Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Best Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating, part two

Hopefully you've read yesterday's entry first, which is the set up for this post all about Preventing Emotional Binge Eating. Click the link if you need to back and read that first.

Now, we continue.

At the risk of over simplifying things, I'm going to come out with two causes of binge eating. The first is as a result of over restriction of calories and / or food choices. After a while, your body is literally starving, and starts sending messages to your conscious mind along the lines of "eat all the foods". That is a survival mechanism and in my opinion, it is an almost inevitable consequence of any restrictive, low calorie diet. Having a plan based on appropriate fuelling to meet your requirements as we talked about above will take care of this problem easily enough for the most part. However, we're still left with the other cause which is more to do with emotional triggers. "Had a bad day? Fuck it, eat all the foods". That sort of thing.

Now... as far as your progress in weight loss or training for body composition goes... what would it mean if you were to give in to this urge? Well, actually very little when you look at the long term, big picture - as we've talked about at length already. The only issue then is what people have decided (or been taught) it would mean about them as a person, if they were give in to temptation.

Think of the terms we associate with the idea of sticking with a plan and achieving results. Discipline, self control, will power... the list goes on. All positive, virtuous attributes we would admire in other people. It seems to me that on a bad day, we're more likely to want to cheer ourselves up with more indulgent food choices; but the idea makes us feel like we're the opposite of all those positive virtues we just listed off. It would mean we are undisciplined, lack self control, have no will power, don't want it (results from training) bad enough and aren't good enough.

If any of what I just said cuts a little close to the bone for you, I have good news because it is all fucking bullshit. We already established that in terms of your results, it makes no difference. Now self control and all those other virtues are very good things when it is in terms of me having enough self control not to he-bitch-man-slap the living piss out of some of the irresponsible scumbags out there that are responsible for putting these ideas into your head in the first place... but in terms of you having to be self controlled and stick to some impossible standard of "clean eating" or whatever you want to call it... no. Screw that.

As my coach taught me; "what you resist, persists". Most people can probably relate this is in terms of emotional eating. Had a bad day, feel like eating some comfort food. But no, gotta resist and be disciplined and stick to my diet like a good person. The urge only gets stronger, and eventually you do give into it, eat even more of the "bad" stuff than you would have in the first place, and then you have all those negative feelings of guilt, failure, lack of control and so on.

(Here comes the subtle genius part)

Why wouldn't you just go and get pizza instead?

Think about it. Resisting the urge to stray from your plan, ending up straying from it anyway, feeling like you're out of control, not even enjoying what you're eating anyway because you feel like you're letting yourself down... all bad things. But making a conscious decision to get up, drive to the pizza place, order a medium size and enjoy every mouthful, with the knowledge that you're doing absolutely no harm to your progress at training in mind all the while... now THAT's going to cheer you up.

Obviously you need a balance. I'm not saying you can't bring yourself undone as you take this advice to mean you can do this four nights a week every week any time you can find an excuse. But once in a while when you really need it... listen to the signals your body is giving you, and make an empowered decision.

Your priority in life is to make yourself happy. Getting into amazing shape and being proud of your efforts will go a long way towards that goal... it would be most ironic to adopt such an extreme, restrictive and destructive approach to that end that would leave you never feeling like you were doing good enough.

Do your best, but relax a bit and enjoy life. Remember this is about you, and do it on your own terms. Not anyone else's.

If you liked this post you should definitely check out this one about Flexible Dieting For Weight Loss And Recovery over on my official business site.