Warning + disclaimer: This is a bit of a long read and my personal story.
Potato chips are my evil-est binge food of all time.
I don’t care for candy or chocolate but if you put a bowl of potato chips in front of me, I can finish it in one sitting.
Who am I kidding?
I eat straight from the bag.
Now, before sharing how I avoid my binge eating, I have to go back in time 15 years ago HOW my binging started.
Back then, I was following the Paleo diet (eat like a caveman diet).
I was born and raised in Japan which means eating a bowl of rice 3 times a day, every single day plus noodles a few times a week.
Needless to say, it was a huge change for me and I was craving all the carbs.
I was loose with the Paleo diet on the weekends so I chose to eat my favourite snack, salted chips.
When you were restrictive with food all week, you feel like you’re opening a set of flood gates as you open the bag of chips.
Then, you don’t look back and just keep eating.
Until the bag is empty.
This lasted for probably over a decade.
I rationalised it by telling myself “it’s okay because I eat healthy most of the time”. What I didn’t realised was that I was creating an unhealthy and unwanted relationship with food.
I understand that stopping binge eating is very difficult. But let me tell you this:
It’s not your fault or for a lack of willpower that you can’t stop binge eating.
The first step toward controlling binge eating is to find out what triggers it.
- What were you doing just before the binging started?
- Who were you with?
- Were you feeling stress? If so, what was the cause?
- Do you think you “deserve” it? Why?
In my case, the reason was #4. I ate all the carbs because I was strict with my diet on the weekdays.
Also, I think it’s helpful to know whether you eat your favourite food (something you binge on) to get physically full or to have your taste buds and emotions satisfied.
For me, I just wanted to taste the tastiness. By realising that, I took these actions:
- Gave myself a permission to eat whenever I wanted if I really wanted it. This was a huge game changer for me. By just removing the restriction, there was no more “forbidden fruit” thinking. I no longer thought about all the foods I “couldn’t” eat.
- Eat it when I’m NOT hungry: Put chips in a small bowl (IKEA kid’s bowl) and eat it AFTER a meal. At this point, I’m already physically full from the meal so a small bowl is more than enough to satisfy me. Often times, I don’t even finish the bowl.
Binge eating is a moment of happiness you can buy at the expense of later feeling guilt and self-hate.
Remember that this is a long journey.
You can’t “fix” it overnight. Keep working on it with self-compassion. It may take long but it’ll get better.
You’ve got this.