So I wanted to touch upon something that is probably the most frequently appearing dilemma in my ask box: binging.
Usually it’s something to the effect of: “I eat clean X days out of the week, but recently/at night/for the last few days I can’t stop eating chocolate/pizza/etc. Help!”
First, I’ll give the advice that I give all of these people:
1. Binging happens for a reason. Find yours. Why are you eating such a big amount of unhealthy food? Is it because you’re hungry? If so, the solution is to eat more! Food is not your enemy, it is your fuel! If you want to lose weight in a healthy way and end up looking and feeling great, you need to be getting enough food. You can use a handy calculator like this one to tell you the approximate range of calories you should be getting, but more than anything, just listen to your body. It doesn’t matter if you’ve “already eaten 1,500 calories today”: if you’re hungry, you’re hungry.
“But I’m not hungry,” you say. If you’re not hungry and you’re still binging, the reason can be a bit more complicated, but don’t fret! First, think about your diet in general. Have you completely restricted a food group? If you completely deny yourself a certain thing, especially if it’s one of your favorite foods, you’ll only end up wanting it more! Allow yourself to eat things like chocolate, just use moderation! Finding the middle ground is the key to sustainable weight loss, and it goes both ways! You’re harming your weight loss by over-restricting just as much as by eating too much.
Now, if you’re not completely restricting yourself from something and still find yourself binging, it could be for an emotional reason. You’ve heard “eat to fill your stomach, not your heart,” I’m guessing? That’s what it’s referring to. If you’re going through something, find someone trusted to talk to or try to distract yourself with another activity that you enjoy when you feel yourself about to binge.
2. We’re all human!
We all have those days when we go through a whole pack of oreos, and you know what? Sometimes we need to. No, it’s not heart-healthy. No, it won’t exactly help your weight loss journey. But if you broke up with your boyfriend and you need to eat a tub of rocky road with the girls, there’s no use in feeling doubly bad because of the calories! Calories should not run your life. They don’t have feelings, a job, homework, drama, TV episodes to catch up on, helicopter parents, or life goals to take care of, whereas you do. So don’t let them have that kind of power over you: they’re nothing.
3. Pick yourself back up!
When we talk about weight loss, we talk about “the journey,” right? And that’s because it is a journey. Now, let’s look at one of our favorite literary and cinematic journeys: Lord of the Rings. How many freakin’ times did Frodo fall, and I mean literally fall, down on his way to Mordor? Look, I found a compilation of Frodo falling over on YouTube. And remember how every time he tripped over his hobbit feet, he said “Screw this, Samwise, I’m going back to the Shire to light up and drink some ale.” Oh, you don’t remember that part? That might be because it didn’t happen, because that would be ridiculous, right? If you find that preposterous, why would you quit on your own journey just because you stumbled? I promise that if you keep going, you will eventually reach your goals. And once you get there, you’re not going to say “Drat it all to Hades’ dark realm of bubbling brimstone, if I hadn’t binged on Tuesday the sixth of January, I’d have been at my goal weight yesterday instead of today!”
Keep calm and breathe. You’ll be fine.
Lastly, I just wanted to use myself as a real-world example. AKA one that doesn’t involve hairy halflings. Today, I ate pretty clean. Had some chicken breast, had a salad, had some almonds, had a Naked juice, had some rice cakes, had some green tea, and then I had a big ol’ slice of a Reese’s peanut butter pie. And you know what? It was damn tasty. Did I have to eat it? No. Do I regret it? Not at all. I let myself have treats like this every few days, and you know what? Ever since I have started doing this, I haven’t binged. Not once. I haven’t even wanted to. And the best part? I’ve been losing, on average, 1.5 pounds per week.
Bottom line: Find a way to lose weight that is sustainable,guys. Sustainable means that you can make it a lifestyle, not a plan with a deadline. Are you going to be able to go without your favorite food of all time for the rest of your life? No. So don’t lie to yourself. If you lie to yourself, you’ll end up disappointing yourself, and no one wants that! You will have setbacks. You will have bad days. You will eat more slices of pizza than you planned. You will get frustrated. Your weight will fluctuate sometimes. You may feel like giving up. You may cry.
But you know what? That’s okay. The only way you can fail is by failing to try. Stay strong, hang in there, and remember that I’m always here if you need advice or a shoulder to lean on!
Much love, always!