Binge Eating and Overindulgences: Why Do We Self-Sabotage?
Binge eating, emotional eating, overindulgences...different concepts with the common thread of eating past satisfaction and to the point of discomfort. Here's the thing, it is PROBABLY NOT ABOUT THE FOOD. Yes, the food that I inhaled probably tasted delicious, and my episode initially began as an attempt to satiate some craving, but...at some point, mindfulness went out the window....
What causes me to overly indulge or binge?
To gain control over episodes of binge eating, emotional eating or overindulgences, it is SO IMPORTANT to take a step back and assess WHY am I having this episode? This is a tough topic to get into because, for many, the root cause is much more than a mere surface issue. Quick solutions to prevent binge eating include excavating all snacks from your kitchen, removing alcohol from your diet (if that triggers your binging), or putting a lock on the fridge. However, why put a bandaid on the problem when I can dive deeper into it and heal the cause of the problem in the first place?
Newsflash: the root of binge eating likely is NOT ABOUT THE FOOD. It is about something deeply personal to you. When I look back at the history of my relationship with food, I understand that a major cause of my overeating was restriction in my diet. Keep reading if you want to know more....
Ask yourself, are you eating an overly restrictive diet during the day? If I am overly restricting my calories and nutrients during the day, my body goes into starvation mode. Yes, my body reacts to starvation with...starvation mode...ground breaking. If I am not properly fueling your body, it may take one moment for my diet to swing in the other direction. It has taken me years to understand this concept. A "perfect" day of eating sabotaged by a binge is all too familiar to me. One mindful indulgence has turned into a full blown binge because my body had been deprived. This is why an overly restrictive diet is not sustainable for long term and healthy weight management.
If you have been trapped in this cycle, I suggest assessing the balance in your diet. To prevent self-sabotage, I began by adding healthy fats, such as avocado, into my diet. On days where I consciously made an effort to eat a well-rounded and nutrient dense diet, at the end of the day when I would usually go for that late night snack, I noticed a complete difference both physiologically and psychologically. Physically, I felt satisfied and not starving. More important was the psychological impact I noticed. I felt less tempted to have that late-night-snack-turned-binge because I knew I had a full and well balanced day of eating.
Restriction is even more counterproductive on the nights where you are going to have a few cocktails. After a few drinks, my self control is truly tested. If you are prone to late night munchies after a night out, as I am, it is so important to eat a full and well balanced meal before having a few cocktails. If I go to the bar starving, I will leave ravenous and on the hunt for a slice of pizza. While I may be tempted to eat lightly during the day when I have a plan to go out, I always stick to my regularly scheduled regime. I am always glad I did when I wake up the next morning feeling lean and without a pie of pizza sitting in my gut!
Note: It is also important to recognize that there may be something deeply emotional that is festering inside of you and manifesting itself in a disordered way of eating. If you feel that you struggle with a disordered way of eating, I recommend you take the first step and tell someone, a parent, doctor, or friend.
What do I do the day after a binge or over indulgence?
(1) CONTINUE WITH REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMING. As difficult as it may be, because I am not hungry and feel gross from what I ate the night before, I always try to push myself to eat the way I normally would... that means breakfast, lunch and dinner with nutrient dense meals. Mabye I will eat breakfast on the later side and I will skip the granola in my yogurt, but I still eat my three meals. This is important for both mental and physical recovery from the binge.
(2) DRINK WATER. Depending on what I ate the night before, I usually have a higher level of sodium in my body than usual. This may cause me to feel bloated, so I make sure to have at least 4 Liters of water the day after I overly indulge. Rehydrating expedites the process of me getting back to my normal routine and feeling back to normal.
(3) DON’T SWEAT IT. Remember, Sh*t happens! Don’t get worked up over one slip up, or 2 or 5 slip ups! Life goes on and you always have an opportunity to make the right decision next time the fork is in your hand!
PLEASE let me know if you liked hearing my perspective on this topic! Remember I am merely sharing my experiences and I would love to hear yours. Please also comment or personal message me with any DIFFERENT TOPICS you would like me to discuss!