You did it again.
You’re sitting, staring at an empty bag of chips. An empty tub of ice cream. An empty pie plate.
You don’t know how it happened again, but it did. Now, all you know is the guilt sitting as heavy in your stomach as the frozen lump of mint chocolate chip.
I’ve been there too. For me, it was triggered by a cranky sweet tooth and a severe case of boredom.
First, I’d have a bite of the chocolate bar in the fridge. One bite would turn into half the King size bar. Second, it’d be a couple chips to combat the sickly sweet with some salt. Then, next thing I know I’ve eaten half the family size bag, some crackers, and a handful of pretzels. And I don’t even remember what most of it tasted like. After the flavor faded, it became purely mouth feel, eating to fill the void.
Do you want to stop the vicious cycle? Do you want a healthier relationship with food?
I know I did, every time I found myself staring at the decimated remains of my binge–which was, naturally, followed by forbidding myself from eating anything else the rest of the day. But if you’ve been there, you know it’s not as easy as simply stopping.
It’s taken me a year to develop a healthy relationship with the food I put it my body. A long, long year of so many trials and a much larger number of errors that I can’t possibly name them all. And because I know people just like that me, people like you right now, suffer that same cycle of eating-and-punishing, I want to give you some tips I’ve learned to combat overeating:
(As always my friends, I am not a professional, certified health expert or dietition. These are just my own opinions and things that have worked for me–and will hopefully work for you.)
Out of sight, out of mind:
This was, and still is, the most essential to me. If you get home from work and there’s a box of cookies right there on the counter, how much more likely are you to just grab a cookie… and then two… and then three, before you dig into the fridge for something healthy? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Make your home a safe zone. There are enough temptations on your way to school/work, at school/work, and then on the way back home again that you shouldn’t have to also fight them at home. During a moment of sheer willpower, toss out all the chips and cookies and crap that’s sitting around. If it’s not there, you won’t be able to eat and then binge on it now will you?
Don’t wait until you’re starving:
Your stomach’s announcing the mating call of a humpback whale. The TV is blaring doughnut ads. Your coworker is chowing down on Domino’s. Then, he offers you half.
What do you do?
See, when you’re hungry, those brave resolutions you made somehow magically vanish. Poof! Your self-control weakens to a point of nonexistence. This is the thing that can still get me today if I’m not careful. Therefore, I don’t go more than two hours between meals. For some of you, this might sound crazy–and for you, it might be. I eat a bunch of smaller meals throughout the day, but you may need the routine of a standard “three meals a day”. Find what works for you. Just let it be what keeps you satisfied enough between meals that you can, even reluctantly, say no to that sprinkle-covered confection.
Change of scenery:
You know the spot. In my case, it’s the end seat at the kitchen island. This spot is where every single one of my binges have occured–and can still occur, if I’m not careful. Maybe it’s your sofa, your bed, or your dining room chair; wherever the spot, pinpoint where you tend to be when you fall prey to your unhealthy eating habits.
Now, you know the spot. Next, walk away from it. Leave the binges there. Leave the cycle there.
Find a different spot. I merely moved one seat to the left at the island. Sounds silly, right? But it works. You see, you play with your brain when you eat in a different location. You’re no longer at the “scene of the crime” anymore, and if you don’t repeat the bad habit you started out with, your brain won’t know to send the message to mindlessly stuff your face with Doritos. It sounds so small, but try it. You’ll see the difference it makes.
Take a breath:
One of my dad’s most common statements throughout all of my childhood was “Breath Jordan! Taste your food.”
I wish I had listened sooner.
I don’t know if it was because I didn’t want my food to go cold, I don’t know if I constantly had something else I wanted to do after my meal, I don’t know why, but for some reason I have a horrible tendency to shovel food in without thought. This is something I’ve only very recently begun to battle. However, the importance of chewing more and pausing for breath is highly significant.
When we’re just shoveling food in mindlessly, we’re not truly paying attention to what we’re putting in our bodies. Food is fuel. A bag of Lays honey-barbeque is not going to nourish you or energize you for the day. But if you sit down on the couch, TV on, one hand scrolling through Instagram and one hand immersed in a chips bag, you’re not going to think about it. You’re going to grab, chew, repeat.
The purposeful mentality you’re attempting to cultivate is so much deeper and I won’t go into detail here, but it all starts with a breath. Take five seconds–that’s it, five seconds.
1… 2… 3… 4… 5.
Stop and actually think about what you’re eating. Think about if you want to continue down that awful binge or starvation spiral.
“Put the spork down”:
Rio 2 had it right here.
You can even time it with your breaths–every time you take a breath, set your spoon/fork down. Or vice versa. Whichever. The point is to disengage your fingers from the utensil. This goes right along with purposefulness, mindfulness, and taking breaths.
Meals were never meant to be mindless snacking. Filling the void. Repairing a broken heart. These are all holes in our lives Jesus wants to fill with his love ❤︎ These are not holes meant to be filled with food, but somehow, that’s what happens. I am just as guilty of it as you. I’m going to do it again, I’m going to mess up–and so are you. Sure, you can look up all the “Quick Fix”‘s you want, try all the diets, and buy all the fitness programs. But until you make the choice for yourself to eat healthier and love your body, none of it will work.
It’s not a quick fix. Mistakes are as much a part of the process as the workouts and the healthy eating. Heck, they might even be more important, because that’s how we learn. You will fall. It won’t be easy.
But it will be worth it.
Let me know if any of these tips helped you! Health journeys are hard, and all the diet fads choking us on social media today aren’t helping. You’ve got this though; I believe in you! You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎