Banish Binges for Good

November 12, 2013
Binge eating tips: woman eating ice cream sundae picture

When you’re carrying the weight of a crazy-stressful day, a carton of B&J’s can seem like the only way to take the load off. And while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, that bowl of ice cream can quickly turn into a pint. With hot fudge on top. And a bag of chips on the side.

Even if you don’t overdo it to that extreme, you’ve likely experienced attacks of insatiable hunger that lead you to eat far more food than you'd planned, leaving you feeling stuffed and discouraged. In fact, many women admit to binge eating at least once a month—and feeling guilty afterward.

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Don’t let overeating get you down! Regain control and kiss the binges goodbye with these simple strategies:

Stuff Yourself Skinny
There's less room in your stomach for extra junk when you're stuffed with healthy fare. Plus, when you’re full, you’re less likely to focus on food in the first place. Go for fiber-rich options like veggies and fruits, which will prevent your stomach from grumbling and keep your blood-sugar levels stable without adding too many calories to your meals. Start at breakfast with tasty egg additions like spinach, mushrooms, and onions, or mix canned pumpkin into your oatmeal. Try to also have at least one (ideally two) “mandatory” veggie snacks each day, like bell peppers, cauliflower florets, or sugar snap peas. Note: If you don’t regularly get much fiber, start with smaller portions to give your digestive tract time to adjust.

Make Smart Swaps
If you know a particular food tends to trigger a binge—oh hello there, box of Oreos!—try making satisfying subsitutions that scratch the itch, but don't lead to overeating. For example, many of our clients are set off by bread—they say they can’t stop at one piece—so we recommend choosing something like a Ry-Krisp cracker or Scandinavian bread, which will quench a carb craving without resulting in a binge. Other stand-ins: A fudge popsicle or sugar-free hot chocolate instead of chocolate or ice cream, air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips, and kiwi fruit instead of gummy candies.

Power Up with Protein
Protein-rich foods keep you feeling full long after you eat them, making you less likely to seek comfort in the arms of Chester Cheetah. Aside from added satisfaction, protein also extends the energy you get from the carbohydrates in your meal, which means you won’t overeat as a result of your body’s desperate attempt to get an energy boost after a carb crash. Our advice: Make sure all of your meals include a lean protein source like shrimp, chicken, beans, or tofu.

Take a Breather
Binges often stem from emotions—whether you’re stressed out, sad, or feeling depressed—and calming down can keep your hand out of the cookie jar. The secret is to stimulate your parasympathetic nerversous system, the brain's relaxation channel, with deep breathing. After a long day or whenever you feel the urge to overeat, stop and do this: With your mouth closed, breathe in very slowly through your nose for a count of eight, hold your breath in your lungs for eight more seconds, and then release the air from your lungs by breathing out through your mouth very slowly, again making the breath last for a count of eight. Repeat this sequence 10 times. At first it may be difficult to make each step last for the full eight seconds, but the more you do it, the easier it will become—and the closer you'll get to being binge-free!

Do you have any tricks to prevent a binge?

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