Why You Binge Eat | Part 2
First things first, if you deal with this on a daily basis I want you to know that you are not a “binge eater” or an “overeater”. You are someone who does this behaviour called binge eating/ overeating.
It is not your identity.
It is a behaviour.
You may be someone who eats very healthfully. You may have good basic knowledge on nutrition and you do your best to feed your body in a way that supports your health goals. You are someone who eats three meals a day and you try your best to give yourself a wide variety of nutrients… and yet you feel as though you can’t control yourself around food.
I totally know what this is like. I used to put myself on very strict diets and some days I would find myself bingeing on any “junk food” I could get my hands on and other days I was bingeing on carrots and hummus. The type of food doesn’t matter nearly as much as the actual behaviour itself. The thing is, you can overeat any type of food but it’s your mentality around those foods that are unhealthy…not the actual food.
If you honestly feel as though you support yourself as best as you can through a supportive diet and lifestyle, your binge eating habit is most likely due to an emotional factor.
So why do healthy people binge? The number one reason we binge is from a lack of presence during our meals. When we aren’t fully present while eating, our brain doesn’t register taste, pleasure, aroma and visual stimulation. It’s almost as if our brain was asleep while we were eating and as soon as we are done it’s thinking “hey, you didn’t eat yet! Let’s eat something!!”
In this case the best thing you can do is take a deep breath before you eat and eliminate distractions. Put your phone/laptop away. Turn off the T.V., stop working on your assignment or work project. Simply eat and be there for the entire experience.
You will also want to refrain from eating too quickly. Similar to the above situation, your brain needs to be able to register the fact that you are consuming energy (calories) from your food. This process is a little slow, it takes approximately 20 minutes. So if you finish your entire meal in 10 minutes or less, you aren’t giving your brain the time for it tell you whether or not your body is satisfied.
It can be very difficult to eat slowly as we collectively have become fast eaters. Taking a few deep breaths before your meal and putting down your cutlery while you are chewing are good ways to destress and slow yourself down.
If you are someone who has a habit of stress eating or emotionally eating, get into the practice before each meal/snack of asking yourself “what is my intention behind eating this?” Get into the habit of reflecting why you are eating. Is it because you physically feel hungry? Is it because you want to enhance your environment and enjoy a slice of pizza with friends (nothing wrong with this). Is it because you are avoiding certain thoughts, feelings or emotions?
Whatever your answer may be, go on and ask yourself “will eating this food make me feel energized 30 minutes from now or will it lower my energy?” The goal is to eat mindfully and purposefully. You can’t do this when you are in a state of stress.
Try setting a timer for 10 minutes and push yourself to do something that will help you process your thoughts. Maybe for you that will look like journaling, or doodling in a note pad. Try listening to a guided meditation or just putting on a song that will lift your spirits. If after 10 minutes you still want to eat and you feel good about this decision, then go for it! But ensure you are fully present throughout the eating process.
There are many different reasons why we binge eat/ overeat and each person will require a very different approach to become a more mindful eater.
If you need support with mindful eating, contact me here for a free consultation. xx