Here’s the biggest tip I can offer. The absolute most important thing that healthy-minded girls need to remember, regardless of their goals.
If you set a calorie limit, you will fail.
Maybe not today, but sometime this week, unless you have an actual mental eating disorder (which I will not even begin to cover because there are very few out there actually have unbalanced chemicals in your brain making you feel this way) you will fail. If you’re hungry, it’s because your body is telling you it needs nutrients to make energy. Think about it, if you’re tired, ignoring it will just make you more tired, and more tired, until you involuntarily fall asleep. So what do you do usually, if you’re tired in the middle of the day? You take a nap. You don’t fall asleep for 8 hours, you just take a nice little 15 minute nap. If you don’t your body will eventually force you into sleep.
What about breathing? If you’re constantly breathing in and out, you don’t even think about breathing, you don’t “crave” breath. But you start holding your breath, the more you want to breathe. The longer you hold it, the harder it gets, until all the sudden you burst out with big, gasping breaths you would never take if you had been breathing normally in the first place. Usually we quit because its too uncomfortable but if you don’t, you will pass out and your body will take the air it wants whether you want it to or not.
Not eating is exactly the same. I have never fasted. I don’t condemn those who do, but I personally cannot do it, I like food way too much. If I go all day without eating, almost guaranteed, I will stop through McDonald’s and get a large fry
with mayonnaise, for Christ’s sake, because that’s how my mom always ate them), or eat all of the cookies in the cupboard, or an entire pizza. If I get hungry, I eat. Your body will make you eat if it gets hungry enough. (To read more on the psychological effects of starving, click here)
I’m not saying abandon all caution and eat whatever you want—that will have the opposite effect. Maybe you set calorie limit for yourself. Great. But make it a calorie range. Your body is not going to start functioning great on 345 calories a day just because you told it to. Who are you to say how many calories your body needs to run up a flight of stairs?
And then, when you do get hungry (like you should and you will,) fill up on healthy food. Stop thinking of ‘pigging out’ on apples and salad or cereal or whatever else as ‘binging.’ Eat whole wheat pita and hummus, all the vegetables and fruits you can, fish, old-fashioned oatmeal, whatever you want, eat it, as long as its healthy. It is NOT binging if its good for you. It’s eating. Because your body needs ENERGY and that’s what its been screaming at you all day. Give it energy and it will quiet down instead of making you eat a cheeseburger. And it will, its trying to protect you, and when you get really hungry, it wants you to eat whatever will give you the most carbs, fat and protein as quickly as possible. And that’s why you crave such unhealthy food when you’re very, very hungry.
Usually, I do, I fill up. I can feel my stomach stretched with healthy food, and I don’t like feeling very full, but I do. And I’m so full I can’t eat another bite. I don’t want cake or cookies or fries anymore. The max you can fill up on healthy food is like, 600 calories, vs. a 3000 calorie unhealthy food freak-out, which will invariably set you back. You can eat way more food while keeping the fat and calories as low as possible. Please, please stop thinking you’re binging when you’re really just giving your body what it needs.
Now here’s the other part you need to remember. You’re not even doing anything wrong, binging on healthy foods, and if you slip up and eat unhealthy foods, you have GOT to stop being so hard on yourself. Not for your mental health, not because its okay to overeat sometimes, not because ‘everybody slips up’ but because its NEGATIVE and negativity = STRESS and feeling bad. Those are the number one causes of overeating. Number one. So you are making it one trillion times harder on yourself by beating yourself up over a binge. I exercise the most and eat the least when I am happy and feeling good. The more I exercise and better I eat, the happier I am, which makes me exercise and eat better, so I’m even happier. I used to not eat, and then binge like 5000 calories at a time and feel terrible about myself and cry and watch movies and eat more for a few days before I got my act together. That is going to keep happening until you listen to your body and give it what its asking for. Breathing, sleeping, eating. Listen. Please.