My client Jan (not her real name) once said, “I do good for two weeks and then I fall off the wagon. I am eating well and then I get invited to dinner with friends, go on vacation, or attend a baby shower and it all goes downhill. It feels like…
“I am on a roller coaster of eating and bingeing.”
So why do Jan (and so many others) fall into this trap?
- She was trying to follow a meal plan that is unrealistic to follow; and had not learned how or what to eat if she needed to deviate from the plan.
- She attempted to cut ALL sugar and carbohydrates and then binged because she did not know how to eat them responsibly.
- She was attempting to eat healthy for one reason only—just to lose weight—which led to giving up because she no longer cared.
In a recent article, A nation of weight watchers: Is our obsession with thin making us fat?, Siri Steinmo, a health psychology practitioner said, “If you spend your life dieting and bingeing, you fall into the eat, repent, repeat cycle. You don’t eat any carbs all week and then at the weekend have the ‘what the hell effect’ and then you’re repenting again and hating yourself throughout the whole cycle. This is something women identify with more than men, but men are also under a lot of pressure with body image.”
Boy, did he get it right on the money! Often times I am asked if I write meal plans and the answer is “no.” I teach women how to incorporate healthy eating habits and live in the real world as well as how to budget in their favorite foods instead of bingeing one day a week until the point of nausea.
For example, here are two strategies I teach my clients:
- How to budget in an occasional favorite food, and make allowance for it in other places.
- How to follow the healthy plate design whether preparing quick healthy meals at home or dining out.
I believe if you can make 2-3 healthy behaviors a HABIT, you can get off of the roller coaster of eating and bingeing. For today, begin with just one new habit.
In Good Health,