I have always thought that the most obvious answer is usually the answer but usually and always are not the same. I do believe that most of the time we just like to eat and that’s normal. We love the taste and texture of the food so we just keep eating. But, there’s something else going on when we just have to have something…anything…and plenty of it…and we can’t stop. Maybe the food is not our first choice or it’s stale or just poor quality, but…we eat it anyway.
I had the frozen bread experience where I was determined to eat frozen bread and stopped in tears. I’ve never had a serious problem with binge eating since. That day, I made up my mind that eating was a problem for me and I had to treat it as a fueling experience and nothing else. I believe that most of the emotional value that I placed on food ceased to exist that day. It was a survival skill. I had to learn it. Refusing to eat sugar cemented this as a lifelong personality trait. Without the sugar, I don’t have cravings to deal with.
We beat ourselves up without considering some of the reasons that we do the things that we do. There are reasons. We still make the choice about what we put into our mouth but there are factors that influence us and there are methods to stop the binge eating before it begins.
1- Mindless Eating-It can begin as mindless eating , like eating while we’re actually cooking a meal. We think that we can’t wait for the food to get ready so we may open a bag of chips or cookies to tide us over until supper and the next thing we know, the chips are gone, we feel a little sick and we don’t want the good food that we just prepared. Sound familiar? In this case, before beginning food prep, have a nutritious, hearty snack and then proceed with food prep. If you have to hide in a closet to get that snack in, do it! For years I was in a domestic situation where my every move was monitored and if I had been observed eating before beginning food prep, there would have been an argument. I had to get creative. Find a way.
2-Habit-Sometimes compulsive eating can be part of the “eat, repent, repeat” cycle where we binge, swear we’re going to stop, (and we do until we want to again), and repeat. It’s an emotional roller coaster full of negative self talk. This comes from having the mindset that if we punish ourselves enough that it will somehow rectify the over eating. It won’t. The calories are already in. All the repenting in the world won’t change that. So, don’t even think that if you criticize yourself enough then those calories will somehow magically disappear. Just stop it. That’s the only thing that will make them null and void.
3-Self-Medication-Sometimes, we want a quick fix for negative feelings. Most of the time when we binge, we binge on carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, and salt, provoke a quick release of serotonin. Serotonin is such a natural anti-depressant that a large percentage of drugs made for depression work by preventing the breakdown, or re-uptake, of serotonin and thereby allow it to build up in the brain. Is it any wonder that when we are struggling with depression and anxiety that we self medicate with carbohydrates? The problem is, these foods pack on the pounds and we’re left with the fat and the depression that accompanies it and the cycle becomes increasingly vicious. dragging us farther and farther into the abyss of compulsive, uncontrolled binge eating and depression. Too much sodium can negatively impact some people’s blood pressure and it will always cause fluid retention that can aggravate heart problems, breathing difficulties and make the pain of arthritis worse due to the excess weight in the body. Binge eating is much more than a cosmetic concern. It’s dangerous. It can contribute to the onset of diabetes and liver problems. Learning coping mechanisms to stop it is necessary. Eggs and cottage cheese and avocados are examples of foods that help build serotonin naturally.
1-Seek Professional Help-Due to the possibility of significant self injury with compulsive eating I must first advise you to seek professional help. This blog is not, nor will it ever be, a substitute for your medical doctor. Gastric rupture and other life threatening conditions can result from eating too much. Take it seriously. Go to the doctor.
2-Do Not Label Yourself -This habit does not make you good or bad. It’s just behavior. There are reasons. Labeling will only increase your bad neurotransmitters and make you more likely to binge. You cannot possibly be good or bad based on the amount of food that you eat.
3-Change Your Environment-If certain locations such as a specific chair at night seem to call for food, change where you sit. Destroy those associations. Build new habits. Find a location and read this blog or watch t.v. The critical issue is, change the environment.
4-Find A Way To Satisfy Cravings-David made the “Sugar Free Sugar Cookies” recently and they went over quite well with his family. Everyone loved them and had a bit of trouble accepting that they are sugar free. The good thing is, they will satisfy a craving but not cause one. They are sugar free. Sugar causes cravings. I put Crystal Light into Plain (NOT VANILLA), Fat Free Greek Yogurt and it tastes like a serious dessert, a sundae. Pepperoncini and crunchy baby dills will satisfy a salty, crunchy craving. Trick your brain and stop.
5-Eat Enough Wholesome Foods!!! Here at David’s Way we make sure that we eat all of our calories. When we avoid sugar and eat all of the food that we are supposed to have in good whole foods, we absolutely do not have cravings. It works.
6-Avoid Sugar…oh, yeah, I just said that…there’s a reason that I said it again. It lights up your brain the same as cocaine. It makes you want to eat it again and again…Just Don’t. We have a sugar free recipe for almost anything you want. If you want something that we don’t have, comment. We will get you one.
This Season, with all of the emotions and feasting and bustle are a disaster for a compulsive eater if we don’t exert control. There’s always an excuse available for wrecking our health initiative. There are no reasons, however, only excuses. Make a decision. Let this be your winning Season and get a head start on those skimpy summer clothes. Before you know it, it will be swimsuit season. Let’s go for it, full speed ahead! ;-*