My name is Jerome and I want to help you to stop binge eating at night.
Binge eating is not something that many talk about. Not having control over what or how much you eat is not a pleasant conversation starter.
My goal for you is to gain a better understanding of why you may binge. Through reading this guide I hope you can find ways to work through your binge eating patterns and have a healthier relationship with food.
While talking about bingeing is not sexy, I want to lighten up the subject matter a bit. Lets face it. Food is delicious!
It will obviously always be a part of your life so developing a wonderful relationship with food is paramount.
Diets and other restrictions are not a sustainable way to heal.
It’s hard to stop the binge cycle but it is not impossible. It should not be taboo talking about binge eating.
Many others myself included have struggled with bingeing. You may struggle with binge eating on a daily basis.
I feel that it is my duty to open up this subject matter and make it more approachable.
You struggle with binge eating and want actionable steps to stop
You struggle with eating junk foods and want ideas on alternatives
You want to end your binge cycle with a better eating pattern
You don’t want a diet plan but you do want to lose weight
THIS GUIDE IS NOT FOR YOU:
If you are looking for ways to cure anorexia or bulimia
Need medical attention for disordered eating (this guide can be a supporting resource)
Looking for doctors writing research papers on BED
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You may feel that your urge to binge is inescapable. You feel trapped in an endless cycle of burgers, pizza, and french fries. While these feelings are very real you do not have to be defined as such.
What We Will Cover:
5. Case Studies: How Marc and Lucy Changed Their Lives
5.1 How a Busy Restaurant Manager Took Control of His Life By Becoming Aware of His Problems with Binge Eating
5.2 How a Burgeoning Entrepreneur Went From Eating Grilled Cheese Every Day to Now Creating Her Own Yoga Classes.
Before we get started I want to extend special thanks to Primoz B., David A., Diana T., Danielle B., Marc, Lucy, and everyone else who has supported me through the production of this guide. Without you, this guide would not exist.
Chapter 1. What is BED?
Now let’s talk about what binge eating actually is.
Binge eating or referred to as BED ( Binge Eating Disorder) in the medical community may seem like a condition that is hard to cure and requires doctors and a rehab facility. While this may help many individuals, most of us can overcome bingeing by changing the way we eat and how we view ourselves and the world.
The purpose of this guide is to help you make your first shift into a healthier way of eating. Keep in mind that this guide is not meant as cure all or medical advice.
A LOOSE DEFINITION OF BED:
The urge to eat massive amounts of food in a period longer than 1 hour
Eating fast and uninhibited
Eating while full,bored,or sad
Eating alone (with guilt) or in secret
The severity of BED is determined by how many times a week you have these symptoms. You may binge once a year on Thanksgiving or a feast like it. While this does qualify as bingeing it’s probably not a problem unless you feast like that everyday after.
The Great American Binge
America loves indulgence and excess. While I am not going to hop on the minimalist soapbox (for now) I will say our culture loves a good binge.
We love a long night of Netflixs and chill. Amazon Prime even has a section called Bingeable TV! Ugh! Of course our food portions are huge. Food in America is made to be as addictive as possible.We will discuss why this is later on in the guide. We work long hours then binge on vacation for two weeks a year.
It’s like we are programmed by our culture to binge. There is no balance only extremes. You do not have to be a victim of this.
There is a way to live your life and not be trapped in an endless cycle of binge eating. This guide can help you start to unravel the reason why you binge.
You will also learn ways to overcome the compulsion to binge at night when you may feel the most vulnerable and stressed out.
Statistics on Binge Eating in America
BED affects over 2.8 million people in the United States alone. I will readily say that this number is based on the most severe cases. Many more have a more mild struggle with BED. Binge Eating is more common than cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia.
While these statistics give you a general idea of how prevalent binge eating is in our society, there are many that suffer in silence. These numbers may be far greater.
These risks include:
Keep in mind that you do not have to be overweight or obese to suffer from binge eating. Most that suffer from binge eating tend to be obese, but this is not a rule.
If you think you may suffer from severe binge eating on a daily basis. Do not hesitate. Make an appointment with a qualified professional that specializes in disorder eating today. Use this guide as a resource to help your healing process.
Chapter 2. My Journey
2.1 How I Overcame Binge Eating Junk Food Every Night
Okay, let’s steer away from grim statistics and talk about why I am writing an Ultimate Guide on Binge Eating at Night.
Since puberty, I struggled with food. I had a rough upbringing emotionally. I am the oldest of 9 children and I am very different than my siblings. For years I used food as a solace to stuff my emotions and my different opinions about life.
My parents were very confused on how to raise me. They did not really know how to connect with me so I was left to my own devices.
They also decided to homeschool me in the middle of 7th-grade year to gain further control. The result was devastating for a child going through puberty.
Being homeschooled only isolated me more.
I developed this habit of eating massive amounts of food to quell the loneliness that would build up inside me every day.
Fortunately, I was young and pretty active. I rode my bike everywhere. My after school jobs were riding horses and working on farms. I was a little pudgy with a little lower belly fat. Nothing crazy.
I finally escaped the clutches of my confused and controlling parents by going to Penn State University. I read a lot and taught myself most subjects so I had no problem getting into a good school.
Here I learned how to socialize with people my own age. In my teen years, most of my friends were in their 30’s and 40’s.
I also learned about junk food. Growing up my Mom cooked almost every day. I was not exposed to a lot of junk food until university.
I went crazy with trying all types of different foods!
The first two years of university helped me develop terrible eating habits that would plague me for 10+ years.
When I left college I noticed that I put on weight. I no longer felt youthful even though I was in my early 20’s. I was always sluggish and sweated a lot.
My family, my Mom, in particular, would make fun of my bloated round face.
I would try and go to the gym and eat better. I would see some results but I would always fall back to my terrible eating habits. I just had no idea how to heal my body.
Each year I felt more hopeless. I hated where I lived and I hated my job. I hated my life.
I wanted to move to NYC and get out of the boring suburbs of Philadelphia. My dream of moving to NYC came true in 2010.
I still struggled with eating but I was happier. As I settled into my new urban lifestyle my binge eating became even worse. I had a night job that was very stressful.
(Many late nights were spent at the local chicken spot)
Being in NYC was amazing but it was so easy to eat terrible all the time. The options were cheap and limitless. I quickly developed a late night binge cycle to melt the stress away. Now being in my later 20’s I became even more inflamed and sluggish.
My blood pressure was high and I could not lose weight no matter how many gym spurts I went on. I now was stuck around 205 pounds:
(Circa 2014) (Present day looking better. Now time for a six pack!))
By 2014 I felt sick all the time and was very bloated as you can see above. I knew I had to do something.
One of my friends suggested that I see her holistic doctor. She was transforming into a healthier person more and more each month. Despite seeing her progress, fear and resistance kept me stuck.
I felt so miserable but I was rooted in fear. Over time it got to the point where I could barely function at work. That is when I became desperate enough to make an appointment.
Walking in that doctors office and facing my fears was life changing. I was super scared about how much everything would cost but I knew I needed to do something.
After that first visit my path to a fulfilling life started. I changed my diet. I cooked often and began to exercise with consistency.
If you really want to change you will do the same. You will face your fears and forge ahead.
Nothing will stop you. I did all of this because I could not bear another day of internal torture. My life changed with just one doctor visit and a sheet of paper with recommended foods to eat.
Since that first doctors visit, I have drastically changed my life. I enrolled into a nutrition program and became a certified health coach. I also began to develop an online health business.
I work everyday to push myself to the next level. I am always seeking to heal myself further physically,emotionally, and spiritually.
I am not perfect. While I I no longer stuff myself with pizza and cake. I do indulge at times. Being a human I think that it is important not to deprive ourselves 100 percent of the time.
You have to allow yourself wiggle room.
This is the key to eat for nutrition and not emotional release. When I do indulge I make it as healthy as possible. For example when I do eat dessert I will have olive oil cake at a fancy restaurant instead of bingeing on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Now when I feel the the urge to binge I am aware that there is lack in an area of my life. By being aware of this I can seek the proper solution like going into meditation or connecting with friends.
Binge eating is something that I have suffered with for many years. I am here to tell you that you have hope. You have the power to release yourself from the emotional dependency that food has over you.
Chapter 3. Why You are Addicted to Certain Foods
3.1 How Sugar is Worse than Cocaine
Do you ever wonder why you can not stop eating that bag of chips or cookies? You may think that it is your lack of willpower and need for self indulgence.
Low willpower and need for comfort is only a small component of the battle. The rest lies in the manufacturing of the addicting food you are eating.
Let’s dive in and learn why you can’t seem to put down that bag of Reese’s which used to be one of my favorites.
Sugar is your number one enemy. I know. You probably have heard millions of times that sugar is really bad for you. You may have even tried to cut down on your sugar intake. It seemed pretty impossible. Right?
Cutting back on sugar is super hard because our brains love sugar. Feel good neurotransmitters like dopamine are released when we ingest large amounts of sugar. If we do this daily then we become very dependent on sugar.
It’s hard to stop eating massive amounts of sugar once you start. Think of it this way, when you feel sad or low in energy you instinctively know that eating some sugar will alleviate those feelings. Over time you develop a habit of eating something sweet and comforting when you feel down.
If you continually do this an addicting habit that is hard to break is formed. Take a look a this study where rats were given the choice between cocaine a sugar water.
You would probably assume that intravenous cocaine was much more enticing to the rats.
94% of the rats chose the sweet water! The study also states that even when the levels of intravenous cocaine were increased the rats still prefered the sweet water.
At first glance this may seem highly unlikely. But if you really think about it for most of history man had little access to sweet things.
Before the development of agriculture, we hunted for our food. If our ancestors found honey or berries I am sure they went crazy.
Eating something sweet even 200 years ago was a rarity. When I was younger I read a lot of books about American pioneers.
In these books, there was rarely talk about sugar. In fact sugar was pretty scarce. Holiday candy was the highlight of a child’s year. It would take them days to eat one piece because they wanted to savor it so much!
Wow! My how things have changed!
SUGAR IS SIMPLY EVERYWHERE! IT COMES IN SO MANY FORMS:
and the biggest monster of all HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)
This is just to name a few.
In processed foods sugar is the main ingredient. 90 percent of the added sugars we consume are from processed foods. Sugar comes in many forms. It may not be noticeable to the untrained eye. In present day society, epidemics like obesity are built upon excessive sugar consumption.
We are simply not designed for a excessively sweet diet. When we develop a dependence to sugar bingeing and obesity occur.
We are constantly activating the reward center in our brain. We then just crave more and more sugar..
To sum up the rat study, we eat too much sugar. We are not designed to eat so much sugar. Sugar acts like a drug worse than cocaine.
It is recommended that we consume less than 30 grams of processed (added) sugars per day. Yes, that little.
Take notice the next time you crave something sweet. Think about how far you will go to get it.
What you are willing to do may surprise you. After all, rats chose sweet water over hardcore drugs.
You are a human with free will.
I know I sound like this anti-sugar freak but sugar addiction plagued me for many years. Even today when I feel stressed or workout really hard I feel the urge to eat sugar. This is due to a lack of balance in that particular moment.
3.2 The Power Evil Food Scientists Wield Over You
Yes. Perhaps the headline above is a bit dramatic. I am sure food scientists are loving people and have loving families. I am mad because it’s a food scientist’s job to come up with the most addicting foods possible.
This makes bingeing at night harder for you to overcome.
Food scientists definitely have an evil job. With the support of our government, America is getting fatter and more addicted to food every year. I see the consequences of the evil food scientists everywhere.
Let me tell you a quick story of what I saw the other day that reminded me of how effective food processing and marketing is.
I was at my day job and I saw one of my managers carrying two McChicken sandwiches. I work in a restaurant that is definitely not McDonalds. I asked him, “what on earth is that?” He replied, “McChicken sandwiches.” I asked “why?” He did not really have an answer and walked away.
I wondered out loud where the closest McDonalds was. One of my co workers said it was six blocks away.
So my manager works in a restaurant filled with food that is better than McDonalds. Yet he goes to great lengths to obtain two McChicken sandwiches.
This is the power of evil food scientists at its finest. This is why bingeing at night can be such a challenge for you to overcome. Your food is made for you to be physically and emotionally dependent on it. It makes you go out of your way to get your next fix.
Why 70% OF AMERICA IS FAT
Dr. Mark Hyman in his blog post Food Addiction: Could It Explain Why 70 Percent of America Is Fat? explains that the food industry and government encourages personal responsibility when it comes to obesity and other disorders like bingeing.
The government tells us that Americans should exercise self control and limit our intake of processed food and drink. Okay great this sounds great. But what about the evil food scientists that our government funds?
The article states that the just say no approach should be used for food and drugs. You now know from the study and the story I told above that this is B.S. You know that food is designed to be addictive.
You are not going to binge on broccoli and salmon. Try it. All that will happen is that you will have perfect glowing skin and some awesome bowel movements!
You can eat those foods for years and be vibrant and healthy. Binge on pizza and candy for a week and you definitely are well on your way to developing a serious food addiction.
The above article also states that food education in this country is geared towards numerical controls like counting calories. American food education does not address the ingredients in the foods we eat. Some of which are not disclosed.
The government also puts great focus on exercise. If you exercise and burn more calories the you are healthy. Exercise is great and should be a daily part of your life.
But if you exercise while eating tons of shitty food and have binge cycles like I did counting something like calories in your diet is pointless.
Information like this is why you struggle with weight and bingeing. There is definitely bad food and there are definitely bad calories!
The perfect balance of sugar, fat, and salt in processed food is why food scientists are evil. They know exactly how to trigger your brain for maximum pleasure.
You are left trapped in a hopeless cycle of bingeing wondering how you can stop. You want to start losing weight and eating better. But you have no idea how to start.
Next let’s talk about other reasons besides evil food scientists and false government propaganda that may cause you to binge. This way you then can start the process of ending your binge cycle.
3.3 The Top 4 Reasons Why You Suffer From Binge Eating
The reasons why you binge vary greatly. Through personal experience and speaking to others about bingeing, I can safely say you binge because something in your life is out of balance.
In our life there are four main components. Joshua Rosenthal the founder of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition tells you that these four components are your Primary Food. Of course there are subsets to each of these categories. For now let’s focus on the main four.
YOUR PRIMARY FOOD IS:
HEALTH CAREER SPIRITUALITY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
(Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
Let’s talk about health first. If you constantly have low energy, sleeplessness, and get sick all the time this can be a direct result of poor eating habits. If you fight with a loved one frequently this also drives down your health.
If you do not know what better or good health feels and looks like it is impossible to fix the cycle of binge eating. If you feel that your health is not the best ask yourself these following questions.
“If I could change one thing about my health what would it be?”
“When was the last time I felt completely healthy?”
“How did I feel?”
“What is the first step that I could take today to start and improve my health?”
“How are my relationships?” “Do they need some attention?”
HERE IS A QUICK EXERCISE
Remember a time when you felt vibrant and healthy. Close your eyes and envision that moment in time. Remember how you felt.
The essence of life coursing through your veins. The excitement of the future that was thrown before you. How your skin glowed.
How everyday you bounced out of bed ready to take on the world. Remember how you felt secure and loved in your relationships.
You have experienced these feelings at one time or another. Otherwise you would not be reading this guide seeking to get back to that state of bliss.
Going back to those moments can help you create a healthy future. Remember, it is your birthright to be as healthy as you can be. It is not impossible to have those feelings again.
If your health is bad this can lead to a viscous binge cycle.
Joshua frequently speaks about imbalance in our careers. You are bound to the pursuit of money to provide for yourself and your family. It is tough to go through a career change if you are not happy. You may think that changing careers or getting a promotion is out of the question.
Look at this breakdown on how much we work in our lives. The percentage in our lifetime that we spend working varies but it tends to be around 25-35%. That is a lot of time! If we spend that much time working it should be productive and sustainable.
Going to a job that you hate for the next 30 or more years is a sure way to stay stuck in your binge cycle. This helps no one. Especially you.
Think of ways that you can change your work situation if you hate it. James Altucher writes in Incomes Are Going Down, Jobs Are Disappearing…Here’s Your Survival Guide. how the way we work is changing rapidly. Since the turn of the century the internet revolutionized how money can be made.
You now can have a full time career that is independent of location. James speaks frequently on how incomes are going down and traditional jobs are becoming extinct.
He says now is the time more than ever to invest in yourself. Invest in yourself and learn a new skill. You can stay ahead of the curve and make a better income on the side first. Then you will be able to transition to a career that you love full time..
This is the only way to stay out of the trap of not feeling good enough. Sitting on the couch shoving Doritos down your throat is a direct result of lack in career satisfaction.
When you feel good about your work and what you contribute to the world, you are less likely to binge at night.
In the past 3 years I have invested thousands of dollars in myself.
By doing this my self-worth has risen.
You can do the same.
As James says,” read. Read what interests you.” When you read, it opens your mind to limitless possibilities. By reading your mind will be opened to new career opportunities that you have never imagined.
When you invest and learn more about yourself, you can find ways to get out of your seemingly hopeless situation.
James also encourages his readers to write down 10 ideas a day. By working your “idea muscle” you can expand your way of thinking.
(Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
Like Joshua, James writes about Primary Food. When you start to become aware things will change. What we focus our attention on grows.
Write down 10 ideas a day and see what you come up with. I remember once I started to write my ideas down how quickly my mind began to work.
Someone would be talking to me about a problem they had. A solution on how to fix it would just pop into my head. I also started to have better clarity on how to expand my business. By focusing on expansion and becoming better each day we feed our ourselves with primary foods instead of resorting to binge eating at night.
How are you with spirituality? Even if you do not follow a specific religion or practice having some way to connect with the Universe is beneficial.
Whether you believe in a God or not, connecting and grounding yourself each day will help you from binge eating at night.
Ways to connect and ground yourself is limitless. Remember, your relationship with the universe is yours alone. Outside influences can have a negative or positive impact on how you view spirituality.
You may have a negative outlook on spirituality due to past conditioning. Going to a church that told you that everyone is going to hell unless you do exactly what they tell you to do can cause some serious damage.
Rhetoric like this can wreak havoc on your relationship with your world and how you connect. You might feel lost and confused.
Perhaps you feel guilty for not going to church or identifying with a particular set of beliefs.
Thoughts and feelings like this can lead to further disruptions in your life like wanting to binge eat all of the time.
TAKE SOME TIME NOW AND ASSESS HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT SPIRITUALITY
Do you have a spiritual practice? If so how can you deepen it?
What do you define as spiritual? This can mean taking a walk in nature or giving to a worthy cause.
How can you heal yourself from deep wounds that caused you to turn away from connecting with a higher power than you?
Make your spirituality yours. No one else can tell you how to feel or act. By taking back the power to interact with your outside world in a positive way, your inner world will transform.
When you heal yourself you allow the Universe to open up new paths. Opportunities will be presented that you have never dreamed possible.
While this may seem like some hippie dippy B.S., see for yourself. Sit back and take note of how you feel about spirituality.
Too often you get caught up in the mundane grind of life. You lose sight of what you truly value. You lose sight of what you actually want from your life.
Take some time to think or meditate. By doing this you will discover exciting ways on how you can improve your life. You will be able to lessen your emotional dependency on food!
Here are 2 Great Meditation Programs:
Headspace -Headspace is easy to incorporate in your life. For just 10 minutes a day you can begin to connect with your true self and silence that endless critic in your head.
Oprah and Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience– Have solid teachings from Oprah and Deepak enter your life. Allow yourself to deepen your relationship with forces greater than you.
By developing a spiritual practice you will gain insight on why you binge. Perhaps your Mom or Dad said or did something when you were very young. You then stuffed those emotions by eating, temporarily feeling comfort again.
Developing awareness around spiritual practice will help you find ways to heal so you won’t rely on food.
You can break this cycle.
(Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
Like spirituality, physical activity can take many forms. It is up to you to find what works. In a blog post that I wrote earlier this year, I stress how important it is for you to find what you like to do for physical activity.
By finding how you love to exercise you are more likely to participate in that activity on a consistent basis. You may think you need to go to the gym 3-4 times a week for the rest of your life to be healthy.
But what if you hate the gym? What if you can’t stand the thought of taking a fitness class?
Then don’t do it. Find something that you enjoy.
This may mean running with your dog. Or taking 5 spin classes a week. Or climbing mountains. Whatever it is, seek to do it on a consistent basis.
Give up on the things that don’t serve you. It’s bad enough getting the motivation to do the things you love. Why bother finding the motivation to do things that you hate?
Take those obligatory thoughts out of your life and replace them with activities that you will do daily. By doing this, you will improve your success rate with consistent exercise.
Let me tell you how I figured out a way to workout on a consistent basis. I secretly hated going to the gym. I would tell everyone otherwise, but I truly hated it.
I was bored all the time and thought that the exercises that my trainer provided were completely useless. Since I was going to the gym I felt that I could eat whatever I wanted. I would binge eat things like doughnuts and of course I saw minimal result.
I was literally throwing money away. Then I got burned. The last time I hired a trainer, I quit halfway through.
The gym changed hands around the same time. I remember waking up one day racing to the gym demanding to know what happened. My bank account had been drained. I had lost hundreds of dollars.
I demanded that they give back my money. You know how gyms are with training packages. It is nearly impossible to get your money back if something happens. I lost all of that money but I learned a valuable lesson.
Through that experience I vowed to never hire a trainer again. I got a cheap gym membership so I could use it whenever I wanted
.I go to the gym now because I want to. Not because some outside force is telling me I should. I see results when I go now because I am not bingeing. Now I know how to make my body respond to muscle manipulation.
I also discovered that I wanted to dance again. I began to take ballet classes. Then I discovered on vacation a year ago that I loved spin classes.
(Pointing my feet randomly after ballet class. Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
Now I have a full workout regime that I am happy with. Even when I have my bad days it is super easy to get back on track. This is because I love what I do for physical activity.
Years later I am thinking of hiring a trainer again to meet my goal of building more muscle. From my terrible past experience, I know that I will be extra careful in the hiring process. I learned from my mistakes. I have control of how I exercise and where I spend my money. This feeling of control translates to me not binge eating as well.
You can do the same. Think about what you love to do for physical activity.
I know. I recommend you to think a lot. Getting in touch with yourself can allow answers to surface that you do not know are there.
Once you have 2 or 3 things that you know you love to do. Take action and do them.
You will be less likely to binge at night. You will be less depressed and more focused on improving yourself.
Let me know which activities you decide on. I would love to hear about your experiences!
Focus on your Primary Food. This is just as important as the foods you put into your mouth. If you struggle with having healthy relationships seek to find ways to improve them.
Perhaps you need to connect with others more. Or you may need to face someone that you have done damage to or vise versa.
Focus on developing a fulfilling career. Is this something that you need to work on? Our world is changing rapidly and there are many opportunities that exist for you right now. As James asks, “what inspires you to get up and start working everyday”?
If you are not inspired or feel dread every morning you have the power to fix this. No matter what your circumstance, there is a solution to your problem.
Too often we get deep into our heads failing to see possible solutions. Perhaps as James suggests, write down 10 ideas a day so you can jump start your new life.
Do not forget how much power you have over fulfilling your highest destiny.
Grounding yourself in a spiritual practice will enhance how you interact in the world. You may find yourself responding to obstacles in a calmer manner. You stop being reactive and become more proactive. You will seek to find solutions instead of stamping out each fire as it comes roaring towards you.
Arming yourself with a consistent physical routine can create out balance in your life. You can expand your discipline by expressing yourself creatively with dancing or martial arts. By having consistency in working out you will develop mental clarity.
Most likely you want to feel and look sexy. Being a bit vain works in your favor. It is incentive not to face plant into a bag of Doritos while watching Netflix after you are done working out.
By taking the steps to heal your wounds, binge eating is easier to stop. You have more tools to work with. You don’t have to feel victim to your actions.
Keep in mind feeding yourself Primary Food is a lifelong commitment. Do not starve yourself. You will naturally develop automatic good habits that will keep you from binge eating.
Chapter 4. How to End the Binge Cycle
Now that we talked about addressing our Primary Food, let’s talk about how you can break the binge eating cycle through eating nutritious meals.
In order to successfully stop your binge cycle you must have a plan. Taking the necessary steps to eliminate bingeing from your life is crucial.
You need a detailed plan of action. If you don’t make a plan of action you will fail. You would never drive somewhere new without mapping out the best route to your destination. A plan of action applies to every improvement you want to make in your life.
This plan should not be overwhelming. It must fit into your life. It also will evolve as you figure out ways to improve your eating pattern.
I will now outline some key components that should be in your plan. Everyone is different so adjust according to your needs.
4.1 The First 3 Steps You Must Take to Gain Control of Your Binge Cycle
The First Step
Eliminate all junk food from your home environment.
When starting something new taking the first step is always the hardest part. This is when the first wave of resistance will start to take hold. When you move out of your comfort zone you will experience resistance.
Removing junk and comfort food may bring up feelings of sadness and anger. I know it did with me when I cleaned up my diet.
I was absolutely furious and did not want to eat “healthy”. In fact I gave myself a week of testing. If I did not see results I told myself that I would go back to the way I was eating.
I started to feel awesome and lost some lbs (the good kind of vanity at work) so I did not turn back.
It is important that you are fully committed to stop bingeing. If you are not fully committed then you will fail. You are either in or you are out.
Naturally you will have bad days but stay committed to stop binge eating. You will succeed. It will take time but you will develop a life free from bingeing.
When starting a new pattern of eating I love to reference one of my favorite bloggers in personal development James Clear.
Clear breaks down new habit formation in a easy to understand manner. He writes extensively on forming new habits backed by scientific research.
When you change something like ripping all of the junk food from your fridge, it is important to know how a human like you will react.
In the Healthy Eating: A Beginners Guide to Eat Healthy and Stick to It, Clear writes how important our environment is when eating healthy and how it is less about willpower and motivation and more about automation.
Being successful in removing junk from your diet is all about what kinds of food are in your environment. Side note: read the part where James talks about food scientists (such evil people) and Cheetos, very informative!
Clear uses this 6 month study about a hospital cafeteria as an example. In the study researchers put baskets of bottled water along with the soda throughout the cafeteria. The researchers wanted to see how much this would affect the participants’ choices.
They also made the food options healthier. Why do schools and hospitals have the worst food and drink? Hospitals serve Jell-O like it has healing properties. Something to think about.
Over the next 3 months soda sales dropped over 11 percent. Meanwhile water sales increased over 25 percent! There was no strong willpower or motivation involved.
There was merely a change of options and architecture of the cafeteria. The goal is to cater to our innate nature of laziness. The easier you make it for yourself to eat well, the easier it will be for you to stop bingeing at night.
Create a junk food free home.
Clear out the fridge and pantry.
Replace with healthy options.
This way you are setting yourself up for success. If you have a rough moment of wanting to binge, you no longer have an endless myriad of junk food to choose from. You are less likely to make that Taco Bell run (yuck!) if you have guacamole and carrots staring at you.
The Second Step
Develop a consistent grocery shopping, cooking and eating schedule.
Now while I am a big fan of ripping off the band aid and going cold turkey, I know that it is hard to maintain consistency when you are developing a new habit.
The word habit sounds a bit unsexy. But think of it this way, being aware of what you actually do versus what you think you do will be life changing.
Humans are creatures of habit. I am sure you have heard this many of times. You can also reprogram yourself.
By reprogramming your unsavory habits like consuming a bag of Cheetos or Resses at night, a whole new you has the opportunity to emerge.
In his article How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide, Clear writes that over 40 percent of your daily behaviours are driven by habit. This is huge! There is so much you can do to improve your way of life by simply developing automatic good habits.
Since you have already made an enormous change and threw out all junk food you need to find a way to institute your new way of eating.
As Clear says, the best way to do this is to break down your desired new habit into smaller chunks. By breaking down your desired outcome it is less overwhelming and easier to manage.
For instance, if you want to cook at home 4 nights a week, start by making dinner every Monday night for 2 weeks. By starting with just one meal every week the goal of 4 nights suddenly seems more approachable.
After all, you only have to start with Monday night for 2 weeks. If you cook more great, if not you have not failed.
(Become one with this section of your grocery store. Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
Speaking of failure, it will happen. As Clear says plan for it. I agree with him. Know that you will fail. It’s a matter of when not if. The key is how you react to your failure.
When you do fail and binge after a long stressful day, please be kind to yourself. Know that bingeing is a tough cycle to break and it will take time. Beating yourself never helps.
Focus on the next day and how it will be binge free. Plan out your next few meals. This will provide clarity. By knowing what and when you are eating will lessen the risk of failure in the near future.
By failing you will also learn what works and does not work for you. Perhaps you can’t have organic peanut butter in the house.
A few months ago I had to stop buying peanut butter because I realized it was becoming addicting. I have not bought peanut butter for 8 weeks, Now if or when I do buy peanut butter again I won’t abuse it.
When you fail you become aware of what works and what doesn’t. You have more knowledge to arm yourself with. The tools in your box have increased to stop bingeing at night for good.
The Third Step
Focus on eating well. Do not focus on weight.
(Green tea can help with this transition. Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
One of the most important steps to stop bingeing at night and to develop a healthy relationship with food is to focus on eating well. Do not focus on what the scale tells you.
I remember when I first stopped eating junk, I did not weigh myself for more than 6 months. I concentrated on learning how to prepare my food. I did not make weight goals. Instead, I found out which foods worked for me and which foods did not.
After the first two weeks I started getting compliments like, “wow Jerome have you lost weight?” Or after the first 2 months “Jerome! You are like disappearing!” This was enough to confirm that I was on the right track. Plus my clothes fit better and I looked less inflamed.
When you focus on weight loss, your change in diet has an expiration date. When you focus on putting whole foods in your body and breaking your binge cycle, you will create permanent change.
The goal is for you to create a system that in time becomes automatic. As Clear writes in How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Towards Your Goals, you need to think of your goals as a process not an event.
(Throw veggies in a skillet. Simple is easy. Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
Perhaps you need to lose 20 pounds to become a healthy weight. 20 pounds may be the end result but you need to develop a system to keep those 20 pounds off.
By maintaining your desired body weight you can work towards a more ambitious goal like running two marathons a year. The goal of losing 20 pounds should not be your focus. Your focus should be sailing across that finish line twice a year.
Once you develop a foundational system you can work from your system and scale your results. To do this and be successful you must fall in love with boredom and repetition. Clear agrees.
Anyone who is successful whether they are a writer, entrepreneur, or athlete has a system that they have fallen in love with.
By having focus you create a catalyst of success. What you focus on grows. If you focus on developing a healthy eating pattern you are less likely to binge. You will create a system to automatically combat bingeing.
While failure will happen it is less likely. It is easier to go back to good eating. When you do fail you will have a good system to fall back on. No floundering for you.
When you develop a system and perfect it, results will happen. You will get feedback on your success from your external world. Use this as fuel to forge ahead. Remember at first this will not be easy. Like learning any new skill there is a learning curve.
4.2 A Framework to Put Your Binge Proof Plan into Action
Below I have mapped out a simple system for you so you can glean some ideas.
This is a rough guideline but it shows you one way to have a plan. When you have the urge to binge, you have a plan. If you fail to plan you are guaranteed to fail breaking your binge cycle.
You can also create your workout schedule in the same manner.
Play around with what works for you. By developing a system it is easier to meet your goals. You are taking tiny steps day by day which multiply over time. By focusing on one day or one week at a time results will happen.
Your main objective should be to create an anti-binge system and lessen your dependency on willpower and motivation. When you do things automatically it will create a lifelong change.
In this chapter we talked about how you can end the binge cycle and how to put a plan into action.
Eliminate all junk food from your home.
This sets you up to make junk food less accessible. This makes your transition easier. The goal is to reset your taste buds so you will abhor junk food. By removing temptation eating well becomes automatic.
Remember the 6 month study and how powerful it was in affecting human behavior in the hospital cafeteria. Replicate this in your own home. Increase access to health options and see results immediately!
Develop a consistent schedule.
Start less complex and then become more complex in your schedule over time. Like Clear says, start with a very small habit and work your way from there.
Avoid overwhelm at all costs. This will only create confusion and failure. I know you are ambitious and willing to do anything to free yourself from bingeing at night.
Slow down and take it one day at a time. By doing so you will accelerate your progress more than you can ever imagine. Compounding small changes over time creates massive result.
Focus on eating well and not on your weight.
You don’t have to worry about losing weight. Your body and taste buds will adjust rapidly to your new way of eating. By not focusing on weight you will be shocked at the results. Positive results will drive you to create more. You will free yourself from negative emotions like guilt.
When you fall in love with your system you can tweak and make it more effective. The goal is to start simple and go from there. When you fail you can immediately go back to your framework.
Whenever I fail in my system, I know exactly what to do the next day. There are no foggy ideas on how to get back on my feet. You can do the same.
Make your system as user friendly as possible. Have fun and tweak it. You are a holistic being and balance is key.
Mix things up if you get angry and frustrated. You need to fall in love with your life. The only way to do this is to have a sustainable system..
Next let’s talk about real life people that I have worked with. They are developing their own systems to stop bingeing and start fully living their lives.
Chapter 5. Case Studies: How Marc and Lucy Changed Their Lives
We talked in the beginning of this guide about how there are millions of people who struggle with binge eating. Remember you are not alone.
5.1 How a Busy Restaurant Manager Took Control of His Life By Becoming Aware of His Problems with Binge Eating
Marc is 32 years old and is a manager at a busy restaurant in the middle of NYC. Most of his days are consumed with work.
He has little time to focus on his health, but he wants to start a family. He knows that if he wants to have children he needs to be healthy to keep up with them.
Earlier this year he told me if he does not start getting in better shape he will certainly have severe health problems. Perhaps even die on the toilet at 45.
By him knowing this it becomes a strong motivation for Marc. He knows that he needs to make some immediate changes in his life. Think about what your strong motivator is. This will help you stay on track in your darkest hours.
When Marc told me his story in February, it struck up emotion within me. I felt his pain and struggle. I am sure you can relate as well. For the next few months I checked in to see how he was doing.
When I spoke to Marc on May 1st 2017, I noticed that he lost weight. Just by him opening up to me and taking some of my advice, he was far more optimistic about the future.
The first question I asked him was what he was currently struggling with.
He told me that he was:
Struggling with maintaining balance in his life
Meal planning was a constant battle because of his work
At times he does not know what or when he is eating next
I then asked him what solutions he came up with to not binge after a long day at work.
He told me that when he is tempted to binge he:
Takes a step back
Let cooler heads prevail
If he does binge he has some sort of healthy food along with it like greens/fruit
My next question was what has he accomplished so far to stop his binge cycle.
He told me that he has:
Found healthy foods that works for him
Peanut butter helps him to avoid bingeing on junk
Become aware of when he is watching tv he has the urge to binge
I asked him what is some advice that he could give you to help you overcome bingeing.
The urge will always be there
Think about what you are going to eat
Think before you eat. Take a minute.
If you do binge think of ways you can incorporate a healthy food
Don’t think of this as a diet. No one wants to diet for 40 years
Marc is doing great. He is more aware of what he is eating than ever before. He is now looking for ways to develop a consistent workout schedule despite his long work hours.
You can do the same as Marc. Start small like he did and work towards developing more complex systems like a workout schedule in conjunction.
Marc is serious about starting a family and knows that his eating habits are key to having an active relationship with his wife and future children.
What is your biggest pain to motivate you to break the cycle?
From Marc you can learn that no matter how busy you may be you can find ways to stop the binge cycle. Marc usually has less than 4 hours of free time a day. When you do fail you can incorporate healthy foods so you don’t feel as though you have lost completely.
5.2How a Burgeoning Entrepreneur Went From Eating Grilled Cheese Every Day to Now Creating Her Own Yoga Classes.
Lucy is 28 years old with two jobs. She came to me in January 2017 wanting to improve her eating habits.
She found herself eating grilled cheese almost every night after work and wanting to get out of that rut. She also wanted to influence her boyfriend to make better eating choices.
Now that it is June 2017 Lucy has made several major changes in her life. She now has better meals on a consistent basis.
She has recently completed a yoga teacher training program. Lucy is now gaining the confidence to lead her own yoga classes to lessen the time at her two jobs.
Below is a brief interview that I had with Lucy. While Lucy does not specifically struggle with binge eating she offers valuable insight on how to overcome failure when you binge.
Jerome: So Lucy, what were your goals starting the program?
Lucy: To eat better, more nutritiously. I’m pretty happy with my weight, but just wanted to feed myself more nutritiously. I wanted to be able to feed my boyfriend (laughs) more nutritiously, and try to get him eating better. Those were my two main goals.
Jerome: All right, great. How was a coaching program able to support you in those goals?
Lucy: It pointed me in the right direction for better choices for food. Food that I was kind of eating already. Just making healthier and better choices but still accessible and easy to feed myself.
Jerome: Tell me about some of these changes you made.
Lucy: Eating my own breakfast every morning, that was a big one. It sounds simple, but it was a big one, ’cause it also saved me a lot of money, got me eating a lot less cheese and egg, and bagels.
Lucy: That’s been a favorite, and then, being able to feed myself more vegetables at dinner, I’ve been really happy. Oh, I guess the grocery shop tour was really helpful. It was really nice to get a hand-guided tour of where and how to shop.
Jerome: Okay, so where and how to grocery shop?
Lucy: Yes,exactly, it’s made my shopping more accessible.
Jerome: What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in your life since the program?
Lucy: Um, I don’t know because I feel like I’ve made a few changes.
Jerome: Tell me about them.
Lucy: Since I started the program I did a yoga teacher training. I’ve also been doing a really good meditation exercise.I think that’s helped both this program and the yoga program, all of which have changed the way I think and the way I approach work or something that’s stressful.
Jerome: So are you saying you’re able to handle stress better?
Lucy: Yeah, yeah. I definitely have been able to handle stress better than I could six months ago.Jerome: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I know that we talked extensively about this at the beginning of the program.
Lucy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jerome: In terms of overeating or eating unhealthy things, where are you with that now?
Lucy: Oh, I think I’ve gotten better. At the beginning of the program if I ate poorly I would kind of use that as a reason to continue eating poorly.
Jerome: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lucy: Which doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Jerome: So you were a downward spiral?
Lucy: Yeah, exactly.
Lucy: Or I would get that way like for a few days, whereas now, I think I’m a lot better. If I do eat poorly, for like a snack or a meal I am much more able to kind of let it go. “Oh, you know, it wasn’t the best but it happened, so.”
Jerome: So you’re able to move forward?
Lucy: Yeah, move forward without like-
Lucy: Holding it against myself, or like being like, “This is how I eat now,” I’m able to turn it around more quickly, in a more nice way to myself.
Jerome: Now if someone was struggling with bingeing or overeating, what is one piece of advice that you would give them?
Lucy: Oh gosh, I guess that … I wish I had a, a good, concise way to say it. I feel like I have an idea, don’t have a good, concise way to say it.
Jerome: Well, if you give a good summary, then.
Lucy: It happens. It’s all well and good, just bring yourself back to how you prefer to be eating. And there’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t know, I feel like I might not be the best person to speak about bingeing and purging, ’cause that, that was never a big problem for me. It was almost never a big problem for me.But I guess I could say my sister, because she-
Lucy: Eats that way.
Lucy: If you fuck up your eating, that’s fine ’cause you’re going to be hungry again in a few hours, and you’ll have the opportunity to eat how you want to.
Jerome: Well, that’s perfect.
Lucy: You know what I mean?
Jerome: Well thank you so much.
Lucy: Of course.
As you can see from the interview Lucy is in more control with her eating habits and life. She is able to continue to transform herself because she has laid the necessary groundwork to do so.
She brought all of the yoga materials needed for a successful class. She is now recruiting people to attend her classes with great confidence.
This would not be possible if she was stuck in her former hopeless cycle of eating grilled egg and cheese sandwiches every night. She took control over her destiny.
With support, goals that seem unattainable are easier to reach. You may often get stuck in your head thus resulting in getting stuck in your life.
Support like coaching gives you access to the future allowing you to reach your dreams and grow in ways that you have never thought possible.
Like Marc and Lucy you can transform your life at a radical pace.
Chapter 6. How Will You Stop Binge Eating?
So now you have some ideas for how you can stop your binge cycle. How will you go about it? What is the first step you will take? Too often you get stuck on the little details and get overwhelmed.
Fear takes over and you decide to take action the next day.
This is how a cycle like binge eating at night is perpetuated and there seems to be no end in sight.
Now that you have some idea of what may be causing you to binge eat you can go about developing a better lifestyle pattern.
With any new thing, breaking out of bingeing may seem completely impossible. After all you have been doing it for years. How will you ever be able to stop?
6.1 Learn How to Break Free From a Fixed Mindset When You Take Action And Stop Binge Eating
I remember when I first started to break my own cycle of bingeing I was so frustrated, confused and angry. My security blanket of greasy, carb loaded food was taken away. I was so mad. I wondered how people ate so healthy all the time.
Their diets seemed so strict and not fun. I loved the foods I ate and did not want to give them up. Even though I looked and felt horrible, the junk food was always there to soothe my pain. That was until the next morning I woke up feeling terrible and would have massive stomach pains and diarrhea.
Putting my body through that horrible cycle for years was very taxing. When I released myself from that pattern the results were phenomenal. This is the only reason why I did not turn back to my old diet.
It was not massive amounts of willpower and motivation. It was simply because I did not want to stop feeling so awesome. Like Marc’s motivation to be healthy for his future children, you have motivator as well. What is it?
I encourage you to do the same. Play around and start eating healthy for a week. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
(Me awkwardly displaying my favorite dark chocolate. Courtesy of @livinglifelite)
If you are ready to make that leap to better health you will. No one else will do it for you. You alone have complete power. Success will beget success. You will look back and shake your head wondering how you ate those shitty foods in the first place.
Many people think that developing a new lifestyle takes a certain amount of days. 21 days to break a habit is thrown around as a general benchmark.
Clear dismisses this claim and as do I. We are all different and it’s a silly notion that it would take a certain amount of days to change your habits.
In his article How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit?, Clear says that a plastic surgeon in the 1950s began to notice that patients adjusted to their new faces in about 21 days.This was also the case if the patient had a limb amputated.
From there the myth began to spread and people began to think that new habits took 21 days to form as well.
We now know from further intensive studies that habits can take from 18 to over 250 days to completely form. This makes much more sense. When you take into account failure planned or unplanned it takes a great while for you to completely change a eating pattern like binge eating. This is especially true for an emotional cycle like binge eating.
You can definitely change the way you eat in one day like I did. But it will take weeks to almost a year until you automatically know what and how to eat.
I remember when I first stopped binge eating. It was so strange. It took time for me to develop a lifestyle that I automatically shopped for healthy food and knew how to prepare it in a efficient manner.
It used to take me almost an hour to cook a healthy meal. Now I can whip a great meal up in less than 30 min. That’s less than the time you wait for delivery.
Be open and play around with your new way of eating. Develop your anti-binge system.
Eventually it will become automatic. Even if it takes almost a year like it did for me. You are in this for the long haul. For life. This is not Whole 30.
You may be thinking, “Okay I read this guide and there are some things that I can definitely use. But how can I put a plan into action and be successful?
The answer is you just have to start somewhere. There is no magic way to start. You just have to start.
Work on removing certain food groups from your diet or work on specifically not eating after a certain time at night.
By experimenting you will find ways that work and ones that don’t. Don’t feel bad if you fail and end up scarfing down a big bag of potato chips one night. This is a learning process for you.
As Lucy said you may fuck up but the next time you eat you have the opportunity to change that.
Chapter 7. Whats Next
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this guide. I do hope you gained some valuable insight that you can implement immediately.
Remember, to stop binge eating at night is a journey. Like with all journeys there will be ups and downs.
When you create your plan of action, a system, stick to it. Your success rate will be high. By creating a system that is automatic you take away mental strain. You then will start to focus on all aspects of your Primary Food.
You can do this by:
Grocery shopping every week
Prepping meals in the beginning of the week (that way you have a general meal plan)
Learning to cook healthy meals efficiently
Playing around with different eating schedules and types of foods
By making eating less of a reactive emotional event and more of an event where you give your body substance, it is easier to break your binge cycle.
Your Primary Food (remember what Joshua talked about)
Bettering your relationships
Developing a consistent physical activity schedule
Building a spiritual practice
Thinking outside of the box concerning career (remember James’s suggestion of ideas)
Health, Career, Spirituality, and Physical Activity will work in tandem releasing you from the need to stuff emotion with binge eating at night.
All of the elements for success will fall into place. All you have to do is develop a system that is sustainable and consistent. Tweak it to make it better once you have a solid foundation.
7.1 Find Out What Foods Can Help You To Stop Binge Eating At Night
Don’t delay starting the healing process from binge eating. You have read this whole guide so I know you are ready to take the next step.
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What you want out of your life is much closer than you realize. Release yourself from your inner demons so you may go into the world and improve it. The world needs you and the lessons you have learned.