Sometimes, no matter how healthy you have been, or great you have been feeling, things can take a turn for the worst and you can find yourself in a binge eating rut. A binge eating rut is where no matter what you eat, you just want to eat more and continue to do so all the while beating yourself up for it. Recently I found myself eating as though it was going out of fashion, so I gave myself a talking to and decided to be proactive in finding a way to stop overeating and get back to being me.
1. Let It Flow
One of the biggest things that I have realized over the years is that the food that I eat is very closely connected to my emotions. So, I now know that when I am in a binge eating rut, there is something up with me that I am not aware of and I am trying to deal (or hide from) with food. In order to try to connect with my emotions I find a 20 minute session of unedited, uncensored free writing helps. I suggest 20 minutes because at first you’ll probably skim the surfaces and then when you have run out of random stuff to write about, the nitty gritty will start coming out.
2. Talk about It
The key issue with overeating or ‘binging’ is that so much of the time it is not about the food. It is as though there is something inside of us that we do not feel ready or capable of dealing with so instead we pile food down our throats in an attempt to keep it buried inside of us. That’s why talking about what you are going through can be a huge step in the right direction. The only thing worse than binge eating is binge eating in secret, talk to someone you trust about what is going on and try to focus on your feelings, not so much the food you've been eating.
3. Get out of Your Mind and into Your Body
I recently attended a yoga class in which the instructor said, "Get out of your mind and into your body;" it made me realize that we can so easily get caught up in the incessant churning over of the same thoughts and useless dialogue in our heads. Your mind has its purpose yes, but when you feel as though no matter what you do you can’t break free from binge eating then get out of your mind and into your body. Run until it hurts, go to the pools and swim until you look more like a raisin than a human or simply crank up the tunes and dance around like you have lost your marbles. Do whatever it takes to get you out of your head for a bit (except for any nasty substances as they cause more harm then good).
4. Old Faithful
An oldie but a goodie is to keep a food diary . Write down everything you eat and also how you felt afterwards. Be honest about what you have eaten and be honest about how you are feeling. Firstly, this will make things more real by writing it down and it will also give you a chance to look out for any patterns in terms of what food you are eating and how it makes you feel.
It is one thing to think about why you may be binge eating but it's another thing to actually really think about why you may be binge eating. It’s all well and good to say "I’m sad'' or ''I can’t control myself" but taking the time to give your full attention to your problem means you are also facing it. For me, I have realized that I tend to start overeating when I fail to stop and take stock every now and then, give myself a break or simply just switch off for a bit. How can you fix a problem if you don’t intend to invest time in its solution?
6. Let It Rest
Sometimes you just need to sleep on it. If you are feeling down about feeling out of control of what you are eating and don’t know how to stop it, just go to bed. Put on your pjs, switch off your phone, turn out the lights and let it be. Hush your mind if it goes to beat you up, breath deeply and know that tomorrow is a new day.
7. Gimme Me Some Sugar, Sugar
I don’t know about you but I sense that inside of me I have a small child whom, after being told she can’t have this or can’t have that for however long, puts her little foot down and won’t give up until she gets what she wants. If you are binge eating, beating yourself up about it, swearing you're going to live on noting but air, and then repeating the cycle all over again, then maybe you should just give yourself a break. Eat whatever you want. Often it’s the fact that I feel restricted that makes me want to rebel and screw things up. So I say, "Go for gold kid, knock em out... eat what you want." Every time I have given myself free reign I have ended up eating far less than had I continued to berate myself and set unrealistic goals as a punishment.
Although we may wish we did, not everyone always feel in control of their diet and what they are eating, if we did the diet industry would go bust. For years when I overate I would criticize myself and look for a new diet to put me on the straight and narrow. Finally I have realized it really has little to do with the food and so much more to do with my emotions. If you find yourself in a binge eating rut be kind to yourself, maybe try one of the steps above, and ask why you feel the need to over eat. Does anyone else ever struggle with overeating or emotional eating? What do you do to break the cycle?