Are you eating well all day but let go at night and end up obsessing over food and binge eating? Do you think you have a willpower problem? Do you feel like a failure because you cannot control your eating? Do you skip meals to be “good” but end up binge eating a few hours after?
I would love to help! Here are a few advices to stop obsessing over food, binge or emotional eating that worked for me and many of my patients.
Keep in mind that adopting more willpower will only lead to more cravings and bingeing episodes, it is time to try a new approach.
1. Stop using the word “forbidden” when it comes to food.
As mentioned so many times, the brain hates rules when it comes to eating. Rules are punishing, rules are restrictive and not sustainable. When a food is forbidden, it gives you the impression that you are being deprived, no wonder you will try to compensate and want to binge on that forbidden food in case you never get to eat it again.
Eve did it in the first place!
2. Stop thinking of foods in terms of “good” or “bad”.
That is awful! Thinking of foods in terms of good or bad makes you feel “good” when you ate healthy and “bad” when you didn’t. No wonder you are setting yourself for more binge eating, food obsessing and emotional eating. Punishing yourself into binging less NEVER WORKED.
3. Focus on wellness, not weight loss.
Ursula Ridens, a registered dietitian at Sharp HealthCare’s Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Program says: “Focusing on what you don’t like about yourself, such as the size of your jeans, tends to backfire, leading to decreased self-esteem.”
She adds “Imagine the effects of beating yourself up time and again for eating too much”. “Self-defeating thoughts enter the picture — ‘I’m not worth the efforts to eat better and be more active.’”
Children engaging in negative behaviors respond so much better when parents focus on positives. This is exactly the same.
“Similarly, taking a more compassionate nonjudgmental stance with yourself by putting emphasis on well-being rather than weight sets you up for feeling worthy of positive change” says Ridens.
“Being curious about what you notice sounds a lot different than criticizing your poor food choices,” adds Ridens.
She gives an interesting example. When you say ‘It’s really tough when I’m stressed, and eating has become my way of dealing with feeling overwhelmed.’
This opens up doors to gain more insight and make positive changes from a place of gentle awareness, versus harsh criticism leading to more food obsession and binge eating.
4. Plan out your meals.
Planning out your meals will help you to have all the healthy ingredients at hand to quickly prepare balanced meals, minimizing the risk of binge eating on junk foods.
In fact, one scientific study over 40,000 people showed that meal planning were associated with improved diet quality and variety, as well as lower risk of obesity.
Meal planning makes it much easier to stick to a regular and healthy eating pattern which has also been linked to decreased erratic eating episodes.
Set aside an hour or two on Sundays, for example, to plan out your weekly meals so that you reduce your risk if binge eating.
5. See the binge eating episodes as an opportunity to grow and evolve.
So as every eating challenge, your body is trying to tell you something. Don’t see your binge eating episodes as a failure, look at these with kindness and an open and curious mind. Nobody wants to binge eat but your body is speaking in the form of an eating challenge because you couldn’t understand its messages. That is ok, instead, look at these as an opportunity to learn something and grow.
Are you coping with a stressful situation? Are you trying to numb out painful emotions? Do you have toxic relationships? What does your body need and what is “eating” you?
Many important questions that I invite you to reflect on.
If you need help to get to the root of your eating challenges (overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, yo-yo dieting) and heal your relationship with food, I invite you to check my HAPPY SPOON 30-DAY PROGRAM that will give all the tools to gain back your power over food and your life in just 30 days.
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