6 Tips To Stop Compulsive Eating
Are you prone to food cravings, binges and eating your way through emotional stresses? I have always felt as if there was no hope for me when my body went into “binge mode”. I tried everything and anything that I could find to offset these binges. I tried willpower; I used foods that wouldn’t hurt my goals, such as vegetables and fruits; I drank water, tea and coffee; I would walk away from the kitchen; I would research the reasons why this was happening and never really found the solution that worked.
It’s important to first understand the difference between compulsive overeating and other eating disorders. Compulsive overeaters don’t attempt to make up or “punish” themselves for their bingeing with actions such as purging, fasting, diet pills or laxatives. Compulsive overeating typically leads to weight gain and obesity. Keep in mind that not everyone who is obese is also a compulsive overeater. People who appear to be of normal or average weight can also be affected by these behaviors.
This included ME! I found it quite upsetting when others would downplay the fact that I was working on finding a solution to this issue; since being just 30 lbs or so above my “ideal weight” wasn’t proof enough to anyone that I was actually dealing with this. Let’s begin with a few tips on how to prevent a binge; or emotional attack before it hits.
- Avoid temptation. You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts and unhealthy snacks in the house. (pretty shocking, right? lol) But many of us tend to use excuses as to why we “need” these foods in the home. I used to use my family as an excuse; “they NEED these items. I don’t want them to suffer because of my issues”, etc. But why on earth should they even be eating unhealthy items either? Just because they didn’t go into full-force binge mode at any given moment, didn’t mean that they required junk foods on a regular basis. No, this was my sad attempt to keep these comfort foods close at hand because I felt uneasy to put an end to the episodes. To keep temptation at bay, don’t keep the food within easy access. The best way to do that is not to purchase unhealthy food in the first place. duh dot com.
- Stop “dieting”. Having a “diet” mentality or severely restricting your food intake can increase hunger and feelings of deprivation. I know that the fact that I would cut out food groups, or meals in general, kept my body in the “all or nothing” phase and thus, would lead to another binge-fest because my body simply needed and craved more calories. Instead of being ultra strict with your food, focus on eating in moderation. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy . Try to eat more small meals throughout the day as well to keep hunger at bay. And the more dense nutrition you put into your body on a daily basis, the LESS it craves anything that isn’t on your meal plan. Check out Shakeology for this fact alone.
- Start Exercising. Exercise is a natural way to boost your mood and can help put a stop to emotional eating. Not only does exercise help you lose weight and improve your health… it can also help reduce depression and reduce stress. It’s our HAPPY pill, in simpler terms, with no dangerous side effects!
- Decrease stress. Learn how to cope with stress in other ways that don’t involve food. This one is a doozy but such an important tip to take seriously. I know, easier said than done… but keep in mind, compulsive overeating has little to do with hunger. People often eat when they are not hungry or use food to fill an emotional need that they cannot cope with in other ways. So the next time you find yourself standing in front of the open refrigerator or pantry and staring into the abyss of foods thinking, I’m hungry for something; shut the door and go sit down to figure out what you are really hungry for. Love? Attention? Friendship? Relaxation? A hug? Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with food. If you don’t know what you want to eat, it usually leads to an emotional need or some help in releasing a stressful time.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t try to change your relationship with food overnight. Try setting small goals and give yourself some positive feedback. If you tell yourself, “I need to add more fish and veggies to my diet,” it will be much better than saying, “I need to stop eating so much crap.” Think positive! =)
- No one is perfect, be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes, we all struggle sometimes… it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you are suffering from compulsive overeating and you feel like it is getting out of control, you should really seek professional help to stop the unhealthy, weight-gaining, self destructive behavior. You’re not alone. There are plenty of wonderful resources for those with eating disorders… don’t be afraid to reach out ❤
When all is said and done, do your best and forget the rest. (Tony Horton of P90X) Simply put, if you make a mistake or fall into a binge along the way, chalk it up to figuring out how you could have handled it differently and make that attempt the next time around. Stop blaming yourself and just start enjoying your life…and your foods! 🙂