Many of us who get caught in the binge cycle are “the busy type”. We are used to doing a lot, being productive and efficient, and go-go-going until we finally collapse in a heap at the end of a long day. What that usually means is that we are so focused on others that we don’t spend any time tuning into our body. We are out of touch with our nutritional needs (not to mention our emotional, mental, and spiritual needs). Sometimes we aren’t even aware of feeling hungry until our brain is finally shut off.
During my struggle to overcome Binge-Eating Disorder, I discovered that most of my bingeing occurred in the early evening or late at night, either right when I got home from work (the first moment I had to decompress) or after I had finished my chores around the house and sat down in front of the TV. Those were the times I suddenly became aware of a screaming hunger inside me that triggered an all-out binge on easily prepared or grabbed snacks. Sometimes I would even eat snacks as I was preparing a meal, feeling so hungry that I couldn’t wait until the meal was ready. Of course, changing this habit was quite difficult and required me to do two things: 1) create a meal and snack plan each day; 2) make time to actually eat at regular intervals throughout the day.
In my book, I mention that it took some time for me to figure out my best schedule for meals. I tried eating something small every two hours, but that was too much and led to some anxiety about overeating throughout the day. Now I’ve honed it down to about every 3 to 3 1/2 hours that I eat a little something. Getting into the habit of eating regularly really staved off that feeling of starvation and deprivation that led to a binge. Now, even during a very busy day like today, I know that I’m going to take a break every 3 hours or so to eat something.
Try experimenting with your own eating routine. If you eat one meal a day, consider eating more frequently. If you eat every four or five hours and still feel very hungry and end up bingeing, consider decreasing the length of time between meals or snacks. Remember, it’s just an experiment. There’s no such thing as failure. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else. Your body will thank you. Your mind will thank you. And you’ll have more energy to focus on all those things you want to accomplish!
Peace, joy, and health.