Binge eating is one of the most common issues that the women who I work with one-on-one complain to me about. I have heard many stories of late night snacking that gets out of control, eating even when not feeling hungry, and bingeing on food to the point of it causing pain- and then the subsequent guilt and shame that follows one of these episodes.
If you have ever suffered a binge eating episode, it might feel like you have no control around food and it can be very scary.
When working with clients, I have a few strategies that I recommend they try, to shift their thinking and perspective so they can minimise their binge eating. These might include keeping a food diary, exercising regularly and practicing self care.
However, so much of the binge eating that I see taking place actually occurs because of a need to fill or soothe negative emotions that are going on, or are brought on by a trigger. Therefore I think it can also be a really good idea to keep busy so that you can distract your mind from thinking about food so obsessively.
If you know that you often binge eat in the evenings when you are home alone, or in the afternoons when you are bored, or on the weekends when you don’t have anything better to do, try doing these things at those trigger times and see if they distract you from food.
- 1. Get creative
Try doing something creative. When you are in creativity mode, it is very difficult to think about anything other than what you are working on. If you don’t feel like you are a very creative person, then why not learn how to do a new crafty skill. A friend of mine took up knitting when she was quitting smoking, a completely new skill that kept her hands and mind busy at the times when she would normally smoke.
You could learn how to play guitar, beading, crocheting, felting, painting- anything at all that you will find fun to try (nobody ever has to see your creations!). You never know, you might find you have a new non-food hobby before too long.
- 2. Try meditating
Meditation doesn’t have to be boring or a silent sitting activity. I talk about some of the different ways you can meditate in this article. I can also recommend using an app called Omvana for some really interesting meditations (many are free or cheap).
When you are in meditation you are being mindful, and when you are being mindful it is very difficult to let yourself get out of control and to binge.
- 3. Get Googling
I seriously cannot imagine a time before the internet and the ability to Google on just about any topic imaginable. If you fear you might be about to have a binge, then turn on your computer and start surfing instead.
Not sure what to look up? You can never go wrong with YouTube videos of funny cats and dogs…or even just start doing something fun like researching your next holiday. Anything that is going to stop you from wanting to stare mindlessly in the fridge or raid the cupboard.
- 4. Play Games
I’ve written before about my love of Candy Crush as a distraction when I am stuck in traffic. Playing a game on your phone is a great way to stop thinking about food and to instead focus your mind on something else that can be fun and exciting.
- 5. Vision Board
Create a vision board by looking through magazines or by making a secret board on Pinterest. It can be inspiring and motivating to think about your dream life and to imagine it coming into reality. And who knows, making the vision board and looking at it every day might just help your dream life to manifest and come true!
- 6. Write it Out
Get a journal and use it to write in when you are feeling down or lonely and likely to be triggered into bingeing. You might also consider starting a blog where you share about your journey. Nobody has to actually read it, but it can be very therapeutic to collect your thoughts in words on a page or the computer screen and will help you to focus on the issues inside that might be leading you to binge eat in the first place.
- What do you think about these tips? Useful, or not?