Tag Archives: bingeeating

Preventing A Relapse


We made it to the last few days of July! Did a particular topic resonate with you? Do you know someone who could benefit from the advice shared one the past several weeks? All the hard work can go to naught, if we don’t know how to prevent a relapse. 

Relapse is a term usually referring to alcohol and drugs. However, it can be applied to any habit. Maybe you stuck to your diet for weeks, and then overindulged at an office birthday party. Maybe you went 10 years without a cigarette, and then bought a pack when you broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Remember that your ultimate success in developing healthy habits is more important than any backsliding. Think of relapses as part of a process, rather than unpredictable events. If you pay attention to what you’re feeling and thinking, you may be able to avoid a setback.

Try these techniques:
  1. Deal with emotions. Your feelings may be the first sign that you’re headed for a fall. Accepting your anger and sadness will help you find new and more constructive ways of managing them.
  2. Build support. Surround yourself with family and friends who will encourage you and give you useful feedback. Let them know how they can help you. You might want to search for support groups in your community or participate in forums online.
  3. Know your triggers. You sometimes need to limit contact with old friends who engage in the habit you’re trying to break. Certain places or situations could also make you vulnerable to relapsing.
  4. Wait it out. What if you have an urge to go on a shopping spree or bite your nails? Try waiting 5 or 10 minutes to see if it passes. It’s a quick solution that often works.
  5. Seek moderation. Being too strict with yourself can backfire. A restrictive diet makes junk food look more tempting. Allowing yourself a low-calorie dessert like fruit could help you avoid binging on donuts and cheesecake.
  6. Focus on consequences. Before you take a step backwards, think through what will happen. Is wasting time on social media causing you trouble at work?
  7. Practice self-care. Protecting your physical and mental wellbeing is essential for reaching your goals. Eat sensible amounts of whole foods, exercise regularly, and make sleep a top priority.
Recovering From a Relapse

If it’s too late to prevent a relapse, you can still turn things around. Put your mistakes behind you and keep building on the progress you’ve already made. Some or all of these strategies will help you get back on track.

  1. Face the truth. It can be difficult to admit that you’ve relapsed. Be honest with yourself and take accountability for your decisions.
  2. Remember your purpose. It may help to think about your original reasons for making changes in your life. They may be so compelling that you’ll be ready to try again, or you may need to find another source of motivation.
  3. Forgive yourself. Be kind and compassionate toward yourself, especially while you’re struggling. Use your self-talk to boost your confidence. Let go of the past and concentrate on what you can do today.
  4. Break it down. Trying to make lifelong commitments may seem overwhelming. Pick a time frame that’s realistic for you. You might aim to sustain your new habits for a single day or even an hour at a time.
  5. Take action. Regain momentum by taking a positive step forward immediately. If you’re trying to stop overspending, leave your credit cards at home unless you’re planning to make a specific purchase. If you want to cut down on complaining, start a gratitude journal.

Think of relapses as a learning opportunity that helps you to find out more about yourself. Each time you temporarily lose a little ground, you gain more insight into what you need to do to make positive changes in your life.

Use these free worksheets to help you sty focused.

To Your Success,
Juan

Read This Before Hitting The Buffet


Buffets can be hazardous to your diet! Whether you’re at a party, wedding reception or all-you-can-eat restaurant, you’re surrounded by temptation. Use these suggestions to make healthier food choices and keep the calories under control while you enjoy your meal.

Making Better Food Choices at a Buffet

  1. Browse around first. Scientists at Cornell University studied the differences between how overweight diners approached a buffet versus their thinner counterparts. They found that that 71 percent of leaner people scanned the offerings first to narrow down their choices, while heavier diners tended to immediately grab a plate and pile it up.
  2. Load up on vegetables. Most nutritionists recommend devoting half your plate to vegetables and fruits. This is always good for your health and goes a long way toward making any buffet meal lighter.
  3. Learn to count calories. Avoid underestimating the calories in certain foods. Vegetables dishes have a lot of calories once they get breaded and fried or smothered in cheese. Beware of creamy soups and most salad dressings.
  4. Practice portion control. You can usually incorporate your favorite treats into your diet if you keep the portions moderate. A teaspoon of nuts liven up a salad but eating them by the handful could put you over your limit.

Additional Suggestions

  1. Use smaller plates. The vast majority of people make only one or two return trips to the buffet. Smaller dishes will reduce the amount of food you can fit on each trip and make the experience seem more abundant.
  2. Sit at a distance. Make it more challenging to go back for more by sitting on the other side of the room. Avoid lingering around the table where you’ll be in danger of picking at the food for much longer than you intended.
  3. Face away from the buffet. Keeping fried chicken out of mind is easier when you keep it out of sight. Turn your chair in the opposite direction from the dessert selections.
  4. Drink lots of water. Staying well hydrated is good for your overall health and energy levels and helps you to feel full sooner. You’ll save calories compared to drinking alcoholic cocktails, which could also lower your resistance to over-enjoying the chocolate cheesecake.
  5. At social events, focus on socializing. Pay more attention to the guests and less to your plate. Get caught up in conversation and dancing so you’ll forget about wanting to eat more.
  6. Wear fitted clothing. Leave your stretchy long sweaters at home. Clothes that fit closer to your body will help remind you to eat sensibly. Stop yourself before you feel the need to loosen your belt.
  7. Order off the menu. Many restaurants will give you the choice to order off the menu or eat from the buffet. Opt for a single dish if the buffet looks fattening. Even if the buffet costs less, you save money in the long run by staying fit.
  8. Eat more slowly. If you make your food last longer, you’ll have less time to go back for more. Plus, you give your brain a chance to notify your stomach that you’re beginning to feel full.

Above all, keep in mind that “all-you-can eat” is a description, not a challenge. Slow down and be more selective about what you put on your buffet plate. You’ll eat less and enjoy your food more. 

How will you change the way you approach the next buffet?

To Your Success,
Juan 

Eating While Distracted?


You know that distracted driving is dangerous, but what about eating when your thoughts are elsewhere? A new study explains why you’re likely to snack more while you’re watching TV. Intrigued? I was too!

Researchers at the University of Sussex studied the impact of perceptually demanding tasks like watching TV or playing video games. They found that subjects whose attention was engaged in another activity ate 45% more chips. This supports the theory that your brain has a limited supply of attention, so it focuses on what seems most important. As a result, you keep on eating because you miss the fullness cues that your body is trying to send you.

Read this before another bag of chips or cookies disappears while you’re binge-watching or talking on the phone. Paying closer attention to your eating will help you to maintain your weight and cut down on junk food.

How to Recognize When You’re Full
Feeling full depends on chemical changes in your body that take about 20 minutes for
your brain to register. That sated feeling is designed to last for several hours, but
many common habits can undermine the process. Keep the following in mind:

  • Understand cravings. Distinguish between hunger and appetite. Physical
    hunger builds up gradually and subsides after eating. Emotional appetite and
    cravings come on suddenly and may be more persistent.
  • Slow down. Sitting down and dining at a relaxed pace gives your brain a chance
    to know you’re full. Chew thoroughly and savor each bite.
  • Avoid crash diets. Cycles of fasting and splurging confuse your body. Find a
    balanced regimen that you can stick with for the long term.

Other Tips for Non-Distracted Eating
Recognizing fullness cues will help you to make healthier food choices. Take a look at some additional strategies for paying more attention to what you’reeating:

  • Plan ahead. Creating daily or weekly menus may help. Use an online calculator
    to figure out how many calories you need, so you can stay in the middle ground
    between ravenous hunger and a post-Thanksgiving-style food coma.
  • Focus on fiber. Unprocessed foods rich in fiber enhance your overall health
    and satisfy you with fewer calories. Fill up on vegetables, fruits, and whole
    grains. High protein foods have a similar effect, so include them in each meal
    and snack instead of waiting for dinner.
  • Drink water. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Have a glass before and
    during meals and anytime a craving pops up. Once your stomach feels full, it will
    be easier to resist temptation.
  • Shop wisely. Speaking of temptation, keep junk food out of the house. Use a
    shopping list when you buy groceries. Stick to the outer aisles where you’re less
    likely to run into snack cakes and crackers
  • Manage stress. Create a soothing environment, especially during mealtimes.
    Talk about pleasant subjects or play soft music
  • Work out. Physical activity helps you listen to your body and regulate hunger. It
    also burns extra calories. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic
    exercise each week. I remain fuller longer, when I use a pre workout before hitting the gym.
  • Try again. Changing your eating habits takes practice. Be patient if you slip up.
    You’ll recover faster if you stay calm and learn from the experience.
  • Talk with your doctor. Your diet plays a major role in your physical and mental
    health. If you have trouble managing your hunger or other concerns about your
    eating habits, discuss them with your doctor or a registered dietician
  • Paying attention . Your food and how much you’re eating can transform your
    relationship with food and protect your health. Put the screens away during
    mealtimes and pay attention to what’s on your plate. You’ll learn to listen to your
    body and enjoy your food more.

How helpful are these tips to fight distraction eating? I have slowly been incorporating them into my own lifestyle. It’s slow, but I am moving faster than those not doing anything. As usual, this advise is not a one size fits all, always consult with your medical and mental health providers for support.

To Your Success,
Juan

Your Relationship With Food


While I don’t think there is anything wrong with occasional over eating, after all, many things propel us to gorge ourselves into a food coma. Relationship ending, failing an exam, being let down by others, etc.  However, you cannot ignore there is a problem, when you hide the habit from others, feel ashamed, and tried to stop on your own.

Overeating can have many causes, but they all produce the same result. You gain weight and feel like you’re out of control. While you may  blame yourself for lacking willpower or not trying hard enough, there could be something else at work. The real reasons (besides the mental and psychological aspects) why you eat more than you intend, may surprise you, and some are relatively easy to fix. 

There are many common lifestyle habits that tend to undermine a healthy diet. Take a look at this list to find out which things you’ll want to do differently.

Dealing with Eating Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Be flexible. You may think you’re being virtuous for starting a super-strict diet, but being too rigid can backfire. Allowing yourself a few treats can keep you from feeling so deprived, that you wind up eating an entire pizza.
  2. Shrink your menu. On the other hand, planning your meals and snacks around a limited number of healthy foods can help you eat less. The lack of variety dampens your appetite.
  3. Eat mindfully. A lot of overeating happens when you’re busy with something else. Sit down and pay attention to your food instead of watching TV. Beware of nibbling while you’re preparing meals or lingering at the table after dinner.
  4. Slow down. A leisurely pace gives your brain time to tell your stomach that you’re full. Chew thoroughly and pause between bites.
  5. Listen to cravings. Intense urges are usually trying to tell you something important. Eating light snacks can keep you from getting so hungry that you long for junk food.
  6. Avoid low fat foods. Did you know that low fat foods are usually only about 10% lower in calories? Plus, they’re often higher in sugar and sodium, which can make you want to eat more.
  7. Limit artificial sweeteners. Sweetness is one of the signs your brain uses to try to determine how much to eat based on how many calories a food has. Artificial sweeteners make those calculations difficult. Over time, your brain loses the ability to make correct judgements.

Dealing with Other Lifestyle Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Sleep well. A lack of sleep can make you want to eat more and make it difficult for your body to digest food efficiently. Go to bed early on a consistent basis so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Socialize wisely. We tend to eat more when we have company. Be especially vigilant when you’re enjoying holiday dinners and office parties. Try to find a lunch mate who eats healthy, so you can support each other.
  3. Exercise more. Physical activity burns calories and helps to fight depression and anxiety, which can lead to overeating. Aim to work out at least 30 minutes a day 3 times a week.
  4. Deal with your feelings. While it’s natural to associate food with celebrations and comfort, it’s important to have other ways of managing your emotions. Call a friend or write in your journal.
  5. Talk with your doctor. A slice of cake rarely does much harm, but sometimes there are deeper issues at work. If you binge frequently or feel guilty and ashamed about your eating, talk with your doctor. Effective treatments are available.

Understanding the reason why you overindulge is the first step in finding solutions that enable you to stick to a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to take control of your eating, so you can stay fit and enjoy your food more.

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Understanding Binge Eating and It’s Treatment


Photo: Yay Images

For several months, Chindeep has looked at the various Anxiety and Mood disorders, as part of the mental health series, the focus now shifts to eating disorders., the most prevalent eating disorder in the USA.

The I don’t know about you, but I gained about 15-20 pounds in the past two years. Pre pandemic, I was out and about in the community, walking between 10-20k steps per day, fit as ever. Sitting at home, dying from boredom, it became impossible to control my cravings. Did I binge eat? Hell Yeah. More than once? You betcha. Disgusted, I looked inward. Binge-eating involves more than simply overeating, it is a mental health related related disorder, associated with inappropriate eating habits and challenging emotions. 

Binge-Eating Defined
Binge-eating is a medical and psychological condition during which a person eats large amounts of food over short periods of time. Regardless of the signals their bodies send that they’re full, those who binge, to continue eat amounts of food that surpass normal portions. Binge-eating involves more than just eating a double portion of a favorite food. Those who binge might eat 2 cheeseburgers, followed by a half gallon of ice cream, and a box of cookies. 

Typical Thinking Patterns
One who binge-eats engages in unhealthy thinking patterns, which drive them to over-eat. They might feel powerless to arrest aggressive eating behaviors. Even though you might believe a person would feel too ashamed to binge-eat, the fact is that shame can actually emotionally fuel a binge-eating episode. 

Experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as self-loathing and shame is a hallmark symptom of someone who’s dealing with binge-eating. Many people who struggle with binging also have distorted body images. They might believe they’re obese when actually they’re within normal weight standards or only mildly overweight. 

On the other hand, a person who binge-eats could also weigh considerably more than the weight charts recommend for her height and age.  Although the condition does occur in males, it occurs more often in females. Recognize that people who binge can discover optimism and confidence to live successful lives in recovery.

Effective Treatments for Binge-Eating at a glance

  1. Self-help groups. As an example, Overeaters Anonymous can provide wonderful, understanding emotional support for people who struggle.
  2. Individual cognitive therapy. For those who require more professional help, attending individual therapy sessions can make a huge difference. Cognitive therapy is conducted by a trained therapist who works to confront the individual’s distorted body image, unhealthy thinking patterns, and feelings of shame.  Encouraging the person who binge-eats to surround herself with understanding, supportive family and friends is another way a therapist motivates someone in recovery.
  1. Family therapy. If the person who’s dealing with binging is a teen, family therapy in addition to individual therapy can be a life-saver. Difficult family relationships can be confronted and addressed. Everyone learns to relate in healthier ways, which can serve to reduce binging behavior.
  1. Intensive day treatment. In the event you require more intensive treatment than individual, family therapy, and self-help group attendance, intensive day treatment may be an option. These programs provide 2 to 6 hours of professional treatment for binge-eating 3 or more days a week, at an eating disorder treatment center. 
  1. Inpatient treatment stay. This milieu therapy provides a 100% supportive physical and emotional environment around the clock to ensure binge-eating behaviors subside and healthy eating habits increase. Outpatient follow-up treatment to provide much-needed support will be necessary as you transition back into your home environment.

Binge-eating is a medical/psychological condition that involves eating large amounts of food and experiencing emotional turmoil. People can and do overcome the challenging behaviors and feelings associated with binge-eating to embrace healthy, fulfilling lives. 

The key to recovery is recognizing when there is a problem, receiving effective treatment, while gaining caring support of friends and family members, to live a well-deserved, rewarding life. 

To Your Success,
Juan