ANOTHER WAY TO OVERCOME BINGE EATING
by Londin Angel Winters
There are few things in life more shaming than binge eating. In my journey working with thousands of people on weight loss, I’ve never met a person who didn’t secretly or not-so-secretly overeat from time to time. Yet, it takes my clients weeks or months to admit their indiscretions to me. No one wants to admit overeating.
Well, I’m here to say it happens. And I’m also here to say there is tremendous hope:
Anyone can overcome unwanted food behaviors if they are willing to do the work.
In my book, Loving Your Weight Off, I give you lots of methods to overcome binge eating, but today, I wanted to add another tool to your arsenal.
What is most commonly addressed with overeating are the nutritional deficiencies at play. For example, if I find myself plowing through potato chips, I would ask myself, “What do the potato chips offer in terms of nutrition that I might be craving? Do I need the minerals present in salt? Do I need slow-digesting carbs? Can I provide these needs for myself in another way that is healthier?”
While this is an incredibly valuable way of correcting unwanted food behaviors, I have found it is not the full story. There is another reason we overeat which is related to something that is rarely discussed — the physical nature of binge eating.
The satisfaction that comes from repetitive chewing cannot be overlooked when it comes to correcting unwanted food behaviors.
Crunching, munching and chomping help us process unresolved tension in the body. Whether that tension comes from frustration, anger or anxiety, the “chomp, chomp, chomp” often helps us process the uncomfortable feeling.
Beyond processing tension, the other side benefit is the grounding effect that comes from consuming something high in calories and fat, such as corn chips. An extra large serving will ‘weigh’ the body down and provide a sense of grounding. This can be very comforting after a crazy day, especially if you are looking to drown out anxiety or worry.
So, what is the solution?
The next time you find yourself craving a food that is crunchy, ask yourself whether you
are actually craving a release of the excess tension in your body. If it’s about the tension, consider doing a couple minutes of intense movement. Jumping jacks are great for this.
If you find yourself attracted to a food which has a very hand-to-mouth repetitive chewing nature to it, ask yourself whether you are actually looking for a trance effect to calm your mind. Consider reaching for your favorite essential oil and allowing the scent to help you relax.
If you are craving something high calorie for the density, consider doing a few minutes of deep breathing, focusing on planting your feet solidly into the earth.
If the cravings are so intense that you are having trouble finding the space to reach for an alternative choice, check out my article How to Find “The Pause” Before Eating Unwanted Food. It will give you some tools to get underneath food behavior that feels intensely compulsive.
Imagine if you could shift your entire relationship with food into meeting every one of your needs better? This is the foundation that Loving Your Weight Off rests upon. It is my deep desire, to see each and every one of you enjoy freedom around food, exercise and weight. I have found that when we free ourselves of the energy spent on dieting and overexercising, we see our lives blossom in ways we could have never expected.