How I Avoid Binge Eating

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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.

No joke.

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.

Non-stop.

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.

  1. What were you doing just before the binging started?
  2. Who were you with?
  3. Were you feeling stress? If so, what was the cause?
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Photo by Henley Design Studio on Unsplash

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