For the majority of my life, I was a compulsive overeater. As much as I tried, I would find myself saying, “I just can’t stop eating.” Today, I’m not a compulsive overeater anymore. I’ve stopped binge eating. I’ve lost 100 pounds. If you find you can’t stop eating as much as you want to, here are 10 helpful weight loss tips for compulsive overeaters.
Use these Weight Loss Tips for Compulsive Overeaters
Allow me to encourage you that weight loss is possible.
These days, I don’t think about food all that much.
I’m pretty much a regular person when it comes to food.
Now, as you read those words, you might be happy for me that I’ve overcome my eating addictions. Or you might hate me right about now.
I’m actually okay with that, because I get it.
I Felt Betrayed
When my first daughter was a baby, my husband was a seminary student and we had moved to a new city. I was going through postpartum depression, my dad had died not that long ago, and I was lonely.
I overate to numb my feelings.
During that time The Rosie O’Donnell Show was brand-new, and every day at 3:00 PM I watched it while my new daughter napped. I loved laughing along to Rosie’s self-depreciating humor. It was silly and fun. Rosie was just so real.
Then one day Rosie decided to start talking about fitness and eating right. She brought a trainer onto the show and someone to make healthy food.
She did it all in a light-hearted way. I mean, this is Rosie after all. She didn’t suddenly become Jillian Michaels or anything.
But I felt betrayed. Rosie was my woman. My partner in crime. How was I supposed to sit and eat junk food (guilt free) if Rosie wasn’t doing it too?
I quit watching the show.
So, when I say I’ve lost 100 pounds (and you can read my full weight loss before and after story here) you can like me or hate me or emotionally throw diet books at me. I get you.
But if you are ready to make a change (at the Rosie point in my life, I wasn’t deep down ready yet), here are 10 weight loss tips for compulsive overeaters from someone who has been there, lived it, and is now living on the other side.
Can’t Stop Eating? Don’t Give Up on Your Weight Loss Dreams
For a couple years now I’ve been leading an online fitness program for women called Faithful Finish Lines, and I can always tell when women are struggling because they quit coming to our online group and quit answering my messages or emails.
I get that because I used to do the same thing. There’s an old saying from our Weight Watchers meetings, the more you need a meeting the less likely you are to attend.
It’s our human nature to sometimes avoid what we need the most.
Below are 10 weight loss tips for compulsive overeaters, binge eaters, and people who feel out of control with their food and eating habits. If you aren’t sure if your eating habits are out of control or you are wondering about the signs of compulsive overeating, check out this article I wrote about binge eating.
If you think you are a compulsive overeater or a binge eater because you can’t stop eating, my guess is you are. If you have no idea what I’m even talking about, you probably aren’t reading this article anyway.
I’m writing for my people now. You, my friends who have tried again and again to eat less and no matter what you try, you cannot stop overeating.
Because that was me for so many years of my life and I feel that pain.
There is No Quick Weight Loss Fix
Before we dive into the tips, here’s an important truth to understand.
We have all read the headlines such as: 5 Weight Loss Tips to Help You Get Thin For Life in 3 Days! that scream at us from the covers of women’s magazines. I’ve read so many of those I could write them in my sleep. I’m sure you could, too, and I’m sure you’ve thought, “If drinking a glass of water before a meal would make me thin, I would be a size 2 by now.”
There’s no quick fix here. You know that. I know that.
While they are not a cure, I pray that taking these weight loss tips to heart (along with perhaps a helpful program, therapist, personal trainer, or other counselor) will bring you one step further along your process to recovery.
Please note: I am not a doctor or therapist. Seek help from a qualified professional. helpyourselfhelpothers.org is one place to start.
Can’t Stop Eating? 7 Helpful Weight Loss Tips for People Who Are Compulsive Overeaters
Here are 7 helpful weight loss tips for people who are compulsive overeaters. May this be a help for you along your weight loss journey.
This is the number one most important tip I can give you, especially if you are a binge eater. By binge eater, I mean you go on eating sprees where you consume massive amounts of food that might include thousands of calories in one sitting. An eating bender, or as someone in our group called it, an eating Mardi Gras (this is when you overeat the night before a diet).
I was a major binge eater, and honestly I was a binge eater long after I lost weight, too. I kept right on binge eating. It’s a tough habit to break, and the truth is that dieting perpetuates binge eating, which leaves those of us who are overweight in a quandary because we need to cut back on calories in order to lose weight.
Binge eating is very destructive, and finally learning to manage it was the best thing I have ever done for myself when it comes to my health, weight loss, and emotional well-being. I’m not a fan of cheat meals, weekends off-diet, cleanses, or anything very extreme.
It took a doctor sitting down with me and explaining just how many calories I was consuming during a binge (which I was in denial about) for me to understand what I was doing to myself.
Look at the binge eating math with me for a second.
If I ate 3,000 calories during a binge — which is not that hard to do, believe me — but then was “good” the rest of the week, I might still be over my calories for the week and end up gaining or maintaining my weight.
A 3,000 calorie cheat meal means you have to eat 428 calories less per day the rest of the week. If you are eating an 1,800 calorie diet, that means you now need to eat a 1,400 calorie diet. If you are eating a 1,400 calorie diet, now you need to eat a 1,000 calorie diet.
My denial was so strong, I would go on an eating binge and then forget I did it. That’s the way denial works. When I started therapy, my therapist made me list out the foods I ate during my last binge. (OMGoodness I hated the man that day.) I don’t remember exactly but I’m sure I lied and didn’t even tell him everything I ate.
The key to slowly, gradually overcoming binging is to eat enough food. This sounds simple but it’s quite hard to do because you are probably, like me, stuck in black or white thinking. I’m on a diet eating celery and plain chicken breast or I’m eating a gallon of ice cream.
I found Weight Watchers to be helpful for me to find a realistic balance. Tracking what you eat in an app like My Fitness Pal works well also.
2. Eat fat and protein.
The low fat crazy of the 1980s has been proven not terribly helpful when it comes to weight loss.
Yes, there is benefit to cutting back on fat. Fat is calorie-dense so when you cut back on fat, you cut back on calories. And most Americans eat more than enough fat.
Yet dieters often eat a very low fat diet which triggers hunger. Be sure your diet includes enough fat so your hunger is satisfied.
These days high-protein diets are all the rage, so you probably understand that you need to eat enough protein. Again, Americans tend to eat plenty of protein. What you might do a not-so-great job of is balancing when you eat it.
Do you tend to eat little breakfast or carb-heavy breakfasts like cereal, oatmeal, and fruit? Most Americans do this, then have some protein at lunch and really load up the protein at dinner. Protein at dinner is okay but not effective for keeping your energy up throughout the day.
Try making breakfast protein heavy and have a little bit less (but still enough) protein during lunch and dinner.
3. Eat produce.
When I first started my 100 pound weight loss journey, one of the biggest positive changes I made to my diet is that I drastically increased the amount of fruits and vegetables I started eating.
I replaced a lot of my desire to overeat with overeating healthier foods. I’m not sure I would call it binging but I ate huge salads, big bowls of vegetable soup, and two sides of vegetables with every meal.
While I know it’s not good to overeat any food, this was my stepping stone. These days I still eat lots of produce, but I don’t overeat it like I did in the early days.
But at the time, it’s what got me through those first initial challenging months.
Weight Watchers has an awesome list of 200 zero point foods that are mostly produce or high protein, low fat foods that are great for keeping satisfied.
4. Learn portion control.
Most people stink at portion control. We assume a serving size is much bigger than it is. Don’t be too hard on yourself because studies show that even dietitians tend to over or underestimate portion sizes.
I found Weight Watchers helpful for teaching me proper portion size. I do also use measuring spoons and a food scale for certain foods.
I certainly don’t measure everything I eat but a few foods (hello, peanut butter, I’m talking to you) I still have to watch myself or I would stand in front of the fridge and spoon myself into a peanuty coma.
5. Wear nice clothes.
This one might seem a bit odd for the list, but anyone who wants to lose weight knows exactly what I’m talking about.
You don’t want to spend money on nice jeans until you get to your goal weight. You aren’t overly thrilled with what’s in your closet, but you want to wait until you’ve lost some pounds before you spend the money on nicer ones.
Please invest in yourself by purchasing some nice, well-fitting clothing that is for the body you have now. When you dress nicely, you carry yourself differently. You make better choices.
Also consider investing in some good exercise wear. If you plan to do any type of fitness activities, you need some decent clothes and a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants are not going to cut it. Invest in a good sports bra, a couple wicking shirts, and pants that fit you well and offer some support.
Also make sure you have shoes that are proper for your feet. This is true for every person but especially for those of us who are heavier.
ODODOS Power Flex Boot Cut Yoga Pants Tummy Control Workout Running 4 Way Stretch Boot Leg Yoga Pantss with Hidden Pocket,Black,XX-LargeMIRITY Women Racerback Sports Bras – High Impact Workout Gym Activewear Bra Color Black Blue Size 2XLCestyle Womens Tank Tops Workout, Woman Plus Size Clothing Boat Neck Sleeveless Flowy Shirts Loose Fit Racerback Long Tanks Purple XX-LargeGloria&Sarah Women’s Retro Oceanic Stripes Two Piece Plus Size Tankini Swimsuit,Multicoloured,5XLSpalding Women’s Plus-Size Capri Legging, Black, 2X
6. Have compassion for yourself.
Most of us would probably never in a million years talk to a friend or loved one the way we talk to ourselves about our weight. Do you say words to yourself like,
- You’re so fat.
- I can’t believe you did it again.
- You pig.
- When are you ever going to learn?
Our internal conversation is fantastically powerful. Just like building up a muscle, you can learn to shift this type of internal voice into a more positive one, but it takes intentional focus. Start paying attention to the way you speak to yourself and recognize the ways you are unkind.
Whether you think it’s deserved or not, at the end of the day this unkindness is not helping you lose weight.
If you have struggled with weight issues for years, you might have situations from your childhood that are impacting your decisions today. This was true for me. Talking with a therapist is a great way to sort this out.
Also keep in mind that most times you try to do something new, especially if it’s difficult, you will have parts of yourself that rebel. Check out this post for ways to work through times that you rebel against yourself.
Many overweight people are extreme givers. Do you try to serve others at a very high level? How important is it to you to make people happy? Do you say yes most of the time?
These are good traits but what about when you need to be taken care of? At some point, it’s your time to step back, assess your life situation, and decide it’s time to take care of yourself so that you can care for those you love in a more healthy way.
7. God heals.
I absolutely, positively being that God can heal you of compulsive overating, binge eating, and eating additions. God does not want you to stay stuck in unhealthy behaviors.
God loves you and will bless you with good things.
You might feel like you need to fix your weight loss problems on your own because you are the one who caused them, but God is so gracious that He comes to help you in the middle of your messes. You don’t have to try to fix it yourself and then come to God. Rather, you come to God first and then He does to fixing.
Read more about Christian weight loss here and use these Christian weight loss affirmations (with free printable) for guidance.
Which of these 7 weight loss tips for compulsive overeaters resonates most with you?
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