Diet deprivation, especially in the beginning stages of weight loss can cause someone to crave the foods that you have cut out.
Binging simply means you have temporarily lost control over the amount and type of food you planned to eat. I have seen this so many times. You are doing fine and then someone brings in cupcakes, brownies, etc. You break down and have some and before you know it, you do it more and more. Here’s what you can do to help protect your weight loss plan.
Even occasional binging adds unwanted calories to your diet. The key to weight-loss success is to be aware of your weaknesses and actually make room for them in your diet.
“I don’t think you should give up everything. That’s the key. You can budget in a sweet item every day or else I would really be crabby. For me, having my Nature Valley Protein Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter bar, Power Crunch or my Carbolite helps get me through those moments. They all have protein and low carbs vs. a plain chocolate bar or regular ice cream or frozen yogurt, laden in gobs of sugar and carbs and little protein. I add the carbs in my choices into my 50 to 100g of carbs per day.
Smart dieters (way of life for me now through maintenance) find ways to adapt this strategy to their diet plan and achieve the right balance of calories. You can also have a end up having a sliver of what you are craving, and if you are dedicated during the week, then make it your one cheat day. The cheat day isn’t a binge, but more of a maintenance day — no calorie reduction, but no excess calories taken in either.
Another balancing option is to avoid temptation entirely when you’re at home, and have strategies for when you eat out. In other words, simply don’t buy food that will sabotage your weight-loss strategy. Have healthy snack options at home. I have protein bars, Greek yogurt, nuts, cheese, meet choices, veggies and fruit.
One approach is to find “calorie bargains” that are similar to the treats you crave. Look for healthier alternatives or “light” versions of favorite snacks. But be sure to read food labels carefully — some reduced-fat treats have more added sugar and are not lower in calories. Be careful though on carb counts.
Even though the occasional binge adds calories to your day and is a threat to your weight-loss goals, it isn’t usually unhealthy. However, when binging becomes a way of life, it may signal an eating disorder that requires professional help to overcome:
- Binge-eating disorder is when you binge frequently and feel shame or embarrassment, but cannot stop doing it. People with this disorder are often overweight or obese. Because it is associated with anxiety and depression, it can be treated with some antidepressants.
- Bulimia nervosa is when you binge and then try to “purge” or get rid of the calories by vomiting, taking laxatives, fasting, or exercising to an extreme. People with bulimia often appear to be of normal weight, but are obsessed with weight gain or loss, unhappy with their body, and ashamed of their binging and purging.
These eating disorders are more common in women, but can also be a problem for men and boys. If you are binging frequently and feel anxious or ashamed, seek help from your doctor.
For the occasional binger who wants to stop the overeating-dieting cycle, you should be able to avoid binging by budgeting calories/carbs to include the treats you love. When you find a way to balance these calorie-dense foods with better nutritional choices, you won’t be as tempted to overindulge.