Are you binging on food/booze at the weekend?
Do you comfort eat/drink alone at night?
Do you binge on rubbish food when you’re stressed?
Would you feel confident writing down everything you ate/drank in a week, and then presenting it in front of your work colleagues on a Monday morning?
If your answer to these questions struck a chord within you, I’d encourage you to read on…
You’re Not Alone. We Can Work Through This.
“Hi, I’m Nick, the writer of this article.
Firstly, I’d like to point out that…
Food binging is very common, more common than you think (people just don’t admit it, because they feel embarrassed!)…. this only further separates you from others. You feel alone, and like there’s something wrong with you.
You feel ashamed of your behaviour, and will do anything to conceal it from friends, family, colleagues, and anybody who knows you!
You know it’s bad for you, and making you gain weight/feel rubbish, BUT you still do it?
I Know What It’s Like…
Don’t worry though, I’m not calling you out, or trying to make you feel any worse than you already do…
I myself have been an epic food binger over the years. Not many people would think that, considering I’m a personal trainer.
BUT it’s true, I’ve gone through phases where I’ve stuffed my face, until I’ve felt sick, gobbling on multiple chocolate bars (large one’s too!), crips, and then ordering a pizza half an hour later! To then eat more food in a few hours time.
I would eat the chocolate bars, then hide the wrappers at the bottom of the bin, because I didn’t want my mum to find them. I would also order food when my partner (now wife!) was out of the house – to conceal my binging episodes.
I know what it’s like, and also the struggles, BUT I also know the strategies to overcome food binging, and that’s why I’ve written this post…NOT TO SHAME…BUT TO HELP YOU.
Together, we can work through it, and get you in a much stronger place: mentally, physically, emotionally.
I know, because I’ve used these methods with lots of my personal training clients, and I know that if you take on board what I’m about to say, and apply what I teach, that it will enrich your life in so many ways, and most importantly STOP your food binging.
What…If I told you that very soon you will start losing weight, and feeling 10x better in your mind, body and spirt…
How good would that feel?
Well… IT CAN HAPPEN, and it’s my mission to help you get there.
Why Do You Food Binge?
Before we dive into the 4 success secrets, it’s important to look at why why binge…
There are lots of reasons for food binging, the triggers are usually always psychological i.e. you suffer with low self esteem, feel lonely, self sabotage, you struggle to handle uncomfortable feelings and emotions, etc.
There’s always a trigger, either created from within, or externally i.e. your boss makes a remark, which upsets you… so you go on an epic weekend binge.
Stress and Food Binging…
Stress is a BIG factor in food binging.
When we get stressed our bodies release high amounts of cortisol – which is a stress hormone (fight, flight, or freeze) – when lots of cortisol is released into the blood stream… it makes us lose balance emotionally and physically. We become highly reactive, and our subconscious behaviours kicks in. Often we tense up, and if it lasts too long… it wears us down/out.
One way to blunt cortisol is to eat, because eating makes us relaxed. When we eat our body produces a hormone called insulin, which forces our body to go into relaxation mode.
SO eating food actually helps your body to relax and lowers stress (TEMPORARILY!!!) .
Think about this in action…
Have you ever eaten a large roast dinner (usually on a Sunday!) stuffing your face: chicken, potatoes, veg, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing balls, you name it…. Then 2 hours after the meal… you’re totally comatose… sleepy and relaxed. That’s because your body has gone into relax mode.
So, there’s a reason why we eat when stressed, because if we can’t handle the stress, or use other means to deal with it… food is a pretty good ‘short term’ option to use (although we pay the price later on!).
Food and booze can become coping mechanisms, although not ideal, because too many of these foods/drinks will make us gain weight, affect our skin, mood energy, lead to diseases, illnesses, type 2 diabetes, etc, etc.
Let’s put a STOP to this! It’s time to start making some positive changes and get you out of this rut…
4 Success Secrets To Put A Stop To Food Binging…
#1 Accept That RIGHT NOW…You Are A Food Binger
“What?”… I hear you say…
“We’ve read all the way down this post, to hear you point out the obvious!”
My response…YES, the first part is recognising that you are a food binger. For some of you reading this… it may be the first time you’ve ever truly admitted it to yourself. When you hold your hands up and be honest, we can now look for ways to improve your situation.
Accept that RIGHT NOW you are a food binger…BUT you won’t always be this way.
#2 Food Diary
For the next week, keep a food log, write down everything you eat and when you eat it e.g.
- 7am – cereal with fruit, coffee
- 9am – tea and 3 biscuits
- 11am – crisps and 1 biscuit
- 1pm – Sandwich, crisps, coke cola, brownie
- 3pm – tea and 3 biscuits
- 6pm – Chicken curry
- 8pm – 1 x large chocolate bar, piece of cake, crisps, 2 glasses of wine
Etc, etc – do this for the next week, write down things as you go along, NOT AT THE END OF THE DAY. Be completely honest, only you are going to see this diary.
The aim of this is just to get you to become aware, that’s all – we’re not trying to change anything… just get you to become more conscious of what you’re eating each day.
Week 2 – after doing the above for a full 7 days, do it again for another week. However this time, as well as tracking your food, write down whether you needed the food, or just simply desired it.
There’s a big difference between ‘hunger’ and ‘appetite’…
‘Hunger’ is where your body is signalling you to eat, because if you don’t eat, it will be in trouble (i.e. starve), whereas ‘Appetite’ is where you walk past a bakery shop, smell the pastry and fancy a sausage roll…so you go and buy one.
Hunger is a signal we need to listen to.
Appetite is a choice we can choose to respond to or not.
I’d imagine most of you reading this will not need to worry about hunger. Hunger is when you’re extremely low in body fat, and haven’t eaten for days. Real hunger is people suffering in third world countries, not when you’ve not eaten for 6 hours!
In week 2 write down the food, and record whether it was ‘needed’ or ‘desired’. The aim of this is to get you to become more attuned to your eating habits and behaviours.
Week 3 – In week 3… along with your food diary… I want you to start logging your emotions/feelings i.e. at the end of each day. Keep a journal of how you are feeling, happy, sad, moody, angry, frustrated, whatever the emotion… write them down, and start to build a relationship with your feelings and emotions. Start to look at the reasons why you may be feeling the way you do, your triggers, and if they are linked to your relationship with food.
Often, I’ll find that people who just go through these 3 stages (3 weeks) will see a dramatic difference to their eating behaviours, in a good way, and I haven’t even asked you to do anything, other than just BECOME AWARE.
When you become more conscious, you’ll naturally make better decisions, and thats where the long term healing begins.
Exercise is one of the most powerful ways to boost your mood. When you workout, your body releases feel good endorphins, such as dopamine, and serotonin – these powerful hormones make you feel energised, and empowered, and give you an amazing sense of well-being.
Exercise is a great alternative to food binging, for getting your mind and body in a better state to deal with stress, and uncomfortable feelings/emotions.
Any-type of exercise will help, whether it’s high intensity (ideal for anger, frustration) or low intensity (ideal for calming the mind and body)… it doesn’t matter.
I would recommend trying to exercise everyday, in some shape or form. This doesn’t necessarily have to be at the gym. It could be walking, running, outdoor fitness classes, hiring a personal trainer, sports clubs, home workout DVDs, etc – whatever you feel most comfortable with and enjoy.
By exercising you’ll start to regain that inner power back, and naturally make healthier choices across the board.
If you’re struggling to motivate yourself to exercise then it’s worth either hiring a personal trainer (if you can afford it), training with a friend, or joining a fitness class, or group, which will help keep you accountable.
#4 Reach Out For Help
DON’T BE AFRAID (caps intended!) of reaching out for help. I’ve hired plenty of coaches in my time as a personal trainer: I’ve hired personal trainers, business coaches, lifestyle coaches, I’ve worked with meditation coaches, you name it! All because I needed help, or wanted to improve my life in some shape or form.
Hiring an expert is the best decision you can make, because your coach will keep you accountable, and be able to support you in your journey where you are right now, and then lead you to your desired destination.
As long as you have the right attitude and BADLY WANT IT… you can do it, and a coach will guide you there much faster than going it alone.
That said, I also understand that coaching can be expense, so other great options are things like books, here are 5 books that have really helped me and my personal training clients….
- Breaking the Habit Of Being Yourself – Dr Joe Dispenza
- Feelings Buried Alive Never Die – Karol Truman
- Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao – Dr Wayne Dyer
- The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness – Dr Steve Peters
- Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential – Carol Dweck
It’s A Journey…
Remember that change can happen in an instant, RIGHT THIS SECOND. All it takes is a single thought, that leads to an action, that then leads to a different result.
That said, be mindful that things don’t happen over night, often old thought patters will take time to dissolve, BUT with practice, patience and a willingness to keep moving forwards… everything will fall into place in the end.
Remember this is a journey, rather than focusing on the end result all of the time (which is still important)…. focus on the small victories you accomplish each day, notice how much better you feel when you think thoughts that empower you, inspire you, and make you feel good in your own skin.
Enjoy each day, learn from it, and keep growing.
It’s a journey, that once started you’ll never look back.
Here’s to your future happiness and progress.