In between endlessly scrolling social media, letting Peppa pig be the third parent and going for walks, my other favourite hobby is eating. Whilst this is incredibly pleasing and satisfying hobbies, it doesn’t do any favours for my waistline (or lack thereof).
When sitting down in the evening, you decide to crack open a small pack of biscuits as you “fancy a little treat”. After binge watching your latest Netflix series, you look down and realise that those biscuits have gone from 1 or 2 to 3….packets. You immediately feel guilty, blame your other half and stomp off the bed to brush the crumbs (and any evidence) from your teeth.
The knee jerk reaction to this happening is eating nothing but salads for the remaining days of the week and a huge slashing of calories, removing any tasty food and big jump in exercise. This may make you feel better in the short term, it probably isn’t the best long term solution. I want to give you a few other options on how you can tackle this scenario.
Be Aware of your Trigger Foods
The first thing we can do is try to prevent this situation happening again, or at least minimise the chances. Telling you to never eat biscuits, cakes and crisps again is not going to happen and would be a boring place to live.
Instead of just ignoring the problem and hope it goes away, we need to be aware of it, acknowledge it and take action to prevent it.
Trigger foods are the type of foods that we are not able to just have one. If we open that packet, we know the whole thing is being eaten, whether we like it or not.
The easiest way to control trigger foods is by not buying them. Not having them in the house solves the immediate problem but I appreciate it is not always possible.
The second option is not make them as difficult or inconvenient to access as possible. High them away in the back of the cupboard in the most difficult to reach place, inside another container and out of sight.
Manage Portion Sizes
Another key area of avoiding that binge or overeating is to control your portion sizes.
If you want to read about portion sizes in more detail, you should probably read this article.
If you have never tracked calories, then I would highly recommend it. It very quickly makes you realise how much you are eating, but not in a good way.
That ‘small’ portion of granola wasn’t in fact that small and the recommend portion size of peanut butter wouldn’t feed a small mouse.
It puts your portions in perspective and recalibrates your eye to give you a decent understanding of portion sizes and the rough calorie makeup of certain foods. This will make managing portion sizes much easier in the future.
Flexible dieting is an approach to managing your weight by letting you be exactly what it says on the tin….flexible. Instead of defining foods being either good or bad, you are controlling total calories and letting your habits and lifestyle fill this up with how you please.
You can read about it more detail on this post.
Flexible dieting is like scratching and itch before it gets so bad you have a mad scratching fit and make it worse. It helps you include foods that would normally be ‘off menu’ to satisfy cravings and prevent a huge binge later on.
Of course this is done in a controlled manner and within calorie targets.
Get Back on Track
Now that we have found a few methods to help prevent the binge in the first place, now let’s talk about what we need to do immediately after.
We could admit defeat, throw the towel in and give up on our latest diet attempt. Saying “fuck it”, and proceeding to eat nothing but cakes and biscuits for the remainder of the week, but that would be a little silly…
…delicious, but silly.
This is the equivalent of getting a puncture in your car and then getting a knife and slashing the three remaining good tyres.
Not very helpful.
I think we could all sensibly agree that the best option would be to get straight back on track where we left off. Accept that we have deviated from the plan slightly, make some adjustments and crack on.
It may have affected our end goal slightly, but giving up is going to affect it so much more.
Avoid the Highs and Lows
The middle ground is not sexy or appealing, but unfortunately it is where most people need to be.
We often get drawn to the extremes of dieting as they are shiny, exciting and make very bold promises (by promises, I mean lies).
Going zero carbs, meat only or just avoiding any food that brings us any form of mild enjoyment. Neither of these options are sustainable or enjoyable and therefore are doomed for failure.
Instead of saying I am having no ‘treats’ or snacks for a month, why not say I am only going to have 1 or 2 snacks per day and they are going to be less than 100 calories each.
Instead of going T total on alcohol for months on end, why not limit drinking to 1 day in the week and to a maximum of 4 drinks.
By avoiding these peaks and troughs within your diet, you are going to minimise your chance of going through this binge and restrict cycle. Going way over your calories with excess food, followed by massive unstainable restrictions that are not going to last.
Instead of just winging it and hoping for the best, you could reach out to a professional to ask for assistance.
I don’t know, maybe one that writes decent articles like this one?
Just fill in the form here and I will get in touch to talk about how I can help you.
The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.