How to cure binge eating article series continues with part 3. In part 1, we talked about the effect the consumption of larger quantities of hot beverages like coffee and tea can have on the habit of binge eating. In part 2, the timing of meals and setting them at regular intervals throughout the day was discussed. Today, we're speculating how meal planning and meal prepping could affect binge eating.
On a certain level, it makes sense to plan your meals ahead when trying to get rid of binge eating. From the moment you've made a menu for the day to come in advance, your subconscious has been conforming to the menu, signaling you to look forward to those specific meals. It even makes you crave them specifically, instead of any other meals. When you look at it this way, planning your meals can be a powerful tool against binge eating; especially if you tend to overeat foods you didn't include on your meal plan.
On the other hand, planning your meals alone doesn't guarantee you won't binge eat the food you've planned to eat. And here is where it gets tricky. Say you love sweet potatoes, and consider them a healthy part of your diet. You've placed the term "sweet potato" on your meal plan at dinner. You've bought a sweet potato, or a whole week's supply of sweet potatoes, from the grocery store. Dinner time arrives. You've been looking forward to this all day. You're salivating. You cook half a potato (or whatever quantity you consider a good amount), eat it ravenously, and now it's gone. The filling effect hasn't kicked in yet, and you loved the taste and want more of it, so you cook another sweet potato. Soon enough you've consumed the entire week's supply - and then you notice you're uncomfortably full (and have been since the second sweet potato actually, but the taste! You just can't resist it).
So what do you do? Avoid all the delicious food you tend to overeat?
No, of course not. There's no need to deprive yourself of your favourite foods. Instead, there are two options:
Prepare the meals in advance so that the quantity is there, and you cannot make more just because it was delicious. You can have every meal of the day in the fridge, in containers, waiting to be heated up in a microwave oven the next day at appropriate times.
Make sure each of your meals have filling macronutrients in them - fat and protein - and eat those ingredients first, and then the carbohydrates. The filling effect of the fats and proteins will kick in while you eat that sweet potato, and you'll be satisfied with just the one.
Choose whichever method works for you. If these techniques don't work alone, try combining it with the first two explained in this article series; see links above. By the end of the week, you'll have seven tools to fight binge eating with, and using all of them, you cannot lose. (It's physically impossible.)