Stop Me Before I Binge Again!
6 strategies for taking control
By Leanna Skarnulis
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.
Special occasions are part of a complex web of hobgoblins that ensnare us in spite of our good intentions. Stress, loneliness, boredom, and feelings of deprivation all contribute.
Deprivation is one of the big ones for dieters, says Dee Sandquist, MS, RD, CD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
"Dieting for some people means skipping meals and getting overly hungry," she says. "That could cause a binge. You'll crave the foods you're leaving out."
Can You Stop Mid-Binge?
One way to turn off a binge is to get away from the stimulus, says Christian Crandall, PhD, professor of social psychology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
"Drop the candy in a Dumpster," Crandall says. "If you're home alone, call someone to come over who will interfere with your ability to binge, or leave home and go out in public. The car doesn't count."
Sandquist, manager of the Nutrition and Diabetes Center at Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash., says while it's not easy to stop mid-binge, it is possible. First, ask yourself if the binge is really worth it.
© 2005-2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.