Break the Cycle

  • Don’t be worried about eating the perfect amount
  • Break the cycle with these 3 balanced meals
  • After you break the cycle try being more flexible and adding variety

Break the cycle of starving, bingeing and purging with these 3 roughly balanced meals. When you’re comfortable eating meals, consistently, add variety. Soon you’ll be in the habit of eating balanced meals and be flexible in any food situation. Eating can be a non-issue.

How I got caught in the cycle again

When I learned I could stop bingeing (and lose weight) by eating more, I was faced with a new set of fears. How much more of what type of food should I eat? All my rules, tips and tricks made eating confusing. And I was (unnecessarily) fixated on eating the perfect amount.

Break the CycleI wished I could just take a pill that gave my body what it needed so I didn’t have to think about food. Without that option and having lost all concept of a healthy meal, I was left guessing.

In hindsight, I was always sure I had one bite too many, unless I grossly under-ate.

My all-or-nothing approach to everything meant one bite too many ruined the day. So I defaulted back to bingeing and purging as a way to punish myself. Though I was under-eating the rest of the time, I was about 30 pounds overweight. Now I understand the wild extremes I put my body through slowed down my metabolism and made it easier for me to gain weight.

Break the cycle: My mindset made it difficult

The starve, binge and purge cycle developed as a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I thought giving myself consequences would make me more disciplined to eat the perfect amount. But when I made a mistake again (or in reality, when I didn’t under-eat), I thought I hadn’t been hard enough on myself. So I’d make the stakes higher (like not let myself go to class) and be even more disappointment in myself. All these self-defeating weight-loss approaches drove my downward spiral.

By my second year of university everything had become so complicated. My preoccupation with weight had well and truly seeped into every other part of my life. Trying to pretend everything was “Great!” was increasingly difficult. I loved life and wanted to get back to all my other goals. Once again I asked for help, and an amazing thing happened.

Eating 3 set balanced meals helped me break the cycle

It was suggested I join the school meal plan and eat 3 balanced meals a day. I was scared to eat most foods, but I was even more scared about where my life was headed.

I missed:

  • the rewarding feeling of studying hard for an exam
  • playing the sports I loved
  • and being able to enjoy my friends vs. worrying about what I ate as I half listened to their stories.

And hey! Having a boyfriend, a best friend, was something I wanted (badly!) too.

Something that was just not going to happen if I kept staying home on Friday night to sit alone in my room and plan a new (self-defeating) diet.

…So the person I trusted helped me plan what I’d eat at each meal.

Having a set meal helped me feel good about what I ate because there was no grey area.

Then I could move on with the day and enjoy all the non-food activities that made my life meaningful!

I chose being healthy over being thin.

And to my surprise, that’s when I lost weight.

When you break the cycle this happens

Break the Cycle

It’s hard to take a picture with a big dog hanging about

I couldn’t believe what a change eating 3 set balanced meals made in my life. They kept me feeling full. So I stopped thinking about food. And I stopped worrying about what I ate, because these meals were planned with someone I trusted. Then I could concentrate on everything else between meals.

I was eating more, exercising less and lost weight without feeling hungry.

Eating 3 balanced meals also divided the day up nicely into five blocks. Focusing on one block at a time helped me feel less overwhelmed about trying to put my life back together. I just focused on what I needed to do when I got up (shower, pack books for school … ) until I got to the school cafeteria. After breakfast I concentrated on life before lunch (classes, going to the library … ) and so on.

Below are the 3 set balanced meals that helped me break the cycle of starving, bingeing and purging. They helped me when I had no idea what to eat. When you’re comfortable eating 3 set balanced meals then you can focus on being flexible and adding more variety.

Meeting my basic needs helped me reach and maintain a healthy weight and get back to all the people, animals and projects I LOVE.

Break the cycle with a balanced breakfast:

  • dry whole wheat toast (white bread is fine too & so is adding a spread like butter)
  • bowl of cereal (usually half corn flakes and half raisin bran – these days I prefer whole foods like porridge)
  • 2 small glasses of skim milk (to put on cereal – these days I drink 3.25%, aka: whole milk)
  • fresh fruit

Morning snack: diet pop & an apple
(I was breaking the habit of drinking a lot of diet pop)

Break the cycle with a balanced lunch:

  • cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich (2 pieces of whole wheat bread) with mustard and salsa
  • 2 small glasses of skim milk
  • fresh fruit
  • one treat like a cookie

Afternoon snack: diet pop & an apple

Break the cycle with a balanced dinner:

  • salad without dressing (these days I always have a homemade dressing like oil and vinegar)
  • main dish (meat & potatoes or something like lasagna)
  • 2 small glasses of skim milk
  • fresh fruit

Break the cycle: Troubleshooting

  1. If you’re under-eating the above menu is a good start
    I always suggest making small changes to what you’re already doing. These meals were a big jump for me. Everything I’d been doing was extreme and inconsistent. I ate so little most of the time. Eating a lot more was necessary to break the cycle of starving, bingeing and purging.
  2. I wanted to eat these meals, nobody forced me to eat them
  3. Don’t rush yourself
    First, get used to eating 3 balanced meals. Then just make one change to each meal at a time. Give yourself time to get used to the change. Change needs to be slow so you can develop healthy habits, and then the positive changes you make will be lasting.
  4. If you’re overeating
    Don’t aim for the meals I’ve outlined above. Just adapt what you’re already eating & work toward eating more balanced meals made of whole foods. Simply make small changes to what you eat right now. Big changes will shock your system and be a short-term change. Gradual change will allow you to figure out what foods you can continue eating and natural alternatives you LOVE!

First I got used to eating these 3 balanced meals

Then I started making changes. For instance, I began adding higher-fat foods (like 2% milk) and then I became more flexible and confident in my choices. So I began to include more variety, like eggs on toast with melted cheese, ketchup, coffee with lots of milk and fruit for breakfast, rather than the same thing each day. But the 3 balanced meals above were the water-wings or training wheels that helped carry me from under-eating in the attempt to eat the perfect amount, to getting more comfortable eating more food, regularly.

These days I’ll put mayonnaise on my sandwich and I have whole milk (3.25%). When I have toast I’m happy to eat white or brown bread with butter (vs. dry toast.) I also include roughly balanced snacks when I’m hungry between meals, such as a almonds, an apple and coffee or Greek yogurt with blueberries and ground flax seeds. I’ll have chips (crisps!) or cheese before dinner once in a while if I’m at a dinner party and that’s what’s going.

What about dessert?

After dinner I usually have something sweet, like a few squares of chocolate. Then I never feel deprived or crave food because there isn’t a type of food I avoid or feel guilty about eating. And I’ll have a full dessert at dinner parties, holidays, birthdays and when I’m out with friends, etc.

Please note: I no longer drink diet pop and I don’t chew sugar-free gum because both confuse your body and make you feel hungry. Plus, they’re kinda both a waste of time (and money) as they don’t do anything for you.

Focus on being healthy instead of being thin

Through the experience of eating 3 set balanced meals and slowly becoming more flexible, I learned there isn’t an exactness to eating. I also experienced I could eat a lot more than I thought I could, which sped up my metabolism and helped me lose weight. Once I understood this, I could relax more about my food choices.

Now I just make my plate look roughly like the Eatwell Guide at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I choose as many whole foods as possible for each of the food groups rather than processed food. Eating more helped me break the cycle, lose weight and eating became a non issue. Now I have a healthy body and mind. Life is so much better! I hope you’ll try eating 3 balanced meals.

Everybody should take a shot at the night. Try something new. Interrupt a self-defeating pattern. Break the cycle!

Shot at the Night by The Killers

Are you ready to break the cycle? Tell someone you trust so they can support you.



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