More Binge Busting Ideas
One of the most effective methods to stop a binge is to ask yourself three questions. Am I really hungry or am I looking for food because I'm bored, angry, lonely or tired? If I'm really hungry, what do I have on hand that's healthy? And finally, if I do give in, what would be the consequences?
I wrote in detail how to deal with those situations in my 2009 article, "Binge Eating - Strategies to Beat a Binge."
It's good advice if you feel a food craving coming on. But instead of dealing with a problem after it hits, I like to do things that stop problems from happening in the first place. Here are a few of the strategies I've found that work.
Eat breakfast first thing in the morning. Yes I've said that hundreds of times and if you read my column regularly you're probably tired of hearing it. But when you wake up, your body is eating muscle for energy and starving for nutrition. Breakfast "Breaks" your bodys "Fast" and helps reduce cravings later on in the day.
Eat an apple after breakfast or as a snack before lunch. The fiber called pectin that's found in apples and citrus fruits stays in your system for a very long time, keeping hunger at bay for hours. As a bonus, pectin from apples has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels an average of 10% over a four-week period.
Who you dine with may influence how much you eat. According to a study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, when men are with someone they want to impress, they put an additional 210 calories on their plate. Since larger meals are seen as a display of masculinity, researchers believe men loaded up to appear more manly.
The other side of that study found that women tend to eat 112 calories less when they're in social situations where they want to make an impression.
To avoid the bias of who you're dining with, get a copy of the restaurants menu before you go out. Compare the nutritional choices against what your body actually needs and decide on your order before you go out. By "pre-selecting" a healthy meal, you'll be less likely to order foods with too many (or too few) calories merely to impress.
Don't deny yourself a favorite food. When you do, there are a couple things going on. The first problem is the allure of the forbidden. The more you tell yourself no, the more your brain says you want it. The second problem is how will power drops. Every time you successfully say no to a temptation, your resistance to the next temptation is lower.
When you're going to be in a situation where you'll be tempted, decide what you're going to eat. Then put that in your food diary so you know the consequences of the indulgence. Eat your serving so the craving is satisfied and then remind yourself of this simple truth. "The first bite tastes just the same as the last. I've enjoyed my serving and more won't make it any better."
Carry healthy snacks with you. There's nothing worse than getting caught somewhere, hungry and with nothing between you and a binge but a vending machine. Prepare in advance by packing things like fresh fruit, nuts, turkey jerky, protein bars and protein shakes. Portion them out in individual serving sizes and pack them up today. Always carry your "snack pack" with you and eat regularly so cravings don't start.
Finally, if you know you'll be in a situation where healthy food is unavailable, grab a stick of gum. While you chew your mind is telling your body that food is on its way and hunger pains are reduced. As a bonus, every hour you chew burns about 11 calories.
The key is to start preparing now. Don't wait. Follow these steps and you'll have the tools you need to prevent binges in the future.
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