The Morning After, Stories of Binge Eating

Personal Trainer Susan Howard shares advice on why we binge eat and assures readers that it's okay.

By Susan Howard

“I had a horrible night last night,” my client begins. “I binged.” And so it goes, the tale of the morning after and for my big weight loss clients, this habit is especially a scary one that feels shameful and out of control.  “I am scared,” they continue, “that I am going to put all the weight back on.”

Of course you are.  Even the science thinks so.

Once you lose a large sum of weight, the fat cells remain, but have just shrunk down in size.  You cannot lose the cells. Stinks right?  That’s why it’s best never to get overweight in the first place.  Those little fat cells are hanging out asking to be filled up. “Hey, what’s the story, why am I so small now?  When am I getting filled up again?”

Here are a few causes for binge eating, beyond emotionally charged stress eating and plain old habit:

  1. Taking in too little calories. Anything under 1,500 for an active women and 1,800 for an active man can put you in the danger zone.
  2. We haven’t had enough water. I used to go on potato chip eating benders .  Then I realized I was really craving salt which meant I was dehydrated.
  3. We haven’t had enough protein. When my clients raid the bread basket often times they haven’t had enough protein to keep them feeling satiated.
  4. I am too cheap to throw out food. So I have to finish everything on my plate and everybody else’s plate too especially when eating out.
  5. “I am a garbage, I will eat everything.” I had this exact conversation with a client.  She was eating a healthy chicken breast she had made and she said, “I would give you a bite, but it’s 5 days old.” To which I replied, “If it’s five days old, why are you eating it?”

And so it goes.

At times my clients will tell me about their big binge and it’s not even a binge, it’s just a bowl of popcorn like we all have from time to time or a cookie.  I suppose if it felt out of control for them it was a binge… but the point is we hold ourselves to such high standards that we can never achieve.  One cheat is OKAY.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Your body can absorb one binge especially if you’ve been creating muscles with workouts.  Just get back on track the next day.

Think of it like this: One pound is 3,500 calories.  It takes a lot of food to gain a full pound.  One wild night will likely not bump you up that much.

Get over it, move on.

Talk is cheap.

Stay Ready.

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