Binge eating can be an incredibly destructive cycle to break. There is often a feeling of loss of control around eating and binge eating is characterized by a pattern of consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time. For years I felt like I was on a never-ending cycle of restriction through dieting and binging, feeling guilty and ashamed after every night I "broke the rules." After years of this cycle, I realized that the only way to end it was to make some changes in my life. In this blog post, I will share the two things that helped me stop binge eating at night once and for all.
1. Eating in Response to Hunger and Eating Enough Food Throughout the Day
The first thing that really helped me was being mindful of my body cues- like hunger. I began honoring my hunger instead of trying to delay eating, or talk myself into some arbirary rule that it "wasn't time to eat yet." Instead of depriving myself during the day, only to go crazy at night, I started paying attention to my hunger cues and making sure that I ate enough food as well. Enough food meant I was eating until I was comfortably full...not just stopping when I was no longer hungry. This is important! Many of us are afraid of feeling full when in actuality, that's a normal body cue letting us know we've had enough, and that we can be satiated for the next few hours. Anytime I would stop eating before feeling comfortably full- I would feel hungry sooner than anticipated and question my hunger cue since I just ate an hour ago. Eating enough also allowed me to avoid getting overly hungry later on in the day, which would usually lead to binging.
Additionally, I needed to give myself permission to eat whatever would be satisfying at meals and snacks throughout the day. Whether that was some chocolate with my afternoon snack or something savory for lunch- cravings don't need to be ignored! In fact, I would often eat MORE than I actually needed trying to avoid a craving food (only to wind up eating it anyway), than if I just ate the food when I craved it in the first place.
2. Making Peace with Food
The second thing that helped me stop binge eating was ending my mental restriction around food. After years of dieting, my mindset around food had become very restrictive; certain foods were “good” while others were “bad”, so even though I may have been physically hungry for certain foods, mentally it felt like it wasn't allowed or that it would ruin my progress if I gave into those cravings. By practicing intuitive eating principles, such as Making Peace with Food and Challenging the Food Police it did wonders for eliminating my binges because now there was no forbidden fruit! There was no "rule" telling me I won't be ble to have this food again or "starting Monday, I'll get back on track." When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever you want without judgment or regret afterward, suddenly your binges start disappearing because there's nothing left for you to obsess over or feel guilty about eating anymore!
Breaking free from binge eating isn't easy but it is possible! The two things that helped me finally kick my habit for good were listening to and honoring my hunger cues throughout the day and making peace with food by allowing myself unconditional permission when it comes to what I choose to eat without guilt or shame afterward. Implementing these strategies can help anyone break out of their cycle of restriction and binging so they can finally feel liberated from their binge eating and for all!
If you struggle with binge eating to, and you've tried implementing Intuitive Eating on your own, but it's just not working, consider 1 on 1 coaching with a member of my team. In our Private Coaching Program, you will tackle your biggest eating and body image struggles, implement intuitive eating skills under the close guidance of our experienced nutrition counselors, and know exactly how to coach yourself when diet mentality obstacles surface after the 12-week program. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary call.