Binge eating is characterized by consumption of large volumes of food at one time often accompanied by a feeling of zoning out, numbness, and even euphoria. The act of binging is described by individuals who engage in it as very satisfying. However, the back end of the binge is often shame-ridden & significantly damaging. Stress, the perception of negative emotions, and lack of acceptance of them are triggers for binge eating, but understanding our basic psychological needs can provide a useful tool for breaking the binge cycle.
Here’s my take on emotional binge eating… I believe it’s involved with acceptance of our emotions!
Next time you find yourself doing it stop and ask yourself to name to emotion you are currently feeling.
Stop and assess the situation and question…
- Do you know you don’t need food right now?
- Do you recognise that you are not physically hungry?
- What is it exactly that does need your attention (other than food)?
This creates a level of emotional intelligence which is a skill that can be built. As long as you want it to.
We have the ability to discern, assess and analyse what we are experiencing in our bodies because that’s where our emotions manifest.
As you know I’m no psychologist but I am aware of 3 basic psychological needs of humans:
- Autonomy – it’s a felt sense of choice. The actions that you engage in arise from your values. If you are forced into change the chances of success is low to due to autonomy.
- Competence – sense of self efficacy. Competence to move forward and have a measure of control over actions and environment. Recognise the capabilities that you have and put those into play.
- Relativeness – felt sense of connectedness and belonging. It is NOT a felt sense of fitting in!
The ability to say “Ok now that I know that these are the motivations for every behaviour that you engage in. What’s missing? How are you feeling threatened by one of these?
When you feel an unconditional connection to someone it is not despite our failures / faults it is because of them. You don’t have to change who you are to have a felt sense of connectedness.
With compulsive eating you will see that one or more of these is being threatened in some way. Often it subconscious, like a feeling of disconnection – that can be triggered – which leads us to food.
When you’re trying to be healthy and eat well (you own that thought by the way!) and the people around you do not share these goals but you care so much about the people despite the goals -you will eat poorly due to the need to fit in, so you feel like you can relate to them. So there are 2 opposing forces. So that the connection that is wanted is feeling threatened and constricted.
Our primary need is to find people who share common goals about their health, which you can really connect with.
The primary reason that individuals will binge eat is because they have a lack of connection with their emotions.
Initially when you start to develop that sense and that ability to be more aware and present with your emotions it can be very very scary… it’s a catch 22.
You think “I already have trouble sitting with occurring with me.. This emotion right now, I want to get away from”.
When you binge you stuff it down to be avoided.
I am not an emotional binge eater. I was an emotional starver. It comes from the same place. You remove yourself from the emotion in a different way.
We think of food to avoid thinking about our emotions.
Binge eaters need to learn to be more aware and present with their emotions and to feel them. And that can be scary which will just draw them to the food again. The key is to do it slowly… a step by step process.
Learn how to avoid avoidance. Take deep breaths, you’re gonna be ok. You can relax.
You may feel threatened but if we look at this objectively… YOU ARE OK.
One of our 3 needs may feel like it’s threatened or damaged and in some way our lives aren’t usually. When we stress eat, it’s not because our lives are being threatened it’s because we feel uncomfortable. So the #1 key is to develop that level of emotional intelligence and that’s really just part of self-regulation. It’s part of self-control. It’s learning how to be more resilient and cope effectively.
Change your personal health behaviours!!
How do you react when you feel stressed? What drives your behaviour? How are your actions helpful?
Next time slow down, stop, relax, breath and be mindful. Ask yourself “What needs my attention?”
Honour who you are. Acknowledge your need for connectiveness and autonomy. Learn how to avoid avoidance. Be forward thinking. Slow down and be present and aware enough to say “What’s really happening here?”, “Is food going to fix this?”
It’s the behaviour of binge eaters that has become the addiction. It’s all about self-protection – in a less than effective way.
Don’t just look at food in regards to the 3 needs, look at your life.
What is truly nourishing you?
What are your values / principles?
Own them and honour yourself.
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This is a sentence I read years ago, but can’t recall where: “Self-defeating behaviour constitutes a failure to pursue enlightened self-interest”. And this is what I hear when my clients report in that they are choosing not to follow their nutrition plan.
It’s always fascinated me why people say they want one thing then choose the opposite of their goal. They say they are interested in being healthy but refuse to do what needs to be done to get there. As soon as they see their plan they say ‘oh this is too hard’, and that’s without putting in any effort at all.
I am not a Psychologist so these are just my thoughts…
Plenty of human behaviour does produce results that are harmful or costly to them. Self-defeating behaviour is quite real; the only question is why people do it. The person is pursuing some positive outcome, but the person chooses some way of getting it that does not work and in fact produces a negative, undesirable outcome. In other words, it consists of goal-directed behaviour that backfires and produces the opposite of the intended result.
So why do they make bad decisions that depart from rational self-interest?
The main issue that goes through my head everyday is always about nutrition. “Why won’t they just eat right?” If find it confusing because of my relationship with food. So here’s a little background.
I’ve always been a bit funny with food. Even as a little child I hated my food touching. My mother served my dinner in a Tupperware container that was divided up into sections. As a teen I chose to starve myself. And as an adult I was always searching for the answer to my problem: “How can eat to give me a great body?” I was never really concerned about my health that actually became a bonus when I was given the right plan.
One day I met a competitive bodybuilder at the gym and we were chatting about diet and he offered to do me up a plan. When he gave that to me it was the answer to my problem. It was the cure for my pain. It was the beginning of a new life.
I did not say things like “I will start Monday”, “I will wait ‘til I’m ready”, “I will just wait to my visitors leave”, “I will wait til I’m in the right headspace”. Those sentences didn’t even cross my mind. I was that desperate. I was so sick of the pain of looking ordinary. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t even think to ask myself if I was ready… that didn’t even cross my mind. I had been suffering for over 20 years of food and body issues and this was my answer.
That was over 15 years ago and I haven’t looked back. I may have gone off track here and there but since then 90% of my nutrition has been consistent. I no longer suffer from not having the knowledge to get this right. I no longer had to question anything. I just followed the plan. Changes in the mirror were obvious about 4 weeks into it.
So here’s my confusion. Why is it that people sit in front of me at a consult and tell me their pain and how much that want to finally get this right, but when its offered they turn their back on it or tell themselves it’s all too hard.
I had a chat the other day with an old client who has hormone issues. I told her the answer to her problem and she just rolled her eyes at me. So I also question whether people don’t follow the right plan because perhaps they don’t want a solution. Perhaps if they ate right they would have nothing to complain about? Is it attention seeking perhaps?
Every day I see people who have had no luck with all their previous endeavours, yet when the solution is suggested / recommended / offered they won’t have a bar of it!
Most overweight people have the knowledge of what they should be doing, it’s their choices that let them down. They allow barriers. We all have the same choice. How you want to look is your choice.
Humans are funny aren’t they?
These changes happened overnight for me and they could for everyone if they choose to. I suffered long enough, have you?
Just choose your hard.
Ladies, if you are serious about dropping body fat you need to keep your fibre up, especially when it comes to the butt and thighs!
Read this article!
Interested in building more muscle, losing more fat, improving your digestion and decreasing your chances of heart disease and cancer? Enjoy this brand new article!
We all know that we need a good dose of fiber every day to boost metabolism, improve the digestive process, rid our digestive tracts of waste buildup and reduce inflammation. But with everything else you are paying attention to and keeping track of in your diet, it can be hard to focus on getting more fiber.
The recommended minimum daily requirement of fiber is 25g, but if your digestive system is out of whack, you’ll want to get even more than that.
Getting More Fiber Isn’t as Hard as You Might Think
When most people think of getting more dietary fiber, they think first of eating more grains. That’s a natural mistake, considering all of the hype from bread and cereal manufacturers. The problem with those foods is that they are loaded with carbs, sugar, artificial ingredients, sodium and calories. This can be an issue with anyone, but especially for those who need to watch carbs and/or sugar because you’re trying to lose fat and/or correct insulin sensitivity problems. With the grains approach to fiber, you might think you don’t have any carbs or calories to spend on getting more fiber into your diet.
Trying to get 25g of fiber through grains can add up to a ton of extra carbs and calories. A slice of whole wheat bread contains between 1-3g of fiber, around 60-70 calories and anywhere from 13-20 carbs. I know you’re not going to try to get all 25g of fiber from bread, but imagine if you did, you would be adding at least 600-700 calories a day and a ton of carbs.
The good news is that you can get additional fiber into your diet without taking in a single grain food and sometimes without even taking in one single additional calorie. How does that grab you?Here are my favorite ways to get more fiber into your diet, without adding more carbs or a bunch of calories:
1.Don’t peel it, eat it.
The vast majority of the indigestible fiber in fruits and vegetables is in their peels or skins. The skin also contains an awful lot of the vitamins and antioxidants, especially with things like apples and red grapes. Whenever you can, focus on vegetables and fruits that you don’t necessarily need to peel in order to eat them. You’ll get a whopping dose of insoluble fiber, which is like dragging a whisk broom through your digestive tract. The best part is you’re not adding any calories by eating the peel because it is indigestible.
One note: As I’ve said before, you want to buy organic as often as possible, but especially if you’re eating the peel or skin of the fruit or vegetable. Pesticides and herbicides are absorbed through the skin, so washing and peeling do not remove all of the toxins.
2.Eat more berries.
Even if you’re on a very strict carb limitation, you can enjoy some low-glycemic fruits. When you do, choose berries. Not only are they low on the glycemic scale, but those tiny seeds in strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are nothing but insoluble fiber. On top of that, you’ll be getting a ton of antioxidants, including Vitamin C, B-vitamins and resveratrol, which boost muscle recovery and your immune system. Berries are also some of the lowest-calorie fruits you can eat. Again, please buy organic berries so you are not getting a hefty dose of toxins that cancel out the good you’re doing.
3.Focus on cruciferous vegetables.
Ounce for ounce, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy and Brussels sprouts have more fiber than other veggies. They’re also loaded with phytonutrients that you can’t get from grains, are very low in calories and extremely low on the glycemic scale, which is important if you’re cutting carbs or having insulin issues.
You want to eat these with the fibers as intact as possible, so raw is best. If you do need to cook them, steam them, or sauté just enough to tenderize them a bit but still leave them crisp. This leaves it up to your digestive system to do most of the work breaking down the fibers. That means slower absorption of the carbs and fats in your meal as well.Because of the high fiber content in cruciferous vegetables, plus their generally high volume, you can eat a lot of these veggies for few calories and feel full and satisfied much longer than you would eating something like spinach or salad.
4.Your invisible friend, Psyllium husk
Psyllium husk powder is one of the best things you can stock in your kitchen if you need to add fiber and if you’re trying to cut calories and burn stored fat.
Psyllium husk is nothing but soluble fiber, meaning that it is indigestible, but also expands and turns into a gel-like substance when mixed with liquids (either the liquid they’re in or the liquid in your stomach). This gives you a real sense of fullness without adding a single calorie to your meal.The great thing about psyllium husk powder is that it’s practically undetectable. I like to add it to my protein shakes or juices and have even sprinkled it on baked sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs and other foods without being able to taste or feel it on my tongue. You do want to drink up quickly if you add it to a shake or drink, because that gel action starts pretty quickly. Also, don’t add too much or your shake or juice will thicken up too much to be palatable. One or two teaspoons are all you want for a large shake, smoothie or whatever you may be juicing.
Psyllium husk powder will run you under $10 for a large container that will last for months. A little bit of this goes a long way and at 3g of fiber per teaspoon, it’s a fast, easy and calorie-free way to ramp up your fiber intake.
5.Add flax seeds to your food.
Flax seeds are fantastic. They are full of healthy fats and one tablespoon of raw flax seeds has 84mg of potassium, 66mg of phosphorous, 26mg of calcium and 40mg of magnesium. PLUS, that one tablespoon also contains 2.8g of fiber, almost 2g of protein and only 55 calories!
One of the easiest ways to get flax seeds into your diet is to mix them up with the other nuts and seeds you’re snacking on. But you can also add them to oatmeal, salads, stir them into soups and add them to your homemade vinaigrette. They add a nice nutty flavor to a lot of foods.
6.Switch to quinoa for those grains.
I’m a huge fan of quinoa. It’s a seed that acts like a grain and is considered one of the all-time best superfoods because it not only contains a ton of micronutrients and healthy fats but also 2.2g of complete protein per 100g. That 100g also packs 2.8g of fiber, 172mg of potassium, 152mg of phosphorous, 64mg of magnesium and 17mg of calcium, all for 120 measly calories.
One the coolest things about quinoa, is that it’s a great substitute for almost any grain you can think of. You can serve it as a side dish instead of rice (try cooking it in chicken stock instead of water), use it in place of pasta by topping it with your favorite tomato sauce, stir it into soups and stews like you would rice or pasta or even eat is as a hot cereal.
We like to cook up a big batch of it at dinner time and stick the leftovers in the fridge. Then we just scoop some into a bowl with a little coconut milk and nuke it. Top that with some fresh berries and you have an incredibly delicious, nutrient-dense breakfast that will keep you full for hours.
Getting more fiber into your diet doesn’t have to mean eating more carbs, adding a lot of calories or having to give up other foods so you can add more high-fiber foods without increasing your calorie intake.
By using these tips for getting more fiber, you will add very little (if any) to your calorie intake and you will feel more satisfied.
You’ll also feel the benefits of your increased fiber intake within just a couple of days.
Your digestion will work more smoothly.
You’ll rid your body of waste and toxin build-up, making you feel lighter, cleaner and more energetic.
You’ll have less inflammation throughout your body.
Your blood sugar levels will also improve, since the high fiber content of these foods will slow the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. That also means improved insulin levels.
You don’t have to use all of these tips at once, though you certainly can. Just choosing and adding two or three of these at a time will have a huge impact on your body. Start with the two or three that appeal to you the most or are easiest for you, then add one or two every week after that. You won’t regret it!
In my opinion.. and I’ve been doing this for 15 years… is that the number one reason why women struggle to drop fat is….
Our bodies are machines and if we don’t fuel them properly they don’t run properly. I see more women treat their cars better than they treat themselves.
The whole message of “Eat less, move more” has just gone out of control. Shows like Biggest Loser also give people the wrong impression. Obese people eating only 1000 calories and they drop weight very quickly. But what people do not realise is that they are not dropping fat, they are losing muscle. They end up with saggy skin and then after the show they rebound, due to muscle memory.
Basically we burn about 1 calorie per minute, and there’s 1440 minutes in a day. What do you think happens when you workout / exercise and undereat? When you undereat your body thinks it’s going into starvation and holds onto fat. Especially if you are a woman. If you put in plenty of exercise your body will stop burning fat and burn precious muscle instead.
Fat loss is not just about energy in / energy out, its about hormones. And when you undereat your hormones do not function at their best. Therefore by eating more you are helping your hormones, not ‘deforming’ them.
I see women bust their arse in the gym yet fail to follow that effort up with proper eating. You need to put in more effort with your food than your exercise!!
If you follow my rules you will achieve results:
- Protein at every meal (#1 rule)
- For fat loss – 50% Protein
- Drink 1 Litre of water per 25kg of weight
- Never eat carbs on their own (encourages fat storage)
- Never combine Carbs and Fats
- Do not eat carbs for breakfast (for brain health / fat storage prevention)
- Time your carbs for post workout or at least 3 hrs prior
- Caffeine before workout but not immediately after
- No fruit before exercise.
- Do not starve / undereat
- Eat more quality food to boost your body
- Focus on Alkalising foods
- Eat small meals often
- Fats are best consumed at the beginning and the end of the day.
- Don’t count calories, focus on Macronutrients and food timing
- Have strategic Cheat Meals
It really is not hard at all. If it was, no one would do it.
Creating the habit is the hard part… so start NOW!
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me they lost weight using a program such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig…. But then regained it. So, in reality they didn’t lose it at all.
To state that you lost weight you should be able to further that sentence by saying that you kept it off and have learnt the value of food in that process. Those same people generally still have no idea what is a carb and what is a protein.
An alarm bell should be going off in your head when you see the advert on TV from Weight Watchers that says “since when is food good or bad?” Hello…. Why do you think there is an obesity epidemic when you have to hear that rubbish? Food is either good or bad for you, simple as that.
These types of systems are a bit of a joke within the fitness industry because they don’t actually encourage putting the whole process together. Counting calories is just half the story. If you needed 1400 calories per day to drop weight and you focused on mainly protein – you are going to much more successful than if you focused on carbs, as we burn more calories breaking down protein than carbs. So you can see that is why counting calories is an incomplete picture. Not all calories are created equal.
Another thing to think about…. When I was in school we were given the ‘food pyramid’ which states we should be eating heaps of carbs. Have you noticed how 20 years later we have an obesity epidemic? Coincidence?
The most effective way of losing fat and keeping it off is by having a structured meal plan… that educates you on the way your meals should be structured and timed.
When I create a diet plan for you it is based on nutritional requirements, timing and are exact numbers. If you follow the plan you cannot fail. Unless of course there are pre-existing issues.
Here’s why it works:
- Exact amounts are based on science
- Weighing everything teaches you portion control
- Knowing that everything that goes into your mouth will get you closer to your goals
- Upon checking your body composition we can learn what needs to be altered
- Creates a shopping list for you
- Encourages you to prepare ahead
- If something unexpected comes up you already have your meal prepared
- You know exactly what you are going to eat next
- Prevents 3.30itis
- Controls blood sugar levels, which in turn assists with fat burning
- Controls cravings
- Every fitness model on the planet follows one… and that should speak volumes to you!
- If you dedicate yourself to it you will not be looking for other foods
- You can’t undereat and therefore hang onto fat
- Nutrients are timed to create an ideal environment for ultimate health and shape
- Having the correct amount of protein ensures the weight you drop is from fat and not muscle… therefore no rebound / fat regaining
- Educates you how you should be eating for the rest of your life
- If you have had an unsuccessful week you will know why…instead of guessing
- Knowing that you can have cheat meals makes it all worth it and you enjoy it much more
Here’s the thing… the most successful people ARE the ones who stick to the plan. The ones that don’t are the ones who complain about it.
These are the things I hear from them:
- It’s boring! Well make it more interesting for yourself then. Try tempting your palate with different herbs and spices. Why does food have to entertain you anyway?
- It’s too hard! Well if that were true no one would do it. Will that statement help or hinder you?
- It’s hard work! Well so is walking around with too much weight on your skeleton
- But then I have to make 2 separate meals for my family! Too bad. I know that’s tough but by not trying, and creating that barrier is not going to get you closer to your goals. What are you prepared to do to get what you want?
- I will just change some things. Are you sure then that you have stuck to the nutritional requirement of that meal?
- I wanted something sweet. That’s no excuse. I have a heap of recipes for high protein sweets. You just need to ask or do some research.
- But I was socializing. So you have two choices – either treat that meal as one of your designated cheat meals, or you use the meal you should have already prepared.
- But I was with friends. True friends will support you on your journey, not criticize
- But, but, but…… Too bad, suck it up and focus on your goals
By Law, I have to tell you that you cannot lose more than a kilo of bodyfat per week. However, the more you have to lose the quicker you can lose it, and I have seen it done. So, if you only have 10 or less kilos to lose doesn’t make sense to stick to a stricter regime?
If you aren’t losing it that quickly then isn’t it time you reassess the way you implement your eating plan?
Here’s another option if you don’t want to follow the plan I create – record what you eat yourself. Use websites such as Calorie King Australia to see exactly what you are putting in your mouth. Aim for the amounts I tell you that you need.
Food is something we all have to do and you cannot avoid it. So now is the time to be more focused on your diet. You simply cannot come in for a weigh in and expect results if you are just adding exercise only to your life. You cannot out train a lousy diet.
Food is what our bodies use to repair itself, fuel our fat burning / muscle building process, extend our lives and function optimally… if you are using it correctly! Are you?
I could not have reached 11% bodyfat without my plan and my dedication. Are you prepared to reach your goals?
If it’s been more than a month since I’ve seen you, would it be time to check in with me?