If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve experienced binge eating and may be wondering things like:
Is it ever OK to binge? Is the occasional binge normal?
Is it better to eat “right” Monday through Friday and then to throw caution to the wind on the weekends or plan for one cheat day per week?
Will I ever find a happy balance between eating the foods I crave and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Although it might not be possible to prevent all cases of binge eating disorder, it is helpful to begin treatment in people as soon as they begin to have symptoms.
In addition, teaching and encouraging healthy eating habits and realistic attitudes about food and body image also might be helpful in preventing the development or worsening of eating disorders.
Stop a Binge in Progress
1. Practice “urge surfing.” Learn and accept the cycle of your urge to binge.“If you think about a wave, it goes up, up, up, and at some point it starts to go back down,” When you binge, you are acting on the urge to make it stop. Urge surfing is following the urge all the way up and down, knowing it will eventually end if you ride it out.
Remember that more food isn’t necessarily more enjoyable. There’s a point of diminishing returns.”
Coming Back from a Binge
So let’s say it’s been a rough week and you binged on one or more foods. It doesn’t matter whether it was your favorite flavor of ice cream, healthy foods from your “approved” list, or anything you could get your hands on. Now what?
Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to get you back on track:
2. DON’T beat yourself up over it. We’ve all had those days at some point, and you can’t change what happened in the past.
3. DO move forward and make your next meal or snack a healthy, portion-controlled one.
4. DON’T overly restrict your diet over the next few days to “make up for being bad.” This will make you more likely to continue the cycle of deprivation dieting and binging.
5. DO focus on making the best food choices you can each day, focusing on lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water. But continue to allow yourself to enjoy that small piece of dark chocolate (or other portion controlled treats) on occasion.
6. DON’T punish yourself at the gym after a binge. Stick to your usual exercise routine. Maybe go for an extra walk or do some other light activity in addition to your workouts, but try to avoid the mindset of “working off” the calories you consumed. This, too, can lead to an unhealthy cycle of bingeing and over-exercising.
Remember, the overall goal is to seek balance. A healthy lifestyle is not defined by one single meal or eating episode. Even the healthiest eaters in the world aren’t perfect all the time. It’s the combination of your choices over time that will create an overall healthy lifestyle.