Do you find that weekends are sometimes hard for you? Maybe Monday morning can be a real trigger – signaling your stress levels to soar. You can, if you choose to, stop the overeating or off-program eating that can occur from triggers if you’ll just take a minute BEFORE you eat!
When you feel a binge coming on, try the HALT binge busting tool.
HALT means STOP, so when you feel yourself about to tuck into food, immediately say the words HALT through you head, and go through the following steps:
H = Hungry
Before you binge ask yourself: ‘Am I really hungry?’, If you are not hungry but you feel yourself reaching for food then chances are you are about to eat for another purpose.
A = Angry (Here I also include ANXIOUS – because sometimes we are fearful of what “might be.” Try journaling it out or “forgiving”. Forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person!
Research has shown that stress can increase our appetite. When you are about to eat ask yourself if you are feeling stressed or anxious, is this driving you to eat?
If you are anxious then try to do something that relaxes you like going for a walk, painting, taking a hot back or even doing a short breathing exercise. Once stress and anxiety are reduced you should notice a significant decline in binge urges.
L = Lonely
Loneliness can cause bingeing; the reason is that food is used as a comfort and distraction from feeling alone. When you are about to binge ask yourself, “Am I lonely? If you think you are, think of something that you can do to help combat your feelings of loneliness, like calling a friend, emailing your support buddy, tracking your progress, writing your own story, writing a letter to someone, or visiting a relative.
T = Tired
Sometimes we can confuse tiredness with hunger, and research shows that we receive a boost of the hormones responsible for hunger when we don’t get enough sleep. So when you know you are tired or not quite as alert as you normally are, it is important to check if you are hungry or simply sleepy.
Other common triggers for “false hunger” and binge urges are things like boredom, stress, unstructured time and any situation or experience that heightens your emotions.
Use Dr. Andersen’s “STOP – CHALLENGE – CHOOSE” method from your workbook – Think as “H.A.L.T. as that first STOP method – figure it out (using the steps above), and then “choose” how you will respond, rather than reacting by simply eating.