Let me start off by explaining the situation a little bit more...
I have approximately 20 lbs to lose by the summer hopefully. To be completely honest, it's not so much the number that I'm focused on as much as I am focusing about losing fat - slimming down and all that. I started going to the gym about a month ago and I usually go 4 times a week. My diet isn't too bad, but there is one big concern...I tend to binge. I didn't think that's what it was before but when I read up on the subject more, I realized that's exactly what I do, and I do it more and more often these days and it really irritates me. I usually do you in the evenings and I have a hard time believing that I'll be able to get over this. It's caused to boredom or emotions, although sometimes I don't even know what to blame it on, I'm just stuffing my face. I need to stop and I want to stop. I have never before in my life had such a hard time controlling myself. I feel full during the entire day and eat generally healthy meals and snacks, but once evening or night time comes around (usually), I can't seem to get full, and worst of all, it's with the worst foods...
I'm new to this, and I'm not sure what to do or where to go. I have a goal set on how I want to look and that I want to achieve this asap, but I know I won't get far or even anywhere if I don't stop binging.
Please help? Much appreciated and kudos to all those dedicated to their goals!!
One of mine was getting too hungry. Then I'd go to get something to eat - and eat, and eat, and eat.
Now I have snacks built into my daily meal plan. I have a snack 10-10:30 am, around 3 pm, and 8 pm. Snacks are things like a hardboiled egg, an apple with a little peanut butter, half an apple with a small slice of cheese, a nonfat yogurt, etc. When meal times roll around, I'm hungry, but not ravenous.
I know you're never supposed to take a whole bag or carton or whatever to eat (for example, put 6 crackers on a plate instead of sitting down with the whole box). I do that - but then is the temptation to go back and refill the plate. So if I can stop myself, I'll go and brush my teeth, call someone to chat on the phone, do some aerobic exercise for 5 min, go for a short walk - anything to distract myself. Distraction doesn't work all the time, but it's working more and more often.
Another trigger for me was late-night eating. About 10 pm I'd get hungry and often eat another meal's worth of food. I made a rule that I couldn't go into the kitchen after 8 pm. I broke it a few times, but most of the time, I'd get to the entrance to the kitchen and turn around. I think my body's adjusted to my eating schedule - I rarely feel hungry late at night now (the 8 pm snack probably helps too).
I try to find something low in calories for 'bingeing' when I feel compelled to binge-eat. Sliced celery tossed in the minimum amount I can manage of olive oil and vinegar. Have a few things like this, so you can rotate them for those occasions.
I love Carolynn's advice; so many good suggestions.
I guess I also think of that saying: It's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you. I used to binge eat a lot. For me, it was like I was trying to fill a hole. I put up a sign in my kitchen: Nourish yourself. And I thought of all the ways in which I could do that, besides food.
Also, some foods cause you to binge. Sugar, high amounts of carbs cause you to binge because they set up a certain glycemic reaction in your body. Consider going sugar free and lower carb and see if it helps. If you drink (not saying you do, just giving info), know that drinking lowers your resistance to indulgent behavior and alcohol acts like sugar in the body.
Exercise is great, of course, but it can also increase your appetite. What helps? Eat a little healthy carb before, eat a little healthy protein after.
Realize that it is built into human nature to binge eat because food was not always available. But now it is. Sometimes if I crave something, I tell myself don't worry it will be there some other time. It's like I'm tricking myself to control myself. Like Carolynn, I try to eat healthy food throughout the day and then stop at a certain point of the night, prolly around 8 is good. I don't binge so much anymore because it makes me feel crappy and I try to remember that.
But if I am in mid binge, I try to tell myself: you can stop now. I try to break that compulsive cycle. Mindfulness helps and you are already starting. Not wanting to do something is the first step towards not doing it.
The other thing? Try to drop the shame and guilt (if you have it.) You did it, it's done; you can always make a different choice.
I also tend to binge more in the evenings if I let myself. Like others said, keeping my body from getting too hungry by eating enough during the day really helps, but I also avoid buying the foods at the store that I know are weaknesses. I refuse to buy chips of any kind (even the healthier versions), because I know I have no willpower. I will consume the entire bag if it's sitting in front of me. I still get my occasional splurge at a party or if I buy a small bag on the go... just to get my fix. I also make myself herbal tea after dinner and sip on that to keep from snacking. Some teas (like an apple cinnamon one that I buy), taste like a total treat, but aren't sweetened and have little to no calories. Keeping hydrated cuts back on the hunger, and it gives me something to mindlessly drink while watching TV, reading, etc. If I do have crazy cravings and feel like a splurge, I only put a serving size on my plate and the rest goes away. Good luck... hope that is helpful!