How does a fitness guy quit binge eating?
2017 Update: I originally wrote this post in August 2014. I’ve added the video and final section in 2017, as I looked back 3 years later.
I should be winding down for bed, I have a 7am client, but wanted to get this down whilst it is raw.
I had a photoshoot tonight. I’ve dieted down for 8 weeks to get in the best shape I have ever been in. Around 5% bodyfat.
I was thinking, whilst eating my dinner, that I should probably be binging right now, as per most peoples idea (especially body builders, fitness models, etc.) of how to top off a period of dieting.
There has been times over the past 2 weeks especially, when I was hungry, I was tired and I was weak.
You know what I did tonight?
I had 100g of quinoa and 4 eggs, cooked in butter.
It was what I had in the house…
Yes, I still weighed my food.
It’s completely habit and I only realised afterwards that I didn’t need to. I could have eaten out, ordered in or bought junk food from the shop.
I just did not want to.
I’m actually excited to add a few hundred calories per day and slowly gain some weight back whilst staying ripped. No write off week eating shit.
I just do not want to.
It Wasn’t Always Like This
I remembered back to when I first started out as a personal trainer and started ‘eating healthy’.
I was following a low carb Paleo diet that was all the rage 5-6 years ago.
Now, Paleo is a great starting point and is pretty much similar to what I recommend for beginners, but it has evolved over the years and back then the prescription was to be almost zero carb.
One thing I remembered in particular, was my flatmate at the time screaming at me on Saturday morning. I had eaten all of her crisps and dip she had left in the fridge the night before. The majority of a large sharing size bag of crisps and full pot of dip.
I intended to just have a couple, which she would have no problem with.
But once I started, I could not stop. I literally could not stop myself eating her food.
I must have put the dip back in the fridge, walked off and gone back to it at least 10 times…
“Just one or two more”…
Until it got to the critical point that it was taking the piss more to leave a tiny amount in the bottom, than to just eat them all.
So I just had it all.
This was a weekly thing, on a Friday and/or Saturday I would have uncontrollable binges. For probably a year or more this went on.
Whatever I bought I would eat all of it. Full packets of biscuits. Whole cakes. I was out of control.
The rest of the week of course I was SO strict. I actually lectured clients and people around me about not bingeing and how eating well for a certain period doesn’t ‘earn’ the right to eat shit for a period. I wasn’t wrong. I was just a huge hypocrite.
It takes time to develop a healthy emotional relationship with food. You have to first get over the chemical addiction and hormonal imbalance.
It is completely normal to binge whilst going through this stage, once you start eating bad foods.
It is the psychological side that people get wrong, and that keeps people stuck in negative cycles. Feeling bad about themselves, beating themselves up, self-medicating with food and doing it all again next month.
So many personal trainers inadvertently do this to their clients, getting on at them to be perfect and telling them how evil and bad and awful certain foods are. They are giving their clients eating disorders.
You have to feel good about yourself, your body and about food, to get to the point I am at now.
The thing is though, when you are here you live your life like this and don’t even think about it.
It will seem daunting to most of you right now.
Let me tell you, if you put in the work to build your health up, and build your self-esteem up, you will get here.
You will be able to quit the binge cycle.
Don’t feel that you are the only person who does this. Don’t feel guilt for doing this.
Most people are doing it.
How to quit binge eating
I believe the key to quitting binge eating is a mentality.
Overcoming the physical cravings is easy for people who’re into fitness and generally eat well. Especially men (we have more consistent hormones).
To quit binge eating you have to change your mindset.
If you’re always moving away from something.
From fear, rejection, and feeling you’re not enough…
You will keep sabotaging yourself.
If your ‘healthy diet’ is fuelled by self-disgust, and a poor self-image; you will keep bingeing.
But more importantly, you need to value yourself as you are right now in the present. You need to like who you are today.
You can (and should) always be striving to improve, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be proud of who you are today.
The regimented dieting I did to get in my best shape ever helped me quit binge eating, because I was moving towards the positive vision of how I wanted to look, and overcome the mental hurdles it takes to get to 5% body fat.
Achieving that was the final hurdle regarding my body. It left me being truly proud of how I looked, and what I had achieved.
It’s now 3 years since I did that, and I still have zero emotional relationship with food. I never binge eat.
That isn’t because I’m special, it’s just because I built a growth mindset, and fixed my self-image. I started really respecting myself.
I realised that I am enough as I am.