Posts tagged #binge eating

How I Overcame Binge Eating + My Top 3 Tips to Beat Binge Eating for Good

It’s official! Coaching with Keia is live on YouTube! Every 2nd and 4th Sunday, I’ll be posting a new video sharing some tips on how to beat binge eating, emotional eating, and live a happy and fulfilling life.

In this week’s video, I share about my honest experiences struggling and overcoming binge eating as well as my top 3 tips to begin healing your relationship with food.

Also I’d love to hear your thoughts, would you please like & comment on the video so I can know what stood out most to you?

How I Overcame Binge Eating + My Top 3 Tips to Beat Binge Eating for Good

>>Watch the video here<<

What Travel Looks Like After You Heal Your Binge Eating (My Experience)

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Last week, I returned home from a trip to Las Vegas with some college friends I had not seen for almost 5 years.  It was a blast reconnecting and exploring the strip together.

If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you know that it’s a city of extremes (What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right?).  In terms of food, Vegas also goes big...  People come far and wide to partake in the buffets, eat at celebrity food restaurants, and enjoy drinking while walking down the street.  My friends and I did just that and had a blast.  As someone who really enjoys travel, its incredibly freeing to be able to enjoy food and the experience of eating while traveling.

 

But it was not always that way for me.  If you’ve followed my story with food, in the past being at a buffet or being surrounded by “trigger foods” while traveling would have caused me incredible anxiety.  Years ago, I struggled with binge eating, finding myself feeling eating until I was sick.  During those years, I was obsessed with food and my weight… spending so many of my days planning out meals, counting calories, exercising intensely, and feeling defeated when I would succumb to a binge. I hid my struggle with food well because the friends I reconnected with this weekend had no idea about the battles with food I had every day.


I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have made peace with food these days.  So what does eating look like after you heal your binge eating & relationship with food?  Here’s what I can share from my own experience:

 

  1. You prepare your snacks/meals to an extent but also allow room to try new things

These days, whenever I travel, I make sure I pack some healthy, enjoyable snacks for the plane (my current favorites are Rx bars, dried edamame, or some fruit).  I prefer not to get caught in a situation where I’m ravenous and have to eat something I neither enjoy nor will my body enjoy.  Having some enjoyable, healthy snacks on hand makes me feel secure, especially if I’m going somewhere new.

Of course, the degree of preparation someone makes to feel safe and secure will vary from person to person!  This is what I find works for me!

 

2. I no longer count calories or think about food in terms of numbers. Instead, I eat based on what my hunger levels and satiety.

When I’m traveling, food is a big part of the experience for me.  My friends went to check out “Wicked Spoon Buffet” - something that would trip me up in the past. It was an enjoyable experience to try different things!

When you learn to tune into your body, you no longer have to count or measure your food, but wherever you go your body’s natural hunger and satiety signals are available to you.

 

3. If you overeat or eat “something bad,” instead of beating yourself up, you just learn from the experience & wait until you’re hungry again.

Often having strict rules with food would lead me (and many of my clients) to feel guilty and beat ourselves up if we broke our rules.  In my previous post about perfectionism, (Read “A Message to All my Current and Recovering Perfectionists”) I shared how the perfectionist mentality is addictive and dangerous, especially for those of us who have struggled with food.

Instead of an overeating situation leading to a shame and guilt spiral that then can lead to more binging, I may feel uncomfortable and “guilty” for a little while but I know if I just wait and take care of my body, I’ll soon reset and feel well again.


4. There are no longer foods that are “off-limits.” There are just foods I like, foods I don’t like, foods that make my body feel good after eating them, and foods that make my body feel like crap after eating them. I get to make the rules about what I eat.

Again, this is super freeing while you travel!  The more you pay attention to your body and how it speaks to you, the more aligned you can be in making choices that honor your body & not have to rely so much on external tools.

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(Also side note…Speaking of things that make you “feel shitty,” it was funny seeing how everyone was approaching alcohol differently since college.  As we all approach 30, our body’s are definitely telling us it’s time to pay attention more! (ha!))

 

For me personally, traveling and time with friends is all about the experience.  Whereas obsessing about food in the past would have detracted from that in the past, I’m so blessed to look back and see that I can have the best of both worlds these days and can focus on makingamazing memories and times with people I care about :).

 These are just some of the perks I find happen when you heal your relationship with food.  Do any of these perks really call out to you?  What would the ideal relationship with food look like for you during travel?  Feel free to comment below!

 

Stay well, eat well, and savor all that life has to give to you because life is simply too short not to

 

Above all, love,

Keia

 

 

Mindfulness and Brain Science - Why Mindfulness helps people overcome binge eating, emotional eating, and more

For a long time, I told myself I wasn’t a meditator.  I had countless attempts at meditating only to find quieting my mind to be so difficult. Sure, I had heard why it was useful for you but it wasn’t until I worked with my first meditation teachers that it became a habit for me.  I realized it was a mix of technique & accountability that helped me to finally make it a habit.

One of the interesting “side effects” of meditating more for me was improving my eating habits, actually.  I found that meditation helped me to feel more calm and centered, making wiser more centered choices rather than to be compulsive and emotional with choices (hello emotional eating).  It took some time and practice to become a habit but each time I practiced it became easier and easier.

I often use mindfulness as a tool these days to help my clients overcome binge eating, overeating, emotional eating, and more.  As shared in my last post, mindfulness has a vast array of benefits including but not limited to: a greater sense of peace and calm, the ability to weather strong emotions, and the ability to make wiser, more rational choices.

When I first started, I could feel a visceral difference when I got centered and meditated in simply how I felt.  Later on, I learned more about the neuroscience which helped me to buy even more into the habit of meditation.

As discussed in a previous blog post, we can think of two separate brains when it comes to retraining binge eating and compulsive overeating. First, we have our animal brains (i.e. limbic system) which is our emotional brain, the seat of our habits loops. Second, we have our sane brains (i.e. prefrontal cortex) where we make wiser choices, plan for the future, and so on.  When we meditate and focus our attention, we actually are strengthening the pre-frontal cortex, associated with these wiser decisions.  Like a muscle, what we use, we strength and what we don’t use, we lose.  Over time, we can strengthen our ability to stay centered and calm even in stressful events and times where we normally would act compulsively and emotionally from the animal brain, which might look like stuffing our face with fries.

One of the main tools I use with my clients is mindfulness because it actually strengthens our ability to make wiser choices. Research has shown that mindfulness has been proven to dramatically decrease instances of binge eating and compulsive eating.


So how do you start developing a practice of mindfulness? In my work, I usually start my clients with developing a basic meditation practice. There are plenty of free resources out there or you can consider looking for a meditation teacher or group. In my work, combining mindfulness with coaching, nutrition, etc. have been the keys to help my clients stop binge eating for good.

The Connection Between Sleep, Binge Eating & Weight Gain

**BEEP BEEP BEEP**

“UGHH…” I thought to myself… ” After more seconds, my boyfriend then proceeded to climb over me to turn off the alarm that was meant to signal it was time for me to get up.

Even this morning, I had planned to get up early to blog and work on some items for my clients but after realizing the even the caffeine from my boyfriend’s Chai Tea wasn’t helping, I soon realized how sleep deprived I was and that I had been staying up late for combination of things this week, including but not limited to dance classes, hanging out with my boyfriend, watching countless videos on Instagram, and binge watching the entire 3rd season of “Stranger Things” (yes, so guilty here, even coaches have things they can consistently improve upon!)

I know for a fact that when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m less productive with work, make poorer decisions, and find myself in more mind-numbing situations, such as scrolling through Facebook or watching hours of TV.  Lack of sleep just seems to compound on itself… You feel so tired that you’re less efficient, meaning you may stay up later to get something done or get more distracted, and hence continues the cycle of feeling like *SHIT*.  (Also, have you ever thought to yourself, if someone says to you, “You look tired.. That they’re actually saying you look like SHIT?” Anyways, I digress :D ...).

This brings me to my point… I have found that sleep to be one of the keystone habits that set everything else in your life up for success.  Whether you’re cranking it out at the gym, working hard in the office, or taking care of kids, you need sleep. It’s the time our bodies have for rest, rejuvenation and repair.


In fact, when we look at the connection between lack of sleep, binge eating, and weight gain, we find countless anecdotes and studies that show:

  • Lack of sleep increases cravings and and especially for high-calorie foods 

  • Lack of sleep has affects on our mood - which may lead you to overeat, binge, or take it out on your significant other

  • Lack of sleep impacts our effectiveness in everything - our ability to reason, to complete our workouts, and to communicate and be present at work and at home

When I look back on the days, when I personally struggled with nighttime binge eating, I realize how insidious the cycle was.  When I’d stay up late to finish an assignment, I would often use food to keep me company and stay awake. Since my willpower was lower at the end of the day, I would often binge or overeat.  At some point, eating at night became such a habit that even if I didn’t have a good reason to stay up, I would find myself picking from the fridge and (I was embarrassed to say) picking food from my roommates.  Eating late would then disrupt my sleep even set me up to be even more tired and feeling disgusted the next day.

I am so very glad that this pattern is something that does not affect me today.  I would argue that sleep is one of the most important habits to prioritize if you’re looking beat binge eating and improve your eating habits.

So here are my recommendations to improve the quality of your sleep:

  1. Examine your current habits.  Then make your plan to improve your sleep duration and/or quality.

Whenever we want to change something, we first have to understand where we are.  I recommend taking some time to reflect on your current habits. What time do you tend to go to bed?  What are you doing before bedtime? How easy is it for you to fall asleep at night? What time do you tend to get up?  How do you feel in the morning when you get up? Are you energized and alert? Do you wake up without the alarm clock? Or when the alarm goes off do you snooze and roll over?  If it’s the latter, you could use more sleep!

On average, people need anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep; however, we are all different so this would require a bit of experimentation.  I would recommend to start with planning out your bedtime at least 8 hours from the time you wake up, then seeing if after a week if you wake up naturally before or after the alarm clock.  If you find you go to bed at 11, with the plan of waking up at 7 am, but keep waking up at 6:30 am, this probably means your body needs 7.5 hours optimally.

If you find yourself staying up late often and not being able to give yourself the full 8 hours to sleep, I recommend examining why this is happening and what you are doing during this time.  Are you staying up late watching TV, working on assignments for school or work, and/or eating? How is this serving you? Or if it’s not, what might you do to change the situation?

  1. Increase your blue light exposure during the day and decrease it at night.

Blue light is essentially like caffeine for your brain.  The sun is the biggest producer of blue light, so as the sun sets in the evening, it turns on our hormones, specifically melatonin, to signal that it’s time to sleep.  Fast forward to modern day, where we have 24/7 exposure to blue light from our laptops, computers, and televisions, the natural signals that our bodies produce for sleep 

So I recommend spending some time in the sunlight each day to increase your blue light exposure or investing in one of those artificial bright lights, especially if you live in an area with limited sun exposure like Seattle where I currently reside.

At night, turn off you electronics 2 hours before bed time.  You can also look into certain applications that turn off the blue light on your devices.  Lastly, I’m personally experimenting with blue light glasses, which you can put on at dusk to limit your blue light exposure.  (Now that Stranger things is done… I myself will be putting this back into practice)

2.  Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed time

Many people feel uncomfortable and are unable to sleep well if they are too full from eating.  I recommend refraining from eating within 2 hours of bedtime. Some people prefer to go to bed a “little hungry,” while others (including myself) prefer a neutral state (“I’m neither hungry nor full, not really thinking about food”).  Plan out your meals so that you can honor your bedtime.  

If you struggle with night time eating, it’s time to take a look at your eating habits during the day… Are you getting enough food earlier in the day or are you starving yourself and then reaching for whatever you can find in the evening?  

3.  Get moving!  But not too close to bedtime

Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve sleep quality and duration.  However, for some people, exercising too close to bedtime can lead to disrupted sleep (this includes yours truly).  In general, aim to end intense exercise at least 2 before sleep and experiment to find which activities you can do more close to bedtime (perhaps yoga) vs. would be better for earlier in the day.

4.  Create your winding down routine and make it a habit

I find that certain activities riles me up, while others calm me down.  If you’re having issues with getting to bed on time, perhaps it’s time to examine what you’re doing leading up to sleep.  My personal favorite is something I picked up from another coach, which is to read fiction in the evening. I find it’s a nice way to escape the day-to-day care and relax before bedtime.

I’ve also found that meditation at night is a great way to calm my chattering mind down.  In fact, before I discovered meditation, I would often struggle with sleepless nights where my brain was chattering loudly.  Apps like Insight Timer offer free meditations that you can use to calm your mind.

6.  Seek professional help if needed

Seek help from a qualified doctor, therapist, or coach if needed.  You deserve a good night’s rest!

So if you or anyone you know has ever uttered, “Sleep is for the weak!” I think it’s time to challenge those beliefs.  Sleep is for the powerful and the sexy. It sets everything else up for success - so why not sleep your way to the top?  Also, if you’re looking to change your eating habits and beat binge eating, the first steps may just be to get a good night’s rest tonight!


A Letter to my Younger Self

With my own history of “dieting” and restricting my food, I found myself in my darkest times in college and was binge eating at 5-6 nights a week.  It’s been almost 6 years since I left college, started my own healing journey, and have become a coach today helping others find peace and joy with their relationships with food.

If I could get into a time machine and give my younger self some advice, Looking back, here are some things I wish I could tell my younger self during the times when she was struggling the very most.