The binge eating cycle and other disordered eating behaviors are seemingly impossible habits to break. Key word: "seemingly." You can break this vicious cycle and in 4 steps. These tips aren't listed in any specific order, but if followed they will have a dramatic effect on how you live, love yourself and view food. They've worked for me and I hope they work for you, too.
1. Another diet is NOT the answer.
There’s a good chance that a diet is what lead you into binge eating in the first place. In my experience, strict diets, especially those that revolve around limiting or completely eliminating foods, food groups, or macronutrients only add fuel to the binge eating fire.
The solution is not found in a diet, so stop looking for one.
2. Think addition instead of subtraction.
Don’t think about the foods you should limit. For example, I love frozen yogurt with all the toppings and I know it’s not something I should eat every day.
But instead of thinking, “Oh, I better not eat ice cream every day” I choose to focus on the foods I do get to eat every day, and I make an effort to include a wide variety into my meals.
Excessive restriction can lead to binge eating.
Ask yourself, what are some foods you can add to your meals? You can even make an effort to choose a food from multiple food groups such as veggies, fruits, meats, dairy, nuts, etc. Make sure you choose foods you like or new foods you want to try to keep it interesting.
3. Stop trying to be perfect.
Self-proclaimed perfectionists are more likely to develop disordered eating behaviors. I've experience this first hand. Before I became a compulsive eater, I demanded perfection and only ate “the best” foods.
If I messed up, I was emotionally broken and demanded more discipline and strength from myself. All this ended up doing was making me miserable. I didn’t allow myself to enjoy meals, my favorite foods, or even family get-togethers filled with my favorite homemade meals because they weren’t “clean” enough for me.
Voltaire said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Striving for perfection often results in no progress at all. Ditch the thought of perfection, you’ll be happier and much less stressed.
4. Ditch cheat days.
Some people claim an entire cheat day as the answer to their binge eating problem.
They’re “good” during the week and then one or two days a week they go crazy and eat any and everything they want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I truly believe this only contributes to the binge eating cycle.
Because you’re only allowed to enjoy “forbidden” foods for that single day, you’re more likely to over eat and eat foods you don’t even care for because they’re off limits every other day of the week.
Bonus tip: Celebrate all victories and accept minor set-backs.
When you commit to being kind to yourself and take things slowly, that's a victory.
Celebrate each victory — even if it's one day of not binge eating!
Sure, you may end up binge eating the next day, but still celebrate that overcoming that one hurdle. Eventually it'll be two days without binge eating. Then three. Then you'll probably slip, binge, and start back from zero, because you're human.
Once you accept your humanity you can begin to live with joy, rather than an ideal of impossible perfection. Going a day without binge eating, being kind to yourself and engaging in loving self-talk are all steps that will free you from the cycle of binging.
It seems like a daunting task, but the key is taking it one step (yes, only one) at a time. Once you master that step and are rocking the confidence swag, take on the next step. For with each step lies your ability to love yourself for your worth, not your will-power.
Author's note: this is NOT medical advice. If you suffer from chronic binge eating, an eating disorder, or disordered eating habits, please seek professional help. This article isn't meant to diagnose or treat any of these conditions. My objective is to share what helped me and countless others break free from obsessive diet habits and the binge eating cycle.
If you can relate and want to learn more, check out:
- 15 Reasons You May Be Binge Eating
- How I Stopped Binge Eating & Began A Healthy Relationship With Food
- Why You're Binge Eating + How To Finally Stop
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