I think we can all agree that binging is a very situational experience. And for me, it would happen mostly before bed. It’s a lot easier to distract yourself from overeating during the day with work and responsibilities. And then night falls and you’re at your house surrounded by kitchen pantries and cabinets of goodies calling out your name. Trust, me I’ve been there. I know how frustrating it is to undo all the hard work of staying on track all day. I’ve learned how sometimes being alone with yourself can be dangerously boring. But I’ve learned some tips that’s helped me stop binge eating at night.
Most of the time I would start eating after my roommates went to sleep and I wasn’t being entertained anymore. I would zombie walk into the kitchen and grab all the snacks I could carry back to my room. To top it all off, the nights of overeating would be compensated by trying to burn off more calories and restrict myself even more the next day. Ah, the vicious cycle of binging and purging. It makes me so sad to think that I felt the need to punish myself for trying to fill a void.
But I lived to tell the tale and I have a much better relationship with food and most importantly, myself. I’ve learned to give my body what it needs rather than what it wants & listen to my body’s cues. By slowly replacing unhealthy habits, I’ve come through the other side to share everything that I learned. So here are some tips that prevent me from taking my nightly trip to binge city.
1. Eat Enough Calories During The Day
You might be so busy during the day that you’re not taking the time to eat enough calories. Specifically, protein. Eating a protein rich diet can help fill you up for longer. And when you’re loading up on too many carbs and not enough protein, you might not feel as satisfied. Figure out how much of each macronutrient you’re eating by tracking your caloric intake. At one point, my diet consisted of refined carbs and sugary snacks, which slowed me down and made me hungrier later. Now I meal prep every few days, especially when I know I’ve got a lot going on. I tend to eat what I have already made and what’s in front of me. Meal prepping for the day or week is a great way to prevent binges later.
2. Don’t Eat While You Watch TV
We tend to binge at night more because we’re bored. Checking social media and watching t.v. can lead to mindless munching, especially when it becomes habitual. I know that when I went to the movies, I always had to have some popcorn and M&Ms. Something about the salty and sweetness is ultra satisfying (try saying that 10 times fast). I also used to binge watch and eat after work. I’d put on Breaking Bad and get lost in a sugar coma. But I changed things up because watching that many hours of Netflix is it’s own unhealthy habit. Dinner comes before my (much shorter) Netflix time and afterwards I have a snack. This is my new ritual to signify the end of my day and food intake. You could also do something else like stretch or meal prep while you watch your show. If you have to multitask, as least make sure it’s healthy.
3. Make Your Diet More Interesting
You might be trying to stick to a super clean diet that doesn’t allow you any treats or foods you like. I know when I first got into cooking healthy for myself, my meals consisted of chicken, rice, and asparagus. So exciting right? Needless to say, I would end up eating a few too many desserts and fatty snacks because I wasn’t allowing myself any flavor I actually enjoyed. Going plant-based has opened up doors to the recipe world by forcing me to find meals I enjoy eating that are easy to make. I started by searching Pinterest and Google for recipes that looked awesome and bookmarked them so I could try new recipes every day (including dessert). It’s important to treat yourself every once in a while so you don’t binge on the sweets later. Bottom line, being healthy is about balance. Try incorporating food that you love with food that is nutritious!
4. Intermittent Fasting
I’m definitely not perfect, but I have been practicing intermittent fasting and have noticed a huge difference in how I go about my evenings. Before I would snack up until I was about to crawl into bed. But now, I have a cut off time. The point of intermittent fasting is to allow yourself an 8 hour window (or whatever amount of time) where you consume your calories for the day. This definitely helps me take my mind off food because after 8 or 9 o’clock, I don’t have to worry about it. It’s also helped me stay way more productive in the evenings. However, I don’t recommend intermittent fasting if your going through or recovering from an eating disorder. Please speak with a physiologist or other mental health professionals first.
5. Keep Yourself Busy
If you are the type of girl who overeats when you’re alone or bored, it might be beneficial for you to spend your evenings doing something to keep you busy. I started replacing my nightly binges with exercise. Just be careful not to develop an unhealthy relationship with exercise like I did. Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it. Now I keep myself busy by working on my business and staying physically active (the healthy way). Instead of focusing on the fact I’m not eating, I’m more focused on my new healthy habits. Picking up a new hobby that takes up some time in the evenings like reading a book or practicing yoga can help distract you from binge eating at night.
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Peace & Love,