A tale of one too many cookies: binging & how to stop it
Yesterday I had one of those days. You know, where you are never satisfied and really have a huge urge to binge. I ended up definitely eating more than I would have liked and of foods that I cannot say I even wanted or enjoyed. It was not nearly as bad of a binge as I have done in the past, but the main part that I noticed about this sensation was that it is a loss of control.
Binging (a less nice way of saying ‘overeating’) is something that affects a lot of people; I’ve noticed it really doesn’t matter what age, sex, or social status in life and whether or not you tend to have binge tendencies. It occurs typically when you have an emotional issue in your mind and use food instead of dealing with the emotions. I personally have been through depression while living in a place where I had no friends and wasn’t happy in the work I was doing, so I turned to cupcakes to fill a void that I had missing. Many times I tried to figure out exactly what was wrong, and while I did know I was unhappy, I wasn’t exactly sure how to fix it. For me, it took a very large event happen to make me realize I needed to leave, which is exactly what I did.
So going back to yesterday. I didn’t sleep much over the weekend, flew back from another country, and both my mind and body were completely exhausted. I realized that I was craving comfort food because I was tired and typically when I feel this way I allow myself anything I want as long as it’s healthy. I will try and eat things like Greek yogurt, grapes, almonds, soaked flax & chia seeds with a dash of maple syrup and coconut oil. Even if these things might be higher in calories I know they wont make me feel guilty about my cravings. However, I had a day where I had none of this in the house (this is why I am ALWAYS preaching to have healthy alternatives in your fridge) so I reached for the butter, raw sugar, flour, and eggs to make some cookies. I ended up eating three quite large cookies filled with lots of sugar and butter, and boy-oh-boy did I feel horrendous afterwards. Later in the evening, knowing that I had eaten too many calories already, I allowed myself rye & pumpernickel bread with slices of avocado and ground pepper even though I wasn’t actually hungry. It was just to mentally get myself back on track with wanting and craving healthy foods.
For most, the biggest part of the binge occurs the day AFTER you have eaten incorrectly. It’s a vicious cycle because we will binge, which makes us feel guilty, unhappy, fat, etc., then to make up for the guilt we will starve ourselves the next day. This is quite possibly the worst thing you can do. By restricting the following day, most tend to focus on complete caloric restriction rather than putting healthy and nutritious foods into your body even if they are higher calorie.
I get a tremendous amount of comments and questions in regards to binging, so here are my biggest tips if you do happen to overeat whether it’s at one meal, one day, or a whole week.
- Do not beat yourself up. You have not failed in life, nor are you a bad person. We all (and I mean every. single. one. of. us) has moments of weakness; nobody is perfect- and if they claim to be they are just insecure.
- Drink lots of water. Aim for 2-3 liters with fresh lemon and lime squeezed in. This flushes your system and the acidity from the lemon and limes will act as an anti-inflammatory.
- Do NOT restrict the following day. The best thing to focus on is getting lots of clean foods with high amounts of nutrients and antioxidants into your body. High alkaline foods (most vegetables) such as spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, cucumber, apples, avocado, grapes, almonds, tofu, and apple cider vinegar among many other things should be your best friend. These are the foods that will clear your body out, remove toxins, reduce puffiness, and get you back on track with craving healthy food.
- Focus on making your own food and not buying “healthy” food from shops. The only way to guarantee a food is clear of added sugar and salt (you’d be surprised how sneaky these companies are!) is to make it yourself. Create meals that look like artwork with loads of various colors, textures, herbs and spices. The more you do this, the nicer your meal will look, smell and taste which leads to you realizing that a piece of chocolate is no where near as satisfying.
- Immediately after your binge, write down exactly what is going through your mind. What did you eat. How much. How were you feeling prior to the binge. What emotions. How do you feel after the binge. Be as detailed as you can, as this is what will make you understand the emotional connection of why you binged. Write a list of things you can do next time instead of a binge, as well as a list of the yummy and healthy meals you will make the following day.
- Have lots of GREEN foods. My favorite thing following a binge is a green juice with cucumber, celery, broccoli, kale, ginger, and lemon as these are all super anti-inflammatory ingredients that will help cleanse your body of toxins (i.e. sugar, salt, chemicals). I also recommend making a salad with all the ingredients mentioned plus other veggies (try to add 3 colors). If you are having trouble with what to eat, just google ‘alkalizing foods’ and that will help you get a further idea… anything alkalizing is what you want to put in your body to reduce bloating, inflammation and clear all that food out.
I personally follow these steps and I can say that over time I have pretty much completely stopped binging. I no longer call it binging, rather to me it’s overeating and I immediately stop, think about what I am doing, WHY I am doing it, and what emotions are going through my mind. It is a process of learning about yourself, what triggers you, and how to fix it, but I promise it’s worth it! ♥