The reason that people resort to comfort food is because it gives them a psychological feeling of love and warmth and that’s why they binge on it

What does binging really mean? It is defined as a period of uncontrolled excessive indulgence, especially in food and drinks. This period usually surfaces after a negative event in a person’s life.

A break-up isn’t easy for anyone

Different people have different ways of dealing with stress and break-ups. Most of them, however, tend to binge eat. Some people tend to binge right after a break-up while others lose their appetites and stop eating altogether. Both these extreme measures can have a detrimental effect on your body. In this case, moderation is key and there needs to be a good balance between eating healthily and indulging in food every now and then. It is not that people who binge right after a break-up are the only ones that do so, the ones who lose their appetites initially start binging more after a period of time. Both these cases aren’t ideal and need to be avoided altogether.

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The following are ways on how you can eat healthily after a break-up instead of binging:

1. Cut down on the booze

Alcohol is our go-to drink when we are experiencing a negative emotion. However, did you know that alcohol is, in fact, a depressant? It not only makes you inhibited, it also slows down your central nervous system thereby slowing everything down in your body. A few occasional drinks aren’t harmful; however binging can be very bad for your body and the situation you are in.

2. Develop a love for cooking

Rather than ordering in from your favourite take-out joint, develop a love for cooking. Since you will be able to monitor the ingredients you are putting in, it will be a much healthier alternative for you. You can mix and match ingredients and spices and make various healthy dishes for yourself all the time. Not to mention that cooking is therapeutic in itself and will save you a lot of money too.

Healthy does not have to be boring if done right.

3. Find healthier substitutes

Using the texture and hide-and-seek techniques, you can find various healthier substitutes for unhealthy ingredients. For example, you can substitute store-bought potato chips with baked kale or sweet potato chips. You can substitute a full-fat milkshake with a lighter version or creamy fruit smoothie, etc. The choices are numerous.

4. Hit the gym

A good workout helps us release endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones in our body. A workout in any form will instantly help to lift our spirits and feel better. Did you know that these are the same hormones that are released after eating chocolate as well.

So rather than binging on sugar, it is time to go and break a sweat. Use the endorphins to get happy and the workout to make you fit as well.

Rather than binging on sugar, it is time to go and break a sweat

5. Indulge in healthier desserts

This is just about being creative. Cooking is a science and most unhealthy and fatty ingredients have similar healthy substitutes for them. Research a bit and create healthier versions of your favourite desserts at home. Substitute any creamy ingredient with guacamole, instead of using full fat cream cheese in cheesecakes, use half yogurt and half non-fat/low-fat cream cheese, etc. When you actually put your head to it, you will realise that the choices are unlimited.

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6. Go easy on the comfort food

The reason people resort to comfort food is because it gives them a psychological feeling of love and warmth and that’s why they binge on it. However, this is more psychological than factual. It is just a feeling of being loved and happy rather than actually being happy or loved. Once we understand this, it is easier to cut back on high calorie and fat filled comfort food and move to a lighter feel-good substitute of it.

7. Get your routine back

Resume work, meet friends and family, socialise, get a hobby, do whatever it is that will keep your mind occupied. Sitting at home whilst self-pitying isn’t going to help. In fact you will just end up feeling worse about yourself. Divert your attention to the better things in life.

8. Get busy

Sitting at home with a tub of ice cream and a chick flick isn’t going to be beneficial or make you feel any better about yourself or help to change your situation in any way. Rather you should be rational about it, realise what’s gone is gone and that it’s time to move forward in life as hard as that may be.

9. Add instead of subtracting

This is a very important point to consider that leads to binging. People focus more on subtracting the junk food out of their intake. What it does is just intensifies their cravings for these foods thereby leading to binge eating. What you should in fact do is add the wholesome feel good healthy ingredients. Occasional indulgences will not kill you. You need to realise that you don’t have to eat less; you just have to eat right

10. Get sufficient sleep

The longer you are awake, the more time you have to eat. I am not saying sleep 24 hours a day but sufficient sleep is required to help your body not to crave sugar and fat. When you are sleep deprived, your body creates more hunthat ger hormones, which leads you to overeat. So even if you feel you are hurting and can’t sleep, you need to call it a night. Not just for the sake of food but for the sake of your overall mental balance as well.

A break-up isn’t easy for anyone. It is a feeling that cannot be quantified.

However, just as we need to look at the best in every situation, you need to realise that your break-up comes with a silver lining as well. Use this time as an opportunity to focus on yourself. Up until now, you had planned your life around your significant other. However, now since you have one less person to worry about, you can use this time to rediscover yourself. Use the break-up as a chance to replenish and rejuvenate. Do things that make you happy including adopting a healthier lifestyle. Binging is the norm but it is time to change that.

Always remember,“What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”

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Article by Tanzeela Sareea, first published on Unwritten.