I absolutely love food and even for a health nut like me I can find it extremely hard to resist temptations. You walk into the supermarket, petrol station or local cafe and there are delicious treats everywhere. It really can feel like our will power is being tested at every turn. However one of the worst mistakes you can make when you eat something unhealthy, is to then go on a rampant binge and eat every unhealthy thing in sight. We’ve all done it. Eat one bad thing and then think that you may as well continue to eat poorly and start fresh again tomorrow, next week or next month. But rather then undoing all your hard work here’s how to beat the binge once and for all.
1. Recognise your triggers
The first thing to stop binge eating is learning what your triggers are. There are so many reasons why people will go on a binge. Things like a low carb diet, that leave you low on energy and fuel can easily set you off on an over eating rampage. That’s because a low carb diet will leave you feeling deprived, hungry and extremely low on energy. It’s no wonder you will go crazy for sugary treats once you get the taste of one. Other restrictive deprivation diets will do the same. Another trigger could be that you don’t allow yourself treats at all, so then when you do have one you go all out and can't stop. Other common triggers for binge eating can be boredom eating, emotional eating, stress, poor sleep and skipping meals. So learn what your triggers are and then figure what you can do to minimize or avoid them.
2. Find balance
Yes I promote healthy eating and if you have specific goals in mind then there will be times that you need to be quite strict on what you eat. But life is also about balance and we can’t be perfect all the time. I will often treat myself but then I will also work hard at the gym. If I do have a treat then I’ll make sure my next meal is nice and healthy. It’s about finding a good balance in your eating and life so you don’t go from one extreme of being super strict and not touching anything bad, to then completely overindulging and over eating. To get the results in the long term it’s all about finding a good balance.
2. Don’t beat yourself up
So you had a piece of chocolate, or a slice of cake, so what. We are all allowed treats every once and a while. So long as you know it’s a treat and you enjoy it then there is no harm in having one or two every now and again. Just as one healthy meal won’t make you thin, one unhealthy treat or meal won’t make you fat. So allow yourself some treats, plan for them and then get back on track if you do treat yourself. Beating yourself up because you had something “bad” only creates a very unhealthy relationship to food.
3. Clear out temptation
If you know you don’t have good self control at sticking to one treat or a couple, then make sure you have cleared your cupboards from all naughty temptations. Having them sitting there in the cupboards is not going to do you any good if it’s going to result in a late night cupboard raid. It’s also okay to admit that you don’t have will power from eating that whole block of chocolate, welcome to the club of being human. So just make sure if there are certain foods you don’t have control over, get them out of your cupboards to remove the temptation and a potential binge.
4. Find some healthy alternatives to your weakness foods
We all have those weakness foods, including me. You know the ones we find extremely hard to say no to when they are put in front of us. But you know what there are so many tasty healthier alternatives to some of your most unhealthy foods. Check out my recent post on healthy swaps. You can satisfy most "bad" food cravings with healthier alternatives, like oven baked sweet potato fries for french fries, chocolate fudge brownies for chocolate or these amazing F.I.T protein pancakes for a delicious healthy brunch. So rather then trying to avoid the cravings all together find healthier ways to enjoy the foods you love.
5. Understand where your cravings come from
Sometimes we get uncontrollable cravings and just don’t understand where they come from. A lot of the time this can be due to added things in our processed foods like sugar and salt, which then leave you wanting more and more. So in order to prevent a binge it’s good to understand why you have the cravings you do. So much of our sweet tooth cravings come from the fact sugar is in everything these days, which leaves our body craving it all the time. Learn to read ingredient labels and see what's in your food that could be adding to those sugar or salt cravings you get.
The key to a healthy lifestyle is making it just that - a lifestyle you can maintain. Don’t go on extreme restrictive diets that leave you deprived and feeling hungry to only go and binge. Find something you can maintain, remember it’s about balance and treat yourself every once in a while. I hope you found these tips helpful and if there is anything you are struggling with in your health and fitness journey, let me know in the comment below? I want to cover more topics on the blog to help you out as much as possible.