Mindful & Moderate Binging

Last week I flew home to Colorado to visit my family and surprise my sister for her 30th birthday (it was a big hit, by the way!)  While I was there, I got to enjoy my most favorite not-so-healthy foods . . . specifically, deep dish pizza and a smothered burrito (both from restaurants unique to my hometown), as well as homemade chocolate cake. And if you think I ate half a slice of pizza and called it good, or one bite of chocolate cake to satisfy my sweet tooth, you are sorely mistaken!

I won’t lie, I was feeling a bit guilty about it. I am a health and nutrition coach for goodness sake, I really *shouldn’t* be eating like this!  So why am I telling you about my weekend binge then, anyway?

For one, I think it’s important for others to understand that I do not eat perfectly 100% of the time.  Nor do I eat moderately 100% of the time.  And while it seems to be generally accepted that most people don’t eat perfectly all the time (hence practicing moderation in the first place), disregarding the rules of moderation and stuffing my face with multiple slices of pizza feels like a big faux pas in a world of “80/20 rules” and mindful eating.

After all, I’ve yet to hear anyone speak fondly of mindful and moderate binging.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of moderation! Of course, I’d love to see everyone on the planet (myself included) eating wholesome foods 100% of the time. But sadly, in the world in which we live today, this is simply not realistic for most people.  This is why, when it comes to nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle, moderation is one of the best tools, if not *the best* tool, to practice.  A moderate lifestyle is about consistently making decisions that will benefit our health most of the time, and enjoying the crap out of the occasional decisions and actions that don’t benefit our health.

The truth is, one weekend of poor eating will not derail our health. Our health is determined by the decisions and actions that we implement consistently. Should you choose to practice moderation 24/7, year round, that’s awesome! But should you choose to take a more moderate approach to your moderation, perhaps by occasionally incorporating mindful and moderate binging, that’s okay too.

Following my weekend of mindful and moderate binging, I’ve put together a few tips should you find yourself wanting to binge in the future:

  1. Be selective. Do not binge on just any food. Do not waste an over-indulgence on something you do not absolutely love! Savor each bite, and if it’s mediocre, and/or you’re not enjoying the hell out of it, then stop!
  2. Mindfully and moderately binge intentionally. Not only does this relate back to being selective with your food choices (i.e. choosing to overindulge in favorites), but if you are going overboard on purpose, and not because you got carried away, you will have a better time with the next point, which is . . .
  3. Do not beat yourself up, and do not overcompensate for a binge with a purge, cleanse, or strict diet. This is how we get trapped in the harmful cycle of yo-yo dieting!  Simply go back to your normal, moderate way of eating.
  4. Most importantly, be mindful of how going overboard affects your body. When you feel discomfort from overeating (especially unhealthy foods), make a mental note. I’ve found that the more I do this, the less I want to binge in the future because I know I won’t feel well afterwards. I’ve also found that I’m more willing to stop eating before I get to the point of such discomfort (i.e. I experience increasingly more moderate binges).

That’s it! Believe it or not, I’ve been working on moderating my binging for years and years. I no longer eat candy to the point of wanting to throw up (hello teen years!), and I have become *extremely* selective with my indulgences! While I realize that moderation in moderation and mindful and moderate binging will not work for everyone, what’s important is finding a balanced lifestyle that will keep you healthy and happy. I’d love to hear what you think . . . are you a moderation 24/7 person, or a moderation in moderation person? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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