Wanna know what the most amazing piece of advice for stopping binge eating is? Keep reading to learn this powerful tactic you can apply to your life TODAY.
I listened to the most amazing podcast the other day.
Well, I guess it wasn’t technically a podcast. It was a part of a telesummit I’ve signed up for. This particular one was with Nina Manolson, the owner of Smokin’ Hot Mom.
I think it’s no secret that I am not a mom nor am I anywhere close to being one. Thankfully the things Nina was talking about in this telesummit was not mom-related whatsoever, but it was SO amazingly relevant to me and my life. I literally have never listened or read anyone’s struggles that were SO similar to mine. I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts about this sort of thing, but I have never encountered someone who actually vocalized the EXACT thing that I have experienced. It was mindblowing and so insightful.
I was so moved by this podcast that I have to let you know what I learned so you can take advantage of this wonderful tool as well. I can’t keep this insight to myself, it is too powerful and too REAL.
If you have ever struggled with emotional eating or binge eating, you will find this very relevant and will be able to apply this to your life RIGHT NOW!
While I have not binge eaten in a while, I have been overeating quite regularly which I still rationalize by learning Intuitive Eating. But that doesn’t change the fact that I would like to just stop doing it already, but we all know how hard it can be to stop. Once we get in the frantic go-go-go mentality of emotional eating or binge eating, it’s hard to stop. We will know we shouldn’t be doing this even AS we’re eating. We will be willing ourselves to stop, but to no avail.
How can we stop?
Nina discussed the differences between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and that each one works differently when it comes to eating. Sympathetic is the fight-or-flight mode, where all of the blood rushes to our limbs so that we are able to make fast movements and run from the situation. This is the mode we are in when we binge eat and find ourselves “out of control” and unable to stop. The parasympathetic is the rest-and-digest mode, where we relax and the blood goes to our internal organs and this is where digestion takes place.
It’s clear that the reason we are unable to stop eating during binge eating is because our digestion is actually not working the way it would if we were relaxed. We don’t feel the fullness and even when we do, to the point of pain, we can’t stop until there is literally no more room in the stomach. That’s because we are eating in a fight-or-flight mode. We do it quickly. We gorge. We hide. We think that by eating quickly we can trick our body into thinking we didn’t actually eat the amount we did, but there is no lying to the body.
The solution? Get in the rest-and-digest mode prior to binging.
Sure, emotional eating or binge eating may sometimes be impossible to avoid. The thing to help us actually control it is to relax. How can we do this, you ask? You ritualize the binge.
Ritualizing the binge
When you feel the binge coming on, you tell that oncoming feeling “alright, bring it on. I’m gonna binge SO good but I’m actually gonna ENJOY it too.”
You come out of hiding. Take out the best plates and silverware. Put the cookie package on the table, the chips, the lasagna, whatever it is you are planning on gorging on. Put some on the plate. Don’t put all of it at once, you can help yourself to second, third, and fourth helpings. It’s a binge. You are already planning on gorging anyway. Ritualize it.
Then once you’ve sat down, you breathe. You relax. You look at the food and you take bites. You eat. You enjoy.
The system that Nina described for eating is:
You do exactly what this outlines. It’s easy. It’s not rocket science. You feel a binge coming on, you set yourself up nicely for it by ritualizing it. Then before you eat, you take a few deep breaths, you feel yourself relaxing, you feel your muscles unclench – enjoy this, you are about to binge in some awesome food, so enjoy it. Relax. Then you watch the food. And you ALLOW this to happen. You allow yourself to eat while in a RELAXED state. You don’t will yourself to stop the binge, you actually EMBRACE the feeling and ALLOW yourself to do this. No judgement. No shame. Just enjoyment.
How does this help?
Well, you will eat. You will. It won’t stop you from eating. And we’re not TRYING To stop you from starting to eat, that’s not the point here. The point here is to release the shame and guilt and relax while eating so that the binge loses appeal.
When you are in the rest-and-digest mode, you will actually be able to stop before you are uncomfortably full. You may overeat but the thing that matters is – you won’t end up binging the way you’re used to. Because you will be in the rest-and-digest mode, the relaxed mode that has the digestion going, you will be able to feel when you are full and you will not want to continue eating. You just won’t.
I’ve been doing breathing exercises even before I listened to this podcast and I have found it to be immensely helpful to control oncoming binges. Breathing relaxes your mind and body and gets you out of that fast-eating fight-or-flight mode and you are able to slow down, enjoy the food, and actually get bored with it much easier and earlier on than you would otherwise.
So tell me, do you practice relaxation before eating? Have you heard of this tactic before? Let me know in the comments below!