A few days back a girl wrote to me, “I ate around 1500 extra calories last night and this morning all I want to do is eat 500 cal for the day and do some cardio so I won’t gain extra fat. Is this okay? I am feeling so ashamed and disappointed in myself.”
Typical case of Binge Eating. Many of us have done it & regretted it later. We all have indulged in compulsive overeating, sometimes to the extent of eating much beyond the capacity of our stomach.
So what exactly is Binge Eating?
Binge Eating are episodes of uncontrollable, excessive or compulsive or even emotional eating over a short period of time, often when the person binge eating is not even hungry and later develops a feeling of guilt or regret.
It may sometimes be a symptom of binge eating disorder (BED) or compulsive overeating disorder. So if binge eating episodes persist, it is advised to visit a doctor so that proper medication can be suggested.
There are many situations that induce people to indulge in binge eating, and such continued episodes may result in a person becoming overweight or obese. I have discussed a few of them below and explained what you can do if you are in those situations.
What situations lead to Binge Eating & How to overcome the urge?
Scolding from boss, or a recent breakup or a fight with your spouse/ friend or having a terrible day.
When we are stressed or depressed or even angry, many times we dig into food to calm ourselves and in order to escape our situation. Food acts as our comforting agent. “Food is the most abused anxiety drug.”
What you should do: Try to find other distractions to calm yourself down. Call your trusted friends, and talk to them about your state of mind. Ask for their help. They will understand you and distract you. Talking to someone always helps.
There may be people or things that may upset you more, like seeing a friend holidaying on social media, etc. (hmmm.. jealous you! 😂) – Stay away from these sources.
Low Self Esteem & Other Social Factors
Continuous or repetitive criticism about one’s appearance or social pressure to reduce weight – Mainly when it is a question of finding a suitable match, the relatives often say something demeaning. Some of us act rebellious and start eating even more.
What you should do: Use these criticism to motivate you instead of turning yourself into a rebel. Stay away from negative – people who don’t believe in you or don’t understand your situation should not even matter to you.
As far as people are concerned, they have to say something in every situation. When I lost weight, the same people who used to criticise me being overweight started saying, ‘You have become too skinny, you don’t look good like this.’ 🙄😏 yeah people! So if you want to lose weight, do it for yourself and your own good. Just believe in yourself and trust only those people who believe in you – we all are intelligent enough to recognise these people.
Distractions while Eating:
Eating while watching our favourite TV Show or Chatting with a friend or may be eating while working on our laptop.
When we are distracted, we are eating without thinking and we end up eating more. In fact we are not even aware of what we are eating. Ever wondered how a normal person can eat an entire bucket of popcorn along with an extra large coke alone while watching a movie at a theatre? 😳😰
What you should do: Observe your food and be aware of what you are eating. Never eat on the go or when you are distracted. Don’t mindlessly keep stuffing yourselves. If you want to eat while working or otherwise, portion out you meal/ snack beforehand, and eat only that much.
Ahha… Your favourite Food has been cooked
We end up eating more when our favourite food has been cooked. It is occasionally this specific dish gets cooked at home, so we become greedy and well… to hell with weight loss, we can always start tomorrow… right? 😛😜
Frankly there is really no end to ‘Favourite Food’ or temptation. Today there is one favourite food and tomorrow there will be another. You cannot loose your focus if you have to lose weight.
What you should do: Eat only what is right, what your normal eating portion is, anything excess will only give you trouble later (your stomach will revolt, and you very well know how). If you really want to eat more, you can always have it after some time, but certainly not in one go. Learn to control your temptations – it is your share, whether you eat now or later.
Dinner out with Family & Friends:
We treasure our outings. We look forward to spending quality time with our friends & family and this also means eating good food. Our evening is not complete till the time we have stuffed ourselves with food. Sometimes we tend to overeat just to finish the leftovers (we are culturally bound not to waste food, isn’t it?)
What you should do: Order small food. This, however, may not be possible when you are with friends (especially, when you are the host), but with family you can definitely do it. So yes, order less.
If you have to order much food (when with friends), then don’t take it on yourself to finish all the food. You stick to your portion only. If there are any leftovers, get them packed to take back with you (restaurants have no issues with it & happily oblige). You can always eat these the next day.
Dieting? All paranthas, pastries, pizzas, brownies, sweets go out of the window to give way to yucky tasting food or juices like bitter gourd/ bottle gourd or some other funny combination of juices or other tasteless so called ‘healthy food’.
There are all kinds of diet plans available in the market. In our desperation to lose weight opt for the one that seems most promising to us. All these diet plans limit or even eliminate the food that we really like from our diet. This leaves us craving for what we actually like, all the time.
So when we get with the opportunity, we end up awarding ourself by binging on more and more of the food we like.
What you should do: Learn to eat right. Torturing yourself with not eating or dieting is not so healthy and certainly not a solution to weight loss. Eat everything you like, but eat in the right way.
Dinner Party or Kitty Party:
Parties or get togethers are again times when we tend to eat a lot. Generally it is distractive eating that I explained above. Some of us even skip our lunch/ earlier meals cause we need to have a heavy meal later. This SO does not work this way.
What you should do: Always pre-plan your portions in your mind while at a party and stick to them. Eat slowly and consistently, and you’ll do fine. Do remember that one-off overeating or cheating on food (once in 15 days is fine), but don’t let it be a regular affair.
If still want to overeat, do it consciously, what I mean is, say you are craving to eat an ice cream, go ahead eat it, but eat it without guilt and relish it, so as to satisfy your cravings fully. This is what I told that girl (remember in the beginning) as well, if you have eaten more, you have not committed a crime, forget it and continue with your normal eat right meal plan.
Some corrective actions you can take to abstain from future binge eating episodes
- Don’t keep the food you binge on in the house. If you feel like binging, go and buy it. 9 out of 10 times you won’t do it.
- Start with drinking water, when you feel hungry, mostly it is thirst and not hunger.
- Always question yourself what & when you are untimely eating: Do i need to eat this? Can I go without not eating this? Can I wait to eat this till my next meal time?
- Keep healthy snacks at home/ office. Make it easier to get hold of healthy snacks to eat.
- Do not stock unhealthy/ fried stuff at home/ office. Alternatively, make is difficult for yourself to reach out to unhealthy snacks.
- Do not eat anything while you are distracted, stay away from food.
- Find yourself a hobby so that you don’t run to food for passing your time. Make yourself useful & busy. Food is not to be eaten as timepass.
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