The 7 Best Tips to Never Binge Again by the Psychologist Who Wrote the Book
We've all been there. Stressed, tired, or bored and polishing off the whole bag of potato chips or the entire pint of ice cream for no good reason other than the fact that we felt like it. Binging can be fine as an occasional indulgence, but if it happens often, you may need to self-script to talk yourself out of it, like taking your mind of an itch that needs to be scratched. Regular binge eating sabotages our best efforts at achieving our body goals and a healthy lifestyle.
As part of her Series called Awesome Vegans, Elysabeth Alfano interviewed Psychologist and author of Never Binge Again, Dr. Glenn Livingston. You don't have to be one of the 3.5% of women and 2.0% of men in the US with a binge eating disorder to benefit from Livingston's advice. Binge Eating Disorder is more than three times more common than the better-known disorders–anorexia and bulimia –– but these tips work on everyday eaters who find themselves out of control on occasion.
Instead of giving in to the feeling when a binge urge hits and you know you're about to go out of control, try these tips to head off a calorie bomb hitting your otherwise healthy diet. Dr. Livingston shares his tips for never binging again!
The Best 7 Tips to Never Binge Again, by Dr. Glenn Livingston
When It Comes to a Rule, Keep It Simple
The number one tip would be to decide on a simple goal. I know a guy who worked as a trucker. All he ate on the road was fast food, all day and he said, “Well I’m not going to stop eating fast food, but I’ll never go back for seconds,” and he lost one hundred fifty pounds with that one rule.”
Make Yourself a Rule, and then Followed Your Rule
Rules work much better than guidelines. Come up with a very clear and bright line that distinguishes healthy from unhealthy. This also avoids you making exceptions for yourself. If you have something hard and fast, it is easier to stick to it. Otherwise, you find yourself saying, ‘But on Tuesdays at 11:39 AM, it doesn’t count.’
It’s Not Me, It’s You: Give Your Cravings a Persona
Make a decision to assign your destructive thoughts to a fictitious entity, one that you can separate from yourself. So the next time you are in Starbucks and there’s a chocolate bar in front of you and you hear a voice in your head saying, "It’s okay, you can just start tomorrow." You can say back: "Wait a minute. That’s not me talking. That’s my inner food monster and I don’t listen to monsters. I’m going to make this decision for myself."
Breathe to Calm Yourself and Turn off the Alarm Bells
“When you hear your inner food monster squealing, take a breath. Take a deep breath in. Breath out for longer than you breathed in for. That functions to help deactivate the emergency systems [in your head] that are telling you that need the chocolate to survive.”
Do Your Research to Give Yourself a Reason
[It’s important] to specifically disempower the false logic in your food monster’s reasoning. So, if your food monster says, "You can just start tomorrow. It’s just as easy," if you do a little research, you’ll find out that it’s actually not just as easy and once you've started healthy habits, sticking with them requires you to invest in them every day. Trying to start over the next day can come with a wave of guilt and self-hatred, so save yourself that process before your start Knowing the facts about healthy habits sets you up for success.
Get It In Writing! Put Pen to Paper
Get all of your food monster’s reasons (aka excuses) on the table in writing. Writing or journaling is a higher brain activity whereas binging is a lower brain activity. So journaling is another thing that moves the battle ground from your impulses and emotions to your intellect where you can self script and talk yourself into healthy actions and out of unhealthy ones. There are only so many thoughts you can keep in mind at one time because of the limitations of our brain's short-term memory, but if you put them down on paper, the whole picture becomes clearer to you. Take the time to write it all out: What you are craving, when you crave it, what emotion you may be hoping to push down, or even the calm binging gives you. Once you unravel the story, you have the beginning steps of changing the way it goes.
Be Confident and Happy in the Decisions You Make
[Consider] why staying with your own rule would make you a happier and better person.For instance, I didn’t make the rule, ‘I’m never going to have chocolate again’ so I could be miserable craving chocolate the rest of my life…. I made [that decision] because I want to be a confident, thin man walking the world as a leader. I made it because I want to be able to hike mountains and enjoy getting to the top. I want to be able to have a romantic relationship with a woman. I want to be able to be a leader and influence millions of people. I could go on and on.
There are dozens of reasons why not having chocolate makes me a happier, better person. When you link it to the future that you’re building for yourself, then you’re much more likely to go forward. Imagine yourself at the weight you want to be and move towards that positive image. Remember, skinny doesn’t have to be the goal. Instead think of the goal as: Happy to be off the roller coaster and feeling healthy!
Elysabeth Alfano is a plant-based expert for mainstream media, breaking down the plant-based health, food, culture, business and environmental news for the general public on radio and TV. Follow her @elysabethalfano on all platforms.