Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to Deal with Binge Eating

If you read my first entry, you know that my relationship with food hasn't always been a healthy one. And it's taken awhile to get to a point where I do have a healthier outlook in regards to my eating. For a really long time I'd eat unhealthy junk, and I'd know exactly why I was eating it, but I just kept cycling and let's just say my coping skills were called "Eat and Repeat".

And I had my skills. I'd rationalize it to myself in my head, like "Oh, you're buying a dozen donuts to bring to work, right?". Well, that's what I was hoping the cashier was thinking. And I'd only buy junk food at stores with self-checkouts. I've never admitted any of this until now, actually, but I think it's important. Because if you do this kind of stuff, you're not alone. And that's really how I felt for a long time. I knew exactly what I was doing to myself, and how terrible I'd feel afterwards, but I'd still do it. And I felt like I was the only one.

I know this was the one big thing that kept me from being successful every time before. And before I could get healthier, I knew this was something I'd have to confront. So I did. And I did it on my own. But I don't recommend it.  If I were to do it again, I would have sought counseling. Because as much as this is about food, it's about what's going on emotionally. And I know I could have gotten to this point a lot sooner had I taken that step.

If you're not sure if you're ready to take the step of going to see someone or maybe you're not sure it's a problem. I have a few first steps that worked for me. And if anything about my story sounds familiar, I can only hope they may help you.

  • Start to take a look at your eating patterns. If you're not doing it already, write down what/how much you're eating. Everything. When you have to write down that you ate 21 cookies, that's hard. 
  • Buy a scale. Use it. Even now, I still try and think about cheating myself. But if I'm weighing what I'm eating, I have a harder time rationalizing it to myself. It's a lot easier to lie to yourself when something "looks" like a cup. It's really not a cup. 
  • Look at why you're eating. My suggestion is to put another little column next to your meals. Maybe it's "lunchtime" and that's your motivation. Maybe you're hungry. Or maybe it's because you're feeling anxious or stressed. Try to figure out the reason. 
  • Be honest with yourself. This is probably one of the hardest, but if you read the first three, it's something they all have in common. You probably will not like what you're thinking. That's okay. Don't beat yourself up over it. You're working to change it. 
  • Work on changing those thoughts. This was the hardest part for me. Changing the "you're a failure" and "you really can't do this" into something else. Every time I'd finish a package or container of something, there'd be such immense guilt. And these were the thoughts that would run through my head. You can rewrite these thoughts. And I know I'm getting close to motivational speaker territory, here, but go with it. There's a whole lot of grey area between success and failure. For me, failure was to keep doing what I was doing. Anything other than that was closer to success . So sometimes it's making just one small decision to do something different. 
Below is a chart, as a starter. There's tons of great resources online for food tracking too like Sparkpeople or MyFitnessPal. Don't stress about calories and all the specifics, yet. That is important, but one step at a time. I counted calories for a long time before I was honest with myself about what I was actually counting and what I couldn't even admit to myself that I was eating. So try it. Just for 3 days. See how it goes. I'm not a nutritionist, or a psychologist, or an expert on anything- but I am someone that would eat a box of donuts in a sitting. 

How much?
What you’re eating




Do you have any tips or ideas that work for you?

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