101 Things to Do Instead of Binge Eating
I hear the term “binge eating" thrown around alot. While I’m not a fan of any label, I think what many people mean is they sometimes eat without being hungry and for other reasons like stress to help soothe. But guess what? “Bingeing” on comfort foods is proven to NOT lead to happiness.
I know…*eye roll*
Because if you emotionally eat, “binge eat” or whatever term you choose to use,
you know that most often you do not feel happy after.
In fact, you may feel worse.
Emotionally eating doesn't have to be bad. Sometimes we eat because we are happy while celebrating special occasion and want to “cheers” with champagne or eat a piece of cake on a birthday. Other times we may be upset or stressed and want to munch on our favorite chips just because it’s a coping mechanism. If anytime you eat for reasons other than physical hunger you end up feeling guilty and ashamed. Isn't that worse for your body than the eating itself? Shame creates a stress response and causes physical side effects that can affect your digestion and sleep, increase inflammation, lead to infections and more. Plus, you'll likely stay trapped in the vicious emotional eating cycle: You feel guilty and ashamed for emotional eating, so you continue to emotionally eat. (US News)
But emotional eating can be a problem if eating is your only coping mechanism or if you are constantly using food to numb yourself from feeling and processing your emotions. If you find that you are emotionally eating more often than, say, calling a friend, getting a good night's sleep or going for a walk to process feelings, try these tips instead:
We provide our clients with 101 Things to Do Instead of Binge Eating (on the blog click here), because so many people struggle with overeating at night without being hungry. Anything you choose to try is helpful, because simply disrupting the habit of rummaging your kitchen pantry can be all you need to stop! CHECKOUT THE LIST BELOW!
Tips to Prevent Binge Eating
• Don’t get too hungry. Our BWN Method is all about eating at regular intervals to help keep you full. This tactic helps MANY areas, including the urge to binge eat.
• Try drinking a glass of cold water when you think you’re hungry.
• Take a moment to pause. Evaluate if you are truly hungry and then make a mindful choice to eat or not to eat.
• Get rid of food triggers like alcohol or sweets. Out of sight, out of mind.
• Learn to manage your stress. Find a healthy, stress-relieving habit that works for you. Try, try, and try again.
• Get active. This is one of the best tools to cope with stress, boost mood and suppress appetite. Try to walk or do some form of aerobic exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. It’s also a great idea for when you have the urge to binge eat as well.
• Do something that relaxes you such as yoga, meditation, massage or hot bath.
• Get adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep makes you feel good, function better, and regulate your hormones.
• Get sunshine. Sunlight has a thermogenic effect that can decrease appetite and boost mood.
• Seek social support. Seek out friends and loved ones to talk to.
• Keep an emotional journal and food diary to document your feelings and eating habits. This can help you to identify key patterns that keep coming up.
• Get the stressful people and situations out of your life! Easier said than done, but reevaluate and see if you can rework some areas of life that are stressing you out.
101 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF BINGE EATING:
1.)Call a friend, your sponsor, a support person, anyone who you can talk to who will either get your mind off of food, or someone to talk to about whatever it is that you might be feeling.
2.)Go for a walk
3.)Drink a cup of tea
4.)Meditate or listen to a hypnosis or guided visualization download.
5.)Give yourself a manicure/pedicure– can’t binge with wet nails.
6.)Volunteer at the SPCA to walk dogs or pet cats.
7.)Go to a movie if the food there is not a trigger.
8.)Watch a funny movie at home.
9.)Take a shower, give yourself a hot oil treatment, shave your legs, tweeze your brows– self care time.
10.)Get organized sort out your bills, create a budget– organize your home, your closet, your life! Often getting organized can help you feel more in control and enable you to thwart a binge, which can often feel very out of control.
11.)Draw, paint or color.
12.)Knit or do needlepoint
13.)Take a nap
14.)Get out of your house and into your car, go to the beach, the lake, the park... somewhere pretty and relaxing.
15.)Clean out your closet, donate your old clothes or sell them on eBay.
16.)Go window shopping.
17.)Read a good book.
19.)Put on music and dance it out.
20.)Go out dancing.
21.)Call your friends over and have a dance party.
22.)Go to the gym.
23.)Stretch, go to a yoga class, do a yoga DVD or an exercise or yoga class on OnDemand cable.
24.)Take a relaxing bath with nice bath salts or essential oils.
25.)Write in your journal
26.)Move! Do jumping jacks, run in place, anything to move a little energy and release some tension.
27.)Scream into a pillow.
29.)Go to an OA or EDA meeting, either online, in person, or on the phone. 30.)Go to an online support forum with other people dealing with eating issues. 31.)Read a (non triggering) magazine
32.)Write a blog!
34.)Read personal journey blogs about others recovering from binge eating. For instance, Eating Journey, Healthy Girl, Recovery Discover, You’d be so pretty If..., Curbing the Crave, or The Binge Diary.
36.)Get your hair done or do your own hair. Experiment with different styles, curling iron, flat iron, curlers, etc.
37.)Make cards for people, catch up on Thank You notes, send out notes to relatives you haven’t spoken to or seen in a long time.
38.)Go out and take photos.
39.)Scratch things off your “to do” list
40.)Play video games.
41.)Play scrabble online
42.)Chat with friends on facebook or update your facebook profile
43.)Write and direct a short play with stuffed animals or Barbie dolls or action figures or your pets or sock puppets and videotape it to put on youtube. 44.)Download MP3s
45.)Give yourself a foot massage
49.)Create a collage
50.)Go bowling/miniature golf
52.)Write an angry letter to whomever you are holding anger at. You don’t have to send it, just let it out. Afterwards, put it somewhere safe. You might let go of some emotions that you’d been stuffing and you might find that you no longer have the urge to binge.
53.)Go through old pictures
54.)Cuddle with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, daughter, son, cat, dog, teddy bear, etc.
55.)Do karaoke, you can either go out to do it, or do it at home with OnDemand Cable if you have it.
56.)Water your plants– if you don’t have any, go out and buy some plants! 57.)Go through your closet and donate all clothes that are too big, too small, out of date or unworn. Keep the clothes that you feel good about yourself in. 58.)Zone out in front of the TV, catch up on your shows– as long as television is not a binge trigger.
59.)Play music! If you play an instrument, whip it out and start playing. If not, teach yourself to play one. Beat on some bongos, ping a triangle, strum a guitar, whatever is convenient to you. If nothing, make an instrument out of household objects and play it.
60.)Tell the binge that you are stronger than it. You are stronger than the urge to binge. Just because you want to, doesn’t mean you have to.
61.)Brush and floss your teeth
62.)Catch up on your emails
63.)Learn a new language!
64.)Make a rubber band ball. Try to beat the guy who made the world’s largest rubberband ball.
65.)Write a letter to your future self, your recovered self about what you’re going
through right now.
66.)Write some notes with positive messages and post them around your home or get out of the house and put them up in dressing rooms, public restroom mirrors, restaurants, — help Operation Beautiful!
67.)Make a list of why you rock. Think about what’s great about you. Can’t think of those things? Call someone who loves you and ask them to tell you.
68.)Spin around in circles like a *Whirling Dervish.
*Whirling Dervish (wurl-ing dur-vish) n. 1. A mystical dancer who stands between the material and cosmic worlds. His dance is part of a sacred ceremony in which the dervish rotates in a precise rhythm. He represents the earth revolving on its axis whileorbiting the sun. The purpose of the ritual whirling is for the dervish to empty himself of all distracting thoughts, placing him in trance; released from his body he conquers dizziness.
69.)Light candles and incense and relax
70.)Explore your neighborhood or town.
71.)Call a friend or relative who has been unhappy lately and needing some support. Sometimes giving support can be incredibly heartening and also supports the supporter.
72.)Use crayons to color hard! This can release tension.
73.)Build a terrarium.
74.)Search through your couch and house for change! Put everything you can in a jar and put it aside to start a fund for yourself as a motivator in your recovery. Every time you reach a milestone (ie: no bingeing or restricting for one week) you can buy yourself something fun, like a new pair of shoes, or some jewelry or new CD, or whatever you like within reason.
75.)Write a long, heart wrenching letter and stick it in a bottle and send it off. 76.)Roll on your back. This is a spinal massage that helps you to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
77.)Drink a glass of water.
79.)Read positive affirmations.
80.)Write out your intentions or personal goals for yourself for the week. Write out both long term and short term goals- things that you are striving for and ways to help you get there.
81.)Throw a temper tantrum! Go into your bedroom, lay on your stomach in your bed and scream into your pillow while you kick your legs and punch your hands into the bed. Ever see kids do this? They expend all that energy and it moves right through them. As adults, we can’t really do this and lots of anger and pain winds up feeling stuck in the body. We often try to stuff that down with food and for some, get rid of it by purging.
82.)Plan a party or get together or weekend trip with your friends.
83.)Go bowling, play pool, play golf or miniature golf, play basketball, hit tennis balls, go to a batting cage.
84.)Beat up your pillow.
85.)Make jewelry out of household items or beads or coins.
86.)Smell aromatherapy oils.
87.)Paint your garbage can.
88.)Make stuffed animals or throw pillows out of old clothing.
89.)Give yourself a facial treatment.
90.)Look through old pictures.
91.)Pretend that you are a tourist in your old city or town. Look up things to do that tourists would do and do it!
92.)Teach yourself to juggle.
93.)Go to the museum or the zoo. If it’s not the right time, go to an online museum and learn all about art.
94.)You can also take that old clothing, especially those that are significant to your eating disorder days, and cut it up into squares and make a “recovery quilt.” 95.)Make a cootie catcher with positive messages inside.
96.)Do a home makeover! Rearrange your furniture, get rid of things that you no longer want– sell them on eBay! Put up some curtains, just make things pretty for yourself.
97.)Do online crossword puzzles or sudoku or boggle.
99.)Do volunteer work.
100.)Write a novel, short story, or poetry.
101.)Fight Procrastination! Do homework, write that paper you’ve been putting off, work on your dissertation (ahem...)