• Rebecca Laidlaw

I can't stop eating? Help!

I can't count how many friends, family members, and colleagues have told me that especially in the times of COVID-19 and lockdown that they cannot stop eating. One minute you sit down with a cuppa to have one or two biscuits and the next the packet is gone and you're elbow-deep in the fridge. I've had a strained relationship with food over the years and being at home all-day definitely triggered my anxiety around binge eating. This is what I've put in place... Eating regularly I eat at the same times every day. Three meals and three snacks and have alarms set on my phone for all of them to keep me on track. This is what a regular day looks like: 9:00 - Breakfast - Porridge with fruit and nuts 11:00 - Mid-morning snack - Two pieces of fruit 13:00 - Lunch - Small portion of stirfry 15:30 - Mid-afternoon snack - Berries and nuts 18:00 - Dinner - Usually containing peanut butter with a square of chocolate as dessert 20:00 - Evening snack - Granola The trick is to eat little and often - even when you don't feel like it - skipping a snack or meal makes you more vulnerable to overeating.

Recording what you eat I keep a book in my kitchen where I log what I eat and when. This is purely for accountability. I don't like writing down if I've eaten a lot of junk food because it is a visual representation of just how much I have consumed. I don't know about you but I don't like feeling bad. Negative emotions are not always negative. You can use negative emotions for positive gain. Boredom is the trigger Overeating became a habit for me. My boredom was the cue and I can imagine this is a current struggle for many. Your bored so you eat, it makes you feel good and you are doing something. I'd go to the kitchen find something (anything) to eat then feel rewarded with the buzz I would get for example from a sugar rush. This reward would then trigger me again and it kept going. You have to put other actions in place of opening that fridge or cupboard. For example, instead of opening the food cupboard you open your glasses cupboard and get yourself a glass of water. Don't buy junk food in the first place If it's there I'll eat it - 100%. So to take away the temptation don't buy it in the first place. Choose your food wisely and make a list of healthy foods that you enjoy and let that fill your shopping list. Be conscious of the times you go shopping. Always go to the shop after you've eaten so you aren't tempted to buy those quick and easy snacks because you are hungry. Remember you can't eat it if it's not there.

I'm not going to lie some days are better than others, there have been slip-ups (thank you to the cake above) and it is not easy. It is, however the creation of new habits and you get to choose if you come out of this situation with healthier habits than before. There are a lot more techniques out there. These tips are the main tools that worked best for me* but everyone is different. My final no.1 top tip is to make sure that if the world went back to the old normal tomorrow that what you put in place is still sustainable. And know that you can do this, I believe in you. *To learn more techniques I highly recommend Overcoming Binge Eating by Dr. Christopher Fairburn. This book dispels all myths and gives practical advice.

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