Last year the article 20 Tips for Breaking Free from Binge Eating was posted to Lift Like a Girl.
And the response has been huge. Since that article was posted I’ve received a LOT of emails, oftentimes several per day.
While I’m honored that sharing my story has helped a lot of people, it deeply saddens me that so many can relate to my experience with binge eating and disordered eating habits.
Why do some many people fall into binge eating habits?
I believe part of the reason is because many of us get off track. We began a health and fitness lifestyle with the intentions of improving our health, losing body fat, and just become better versions of ourselves.
But somewhere along the way, we started dieting harder, working out longer, and before we knew it, we were constantly obsessing over food and hating our bodies. Then we got trapped in a vicious cycle of binge eating, restricting, and guilt with no end in sight.
That’s why I wrote 33 Ways to Break Free from Binge Eating. It’s a book written from the heart that shares in more detail my own experience with binge eating and the things I did (and others have done) to break free once and for all.
You can see all 33 tips in this slideshow (Note – if viewing this from a smartphone or tablet you may need to first download the free Slideshare app. If you don’t want to do that, just scroll down a bit to see all the tips listed):
If you don’t want to, or can’t, view the slideshow, you can see all the information below.
Stop Binge Eating – 33 Ways to Break Free
It’s important to understand that there’s no quick-fix for breaking free from binge eating habits. These habits aren’t developed overnight so we can’t expect to break free from them overnight either. Breaking free does require patience and persistence but it can, and will, get better over time.
Before you dive into the 33 Ways to Break Free from Binge Eating, please reach out to a qualified professional for additional help and support. Here are some great resources:
1. Another Diet is NOT the Answer
There’s a good change that a diet is what contributed to your binge eating habit, so another diet is not the solution.
Stop looking for a diet in hopes that it will solve your problems. A diet can’t fix a problem that another diet created or contributed to.
2. Think Addition and Not Restriction
A restriction mindset (e.g. “I shouldn’t eat certain foods”) leads to binge eating.
Don’t think about eliminating foods, but choose to focus on foods you can add to your meals.
3. Stop Trying to be Perfect
Trying to eat “perfectly” only leads to binge eating. Nutrition isn’t black and white and you don’t have to be 100% on a plan or completely off.
The solution is a more moderate, relaxed approach.
4. Stay off the Scale
Get off, and stay off, the bathroom scale. That number does NOT indicate your self-worth, nor does it reveal what’s really going on with your body.
5. Don’t Have Cheat Days
Cheat days and cheat meals can add fuel to the binge eating cycle because you’re only allowed certain foods at certain times and this contributes to the “all or nothing” mentality.
6. Don’t Have Forbidden Foods
Having forbidden foods leads to feelings of guilt when you do eat those foods. It may also cause you to crave those foods more often simply because “you always want what you can’t have.”
Don’t have forbidden foods, and don’t view foods as “bad” or “evil”.
7. Celebrate All Victories and Don’t Dwell Over Minor Setbacks
Celebrate every victory: whether you go one meal or one day without binge eating, celebrate! Be proud of this victory because you’re building momentum.
Don’t dwell over minor setbacks. When you do slip up, don’t get frustrated. Forget about it and move on.
8. Ditch the Rigid Rules: Embrace Simple Guidelines
Ditch the rigid rules in favor of simple, flexible, sustainable guidelines such as:
- Eat real, whole foods most of the time
- Enjoy (guilt free!) your favorite not-so-healthy foods when you truly crave them
- Eat when you’re hungry
- Stop eating when you’re satisfied, but not stuffed
9. Food is Just Fuel? I Don’t Think So!
Food should be enjoyed.No matter what you’re eating, make sure it’s something you like and be sure to enjoy every bite. There’s no shame in unapologetically enjoying your meals whether it’s a meal of meat and veggies or your favorite dessert.
10. When It Comes to Working Out, Put the Focus on What Your Body Can Do
Working out should not be punishment.
Do NOT focus on burning fat and calories.
Focus exclusively on what your body can do and strive to gradually improve your performance when possible and become a stronger, more awesome version of yourself.
11. Have Positive Support
Talk to someone you can trust and who will support you.
Surround yourself with people who are supportive and loving. Avoid negative people at all costs.
12. Focus on ACTIONS, Not Outcomes
Saying, “I want to stop being eating” isn’t enough.
Focus on actions you can perform on a daily basis.
- Stock your house with real, whole foods you enjoy
- Perform 2-3 strength training workouts per week while focusing on getting stronger
- Eat your meals slowly and mindfully
13. How Can, and Should, You Handle Binge Foods?
One possible solution: keep binge foods out of the house.
They are NOT off limits. If you truly crave a certain food, then go and get it.
14. Stay Away from Rapid Fat Loss Approaches
Sometimes binge eating leads to weight gain.
Do NOT try to lose it quickly with unhealthy rapid-fat-loss methods. That would only lead to more obsessive eating habits.
15. I Know It’s Tough, but You Must be Patient
Breaking free from binge eating may take some time.
Be consistent, and be patient. It will get better.
16. Be Kind to Yourself
You may slip up at some point, but it’s okay!
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Forget about it and move on.
17. Know That You’re Amazing, as You are, Right Now.
You are not flawed.
You ARE awesome, right now.
Despite the battle you’re facing, you can be happy now.
18. Learn to Listen to Your Body
Relearn how to identify natural sensations like physical hunger.
Eat when you’re physically hungry, eat slowly, and stop eating when you’re satisfied.
19. Stop Focusing on Fat Loss
Stop thinking about losing fat, especially with your workouts.
The goal is to become a stronger, more awesome version of yourself and to improve your overall health.
20. Engage in Positive Self-Talk
Erase negative words from your vocabulary and learn to liberally use positive, encourage words.
Yes, this may take time, but it’s important and can have a huge impact!
21. Be Confident
“Will this ever get better?” is a common question.
YES, it will.
Be confident in yourself. Know that with consistent effort it will get better. Be confident that you will come out stronger on the other side.
22. Help Others in Need
Look around your area and see who is in need, and help them.
Oftentimes when we help others during their times of need we can find courage we didn’t know we had to fight our own battles.
23. Avoid Resources That Bring You Down
If certain websites or magazines make you feel bad about yourself – avoid them!
Resources that make you feel obligated to look a certain way are NOT promoting health and fitness.
Surround yourself with positive resources. If it doesn’t build you up, you don’t need it.
24. Love Yourself, Just as You are, Right Now
You can be happy, right now, just as you are.
You don’t have to wait until you break free from binge eating to be happy.
You can choose to do something positive today . . . right now. Choose to be happy whenever possible.
25. Do (More!) Things That Make You Feel Great
Find some things you can do on a daily basis that you enjoy.
Wanting to love our lives is one thing, but this can only happen when we consistently take action.
Find some things you enjoy and do them as often as possible.
26. Don’t Punish Yourself
When you slip up or binge, do NOT punish yourself.
Never respond to a binge in a negative way.
27. Binge Eating Doesn’t Define You
Binge eating may be a battle you’re fighting, but it doesn’t define who you are as a person.
Your actions, intentions, and life goals are the things that define you.
28. Make This Part of Your Story
Binge eating sucks.
BUT, this can be part of your story. This can make you stronger and more resilient.
This may not make sense now, but this can make you a better version of yourself.
29. Don’t Obsess Over the Minor Details
Stop worrying about the minor details like “Should I eat white rice or brown rice?”
Focus on the few things, the BIG things, that matter most.
Apply a few, bare basic guidelines that provide the majority of the results and forget about the rest.
30. What About You is Awesome?
Focus on the positive ACTIONS you can take.
Make a list of the things you can DO TODAY that will make you and your life more awesome.
31. Identify Your Binge Triggers
Identify the emotions and situations that usually trigger a binge, and then come up with a plan of action to handle them.
32. Cook Your Meals
Take the time to prepare some of your meals.
Oftentimes when you get involved in the process of preparing and cooking a meal, you’ll be more likely to slow down and enjoy it.
33. Start With One Small Thing
Don’t try to do too much all at once.
Do just ONE thing at a time.
Once you make that one thing a habit, start doing one more thing. These small changes create BIG results over time.
Your Turn to Break Free
If you’re battling binge eating and are interested in the tips discussed above and want more detailed information, then . . .
“What’s really special about this book – aside from its ease of reading and abundance of practical information – is that its author has won her own battle with binge eating. Therefore, what follows is not just a set of research-based solutions, but also Nia’s powerful, personal touch as someone who has been through the struggle and emerged victorious.” -Alan Aragon
The incredible thing about this book is that you get to pay what YOU think is fair …