My Struggle & Triumph Over Binge Eating & Emotional Eating
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
It all started in high school - the eating when no one else was around, feeling ashamed of my body, promising myself today I would be "good" with food, starving myself all day to make up for binge eating the day before only to do it all over again - and it didn't end. Ever.
I don't say that to make you give up hope, but to be honest. Any eating disorder, or mental health disorder, is never fully 100% cured. You will relapse. You will question if you'll ever be "normal". You will have amazing days, months, and even years, but never really know if its gone forever.
Everyday I am reminded of my eating disorder struggles, and everyday I get to decide who is in charge - Me, the lifestyle and fitness coach obsessed with her own growth here to make a difference by shining her inner light, or the disorder.
My intention is to show you how I cope on the days my disorder is winning and how to turn your setback into a comeback.
(disclaimer: while I do have a BS in nutrition and AS in exercise science as well as a nutrition certification, I HIGHLY recommend seeking professional help if you think you may be suffering from any mental health illness. You got this babe! ❤︎ )
1. Stop Dieting
As I mentioned above some days are better than others. Some days I can eat healthy, not think about food at all, and enjoy myself without going overboard. Other days it is not as easy to separate food from my emotions or control either.
Personally, my binging is triggered by restricting. The word "diet" immediately turns a switch in my brain. All it takes is one tiny slip from that "diet" to have me elbow deep in the cookie jar or scavenging the fridge for snacks.
The easiest way to prevent that is not "diet" or track calories and macros. I did that for years and while it is a great tool for many that turns food into a numbers game to me which triggers my binge eating.
Currently, I focus on portion control using colored containers and a calorie and macro free tracking app! This allows me to make sure I get enough vegetables and protein without focusing on the numbers as much.
2. Drink enough water
Other than focusing on portion control, staying properly hydrated helps my emotional eating stay under control. When you are not drinking enough water your body can confuse thirst for hunger leading to over eating.
For me, lack of water also makes me super grumpy and feeling low energy which usually causes my body to attempt to fix the problem with food. Constantly drinking water throughout the day, about 1 ounce for every 2 pounds you weigh, is even to keep you fully hydrated and in a better mood.
3. Sleep enough
Lack of sleep is a huge trigger at least for me. For the same reasons water make me overeat, so does not enough sleep. Any low energy state, whether physically or emotionally, causes me to obsessively overeat in an attempt to gain control.
Simply getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, drinking enough water daily, and avoiding restrictive habits usually is enough for me to able control my binging.
4. Focus on self care
Other than basic self care, like eating, sleeping, and drinking water, doing the little extras really helps me love my body and want to take the best care of it.
Simply do the most - dry brushing, exfoliating, shaving, and moisturizing - when I feel like binging not only occupies my time, but also helps me content with my inner goddess. Facials, manicures, DIY masks, and all that extra stuff you don't do on the daily may help you in the same way.
Try it for yourself! Next time you want to binge, go take a shower, use the expensive hair mask, paint your nails, try a Pinterest DIY facial, and show your body some love.
5. EFT Tap it out
If you have never tried EFT Tapping, I may just change your world right now!
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping allows people to move through negative energy by tapping on the energy meridians of your body also used for acupuncture without the needles! Doing this while speaking aloud the emotions arising inside has helped me immensely. Try tapping along to this video when you feel like binging or anytime you need to reduce stress.
6. Wait it out
I have a 20 minute rule for myself. If its late a night, when I am more likely to binge, I find something to entertain me for 20 minutes and then if I still want the Ben & Jerry's or whatever it is I eat it.
Within those 20 minutes my emotions tend to settle and very rarely will I end up eating that food I was craving. Usually I end up with nothing at all or a healthier alternative.
My favorite alternatives includes all the self care practices I mentioned above, yoga, adult coloring books, doing all the laundry I have been refusing to fold, calling a friend, or taking Nala (our rescue husky mix) for a long walk.
Feel free to save or print out this list for the next time you need to wait it out, calm down, and recenter yourself!
7. 2 Hands on the Wheel
I stole this tip from Happy BOD Babes Mindset Course, but it is too good not to share especially in social settings! Whenever you are around a lot of food - like Superbowl Sunday, Thanksgiving, Barbecues - grab a cup of tea or glass of water and keep both hands on it like a steering wheel. (also here is your reminder to dive with both hands on the wheel and not on your phone!)
Focusing on this simple task helps keeps your hands out of chip bowls while replacing a bad habit with a more positive one. Sipping water or tea will also help you feel fuller so its a win-win.
8. Read Self Help Books
Can we be honest? I use to think self help books where crap and I thought anyone who read them was weak until a year ago when I started my own business. Personal development was one of those things my mentors told me I should do, but I ignored them for months. After I realized how hard mentally it is to be an entrepreneur I finally picked up a self help book and my world changed!
This blog here shares my favorite self help books in general, but there are tons specifically for emotional and binge eating that may help a ton! I highly recommend starting a book TODAY if you are serious about ending your struggling with emotional eating. Nothing changes if nothing changed right?
9. Check out these movies
As well as reading self help books, there are a few documentaries that have helped me a ton on my journey that I want to share with you! Many can be found on Netflix or Hulu and can be life changing! If you find other amazing movies while on this journey to recovery, please send me a message so I can add them to the list!
I AM MARIS - Tormented by anxiety, depression and a life-threatening eating disorder, a teenage girl confronts her buried emotions through yoga.
With infectious authenticity, I AM MARIS paints an unguarded portrait of mental illness and recovery, using Maris’ own words and vivid artwork to illustrate her inspiring journey. I AM MARIS is a story about mental health, self-love, and the power of one person’s voice.
Hungry for Change - exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries don't want you to know about deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more.
10. Dig deep
Every physical symptom has an emotional tie. Even though we can find ways to cope with emotional eating in the moment, please seek help to resolve the emotional side. Most colleges provide free counseling or your primary care doctor can point you in the direction of a therapist if needed. If neither are an option, please reach out to see if Happy BOD Babes Mindset Course may serve you. Contact Tara Simone @ firstname.lastname@example.org to chat more about it or apply here and I will be in contact within 24 hours!
This online quiz can used to help you gauge the severity of your symptoms. But remember regardless of the outcome, you are worthy of help if you think it is your next right step!
I hope this list gave you some tools to help cope and overcome emotional eating. As I find more resources that help me and my clients, I will add them here so subscribe to get weekly health, fitness, and life tips! (I will also send you my free 7 Day Healthy Happy Guide that includes workouts, healthy recipes, and journal prompts perfect for anyone!)
For more help and resources with emotional eating, please visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.
As always my inbox is open and if you think Happy BOD Babes Mindset Course may help you feel free to fill out this form and I will be in contact with you within 24 hours!
PS. Drop your email below to get updates, free tips, and coupons for our new course to help you overcome emotional eating!