Why do I binge eat?

We’ve all been there. For some circumstance or another, we overdid it on the food (and maybe alcohol). And now, you’re left feeling bloated and like you’ve put on half a stone.
Well let me start off by relaxing your nerves; if you’ve been binging for a meal, or a day, your weight gain is predominantly water, so chill. Feeling a bit better? Good. Once you’ve decided to end the binge, all you need to do, is get back in the saddle. Resume eating healthy and doing all your normal activities. DO NOT SELF FLAGELLATE. It won’t set you all the way back, and in the grand scheme of things, it really won’t matter – unless this happening regularly.

Now that you’ve accepted what has happened, let’s figure out why you binged. We’ll go through a couple of scenarios together.

Have you been eating enough in your meals?
I can’t stress this enough. Eat enough foods in your meals. Have proper, balanced meals (I’ve written a post on what this means in ‘Which Diet is Best for Weight Loss’). I get it. You may be trying to lose body fat by going into a calorie deficit. But perhaps you need to decrease the deficit and think more about the quality of food you are eating. By eating proper meals, you greatly reduce the risk of snacking and bingeing. Remember, you can ALWAYS fill your plates with unlimited amounts of raw and cooked vegetables (I aim for 10 portions a day), and dress them in a little olive oil, herbs, spices or organic butter. These fibrous and extremely nutritious foods will keep you feeling full until your next scheduled meal, making it easier for you to resist temptation.

Lacking nutrients?
Sometimes our bodies are screaming for a certain nutrient, and we’re completely unaware. PMS or feeling anxious making you reach for chocolate? May be because of the high magnesium content found in chocolate. So that may have been it, magnesium. Other foods which are high in magnesium are kale and nuts. Feeling stressed and cranky and want some salty, crunchy foods? You might be low in sodium and other essential minerals. A great food which can help is Himalayan salted Pili Nuts. Your electrolyte levels will soon be plenished, and your adrenals (the organs most affected during time of stress) will thank you. Don’t forget, eating good quality animal protein contains LOADS of essential minerals, so you may also benefit from ensuring you have a small portion of protein with each meal. Definitely helps keeping you satiated until the next meal too!

Can be found at Whole Foods, Planet Organic or As Nature Intended.

Were you seriously craving something you vowed not to have?
I love Italian ice cream. It doesn’t matter whether it is freezing cold outside or a warm summer’s day. Even though my gut hates it. So I have it, but I have a little bit every once in a while. I also plan ahead by making sure I eat well that day, so that I am not overloading my body with more inflammation. Bottom line – if you want something really badly, treat yourself to a small amount of it. The rules are; small portion, and not on a regular basis. Make sure you eat healthy at all the other meals, and you’re good.
For those of us who have unwelcome symptoms from the craved food, observe what this food does to you. If it makes you feel physically unwell, and you know this is going to happen, I invite you to respect that contemplate whether the palatable taste of what you’re consuming is worth the pain after. You may have to start looking for alternatives which are less savage on your gut/health (and even then, still only have it occasionally’).

You used to eat loads of processed/junk food and the sugar has got you by the jugular
The food manufacturing business has got you by the balls, and you feel like you’re addicted. You probably are! Commercially produced foods have a certain fat to sugar ratio as well as a cocktail of chemicals which are designed to make you feel addicted to specific foods. These multi billion dollar companies go hard, they even use genetic research data to figure out the best ways to get you hooked. You don’t stand a chance. Here are my 2 cents:

1. Make your own homemade version of these foods if you REALLY want to have them, using whole food, real ingredients. If you can’t explain to me what every ingredient is, you know you’re dealing with a problematic ingredient.

2. If you’re a badass for real, reduce and eventually cut sugar out completely. Pretty hard to get addicted to any foods once that happens. It will be tough, but probably one of the healthiest things you can do for your whole body. Your taste buds will change completely, and so will your cravings.

You have some really big stuff going on in your life, and food is the only comfort you have
If this is you, I am really sorry you are going through this right now! If things are really feeling on top, and none of the above is even fathomable, then please seek counselling. It may be your brain has made some very solidified connections between food and emotions, and you need some help in breaking these pathways with a professional psychotherapist or counsellor. A good place to start is www.counselling-directory.org.uk.
Once you feel you’ve made some space by getting a grasp of the psychological stuff, try the suggestions from above again. Remember, conditions like anxiety, stress and depression can be greatly improved by reducing inflammation, and that is exactly what a healthy diet can do for you.

Have these tips helped? Do you have any other tips which have helped which you’d like to share? Or any questions?

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