Strategies for preventing binging, compulsive eating and overeating, as promised.
"It makes no sense, Of course it's about what I eat! It can't be that eating cupcakes doesn't effect my weight!"
Truth be told, cupcakes don't make you fat. But your reaction, your thoughts about eating cupcakes can. Follow this.
You get hungry and eat a cupcake. But in your mind, having a cupcake equals "ruining it", "slipping", "being bad". So what happens? There are a couple of paths you might go down.
1) Because you think you blew it, the "What the heck effect" occurs. You think "What the heck, I already ruined it, I may as well keep going". And so you do. You eat anything, in any amounts, without regard for your hunger or need. And, I might add, you're neither tasting nor enjoying the food you're eating, even if it is food you've longed for. It can be very destructive eating, even having a bit of a self-punishment feel to it.
The calories from the single item--cupcake, cookies, chocolate, etc--really don't make a dent in your weight. It takes 3,500 surplus calories to gain a single pound. That's right. Three thousand five hundred calories extra, over and above your calorie requirement to maintain your weight. So let's say, for example, you needed 1800 calories per day to maintain your weight, and you had a snack that you saw as forbidden, unacceptable for managing your weight. The impact of that item would be insignificant, not even measurable on the scale, whatever it is. But what if your thinking tells you you've already ruined your day's eating, what happens? One cupcake may turn into 4 or 5 and that's likely to be a problem.
2) You may decide after eating cookies that you'll restrict or compensate at your next meal or snack or even the next day. But later you find yourself starving, with little control over your food choices and portions. And so you overeat. Either pattern may continue--restrictive thinking, and serious overeating and more restricting. Or restrictive thinking and overeating, feeling bad, and more overeating.
That is, unless you change your thinking.
What you need to do is move foods from the "forbidden" to the "acceptable" category, to give your self permission to eat them.
There are many books that approach eating this way, discussing this "non-diet" approach. But a few cautions.
1) Start legalizing only 1 food item at a time. Faced with many "forbidden" foods we get overwhelmed and will struggle more with this approach.
2) Be sure you truly give yourself permission to eat and enjoy what you are eating!
3) Keep a second package in reserve. If you're going to start with a yummy chocolate, for instance, have a second bar as back up. Why? Because it will reassure you that you will not run out. Then buy another bar when you have finished the first. This helps you move from feeling that it's now or never for eating chocolate, that after today, it's back to the old rules, which gets you back to the destructive eating pattern.
4) Take away visual temptation. Simply move food items out of view, off the counters, and away from being the first items you see when you open a cabinet. This allows you to resist the mindless eating triggered by the inviting appearance of food. If you want the brownies, you can find them wrapped up in the freezer, or in an opaque container in the cabinet. But at least you'll be eating them because you chose to!
Cupcakes in photo are from Cupcake Cafe, NYC. Truly the best cupcakes I've ever had (amazing buttercream frosting!). And Chocolove chocolates are a favorite of mine (but they have no nutritional advantage over any others--they simply taste great!)