how to recover from a food binge

In normal circumstances it’s easy to eat out of boredom and/or stress, so it’s no surprise that the tendency is amplified in the precarious times that we now find ourselves in. When I over-eat I try to be kind to myself and remind myself that occasional slips won’t ruin my overall healthy diet. The best thing, I find, is to move on and eat well at the next meal – that said there are moments where I tell myself  “well, I ate four cookies, I might as well eat the whole box” and then it happens again the next day, and the next… breaking out of these patterns isn’t easy, but I turned to Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, and advisor to Performance Kitchen to get her expert advice.

Create structure around your eating habits

“Many people who are stuck at home are grazing all day or over-snacking out of boredom and stress. One way to tackle this habit is to create more structure around your eating habits. Begin your day with breakfast within three hours of waking up and from there, space your next two meals within three to five hours apart. At the end of the day, you should enjoy three meals and one or two snacks, if needed.”

Make all meals balanced

“Though emotions are certainly driving the urge to eat, if you aren’t sufficiently satisfied after a meal, it could also set you up for overeating. An ideal meal is balanced with fiber-rich veggies and starches, plant-based fats (from foods, like avocados, nuts, and seeds or their oils and butters), and protein (from sources like canned tuna, chicken, or plant-based options, like chickpeas). This combo helps you stay fuller, longer, so you’re less distracted by hunger. A meal should tide you over for at least three hours so if you’re hungry sooner, it may be a sign you’re eating too lightly.”

Consider healthier versions of the comfort foods you crave

“One really easy way to do this is to buy frozen, portion-controlled versions of those craveable meals. For example, Performance Kitchen’s Cauliflower Mac & Cheese provides the same warm, comforting experience as a traditional mac & cheese, but delivers a full serving of veggies and other wholesome ingredients in a controlled serving size, so you still feel good after your eating.”

Ask yourself if you’re you hungry or emotionally eating

“When you catch yourself rummaging through the cabinets, it’s a sign that you’re eating for emotional reasons. If this happens, pause and take a moment to ID your feelings. Are you bored, stressed, sad, or anxious? Next, come up with a non-food way to manage these emotions. For example, if you’re bored, maybe you would enjoy doing a section of a jigsaw puzzle. If you’re anxious, maybe some deep breathing exercises would take the edge off. This type of strategy takes some practice, but over time, you’ll build a full set of tools to help you cope with your emotions.”

Talk to yourself in a kinder way

“Health isn’t just about how we nourish ourselves or the types of activities we participate in. Health is a series of behaviors we practice, and that includes how we talk to ourselves. Remind yourself that everyone overeats sometimes. Try to replace the voice in your head that judges you with self-compassion for what you’re going through. It will help put you in a better frame of mind to start fresh at your next meal.”

Positive affirmations can really help you eat and feel better

“I counsel clients to practice positive affirmations when they’re getting ready in the morning. If you’re brushing your teeth or tidying up your hair, practice saying things like “I love taking care of myself,” or  “I’m thankful for my body,” or “I make choices that honor and respect my body.” You can listen to a guided practice, just state a few phrases in your mind, post sticky notes on your mirror with positive phrases, and/or screen shot phrases that make you feel empowered.”

When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself how you want to feel today

“Do you want to feel energized? Calm? Productive? Then determine what health practices will help you accomplish those feelings. For example, if you want to feel calm, you might decide you’ll try a guided meditation and end your day with a bath. If you want to feel productive, you might decide to do some meal prep while waiting for dinner to cook. Health behaviors don’t have to be monumental to be effective!”

Image: Vogue 

1 Comment

  1. April 14, 2020 / 5:02 am

    Thanks so much for these tips, really useful, especially for this period of time!

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