However you imagine your eating habits to be after you stop binge eating, it’s time you start incorporating them into your life right now.
Ideally, what do you want your eating habits to be like?
Most of my clients say “normal” or “healthy.”
But you have to get specific.
What does normal or healthy mean to you?
These are both subjective terms so they mean something different to everybody.
After years of binge eating, and/or years of dieting, you may have no idea what normal or healthy eating actually looks like for you. You just want something different from what you’re doing now.
So to find something different, you look to outside sources to give you answers, yet when you do that you probably find lots of contradictory information. Nutritional science and it’s research findings are all over the place with doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, and health experts all saying different things.
So who so you believe?
You can read articles that tell you what is normal or healthy, and you may find some advice that’s helpful, but ultimately the answer is up to what works best for you.
When I work with clients, I don’t hand them meal plans. I don’t tell them how much and what to eat.
Instead, we work together to figure out what and how they want to eat. I give guidance, suggestions, knowledge, and options and ultimately the decision of what they want to eat is up to them.
You are the best person to decide what foods are best for your body because you’re the one in it.
You’re the one who feels the response to sugar, vegetables, rice, fruit, etc. in your body, and no one else.
But after being disconnected from your body’s signals and not paying attention to yourself for so long, it may be difficult to be aware of what’s going on.
In order to know what’s best for you, you have to reconnect with yourself.
Connecting with yourself happens just like it would with another person – take the time to listen, ask questions, and pay attention.
How much food do you need to feel full? How long should you wait between meals? What foods should you be eating?
These answers need to come from you. If you don’t know the answers yet, you take the time to figure them out. “I don’t know” is unacceptable. Yeah, you probably don’t right now and that’s ok. But you’re going to figure it out. You don’t know yet. “I don’t know” isn’t going to get you anywhere.
To get you started, I’d like to make a suggestion based on all the research I’ve done. One that is pretty universal and obvious.
Eat a variety of whole, natural foods. Also, cut back on sugar, flour, and processed foods.
This suggestion is pretty much agreed upon amongst most, if not all people.
What’s great about this suggestion is that there is still so much freedom that you get to work with.
It may not seem like it if most of what you eat from day to day involves sugar, flour, or processed foods, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a plethora of options other than what you’re eating now.
Trust me, there are.
Personally, on most days I don’t eat them and I love pretty much everything I eat.
Also, notice I didn’t say cut out sugar, flour, or processed foods. If you’re aiming for healthy, it would probably be best if a majority of your diet didn’t contain them and unless you want to, you don’t have to swear them off forever.
As you’re deciding what you want your eating habits to be like, here are some great questions to ask yourself:
What foods do you like and want to be eating most of the time that make you feel energized?
How often to you want to eat treats, how much, and why?
Consider how you want to be eating for the rest of your life, not just until you reach your goal weight.
You’ve probably heard this before, but you want to aim for a lifestyle, not a diet.
Diets are temporary while lifestyles are real, sustainable, and long lasting.
Create an eating plan that you like, that you want to stick to, not just one that other people have had success from.
Have you done Weight Watchers? Calorie Counting? Jenny Craig? 21 Day Day Fix? Completely cut out foods that you love?
I’m not bashing on any of these programs. Many people have greatly benefitted from them. But the biggest problem I see is that people keep going back to them after they’ve “fallen off the wagon.”
Have you found yourself going back to Weight Watchers or going back on the 21 Day Fix? Or resorting again to eliminating foods from your diet solely for the sake of weight loss?
When you do go back, what do you think would be different this next time?
I think the reason why people have to keep going back is that the program isn’t sustainable for them. It’s not what they really want to be doing for the rest of their life.
Personally, I don’t want to have to count calories or points forever. I don’t want to have to buy specific products. I also don’t want to cut out foods I like for the rest of my life. No more birthday cake or bread forever? No thanks.
If you don’t want to either, I suggest you figure out what you do want to do.
Another reason I think some people don’t find lasting success with these programs is because they fail to address the underlying cause of why you’re eating the way you are right now. They can tell you what you should be eating, and you can try to do what they say, but if you don’t change what’s going on with your thinking then you’ll be back where you started in no time.
Especially if you don’t really want to be eating the way they’re telling you to.
This is the trap that we fall into.
This is willpower backfiring.
Willpower is when you try to change your actions without changing the thoughts driving your actions. You can only push through for so long before it runs out.
If you’re overeating, binge eating, or eating when you’re not hungry, there is a reason behind it that can’t be ignored. You’re using food for a reason other than to fuel yourself and if you don’t do the work to understand what the reason is, then you’re just treating the symptom of eating rather than the cause behind it.
Get to know yourself. Pay attention to your wants. Make your own plan, don’t follow someone else’s.