Stop Me Before I Binge Again!

6 strategies for taking control

By Leanna Skarnulis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

Time to stock up for trick-or-treaters again. No matter that only six kids came to your door last year. Better buy plenty, because it would be a crying shame to turn away a cute little princess or Power Ranger. Four bags should do it: two full of chocolate bars for the big kids, and two with candy corn for the little kids.

It's when you look at your chocolate-smudged fingers and see four empty candy wrappers that it hits you. You're on a binge.

The next day, you join your co-workers in the break room and indulge in the frosted cookies and other holiday goodies you'd been avoiding all week. That night, you don your witch costume for a grown-up party where you end up eating like there's no tomorrow.

What happened? Your diet had been going so well -- at least since the last binge.

Why Do Special Occasions Make Us Vulnerable?

What is it about special occasions -- holidays, weddings, birthdays, vacations -- that invites eating well past the point of being full? Three experts talked to WebMD about the problem and gave some advice on how to bounce back -- and how to prevent the next binge.

Special occasions trigger binges for three reasons, says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, author of The Way to Eat.

  • First, they provide a social license to binge because everyone's doing it. "Indulgence loves company," Katz says.
  • Second, they provide opportunity: "You're surrounded by foods like chocolate candy, and exposure begets indulgence."
  • And third, they provide a festive feeling: "You think because it's not something you usually do that it's OK. You can compensate tomorrow."

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