Unless I’m in total denial, I don’t think I’m the only one who has ever eaten an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting. Or a half gallon of Häagen-Dazs, a whole roll of cookie dough, an entire bag of Doritos, etc.
It’s normal to have trigger foods. The foods where it’s harder to have one than it is to have none.
I used to be a binge eater. I would eat secretly, alone, and in the dark, when no one was watching. I desperately wanted to quit but wasn’t sure how. Through trial and error, lots of it, I realized these four phases were part of the process to stop my impulsive, shameful eating habits and behave normally around my favorite foods.
1. Remove “it” from the house.
If it’s not there, you won’t eat it (probably). Now, believe me when I say that I’m guilty of driving to a gas station to buy a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich in a moment of weakness. But for the most part, what’s not in your fridge can’t be eaten. So stick to your guns when you’re at the grocery store. Keep it out of your cart.
2. Buy it. Bite it. Toss it.
I’m not in favor of creating unnecessary waste, but when it comes to my personal health, self image, and sanity, I’m OK with tossing a few nibbles here and there. When you feel strong enough to reintroduce it back to your life, try buying just one. One cookie. One doughnut. One slice of pizza. One pint of ice cream. Take it home, eat a few bites, or one serving (the nutrition label will say how much that is), and toss the rest. If you’re totally against throwing it away, give it to someone you trust enough to explain what’s going on. Even the simple act of talking to someone will help you feel stronger.
3. Practice eating just one.
Maybe this sounds strange, but it makes total sense in my head. Since you may never have been strong enough to eat a single serving, you might have to practice doing it. Right? Think of it as mental strength training. If you want to learn to do a pull-up, you have to practice your pull-ups. Same thing here. If you want to learn to stop at two scoops, three Oreos, 11 Doritos, whatever it is, you must practice. Otherwise, you’ll never have the confidence to do it.
4. Buy it, but control it.
Now that you’ve learned to eat just one serving, you can feel comfortable putting it in your grocery cart and taking it home. I’ve learned to love the feeling of looking a trigger food in the face and knowing that I’m in control. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean I have to eat it.
It’s important to remember that you can eat everything. You just can’t eat everything in one day. And it is totally possible to go from binge eater to balanced eater.
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