Stop Binge Eating


Q: I started dieting and exercising about six months ago, and I have a terrible time in the evenings. At dinner and afterward I tend to binge eat, which messes up my meal plan. What can I do to beat this bad habit?

A: This is an excellent question. So many dieters struggle with nighttime eating. I suggest taking the following steps:

  • Examine your diet. Is it overly restrictive? Too often, enthusiasm for losing weight quickly leads to setting calorie goals that are too low. Most women who are trying to lose weight should consume at least 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day. For men, around 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day is typical. You may want to touch base with a registered dietitian for guidance on ensuring that your calorie goals fit your needs.
  • Consider your eating pattern. Are you getting enough calories throughout the day? Are you skipping meals or starving yourself, only to feel ravenous in the evening? Try to space your calories evenly across breakfast, lunch, and perhaps a midmorning or afternoon snack. This will stop you from getting too hungry later in the day, which leads to bingeing.
  • Choose filling foods. Are you eating a healthy balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat? Are you getting enough fiber and other essential nutrients? A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables — and other low-calorie-density foods — can help you feel full on fewer calories and help your diet sustain you through the evening.
  • Pay attention to your emotions. Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” before you have that after-dinner snack. Understanding what is going on with your emotions may provide a clue as to what you really need, and it will help prevent you from automatically reaching for food. Perhaps you are bored. Finding an activity to distract yourself might help. If you happen to be lonely, an activity with other people might be just what the doctor ordered. If you use food to unwind or feel good, look for other things to help you feel good — taking a stroll, exercising, listening to music, or devoting some time to a hobby may be what you need.


July 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Diet, Exercise, Weight Loss Tips.

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