How to Handle Food Binges Without Wrecking Your Goals

Handling Binges Without Wrecking Your Goals

Learn how to handle and avoid food binges
Food binges happen! Learning how to get through it without making things worse is the key to getting and staying healthy.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” - Alexander Pope


It is a place we have all been before. You have overeaten and regret is setting in. Bullying yourself over a simple slip-up will not only make you feel worse about yourself, but it will not accomplish anything.


Instead, it will be more beneficial to learn what caused your food binge to happen, as well as how to move on while regaining control of your diet goals. This means learning what led to the binge, how to cope with the after affects, and how you will return to your healthy lifestyle.


Keeping a food journal will not only help you keep track of your daily caloric intake, but it can also shine light on the situations and emotions that you experience before your unintended food binge. There is no one right way to keep a food journal, so you should experiment to find what works best for you. Calories consumed, amount of activity, quality of sleep, stress level, and your emotions are all good things to keep track of in your journal.


If you notice the same situations or emotions precede a food binge, you can then determine what exactly you can do to prevent or minimize them in the future. For example, if you find you become bored every afternoon around the same time, choose an activity that you can do at that time instead, such as taking a walk or doing something creative that captures your attention. Developing new habits at these times will not only help stop you from binging, but will help you become happier overall.


If your binge was not caused by boredom, it may have been caused by depriving yourself beforehand. Were you consuming too few calories prior to binging? Were you surrounded by temptation all day? By completely denying yourself until you are physically famished, you are putting yourself in a position where you may lose control and this can lead to a food binge.


Instead of denying yourself, learn ways to address those cravings as they happen so that you don’t fall victim to them. Allowing yourself the occasional small indulgence will not only help keep those temptations at bay, but can reduce the occurrence of your food binges.


Let’s say at the morning meeting at work they served donuts and pastries. Then, in the afternoon there was cake for someone’s birthday and before you left, you were invited to dinner and drinks with friends. By saying an absolute “no” to all of these things, you can start feeling deprived and this may cause you to binge later on.


Instead, stay hydrated and eat healthy meals during the day, eat a small piece of cake and leave the frosting on the plate, and share an appetizer or salad with a friend while enjoying a low calorie drink like a gin and tonic or a glass of white wine instead of a higher calorie one like a frozen margarita. That way, you still feel like you are being social and enjoying all the things you used to do without derailing all of your progress and hard work by causing a food binge.


Once you have discovered what lies behind your food binges, you will better understand how to stay ahead of them and on track with your diet goals. Exercise will not only help burn some of the excess calories you may have consumed, but being active releases hormones that will help improve your mood. Exercise will also help boost your metabolism, so that even after you have finished your workout, you will still burn calories.


Keeping all this in mind, it is easy to see that experiencing an unexpected food binge is not really a reason to beat yourself up. Forgiving yourself is the first step at moving back to your healthy life style and sticking with your diet and weight loss goals. Starting fresh can greatly help with this. Taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and getting a good night’s sleep will allow you to start your day on the right foot.


Once you have started your day anew, you will find that it is easy to go back to your healthy eating habits. The worst thing you can do after a binge is to deny yourself the proper food and nutrition you need. By no means should you limit or starve yourself because of a tiny slip-up. This tiny bump in the road is in your past and, instead of letting it consume you, it is better to use it as a learning experience.


Going back to the Alexander Pope quote at the beginning, it is clear to see how mistakes and forgiveness can play a huge role in how we approach our diet goals. Binges, like any other mistake, happen and the best way to deal with them is to forgive yourself, learn why it happened, and then go back to being you and you are great.


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