Did you know that binge eating could be an old habit? A coping mechanism that served you in the past but since then it became a habit? For me it was always reaching for food the minute I came home to an empty house!
At a point in time it was a coping mechanism for feeling lonely but as time went by it just became something that I did when I got home. In order to break a habit you need to change the behaviour but get the same reward.
Here are some steps in breaking bad habits:
1. Identify the behavior/habit you want to change
Pay attention to the habit, when does it occur? How does it make you feel?What physical or emotional rewards are you getting out of eating?
2. Identify the trigger
What is behind your overeating? Is it hunger, emotions or just a specific time of day where you tend to overeat? When I start working with my clients, this is a difficult one for them to identify as overeating happens so fast. I give them journal prompts to help them discover their triggers, you can download a free copy here
3. Deal with the trigger
(This can be the hardest part and something I work with my clients on in great depth)
There are many reasons why we keep repeating the same habits around food!! It’s understanding the reward we get from overeating, is it comfort or distraction from uncomfortable emotions? Once we understand why we are in a binge-guilt habit loop we are able to start working with our triggers to find a different path instead of heading for the refrigerator. My 4 simple steps to stop emotional eating is a great tool to help you deal with your triggers, you can download a free copy here
4. Change the behavior
Replacing the habit of overeating will only become easy once you have followed the 3 steps before this!! Once you know your triggers and you are able to work with them. They are there for a reason, so when we know what that underlying reason is, we are able to replace the habit with another one.
5. Celebrate when you succeed
Celebrating your success no matter how small. Even if you were only able to hold off from binge eating for an hour, it’s still progress and deserves to be acknowledged!! When we celebrate a win, our reward centers in the brain draw attention to the win instead of the urge to eat!!