Pinpoint your binge times
I wanted to write about hacks to reduce or eliminate binge eating, which is a huge problem for me, but thought we should focus on identifying variables that prompt or reinforce our overindulging habits in the first place. The careful dissection of a bad habit is necessary before any meaningful intervention strategies can be employed. And everybody's binge is different - time of day, types of foods overeaten, taste preference, etc. But for now I want to zero in on time of day. It took me a long time to realize not only that binging was a problem for me, but that I was binge eating at very specific times: right after school and before bed. I'd tried packing a bigger lunch to tackle the after school problem, but it had no effect on the amount I was eating once I got home. As a parent, I think the stress of gearing up for the 2nd shift (making lunches, cooking dinner, carting the kids to activities, etc.) and the general physical and mental fatigue that set in as the day progresses were both huge triggers for me. Before bed, a few factors were at play. I'm notoriously poor at falling asleep and my anxiety tends to spike when everything settles down (more time to think and less activity to keep me busy). The anticipation of facing these stressors was always alleviated by overeating right before bed. As I mentioned, you need to be aware of these things first in order to come up with sensible, sustainable solutions. Habit formation is obviously a big theme in my posts, so if you look at binge eating as a habit that's both triggered and reinforced by your environment, it should be encouraging to know that you can hack it - first with thorough analysis and then with targeted intervention. But the intervention piece can't come first. I think too often we attempt strategies without accurately pinpointing the problem.