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Overcoming Binge Eating: Why Mindset Alone is Often Not Enough

overcoming-binge-eatingI’m about to share with you something that not everyone agrees with. However, given my work with binge eating clients, my own history overcoming binge eating, and my certification in eating psychology, I know it to make a tremendous difference in moving forward from binge eating:

Overcoming binge eating usually takes MORE than mindset

By mindset, I mean the mental and emotional side to eating. Now don’t get me wrong: mindset is an essential part. Binge eating often comes on in times of intense emotion or life transition, or is asking you to pay attention to something deeper. You should always get the help you need to address the underlying reasons as to why you binge eat, and it’s a part of the work I do with every single client.

But it’s not the WHOLE part, and I see so many approaches that lead people to believe they have to go on a hero’s journey of sorts to get through binge eating. When that happens, suddenly everything in your life feels tied to the binge eating — your work, your children, your husband, your favorite pizza joint… and it can make binge eating feel like an insurmountable mountain, rather than a habit that can be changed with the right MIX of nutrition and mindset.

A few food habits that make overcoming binge eating harder

Skipping meals.

One thing I notice with clients who binge eat is that they’ll often skip meals, either to make up for the enormous amount of calories they consume in a binge, or simply because they’re not hungry after consuming said calories. But what this does is set them up for precisely the same cycle: feel ravenous, overeat, skip meals, feel ravenous, and on the binge cycle goes.

Ensure you’re eating in a way that isn’t making it harder on yourself than it has to be. Eating meals at regular intervals — starting with breakfast to get the body re-trained to this MO — can make an enormous difference in reducing the urge to binge, because you will feel full and satisfied throughout the day. It can begin to break even a habitual cycle of hunger > binge.

Eating low-fat.

Another way the right food can have a massive impact on overcoming binge eating is by balancing meals with the right macronutrients. When I was in the binge eating cycle, I would often start the day with a pastry. But this sent my blood sugar on a rollercoaster, first going sky high, then dropping an hour or two later, causing my body to crave food or sugar again. I thought it was something in my head — why couldn’t I control these wild cravings — when really it was the physiological response anyone would have eating the same breakfast.

While it’s not essential to eat perfectly — and to try is actually a recipe for disaster with binge eating — you may find immense relief from tweaking your macronutrient ratios at meals. Meaning, see how your body responds to having healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs at every meal. The first time I had eggs, smoked salmon, and avocado for breakfast, I was shocked to find out that I could go five hours without getting hungry again. For years, I’d thought I was someone with a frequent appetite, who could barely go two hours without getting hungry again. It turns out that I had just been eating meals without enough fat and protein to sustain me. You can experiment with trading non-fat yogurt for whole-milk, full-fat, or swapping your cereal or smoothie for scrambled eggs, avocado, smoked salmon, or nitrate-free bacon.

Looking for the solution in another diet. 

Having worked with so many women on this challenge, I’m now pretty convinced that the culture of dieting among young women is a major part of why binge eating is so common. When you diet, you trip your body’s alarm signals for famine or starvation. Suddenly, all you can think about is food, because your body is wired to keep you alive and will divert all its resources to eating enough to survive when it needs to.

Instead of being in on-mode or off-mode with healthy eating, embrace balance. Resolve that there is no more starting over — simply doing the best you can do at every meal. Some days, your best will be different. That’s not failure — that’s life as a human on planet earth. Incorporate as much real, whole food as you can, and trade out the diet versions, which toy with your blood sugar and hormones, and lead to digestive issues. Embrace that there is no quick fix — just an ever-evolving process of tuning into what makes your body feel its best, leaning into self-love along the way, and learning to nourish your body instead of punishing it.

OVERCOMING BINGE EATING

Here are a few steps to get started overcoming binge eating:

Watch this free webinarThe 5-Step Strategy My Clients Use for Overcoming Binge Eating

Book a free Breakthrough Call: See if private coaching is a fit for both of us.

Work with me in The Binge Breakthrough: An intimate group coaching program that walks you step-by-step through overcoming binge eating with weekly calls, a private community, and custom support from me. Perfect for anyone looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to private coaching. Learn more here.

I hope those give you a few ideas to get started and eat in a way that supports the mindset and emotional side of overcoming binge eating. Take heart that a healthier, more freeing relationship to food is possible. Cheering for you over here.

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