Binge eating. My nemesis.
From 20 to 30 years old I had to be perfect with my diet. If I ate a frickin M&M it was ruined and I figured I might as well eat ALL the M&M’s and start over Monday.
It’s always Monday, isn’t it?
I was a chronic binge eater. I’d eat PERFECT during the workweek. Then Friday or Saturday would roll around. I was so mentally and physically exhausted, stressed, and fucking “hangry” from following my ridiculous chicken, broccoli, and rice diet. That I’d eat ALL the sugar and fat bombs I could eat.
- The ice cream
- All the candy bars
- And those honey buns and baked goods
It wasn’t uncommon for me to put on 5 to 8 pounds over a weekend from the water weight I’d put on. Due to the extra sugar, salt, and excess carbohydrates (note – carbs are not bad. But when you eat 1,000 grams of them in the form of sugar in one sitting, well…)
In fact, I once spent 10 bucks in a vending machine outside my studio apartment. Do you know how much food you can get from a vending machine for 10 bucks?
A lot! And I ate all of it.
I kept telling myself I was NEVER going to eat these foods again.
Plus, I was embarrassed I was doing this – That I couldn’t stop.
This created a scarcity mindset. If I did have a little, I kept telling myself I was never going to eat them again. This led to me eating a TON!
This cycle kept repeating itself.
- Eat “perfect” during the workweek – or what I thought was perfect. Turns out it was “shitty perfection.”
- Binge eat on the weekends as a coping mechanism to deal with stress and diet restriction.
I am not kidding when I say this went on for 10 years. Yeah, you read that right. 10 fucking years of this bullshit.
I tried everything.
- Relying on willpower and being more disciplined. You know, the old “just try harder, just stop” attitude.
- Avoiding them at all costs. But let’s be real, delicious snacks are everywhere and easy to get our hands-on.
So how did I get over it?
I can speak from experience that restriction doesn’t work. If you’re not giving your body and brain what it needs it will eventually fight back. During the workweek, I was TOO restrictive. I wasn’t giving my body and brain enough nutrients to make sure it was running optimally – more importantly, I wasn’t satisfying it. My calories were too low, not enough vitamins and minerals, and not enough healthy fats.
This is what led to my binge eating episodes. My body and brain felt like stuffing myself with ALL the sugary and fatty goodness was necessary. And once I started I couldn’t stop. If I would have given the body and brain enough quality nutrition, it would have continued to want what is good for me on the weekends.
BINGE EATING STEP 1: ASS BACKWARDS
I ate a “trigger food” every single day for a week. I soon realized a couple of things.
- It’s not that good.
- I felt like shit after eating it every day.
- I can eat this anytime I want.
When I allowed myself to eat food I normally would binge on (or restricted myself from) I immediately didn’t overeat it. I changed my mindset around these foods. Now I was allowed to eat them anytime I wanted. It was “ok.” I also ate them with self-compassion.
Instead of feeling shame and being upset with my self for not having enough willpower to resist them.
Take a second to think about it. In what other areas of your life are you perfect? I’ll wait….
The answer is NONE. Not a single one of us is perfect in any area of our life so why do we have these expectations when it comes to our diets?
If you need some help practicing self-compassion I have a free resource you can try.
STEP 2: IMPROVED MY SHITTY ‘PERFECT DIET’ BY GETTING BACK TO BASICS
I thought I was eating perfectly during the week – the way you’re “supposed” to eat when you want a lean, strong, sexy body. Turns out I wasn’t. I was eating too few calories, depriving myself of essential nutrients to help keep my body and brain satisfied, and I was eating food I really didn’t even like all that much.
- Kale = gross
- Chicken breast I can do without
I also needed to change my relationship with food. So I joined what was then, Lean Eating by Precision Nutrition. This helped me eat better and build a body I’m proud of in a sustainable way.
This is going to take a while
I spent 12 months working with them on binge eating because fixing your fucked up diet isn’t something you do in 30 days or 12-weeks.
I wish it was as simple as eat this and don’t eat that. But come on, you and I both know our brain and environment have a way of fucking up the simplicity of that for us.
Over that year, I got back to the basics. Those basics being: Moving more, eating better, getting quality sleep, and the often-overlooked art of de-stressing every day.
- I started moving my body in ways I enjoyed.
- Creating better meals for myself that made sense for me, my lifestyle, and my food preferences
- I worked on getting quality
- Started practicing a regular de-stressing routine
If you feel like you need to get back to basics, I’m currently accepting a few new clients.
I almost never eat those trigger foods anymore. I think it’s because my mindset and approach have changed around them.
- I’m allowed to eat them
- Law of diminishing returns. Often I’ll have a bite. Each subsequent bite after that isn’t as good as the first – so I usually just have 1 or 2.
- I’ve nailed THE BASICS of healthy living. Movement, eating well, sleep, and de-stressing.
Did you enjoy this open and honest email about my fitness struggles? I’d love to hear back from you. Reply to this email and let me know. I read and respond to each one that I get.
PS: Binge eating can be tough. If you need some support. Don’t hesitate to reach out.