The End of Binge Eating

Ok I'm not going to lie to you and pretend that I'm the perfect eater but I will say that I have a balanced approach to food. There was a time in my life, 25 pounds and five years ago that I had a difficult relationship with food and I was a total binge eater.

In high school I was a rower. The sport required a weight of 138.6 lbs, not a problem now but back then this was very stressful. I'm not blaming all my past food anxieties on rowing, high school in general was stressful enough but it was especially nerve-racking knowing that I would be weighed-in regularly. Needless to say I developed a lot of food stress.

I was one of the better rowers on the team and because of this many of my teammates would ask exactly what I ate and how I worked out. In the beginning this interest was flattering but it eventually became super stressful. My choice of 2% milk over skim at the breakfast table after the morning workout would come up in whispered conversations later in the day. In effort to appear perfect I started to eat very little at school and then I would come home and RAID the fridge. I ate anything I could get my hands on: massive bowls of nuts, apples, peanut butter toast, chocolate milk, etc. looking back most of my after school "snacks" probably had upwards of 2,500 calories and the eating didn't stop there. My mom is an outstanding cook and would make absolutely gourmet dinners regularly so I'd force myself to wolf down whatever she put in front of me.

My biggest binge on record was in my grade 12 year. Over the Easter long weekend my family went to Whistler. While we were there I exercised for at least 2 hours a day, on top of skiing and I ate like a bird. I was trying to be really good because I knew we would be weighed-in after the break and I wanted to show that I'd managed to shed those last 2 lbs. The final night of the holiday my family did our Easter dinner and when confronted with chocolate bunnies I cracked. I ate my entire haul in one sitting. Immediately after this binge I thought my stomach was going to explode. I assumed the fetal position for a few hours before finally peeling myself off my bedroom floor.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you have probably figured out that I'm a person that has a tenancy to lean toward extremes. I go big or go nothing and with some aspects of life this is helpful but with food, it's dangerous. I've now learned the importance of balance when it comes to both food and exercise. My relationship with food is now healthy. I enjoy eating, in fact I live to eat, few things make me happier than a great steak but the key difference is I no longer eat to sabotage myself. I've found a healthy balance and so can you.

Here's what I do now to control my binges:

I make it a point to eat in public
I used to binge alone and started associating food with shame. I now see food as a celebration and not something that should not be consumed alone in your bedroom. Ask yourselves: on an average day what percentage of your empty calories are you eating in front of someone else? Try to make it 0%.

I tell family and friends not to comment on my eating
It's the reverse psychology factor I guess but whenever someone says that I eat a lot it just makes me want to eat more. My boyfriend knows this strict policy and although he eats like a sparrow he knows he can't say anything when I polish off my plate. If someone is bugging you about food ask them to stop, if they won't then ignore them. Own your binge eating and make it about you and not about them.

Treat myself to the good stuff
I workout hard to eat, within reason, what I want so I do. If I'm dying for pasta, I'll make really great pasta and have just one bowl.  Or I'll have that peanut butter cup – that saves me from eating an entire jar of peanut butter later. I try to limit myself to once a day allowing myself to go off the rails slightly.

I don't beat myself up over food
This was my seemingly endless cycle of binging. The diet starts on Monday! Don't fall into that same trap. If you go off the rails give yourself a break. It's not the end of the world and just try to be a little bit better the next meal, not the next day or week.