Stop Doing These 3 Things

Putting a stop to binge eating isn't a matter of willpower or self-control. In fact, I would argue that excellent willpower is at the root of binge eating. Binge eating thrives on extremes- trident strong willpower and equally massive indulgences. It is often a part of a cycle that goes something like this:

restriction + hunger + stress = binge

If binge eating has much to do with bouncing from one extreme to the next, the key to stopping it is to prioritize balance over perfection. That being said, here are a few things to stop doing to establish a healthier, more balanced relationship with food.

Avoid extremes.

If you're someone who struggles with binge eating, you must avoid an extreme approach to eating like the plague. Binge eating is extreme in itself and its solution will not be found in another extreme. Reaching a state of peace with food and your body requires stability. This means foregoing the urge to finish off a pizza when you are already stuffed, just as it also means holding off on a 3 day lemon water cleanse after taking out a pizza in one sitting.

Rather than teetering from one extreme to another, opt to stabilize your eating patterns. Make it a priority to eat regular meals that satiate you rather than sporadically grazing throughout the day. Feeling satisfied from your food and knowing that you will have another meal soon will reduce the likelihood of another binge.

Stop labeling food as good or bad.

It's the "bad" labels we slap onto certain foods that make them all the more attractive. When you see a food as devious, eating even a crumb of this food will feel like an irreversible damage. This is that extreme, all-or-nothing mentality that binge eating thrives on. From this lens, one Oreo will derail a day of healthy eating. From here, you are prone to throw in the towel and take out the entire package. Why not, if the day is already ruined?

Restricting "bad" foods and consuming "good" foods will not help you find peace with food and your body. To reach a healthy place, you must move past the labels and acknowledge the way in which you are using food.

It's not what you are eating, it's how/why you are eating it.

Eating a slice of cake at your friends wedding, because it was a part of the occasion and added value to your life? Healthy. Devouring a container of Trader Joes' raw almond butter because of a bad day at work? Not so much.

Stop using food to numb your feelings.

This brings me to my third and final point: food should not be used to numb your feelings. If you binge regularly, there is a great chance that you are doing so to cover up the uncomfortable emotions that rise with the urge to raid your pantry. The only way to move past binge eating is to sit with the emotions you have been using food to flee from.

When you feel upset, even if it has been a while since your last meal, do not eat. It is crucial that you touch base with yourself before stepping foot into the kitchen. Take a moment to become aware of what you are feeling and find a way to express these feelings whether through a physical outlet like yoga or going for a run, or a creative one like writing or painting.