- Understand why you overeat
- Learn why the starve, binge and purge cycle makes you gain weight
- Break the cycle! Stop binging with these 3 steps
It’s easier to stop binging when you understand it’s not an isolated incident. It’s part of a vicious cycle. Once I could recognize the pattern it was easier to prevent. Here are 3 steps to help you stop binging, lose weight and get your life back.
Stop Binging Step #1:
Understand binging is part of a cycle
Whenever I ate too much, I thought it was due to a lapse in willpower. It wasn’t until I talked to somebody about it, that I saw a pattern. My doctor pointed out that whenever I overate it was after long periods of not eating enough. I didn’t realize I was living a life of extremes until I opened up and spoke to someone about what was going on.
When you don’t eat enough your body sends you signals to eat. If you still don’t eat you can become preoccupied by hunger pains. The longer you don’t eat, the more desperate you feel. In this frantic state it’s easy to suddenly consume a lot of food in a short period of time. It’s difficult to stop binging.
A little snack can turn into a huge snack. You can end up feeling out of control because you’ve been starving for so long.
The worst part was how disappointed I’d be in myself. The only way I could deal with the frustration was by doing something about it. So I’d go back to eating as little as possible and exercising as much as possible. Why? I was trying to make up for lost time and get back on track. But in hindsight, these choices lead to overeating again. And feeling upset with myself again. This self-destructive pattern is the starve, binge and purge cycle.
Stop Binging Step #2:
Understand why the starve, binge and purge cycle works against you
The starve, binge and purge cycle is a vicious cycle. You get so focused on one stage, like trying not to eat when you’re hungry, that you can’t see the big picture. But suddenly you find yourself eating too much. Then you feel distraught. In order to cope with this anxious feeling you restrict what you eat and overexercise. And then you’re right back where you started.
One decision leads to the next. There’s no time to pause and reflect. It’s like you’re stuck on a carousel, going round and round.
The starve, binge and purge cycle is also counterproductive. Every stage of the cycle sets you up to fail. Feeling hungry is preoccupying. Overeating makes you feel ashamed. But on top of that, both these choices prime your body for storing fat.
Your body is built to survive. When you don’t eat enough it slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. Your body doesn’t know you’re trying to lose weight, it’s just doing its best to keep you alive. So when you haven’t eaten much for a while and then you suddenly binge, your body will grab and hold onto as much energy as possible. In other words, you gain weight. If you purge after binging, your body gets even better at storing fat quickly.
Now that you know why the starve, binge and purge cycle sets you up to fail, you can learn how to prevent this self-defeating pattern.
Stop Binging Step #3:
Understand how to break the cycle
When I started eating more and exercising less it was easier to stop binging because I didn’t feel panicky hungry. Getting into the habit of eating balanced meals made of whole foods kept me feeling comfortable between meals. And I lost weight without feeling hungry. Eating 3 balanced meals:
- met my body’s needs
- stopped all the hunger signals
- kick-started my metabolism
The key for me to stop binging and lose weight was to recognize binging is part of a cycle, acknowledge this cycle makes it harder to lose weight and start eating balanced meals. Understanding these 3 pieces of information made it easier for me to make constructive choices.
If you’ve been restricting for ages and not sure what to eat, here’s some ideas to get started. Then you can break the cycle.
Carnival Town by Norah Jones
“…Round ‘n round
Has got you under it’s spell
Moving so fast…but
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
Who can you speak to about your plans to stop binging?