While trying to eliminate, or at least vastly reduce, binge eating from my life, I selected a few basic rules that I’ve seen time and again in books about healthy eating by Martha Beck (The Four Day Win), Paul McKenna (I Can Make You Thin), Susan Albers (50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food), Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (Intuitive Eating), Geneen Roth (Breaking Free from Emotional Eating), Vicki Hansen and Shawn Goodman (The Seven Secrets of Slim People) and, oh, who knows how many other books.
The rules for intuitive eating are – eat what I truly want when I’m hungry, eat slowly and consciously, and stop when my stomach is satisfied. Easy, right?
Time and Conscious Eating
Okay, so I read too many books, both those on restrictive diet plans as well as those that suggest listening to my body for clues about what I need to eat. Unfortunately, reading books doesn’t help, no matter how strongly the author’s plan or suggestions resonate with what seems right for me.
The thing is, no matter what you do, you need to prepare for your new way of living, whether that means giving up white foods or listening to your hunger. Conscious eating requires time – food shopping, planning meals, planning snacks, journaling, eating more slowly, taking the time to stop and notice my emotions, planned exercise, spontaneous exercise (think, fidgeting, which can burn up to 300 calories a day), and doing activities that are alternatives to eating. Is that it? (Perhaps I should not forget my self-help book reading obsession.) Dieting needs its own form of time management.
Does an Eating Binge Take Time?
I started writing these articles as a way of announcing to myself (and everyone who finds these articles) that I was ready to make the time for the changes necessary to live a healthier life both physically and mentally. The first few days, I tried journaling to figure out what I was feeling emotionally when I had a desire to eat that wasn’t connected to hunger.
For a long time, I’ve told myself that I eat in response to stress. However, I discovered, at least during the past several days, that I eat more often when I’m tired than tense. I’m torn between connecting some of my binge eating incidents to exhaustion or boredom. I’ll work at top speed all day and pause at three o’clock in the afternoon for a little break. Unfortunately, the break turns into a snack. Am I tired? Am I bored with what I’m doing?
This all goes back to the time management thing. Although I acknowledged my need for creating alternatives to eating, I’ve yet to really figure out what I can do. What this means is that when I need a break (either from exhaustion or boredom) I still resort to eating – spoonfuls of frosting in a can, half a box of crackers, potato skins, and, well, you get the idea.
So my goal now is to look into alternatives to compulsive eating and, more important, make it convenient to do those things instead raiding the refrigerator. When I need to take breather isn’t the time to get involved in planning alternatives to eating because eating is still the easier thing to do.