Does this sound familiar at all? You follow a diet perfectly for a few days and just can’t hold out any longer; the chips or cookies are just too tempting. Or maybe you do really well with food choices until dinner and then you can’t stay out of the pantry for the rest of the night. These cravings and binges are NOT your fault!
There are three primary reasons why your cravings are out of control and are giving you the signal to binge.
Improperly regulated blood sugar – If you find yourself chasing the blood sugar roller coaster during the day, it’s pretty much going to dock in Binge Town. Even if you don’t feel shaky or lightheaded, you can be driven to a binge simply by not staying balanced during the day.
What to do: Make sure you are eating at least 15-20g of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and at least 4 fists full of veggies throughout the day. Why? Protein and veggies are dense, take longer to digest, and keep your blood sugar far more balanced. When your body is busy digesting, it’s a lot less likely to tell you eat something else.
Not enough dietary fat – Fat makes your brain happy because it’s naturally satiating. Think of how much more satisfying a meal or snack is when you include a sprinkle of cheese, a slice of bacon, or a smear of almond butter? Yeah. THAT. Yum. If you have cut a lot of fat out of your daily eating, your brain is screaming to be made happy.
What to do: Eat the fat. Aim to get in 2-3 servings of dietary fat daily, such as foods like nuts, nut butters, avocado, seeds, olive oil, breakfast meats, egg yolks. Experiment with what feels best in your body. A whole serving at a time? Or spread it across a time of two or eating? The only caveat is that dietary fats are more calorically dense, so you do want to watch your serving sizes. if fat loss is your goal.
Not eating enough – If you are looking to lose some pounds, then you have probably changed up what you are eating. Most people follow a calorie model, and it really bankrupts your ability to fight cravings that lead to binges. Why? Because the calorie model forces you to look at your allotment for the day and fit alllllll your foods into that number. So instead of focusing on the quality of our foods, we start looking simply at the numerical value they have in terms of calories. From 100-calorie packs to low-cal yogurt, we spend our day counting numbers instead of really seeing what’s going in our bodies. Which do you think would hold you over for longer? I 100-calorie pack of cookies or a small apple? Yep. The apple.
What to do – Dare to step away from counting every morsel. Focus, instead, on getting in protein and veggies first. They are dense in nutrients but light on calories naturally. When you work on getting those in first, by nature, you have less room in the belly for fats and carbs. Those aren’t ‘bad’ but should fall lower in the hierarchy of food importance if you are seeking fat loss.
Where to go from here: Experiment. As a society, we get so locked in to what we think a diet should look like to change our bodies that we assume that’s the only way it can happen. But, in reality, that image may not work for your personal genetic makeup. We are afraid to try something outside of the norm.
Aside from the physical components are the mental games we play in dealing with binges. My biggest piece of advice? Let yourself off the hook. If you ate pizza last night, will you feel guilty about that situation in 6 months? Probably not. Then why feel guilty about it now? It’s a waste of energy. Move on.
If you are interested in learning more on how to live a healthier & happier life around food check out my friend Julie’s program #breakthebinge, it is only open for a limited time! http://bit.ly/1L63jxa
After spending 15 years in the diet-cheat-diet cycle, Julie Stubblefield was finally able to shed and keep off her extra 70 pounds. She is on a mission to help other women understand that changing your body doesn’t have to be a hate-hate journey, while giving them a community of support and comfort.