How To Avoid Binge Eating

by Megan K on February 5, 2012

How To Avoid Binge Eating

I recently got a question from a member of my clients about how to avoid binge eating.

Before I answer though, I think I should clarify what is being asked.  Binge eating typically refers to periods of excessive food consumption or uncontrollable eating which is followed by periods of depression or shame about the behavior. Most people have times when they over eat, which is perfectly natural, but regular bouts of excessive overeating will lead to gains in body fat. If you feel that your eating is out-of-control then it may be disordered and you should seek the help of a medical professional for this.

Side Note: This particular client who used the term “binge eating” was actually asking about the times when she either eats too much chocolate or ice cream when she is feeling moody or pre-menstrual.  She is not someone who is concerned about having a food addiction or someone who feels that she has a binge eating disorder.

For most people, when they ask me about “binge eating” they are referring to the times when they crush a few hundred calories of less nutrient dense, higher calorie, lower quality foods. Examples: potato chips, french fries, ice cream, girl scout cookies etc. For a lot of women this can happen in the week prior to menstruation when progesterone levels drop and cravings surge.

So what can you do to avoid binge eating?

  • Stay busy.

Do you ever notice that when you are busy you can forget to eat?  Sitting around is the worst possible thing to do when you are fighting a craving because if you are not occupied you’ll be thinking about how badly you want to eat, whatever it is that you want. If you have to sit around for your job or some other reason then keep your mind occupied.  Work on a project, do a crossword puzzle, read or e-mail a friend.  Do SOMETHING!

  • Remover yourself from the apartment, the kitchen or the location in which you can access the food/foods in question.

Get away from the source!  If you can’t access it then you can’t have it, right?  This also means that to prevent over eating certain foods you can avoid keeping them in your house/apartment.

  • Drink some water.

Have you had enough water yet?  Try drinking two to three large glasses of water and see if you still want whatever it is that you are craving.  As it gets colder, try herbal teas. The sweetness in the tea can sometimes act as a substitute for the need for sugary foods.

  • Have a little of the food you are craving.  

If you are feeling strong enough to control yourself, then have a little of the food you are craving.  I have a client who is able to have a cookie every now and then and I know she enjoys them.  Not everyone can do that though.  So perhaps what you want to do is to avoid cookies and then allow yourself to have three once a month.

  • Keep a food journal!  

When you track what you are eating, when you are eating it and how hungry you are when you eat you’ll begin to notice trends.  Certain foods will leave you feeling satiated and others will not.  Also, you’ll notice what things you crave when you are pre-menstrual and all of this data will help you to make better decisions.

Above all else remember this, it is your body and you have the will power to choose what you put into it.

In good health,
Megan K

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