fiber give you that fullness feeling!! Or go do something else! Get your mind off food! Find a fun hobby of yours or:
I learned from Cassey's post that apparently exercise is a natural appetite suppressant! Good to know! Get out there and do SOMETHING. When in doubt, WORK OUT! Or go for a nice walk outside with fresh air, walk your dog, hang with friends and family outdoors, anything! Just get MOVING.
Why do you binge?? Trigger situations and De-Stress.
This is from the video I posted above! Try to find out WHY you are binging! What are you getting from binging? Identify WHY and once you're honest with yourself about what's making you binge, try to correct it and resolve the matter.
KNOW WHAT SITUATIONS make you binge! This could be stress, it could be a certain type of food, this could be certain people you hang out with, a certain emotion, ANYTHING. Know when you'll most likely crack, so that next time if you see a similar situation arising, remove yourself from it! Get away! So that you WON'T be tempted into it!
Recognize your trigger foods and get rid of them.
What foods do you crave most, and when you eat one, you can't stop? For me this was cottage cheese, bread, and nut butters. SO, if you saw from the pic on #operationsxy Day 1, I threw them out! Get rid of temptations. It makes it so much easier to say no! I threw away my nutbutters, rice cakes, and promised to buy no more cottage cheese. Now I WILL introduce these back into my life once I have more control, but for now it's just easier to say no when there is NO temptation!
Food is FUEL.
This is also a tip I got from Cassey's blog. Basically, don't view food as a reward or cheat or treat. Just see it as something that is going into your body that will FUEL your body! Do you want good clean foods to give you natural energy, or bad foods that will make you groggy and not operate to your full potential? Food is what gives us energy! And we should see it as something fun and exciting, different ways to put together healthy things to give us bounds of clean and natural energy!
We have to remember, this is a LIFESTYLE change. No diets, no fads. If you limit yourself and make your mind believe you're on a "diet" then of COURSE you'll binge! And when you finally get to that cheat, you're going to say, "Oh it's the last time I'll get to eat this, so might as well eat EVERYTHING". FALSE.
In a lifestyle you can have what you want! But in MODERATION. This is the part I need to work on most for myself! Because I know if I just realize, that junk will still be there! Then I won't have to binge in order to "Get it all in" to satisfy my "last cheat" before my "diet" starts up again!
This is a lifestyle. Fill it with creative, tasty foods, have your healthy treats! If you do have a treat, Don't overdo it, KNOW that you can have it again. Don't view it as: "I'll never have it again, so I'm going to eat as much of it as I can now, EAT EAT EAT!"
If you deprive yourself too much, you're basically setting yourself up for a major binge when you do get to eat what you've been depriving yourself of!
WHY do you want to change?
List the POSITIVES: what would be the great things that you can attain from being healthier and NOT binging?
Looking better, fitting that old New Year's dress, climbing that 4th flight of stairs without huffing and puffing, no osteoporosis, no heart conditions, healthier life, healthier family, stronger body and toned muscles, etc.
Now think of the NEGATIVES if you do NOT reach your goals!
Such as weight gain, feeling low in energy, feeling guilty and failing, diabetes, heart disease, ETC.
By associating POSITIVES with good behavior and Painful negative feelings and experiences with negative behavior of binging, this will create NEW pathways in our minds, according to the FigureandBikini video! And by creating these new connections, we're forming better habits!!! The habit of eating HEALTHY, and destroying the habit of binging.
REPLACE the behavior
Another great tip from the video!
Associate binging with all the bad outcomes that you made from above's tip ^ ^!
If you associate these horrible outcomes, and consistently THINK about it, your brain will soon associate binging with these painful outcomes. It's all about consistency. If you keep thinking about these negative consequences, your mind will adapt to them and be like, HEY! There's so much PAIN associated with this habit of binging, WHY DO I WANT TO KEEP DOING IT?!
Anyone ever take a psychology class and learn about Operant Conditioning and Negative Reinforcement? WHOA - school actually HELPS?!?!?! Crazy I KNOW!!!!
Don't just try and QUIT binging with no action to back it up, or else it won't happen!
You have to REPLACE that behavior with a POSITIVE one! And be CONSISTENT in it.
Once a trigger situation or emotion comes up that may lead to binging, have a list of new positive behaviors to do instead to replace the old behavior, creating new pathways in the brain!
dance like crazy,
yoga or meditate,
go for a walk,
do a fun hobby,
listen to music,
decorate that Christmas tree,
hang with friends and have a fun paint splatter party,
play with pets, etc!!
So now that you've recognized your triggers, and instead of binging, replaced it with a POSITIVE behavior, you HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO reinforce it IMMEDIATELY.
Say to yourself "GREAT JOB, I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" or write down a super nice letter to yourself! - reward yourself, like a coach would! You need to IMMEDIATELY reinforce a wanted positive behavior with a positive reward, just like you need to reinforce in a NEGATIVE way the negative behaviors. Psychologists say that immediate reinforcement is better to make new habits than delayed reinforcement, so think of ways you can immediately reward yourself! Congratulate yourself, or go shopping, or whatever else makes you happy, in a POSITIVE way that won't hinder you from your goals!
Talk it out
This is a REALLLYYYY important part of getting over ANY tough situation.
For the longest time I never found anyone I was comfortable enough with to tell them everything going on in my life. Ha, almost no one in my personal life even knows I have this blog or instagram account! Because I felt like there was no one to relate to!
But it's BAD to keep it all bottled inside, keeping it all in, which could lead you to BURSTING OUT through eating those foods.
You have to be able to TALK IT OUT! Find someone that you can speak your mind to, let them know how you're feeling, your hardships, etc. This could be your family, closest friends, a therapist, anyone! I'm so thankful that I found such great support through IG! I know I constantly use the help of my Instagram friends! So find that someone you can lean on!
Now... to Cheat or Not To Cheat?
The video diddd make a good point about cheat meals... She said basically that: CHEAT MEALS lead to disaster.
Apparently, we're basically "rewarding" a healthy lifestyle with binging... which is a positive reinforcement, which is what we DON'T want. It does make sense doesn't it? This is just mixing messages in our brain!
If you followed me for a while, you know in the past I have advocated cheat meals and that it's good to have them to boost your metabolism, keep you sane, etc. But now after watching this video and understanding it more from a psychological standpoint, it really does make sense.
Why would I reward my week or 2 weeks of clean eating with a cheat and naughty foods? That's basically associating naughty foods as a POSITIVE reward for going through a "tough" week of clean eating! When really, it should be the other way around!
Clean eating and being healthy should be the reward!! So remember to make those associations!
What could happen if I eat healthy? YAY!
What will happen if I eat bad? Nayyyyy.
So I actually think now, I'm not going to set that once/week cheat! I'm just going to ENJOY all my foods! Not deprive myself, not limit myself, but not "look forward" to that naughty treat! I can still make my healthy baked goods, and add some dark chocolate here and there, but I'm not going to view cheat meals as "Rewards" from now on! And from seeing what I've written in the past and evaluating my past cheats [This is why it's important to keep a fitness and food diary people! To know what you did WRONG or RIGHT and learn from them!] that actually having that "cheat meal" set me off to having a "cheat day" therefor binging.
So basically, whenever I let myself cheat, that would lead to a binge! Basically, my cheat meals that were supposed to aid my journey were my triggers to binging! SO I'm taking them out to see how it works out for me!
NOW I KNOW SOME OF YOU NEEEEEED THAT CHEAT MEAL! And if you do, fine!!! I just know for ME personally, that these cheats set off my binges, that's why I'm taking them out! If you have to have them, then go ahead! But remember, just a MEAL. Not a day!
I know some people that have that balance and CAN do that one cheat a week and keep everything else clean!
For me right now though, I can't :[ I'm hoping this change in my mindset does help though, and maybe in the future once I have control over myself, I will be able to incorporate that "Treat" and NOT view it as a reward!
Man, I feel like I've learned SOOOOOOOO much about binge eating!
I'm so motivated to try and TRAIN MY MIND and my BRAIN and see if it actually works! Hahah the thought is actually making me pretty giddy and hyper right now, if you can't already tell :P
I really hope you all like this post, and I do hope that you found it helpful in some way. I know doing the research to write this up for you all DEFINITELY helped ME out and I'm more excited than ever to give this a go. It's such a simple concept, retraining the mind, but it will take a lot of dedication, hard work, and consistency!
But you know what??
I think I can do it.
I KNOW I can do it.
Ahhh *sigh*, I can't wait to be able to have control over my cravings, my mind, my body, and my life.
If I can do this, YOU can do this. I BELIEVE IN YOU!
Remember, if you ever need anyone to talk to about ANYTHING at all, if you haven't found that one person in your life you can talk to about this, or questions to ask, feel free to e-mail me! It can be found in my about me section :]
I know it was tough in the beginning for myself because I had everything bottled in, never let anything out, and it broke me!
And I know sometimes it's not the most comfortable conversation to have with people you actually know about any possible eating disorders you may have.
And sometimes you may just have questions regarding fitness & health but there's no one around you that is truly dedicated to it like you!
So truly though, #fitfriends and #fitfam, if you need to reach out, don't hesitate to e-mail!!!!
Love you ALL
Stay fit, stay healthy, stay sexy!
-- <3 VMFITNESS --
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