Beat a Binge in Progress
Stop a binge while it's happening.
Some people are extremely talented in the art of self-sabotage. They have a goal, they're working toward it and making progress, when BAM. They do something that throws all their plans off track. One of the most common acts is to start a binge and never quit. One bag of cookies turns into a cascade of fat and sugar laden regrets.
It's just so easy to do the wrong thing. My advice has always been how to avoid a binge in the first place. Trouble is, what do you do when you find yourself elbow deep in a bag of Cheetos, trying to grab the last little bit of tasty orange dust before you throw the evidence away? Here's how to deal with a binge, once it's off and running.
Turn off all external distractions. It's much easier to mindlessly munch while watching a movie, TV show, while playing a video game or chatting with friends. Instead, focus solely and completely on your binge item. If you can't concentrate completely on the food, put it aside until you can. You don't have to put it away, but put it out of reach, just temporarily, until you can give it your undivided attention.
When you're ready to concentrate, look at each cookie, chip or candy before you eat it. Admire the texture and feel of the food. Appreciate the aroma as you take a sniff before each bite. Savor the taste it leaves on your tongue. When you give the food your full attention, you're less likely to simply eat until it's gone.
Choose something that's either sweet, or salty. Don't eat both at the same time. The sensors in our mouth are wired to detect specific tastes, like sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. Each flavor triggers a different response in our brains. Eating just one flavor, like salty chips, will continue to stimulate that section of the brain until we finally register "enough."
When you combine multiple flavors, like both sweet and salty, your brain allows you to eat far more. Not because you've increased the level that fills you up, but because there is one level of full for sweet PLUS another level of full for salty. The wider the variety of things you binge on, the more you can eat before having a desire to quit. Quit mixing flavors and the binge will stop sooner.
The same goes for binge meals, order one thing at a time. If you're at a fast food restaurant, you might say yes to a small burger, but skip the fries and ice cream shake. If you're still hungry when you're done, wait 10 minutes and order the next item. As your brain catches up with your stomach, you'll find you don't have to eat as much to feel full.
Avoid making things MORE. Restaurants put salt on French fries. Don't add more salt, it'll just make you hungrier. The same goes for sweet. If you get a sweetened tea, don't add more sugar, you'll just end up stimulating the binge. Eat and drink foods as they're presented and stop piling craving flavors on top.
No matter what happens, don't give up. Write out your goals after every indulgence. If you're already put them down on paper, pull it out and read it aloud. Remind yourself why you want to eat healthy. Sometimes simply giving your good intentions a voice is enough to make you slow down or stop.
Whatever you do, don't let a momentary slip ruin everything. Just because you eat something inappropriate in the morning, doesn't mean you're obligated to continue for the rest of the day. If you tripped while walking around in the morning, you wouldn't give up trying to walk properly for the next 24-hours would you? The same goes for a binge. If you're in it for the long-term, a binge will remain just that, a temporary distraction on the way to a fitter you.
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