5 Clues That a Binge is Imminent
Have you ever found yourself elbow-deep in a carton of ice cream, a bag of chips or a package of cookies and realized that you were having a binge eating session? Even worse, maybe you didn’t even recall making the decision to eat all that food; you just kind of “woke up” during the middle of it?
Binge eating can be a sign of a serious eating disorder, but sometimes it’s merely a knee-jerk response to emotional triggers. Below are 5 clues that a binge could be imminent, along with tips to nip it in the bud before it can blossom into dietary destruction.
1) You feel angry and don’t know what to do about it.
Anger is an emotion that many of us were not taught how to process in healthy ways. More often than not we try to squelch down our anger and ignore it, hoping it will just go away. Instead it continues to fester and grow, until we blow up at someone who doesn’t deserve it, or we try to stuff it down with mass quantities of food so we can’t feel it anymore.
Whenever you feel yourself starting to get angry - not just frustrated or annoyed, but downright MAD - it’s vital to work through the anger and then let go of it so it doesn’t continue to torment you. You can write it out on a sheet of paper, or just mentally “shout” it out - then be sure to deliberately let it go. “This isn’t worth getting angry over; I’m letting go of this now; I release this now” - these affirmations are to remind yourself that you are in control of your anger, not the other way around.
2) You feel pressured from all sides and want to escape.
Stress and pressure are uncomfortable sensations, and you may be tempted to quiet that discomfort by eating comfort foods. The best way to neutralize feelings of pressure is to practice daily stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing and stretching. Remember that stress is cumulative. It keeps building until something has to give and release some pressure. You can provide that outlet in healthy ways rather than waiting for a blowout.
3) You just stepped on the scale and once again didn’t lose any weight.
A weight loss plateau that goes on for more than a few weeks is a sure binge-trigger. You’ll start thinking, “What the hell am I bothering to diet for? If I’m not going to lose weight I might as well eat what I want!” That attitude is a red flag that you are slipping into binge territory. Remind yourself how important your weight loss goals are. Tell yourself that you can have a small treat if you want, but you’re not going to give up on your goals now; you will continue on and overcome that plateau no matter what it takes.
4) You feel lonely and bored and don’t know what to do with yourself.
Feelings of boredom and loneliness are usually precursors to a binge (or even nibbling more than you intended, if not a full-blown binge). The cure is simple in this case - find something to occupy your mind and body! Go for a walk, take a nap, call a friend, go to a movie, visit a bookstore, take a shower - do anything you can to take your mind off food.
5) You’re out having fun with friends and you start thinking about “starting fresh” with your diet tomorrow.
Peer pressure can be a powerful influence, even for grown-ups. Your friends might not intentionally try to sabotage your diet, but if they’re eating and drinking things that make you feel left out, you may be tempted to join them. Rather than trying to battle such a powerful influence, compromise. Have that slice of cake, but eat only half of it and give the rest to one of your friends. Try that sweet drink, but just take a sip or two so you can taste it. You don’t have to expect perfection from yourself, but you also don’t have to ditch the diet completely - strike a healthy balance between those two extremes and you can avoid bingeing but still feel satisfied.
What To Do If You Binged?
First things first, don't feel guilty. It happens. Beating yourself up over it will not help at all. I have more tips here, What To Do After Cheating On Your Diet. (Note: The tips are great, but I'm a-hating the title. I'm not a fan of the "cheating on your diet" phrase. )Must Read
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