This is Part 4 of the Series: Eating Enough to Reduce Urges to Binge.
You can read what has been posted so far by clicking on the link above.
In Part 1, I wrote about how under-eating can lead to urges to binge. Part 2 went over the physical and mental signs of under-eating, and Part 3 gave examples of what under-eating might look like for the average person who wants to eat healthy, but very well might be under-eating and experiencing urges to binge.
Part 4 will offer suggestions on increasing your eating to reduce the urge to binge.
It seems crazy to suggest increasing how much you eat when we are bombarded with the message to eat less. Eating less has its place, and is an effective way to lose unwanted weight, but eating less is not usually the most effective approach for those who are caught up in the habit of binge eating. Eating less is usually what triggers the actual urges to binge, increasing the likelihood of binge eating.
It is worth considering removing the period of dieting (under-eating) that leads up to urges to binge as a means to experience less binge urges.
This is a practical approach, but may be very intimidating or even scary to the person who is used to under-eating and bingeing.
I suggest exploring this approach as quickly or slowly as it appeals to you. The reason for this is that our actions tend to follow our thoughts (beliefs) and if you do not believe that eating more will reduce your urges to binge, you likely will not enjoy the process of eating enough and you might not stick with it.
This does not mean that eating more is not an effective approach to reducing binge urges because it certainly is!
It only means that eating enough will be frustrating and uncomfortable for you if you do not believe that it is a plausible practice.
Bingeing is a physical act that requires physical action to end, but all physical actions begin as a thought, often subconsciously and emotionally. Putting the effort into ending binge eating requires both a physical and emotional change in approach, so go easy on yourself as you explore the two, and get comfortable with your own growth, no matter what its speed.
Some benefits of eating more throughout the day besides experiencing less urges to binge are:
- Feeling more satisfied after meals.
- Feeling more satisfied after snacks (if you need them at all).
- Experiencing less anxiety around food.
- Experiencing freedom to think about more than just food and eating.
- Reduced discomfort from dieting.
- Increased concentration.
- Increased focus.
- Increased sexual desires.
- Improved moods.
- Improved digestion (assuming you are bingeing less or not at all).
- Increased ability to eat along the usual meal schedules of those around you (this is more of a convenience).
- Bingeing less (and not at all).
- Less regret, guilt, and shame attributed to bingeing.
- Weight loss (if it was needed).
- More stable hormones.
- Freedom to enjoy your life without the burden of binge eating.
So, on that positive note, here are some ways that you can increase your eating which will reduce your urges to binge:
- Increase the portion sizes of your meals. If you have two eggs for breakfast, try adding an extra egg (or two).
- Add new foods to your meals. If you have eggs for breakfast, try adding some avocado or some spinach, or some olives, or fresh fruit. If you have yogurt, try adding some macadamia nuts.
- Add healthy fats to your meals. Fats will keep you fuller longer and definitely add to your satiety levels. You can experiment with olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, butter, ghee or even lard (best from organic sources). No need to worry about the extra calories from a serving of fat–extra calories are the whole idea in this experiment!
- Increase the amount of protein you eat at each meal.
- Add some satisfying carbohydrates to your meals. Carb have gotten a bad wrap over the last twenty or so years, but provided you do not base your entire diet on them, they can be a very beneficial addition to your diet (especially if you exercise or are a female with hormonal imbalances). Try sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yucca, carrots, beets, white rice, bananas, or plantains. I generally advise sticking with vegetables and fruits as your carb choices simply because gram for gram, they are more nutritious than grains and legumes (but do not feel that you cannot have grains or legumes!).
These are only a few ideas for increasing your food intake so that you are eating enough and experiencing less urges to binge.
You do not have to follow this advice, as it is always your choice how to go about this, but you will probably find it relatively easy to increase your food intake with healthy, whole foods, and you will probably find them delicious. Your meals will become more palatable, and you will feel satisfied, calm, and able to go on with the rest of your life as they are digesting and providing you energy.
I caution against adding processed foods and foods high in sugar to your diet as you increase your food intake. The reason for this is that these foods are known to not satisfy, not leave you feeling calm or clear, and do not offer benefits to your digestion, skin, joints, and mental well-being. For someone who has dieted and binged, healing what has been damaged will do wonders not only for the obvious physical reasons, but for your mental health.
Know that you may choose less than healthy foods to increase your intake and it will have no impact on your morality–only your physical and mental health. You can still stop urges to binge with less than healthy foods, but it might be more difficult. This is for you to determine.
Mathematically, implementing a few of the ideas above each day can increase your calories by as little as 100 or several hundred. If this frightens you, remember that if you are dieting and bingeing, you are eating very little followed by periods of eating amounts that are far too much for anyone. Eating increased portions throughout the day, and not bingeing, always ends up being less food over the long-term, than dieting and bingeing.
Remember that trying to maintain a diet of 1,600 calories or less is likely what got you into the cycle of dieting and bingeing. Do not feel guilty about increasing your daily calories. Most people do best on at least 2,000 calories a day. If this sounds crazy, think about how crazy dieting and bingeing has felt.
It is worth trying something new.
Experiment with this if you are currently dieting and bingeing. You might come to enjoy this way of eating and you will certainly enjoy less urges to binge.
In Part 5, I will write about bingeing even after you are eating enough. Bingeing begins as a way for your body to receive enough nutrients after a period of starvation, but often becomes habitual. The good news is that habits can be changed so read on as we continue the Series: Eating Enough to Reduce Urges to Binge.
For now, leave a comment if you have tried any of these ideas and let us know how they have helped to reduce your urges to binge.
Image from Tumblr.