Many years ago there was a TV series called 'Lost In Space'. One of the stars of this cheesy show was a robot who would warn of approaching problems by repeating the words, "Danger, Will Robinson, danger". So if you've ever found yourself deep into binge eating before you even consciously realized what was happening, here are clues that a binge is imminent: "Danger, diet-destroying binge eating ahead, danger!"
Binge Eating Is Usually Unconscious
As you hand hits the bottom of the cookie bag or your spoon scrapes the bottom of the ice cream carton, you might 'wake up' and wonder, "What in the HELL am I doing?" Odds are that you don't remember making a decision to eat hundreds of calories of junk food. In fact, you might not even really be aware that you were eating at all?
Binge eating is often referred to as a "binge eating disorder" – but what is that, exactly? When looking up the word 'disorder' we discover that disorder means confusion or lack of order or arrangement. That's a pretty good definition of because who would deliberately damage their health or destroy their efforts to lose excess unhealthy fat? We have discussed the unconscious or subconscious mind many time on this blog [The Law of Attraction and How To Change Your Life] and the only possible answer to this question is that old programming automatically takes over when we're not paying attention.
Does this mean it's hopeless and we're doomed to stuff our faces without our conscious choice? Not at all! We just need to pay more attention and as Abraham Hicks points out we all have access to an Emotional Guidance System and, if we're alert, we can anticipate a binge and, hopefully, forestall it. Here are five powerful clues that Binge Central is about to activate.
1. You Feel Lonely and Bored – The World Is Passing You By
Sometimes it seems that the entire world is out there partying – except you. You're lonely, neglected and bored and no one really cares (or so you think). The solution is simple: get involved in something, anything. Go for a walk in the beautiful outdoors, read a book, get in your car and go somewhere that pleases you (except the Krispy Kreme or Baskin Robbins), visit a friend or your family. Do something, anything, to become engaged in the world and to take your mind off eating.
2. You're Having Fun With Your Family or Friends and Think About Re-starting Your Diet Tomorrow
Yes, it's tough when everyone around you is drinking beer and eating multiple slices of pizza. Traditional diet advice says to exert Herculean will power and refuse to indulge. Personally, I think there's a better way. Instead of eating six slices of the meat lovers special, what about a piece or a piece and a half of veggie pizza? Instead of half a pitcher of beer, how about nursing one glass? Of course, these are just examples, but the idea is to eat some of what you're craving so that you don't feel isolated and alone but to limit the amount. We can't be deprived forever and this kind of behavior will make it much easier to get back on your program the next morning. Obviously, if you DO have some of that famous Iron Will Power then eat salad instead.
3. Inescapable Stress As a Binge Eating Cue
When we're under stress, many of us attempt to escape with food. Of course, it's not a wise strategy but that doesn't matter much in the moment when we turn to soothing food like potatoes or sweets. These kinds of carbs will increase the amount of serotonin in the brain and act like a tranquilizer. But when they wear off – as they soon will – the problems that seem so stressful are still there and we have most like sabotaged our weight loss efforts as well. Exercise or meditation would be much better coping strategies.
4. Anger, Annoyance & Just Plain Rage
When we're angry we likely don't know what to do with our anger. Society frowns on punching out other people or kicking our pets so a common coping strategy is to squelch your feelings with food. Of course, this is a pathetic strategy that solves nothing. We only feel worse and our anger often boils over into a blow-up against someone who doesn't have anything to do with the real cause of our anger … like our kids or Significant Other. But at the moment massive quantities of food do numb us somewhat even if we know in our hearts that we're going to pay for it later.
5. "I Might As Well Just Go Ahead And Eat!!!"
There ALWAYS comes a 'plateau' time in any weight loss project when the weight loss stops. Stepping onto the scale and seeing unchanged, or even slightly elevated, numbers is a massive binge-trigger. We often react by thinking, "Why am I bothering with this stupid diet? If I'm not going to lose weight I might as well eat what I want!" As motivational speaker Zig Zigler would say, this is "stinking thinking" – but it happens to most of us at one time or another. If we know this is going to happen and we expect it, we're less likely to go crazy and start scarfing down enormous quantities of the foods we've been missing.
What Happens If You Go Ahead And Binge Anyway?
Binge eating is a great weight-loss saboteur, for sure, but there is one way to make it worse: feeling guilty! If we physically binge there's a good chance we can go right back to healthy ways of eating. But if we start playing the self-hatred and blame game, we're almost certain to fail – at least until we repeat these same self-defeating habits in our next diet cycle of failure. So whatever else you do, don't beat yourself up after a binge. You're human, you're imperfect and you ate too much. So what? See it as feedback and move on.