First aid when binge eating
Binge eating is often confused with overeating. A lot of people do not know the difference. This article can help you if you often overeat.
Overeating is a compulsion to food which can be compared to an addiction (even though scientist think that you cannot get addicted to food). For some reason you cannot get your eating under control. Binge eating is often and emotional trigger to a situation in your life. The feelings are so painful that you have to eat to not feel it anymore.
A lot of people who visit me in my practice use the word binge for eating experiences they feel guilty about. At first it sounds as if they have eaten at least their week worth of snacks but when I start to add it all up it turns out that they only ate 200 kcal more than planned. They call it a binge.
This article is for all those people who are too strict with themselves and punish them by using strong language for something that cannot be called binge eating.
Let me stress that I do not want to deny your feelings by writing this - far from that. I only want to set your experience in the right frame of thoughts.
If you make a mistake, start with making an inventory of the damage. One less well balanced meal is not something to worry about if you practice healthy eating and sufficient activity. To gain one pound of fat (and I do not mean becoming one pound heavier!) you must eat an additional 3500 kilocalories over your normal food. That is a lot of food!
Many people who worry that they have eaten too much, often are rather perfectionist in the way they eat. You do not gain weight just like that. You gain weight when you eat more than you burn for a long period of time.
When people make a mistake it is often because they have eating meals of a lower nutritional value for a few days. When they hit a low point their body tells them to start eating. Because they are so hungry they overeat right away. Connected to perfectionism this can be a real scare.
When this happens it is important to pick up your original healthy food plan right away. Do not tell yourself that you spoiled the day. This is only an approval for overeating all day long. If you do that you might end up eating more than 3500 calories during that day!
Eating during the holidays
When the holidays are coming people often let go of their healthy eating plan. What they do not know is that healthy eating is possible during the holidays. It all comes down to good planning and eating all your meals on those days. If you skip lunch or breakfast you can be sure that you will overeat during dinner.
When people let go of their food plan just before the holidays they give themselves permission to overeat or even for some planned binge eating. If you make a good plan of what you want to eat and drink you will feel in control. It is also necessary to learn how to say NO in a charming way to a hostess who keeps bugging you to eat more.
By planning your food for the whole day you show yourself that you are serious about eating and your health.
Do not stop eating
If you have been binge eating it is not a good idea to stop eating for the rest of the day because your allowance is filled. You have to eat a normal dinner or lunch, just try to make it a lighter version of what you planned to eat.
If you keep on having your normal meals you show your body there is no reason to overeat again.
Becoming angry will not help you
There is no point in becoming angry with yourself. It will only make you eat more. Guilt is counter productive. There is nothing you can do to change what you did, so deal with it. Forgive yourself and go on with your day. It sounds harsh but this is the only way.
Your best choice is to clear your head of anything that is not helping you and start making wise food choices again. No matter what time of day it is. A day is never ever "spoiled".
The bigger view
Nutritionists never draw conclusions from one day of eating. That is why they often ask you to keep a food journal for at least a week. The reason is that you almost never eat the same things for a week and thus create a general intake of protein, fat, carbs, vitamins and minerals. By eating different things you provide in your overall needs.
Try to see your eating experience from a bigger point of view. If you spread your binge eating experience over a week or so then it suddenly isn''t so bad anymore. Okay it may not have been smart, but it happened. Deal with it. You made a mistake. So what? Dry your tears and pick up the pieces where you dropped them.
Keep to your basic foodplan, eat products that are high in nutrition and fiber but low in calories.
No Weigh Ins Please
If you had a binge it is wiser not to weigh in for a week or so. If you cannot keep your feet of the scale you may see a higher number than you wished for. Remember that if you have not eaten more than 3500 kilocalories over your normal foodplan you are not looking at fat weight but water weight.
I recommend that you feel a bit better about yourself. It isn''t so easy to lose weight so why would you give yourself a hard time as well? Be nice and see the results in the right frame of reference. Forgive yourself if you were ''bad''... (for some this is the hardest part).
If this article did not help you
If you really have a lot of problems with binge eating there may be other causes that you have consider. See a professional if you think it really is out of line what you do with food and how you handle it. Take good care of yourself and your soul by providing help if you need it.