Hi friend! Today I’m sharing the tips I used to stop binge eating. Because let’s face it… it totally sucks!
Surprisingly, an ESSENTIAL part of putting an end to the binge eating cycle is getting over the fear of eating more food (to stop restricting), so let’s jump right in!
HOW TO GET OVER THE FEAR OF EATING MORE
I don’t eat to be hungry, I eat to be full… I know “duh!” right?? But I NEVER used to do that.
I used to think I should eat until I was almost full and that would be enough. I mean, I’ve read that plenty of times in health blogs and magazines. They say it’s “healthy” to not stuff yourself. But that thinking easily gets WAY out of hand, especially when you’ve suffered from disordered eating in the past.
The thing is, we get so worried about eating too much that we stop eating ENOUGH for our bodies… but that is a slippery slope that leads to:
- Food binges
- Emotional eating
- Eating disorders
- Hormonal issues
WHAT WAS I AFRAID OF?
I remember going to bed hungry and thinking it was a good thing (I’m totally “UGH”-ing about that now). I was so hungry that I would literally DREAM of food in my sleep because it was the only thing I could think about. But that was absolutely NOT healthy for my mind or my body (and I know that now). The thing is…
I was more concerned with staying within my extremely low-calorie count, eating a sugar-free diet, and following the paleo diet perfectly… than I was with fueling my body with ENOUGH food.
I was afraid of:
- Eating more
- Gaining weight
- Losing my abs
- Being “unhealthy”
- Breaking my diet
- Losing control
I wasn’t ready to embrace the fact that I would have to face those fears if I was truly going to stop binge eating for good. I thought that I could keep doing what I was doing… and somehow STILL find an answer that worked.
WHY WAS I SO CONFUSED ABOUT EATING MORE?
I let my own hunger get pushed aside for the sake of being skinny and losing weight. During this time, I lost a lot of weight and was at a very low body fat percentage. The world told me I was finally beautiful, but I felt HORRIBLE.
I quickly learned that using restrictive eating habits to get to an extremely low body fat (or for any weight loss) is NOT sustainable or healthy because I saw my body rebel against the weight loss.
- I lost my period (amenorrhea).
- My skin was breaking out more than it ever had.
- I was plagued with anxiety around food choices and my fitness schedule.
- I couldn’t sleep without waking up in the middle of the night.
- I was physically cold all of the time.
- I couldn’t LIVE my life without being afraid of social situations that revolved around food.
WHY FOOD RESTRICTION RESTRICTED MY LIFE
I was trapped in a world of restriction. In my head, I would think, “What would I eat?” So, I usually avoided going out to events where there was food involved. Then, if I did go, I’d refuse to eat the food they served because it was too “unhealthy” for me. Looking back I see how crazy it was.
I was basically saying to my friends, “I don’t eat grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, non-organic meats, or canola oil so I can’t come to the restaurant and have fun, I’m sorry.” I built a food jail around me. I knew that my body wanted me to eat more so I could LIVE my life again… but still, I would NOT do it.
WHY DID I START BINGE EATING?
At this point in time, my relationship with food was broken. I was starving, and my mind MADE me eat more. I was so hungry that everything turned into a binge… and I couldn’t control anything anymore.
At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I had enough willpower to stop binge eating because I was VERY driven to lose weight and be “fit” and “skinny”. But once I lost weight, reached my goals, and got what I “thought” would make me happy… the happiness faded.
- I started comparing my body to others more than ever.
- I felt trapped by my food rules and struggled with food guilt from indulging.
- One bite of something delicious that I restricted for a long time turned into a full-on binge.
My body and mind couldn’t take the restriction, so I started binging. The thing is, I had a history of binge eating from elementary school through high school, so I was DEVASTATED when I fell back into binge eating, AGAIN. I thought, “How??? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?!” But it happened. It happened because it was a necessary part of my Food Freedom journey:
- My body was desperate for food.
- My mind was exhausted from so much restriction.
- Every time I tried to restrict, my mind and body fought back.
So, I binged… I binged because my relationship with food was broken from so much restriction. And I was STUCK in a seemingly endless binge eating and restriction cycle for 2 YEARS until I finally found Food Freedom, which is why I created this free Food Freedom workbook for you… so you can stop binge eating for life!! (It’s 100% possible!)
HOW MUCH IS “TOO MUCH” FOOD?
Because I thought I should never be completely full and thought that being full meant that I was overeating… (which is NOT TRUE️!) I had to start eating MORE food. If I did not eat enough food, I would binge. So, learning to eat enough food was a KEY step I used to stop binge eating.
But maybe you’re still unsure about how much is too much? Well… Too much food is the point where your stomach is hurting (like with a binge), but being “full” and satiated with your meal is healthy!
3 SIGNS YOU’RE FINALLY EATING ENOUGH FOOD
Here are some markers I use to see if what I’m eating is enough:
1. I know I’m eating enough when I can stop thinking about food after I eat.
This is HUGE!!! If you eat and finish your meal and you STOP feeling hungry, but you can’t stop thinking about eating more… that’s a REALLY good sign that you should eat more. (So eat more!)
2. I know I’m eating enough when I can last 3 hours without thinking about my next meal.
If you’re thinking about eating, you’re hungry! So, if I’m hungry before 3 hours after my last meal and start thinking about food, I did not eat enough for my meal. (So eat more!)
3. I know I’m eating enough when I’m not restricting portions or food groups.
What I needed was to be full. I needed to stop under-fueling my body. I needed to stop restricting my portions out of fear that I was eating too much. I got used to being hungry all the time. And I developed a fear of “eating more”. But now I don’t have that fear anymore… NOW I EAT. 🙂
WHAT DO YOU EAT MORE OF TO STOP BINGE EATING?
I’ve never been a huge fan of “eat all the junk food” in recovery from restrictive habits, but everyone’s recovery process is different. (And at the beginning of my recovery from orthorexia you can bet I ate ALL the foods). Because when you first start eating more, it’s usually more of whatever you’ve been restricting yourself from. For me, that did include sugary treats and processed foods… but that always led to a binge.
To stop binge eating and eat more without eating “too much” and binging, I focused on making balanced meals and eating however much real food it took to be satiated based on the 3 markers I stated above. So, I don’t eat junk food 24/7, but real food like starch, veggies, healthy fats, and protein… those foods are NEVER EVER limited! #teameatthewholeavocado 😉
WILL YOU GAIN WEIGHT?
There are a ton of things that happen when your body doesn’t get enough fuel. For most of us, we’ve been in “starvation mode” (where our bodies think we’re actually starving because we aren’t eating enough). So to fix it, our bodies NEED more food.
In order to end starvation mode and boost your metabolism, you need to convince your body that it’s well-fed and not in danger. – Dr. Axe
Which is exactly why we need to eat MORE! And eating more will also be the solution we need to stop binge eating because once we’ve had enough time to convince our mind and body that we’re not starving… we can finally stop binge eating. So yes, by eating more you will probably gain weight. BUT IT’S NOT A BAD THING TO GAIN WEIGHT. Read more about coping with weight gain here.
HOW DO YOU BREAK RESTRICTION AND STOP BINGE EATING?
I can tell you that getting over the fear of “eating more” is HARD. Getting over the fear of gaining weight is HARD. But I freakin’ did it!! And I did it by focusing on something new… NOURISHING MY BODY. The only way I broke the circle of binge-restrict was by NOURISHING MY MIND AND MY BODY.
And I do 5 very simple things every day to live with Food Freedom and live with a healthy and happy relationship with food.
1. START YOUR JOURNEY NOW
The most important thing you have to do in order to heal your relationship with food: START! Seriously, just go for it and start your Food Freedom journey. It won’t be perfect, but it does NOT have to be!! My Food Freedom journey was full of a ton of mistakes, but they all taught me how to heal BETTER.
(And seriously the only guaranteed way to be stuck in this mess forever is to not do anything about it.) #TRUTH
2. DITCH THE DIET LABEL
I am not paleo, high fat, low carb, low calorie… I AM JUST BREE (and that’s totally enough!!) Believe me, you don’t need a diet label to be healthy. A diet label and food rules are what probably brought you here in the first place!
3. EAT BALANCED MEALS CONSISTENTLY (WITHOUT RESTRICTION)
Eat balanced meals consistently, every single day without restricting portion sizes. That means you should fill up on protein + fats + carbs + veggies every time you eat a meal 🙂 Of course, keep in alignment with your body’s food sensitivities and there are exceptions in step # 4 below.
4. INDULGE IN YOUR FAVORITE FOODS OFTEN
Eat your favorite foods more often than you think you should. I 100% allow myself to indulge and stray from the balanced meals when I want to enjoy my favorite foods. (I’m a HUGE sucker for vanilla soft serve ice cream, homemade cookies, and dark chocolate.) There’s no more restriction or deprivation allowed on your journey — and it’s okay to struggle with it, you just have to start! Read more about indulging, here. I also encourage you to check out this post on recovering from a food binge, here.
5. LIVE YOUR LIFE BEYOND FOOD
One of the most important things I do for myself is living my life beyond food by doing what I love, following my dreams, and accepting and loving myself and others. Because life is MORE than food! Learn the 10 steps to creating happiness and a positive outlook, here.
TAKEAWAY: TO STOP BINGE EATING, START TODAY!
I know that conquering binge eating is one of the MOST important steps of your Food Freedom journey. (And I’ve totally been there!) While the solution isn’t particularly easy… IT 100% WORKS!! You only have to START your journey if you want to heal your relationship with food for life! Are you ready to find YOUR Food Freedom? — I put all my best resources in my free library of Food Freedom resources, here.
XO Bree 🙂
Did you learn something today? You might be interested in finding Food Freedom! Using the 3 strategies in this free 3 day Fast Track program, I stopped binging and restricting! I’m sharing my best tips for healing your relationship with food (including lessons from my experience with orthorexia, binge eating, over exercising, body image, weight gain, weight loss, and restrictive dieting). In this free training, you’ll learn how to create a sustainable Food Freedom action plan that works for YOU.