Some of us have to deal with binges. It makes us panic, freak out, hate ourselves, and punish ourselves.
When you are not eating your body’s natural reaction is hunger, low blood sugar, and craving for food. And when you have an eating disorder, this craving often leads to a real binge. Not just a snack, or two. We are talking about eating so much your stomach hurts, and you still can’t stop. It’s hell.
So, here’s some tips to try to avoid binges.
1) Make sure you drink enough..At least two liters a day. Water, coffee, green tea, sugar free energy drinks, etc. Ice water with a mint flavor is my personal favorite.
2) Eat chewing gum, strong mint flavors are the best. All food is disgusting with mint taste in your mouth, and you are chewing something..
When you have craving, or feel you are going to, make sure you can distract yourself from it.
You have to find something that takes your focus completely away of food. For me it can be singing, writing, drawing, dancing or playing piano or flute. Just something you really love.
4)Don’t be alone
Doing something with someone else, so you’re not alone can be even more helpfull. Binging is not a thing we do in front of other people. So, go to a friend, family, church, the park. Any place where you can find people. If you don’t have anyone to hang around with, go to a public place like a park, or go to the movies. People will see you, and they will notice when you binge.
5) When you have a lot of problems with binging, it’s better to eat little things six times a day. It will level your blood sugar, so you won’t crave as much. It seems awkward, since most of us really don’t want to eat at all. But eating six times a day will actually be much better. It helps against binging, and your metabolism will be more active.
The reason you get cravings for food is because your body doesn’t have energy anymore, so it needs fuel, meaning food. If you don’t give it, your body will go on ‘stand by’. Your metabolism slows down, and you’ll burn less calories. Meanwhile your body keeps screaming for food, when it finally gets it, it will be supercheap with it. Preparing for the next hunger strike. So eating six times a day is a better and healthier way.
You can eat fruit, some kinds of nuts, vegetables, and for the best eat at least two times something with carbs.
6) Don’t buy things that trigger a binge.
This one is kind a obvious. When you are in charge of the groceries, make a list before shopping, and stick to it. Don’t get food in your house that is not in your regular diet.
7) Food plan and journal
Make a structured list of what and when you are going to eat.
Write down exactly what, when, at what time you are going to eat, and try to stick to that plan. Make sure you set goals that are realistic. When you make a plan to not eat, and crave and binge, you will hate yourself. Better make a plan to eat a little more and prevent binges than fail. Stick to the list at least one week, and then see if you can make some changes.
Also keep a journal, where you keep track of what you ate, at what time, but also the times and places and triggers of your cravings and binges.
This is going to be a little bit lame again. You have probably thought of it yourself, or others have told you this over and over again.
But, it is important, healthy, and very helpful to have a daily structure. Even though this may not be the first time you’ve heard this, when you ask yourself about it, and answer really honest. Is there need to improve your structure? Are there too many moments in a day when you don’t know what to do with yourself? Those moments are ideal for the binge monster to strike.
Now, I am not suggesting you should work and keep yourself busy 24/7. But you do have do get off your auto-pilot, and make sure that you are always fully aware of what you are doing.
It has a lot of benefits. First of all, for those, who just like me, don’t have a job, it is important to get out of your house, do things, socialize, do some volunteering, or whatever that makes you feel like you tribute to society. Spend time developing your talents, anything. Avoid the situation where you’re going to be a couch potato. It’s very easy to get there, so don’t!
Then, for everybody. Whether you have a job, go to school, live alone, with your parents, boyfriend, or your husband and kids.
We are all human, and we are human beings who are obsessed with food. Which means that we most likely live every other part of our life on (semi)auto-pilot.
You may not even notice right now. Then you probably think I’m high while writing this. If so, I hope you will look back one day, cause you’ll see eventually.
Anyway; benefits of a structured life, and therefor, or by, being aware of what you are doing.
- You have a safety in your structure, plan day by day. Or, as I like to do it, I plan bigger things to at most month ahead (festivals, birthday, other party’s, doctors appointments etc), so I can prepare for big things, like a festival. But I plan my days in detail one day ahead. And I always have a back up plan where needed. So I won’t be faced with surprises which can lead to destructive behavior.
- Giving more attention to the things you are actually doing is distracting you of the food. Instead of obsessively thinking about food, you are paying attention to something else. Well, this is a simple calculation, not thinking about food, makes the urge to binge less stronger.
- Paying more attention to the things you are actually doing, might make you feel better. Assuming you are doing something you like. It might even help to get to know yourself better.
- When you have a structured life, and manage to keep a food journal, it’s easier to find out what and when your weak spots are. When you know your enemy, it’s easier to battle it!
Now I have a lot of psychological inside stuff about this one, but I won’t bore you with that.. For now I’ll move one.
A lot of binges are caused by emotions. You can feel lonely, angry, sad, depressed. Or, what I mostly feel when I don’t know what to do anymore, is just this horrible emptiness, like a wormhole that has such great power that it sucks everything inside. And unfortunately we do not have the science yet to tell us where everything goes. And that stupid thing, it takes every bit of life force out of me, but no matter how hard I bed, it won’t take me…jack-ass.
No, just kidding, but I guess you do know that awful lonely, empty feeling. I find it very hard to deal with too, still, after twelve years of therapy. It makes me want to hurt myself, use drugs, or just do something stupid to get rid of the feeling.
And having a binge, even though you did not wanted it, is an other way to cope. It is litterally trying to fill the empty space.
And here I go again; another cheesy line. You don’t feel better after a binge.
So, when you sense yourself feeling even a little out of balance, try to write about it. Get a diary, a blog, use poetry, or art. But try to get your emotions of your chest before they pile up and you are going to explode.
Remember this word, and check yourself..
Experience has learned that when we are in one, or more of those states, we are more agitated. We are vulnerable. And more likely to react in self destructive behavior that is in our comfort zone. There will not be much needed to set us off, just a stink eye from a strange lady in the subway, that was not meant for us, but we decided it was. And off we go.
So, remember HALT, and try to avoid it.
***Side-note: Hungry will become less of a problem as you get used to a minimum diet, and eventually won’t be a problem at all. But, not to be bitchy, since this post is about binges, I think hunger is an issue in some cases. So I do think it is important to take this seriously. Better take a little bite to avoid a binge, then to be sorry after…
I hope this is somewhat helpful.
For more questions, you know where to find me!