Do you spend all day making great food choices only for it all to fall apart after work?
Your afternoon snack turns into a junk-fest, or you eat so much you don’t really want dinner. But, you eat it anyway – plus maybe something tasty afterwards. Maybe you spend a big chunk of your afternoon planning what you’ll eat after work – not only are you hungry, but bored, unfulfilled, and in need of a major pick-me-up.
Is binge eating after work normal?
I used to do this all the time. My work day was dull, my lunch was long gone, and I’d use junk food and treats to solve both problems. If my day was stressful – no question at all – food was the answer. Candy, chips, chocolate, carby dinners, then popcorn and something more sweet after that.
It had a *feeling* of control about it because I’d “planned” it earlier in the day, but truth be told, I’m not sure I could have stopped for more than a day or two at time. I knew it wasn’t healthy, wasn’t a good long-term strategy, and was starting to affect my weight, skin, and digestion.
Now, I don’t term my behavior here as ‘binge eating’ because I used food relatively calmly and with a direct purpose in mind, with little to no guilt or recrimination.
However, I’ve spoken with at least 3 other women recently, and their stories really resonated with me. All 3 work full-time jobs, feel unchallenged and unfulfilled by their work, get very little pleasure throughout their day, and… all 3 have the exact same pattern of binge eating after work.
What does it look like?
After talking with them, and others, at length, there are some common patterns:
- A day lacking in stimulation or pleasure
- Getting much needed pleasure from junk food
- Feeling like something isn’t ok about this behavior
- A preoccupation with what to eat after work – sometimes straying into the realm of daydreams or even fantasies about binge eating after work
- Wishing that food could just take a back seat and that it wasn’t such a driving force
Fix this – Fast!
Obviously, there’s a lot of deeper work and changes suggested by the fact that you have a regularly boring or pleasure-lacking day.
But, that’s for another day.
Today, let’s look at an awesome, super enjoyable, and FAST strategy.
If you binge after work, I’ll bet you’ve tried to stop. You’ve tried to cut it out. But really, the last thing you want to do with your already lackluster day is make it MORE dull. But, you bravely tried to just stop eating junk after work.
How’d that work out for you? I’m guessing not well, since you’re here reading this.
My suggestion is – as usual – to come at this from a place of love, abundance, and looking at what you can add into your life instead of subtracting from it.
I do this myself and very often recommend it to clients too – and it has a pretty awesome effect (not to mention, everyone loves it!). So, what is this trick?
Pimp your lunchtime.
Pimp your lunchtime
Delicious nutritious lunches + a break time + a yummy treat = winning
It’s a 3 pronged attack on mid-day mundanity. Try all 3 at once for a full lunchtime makeover, or ease into it with the easier steps first (like treat adding). Your eventual goal (should you choose to accept it) is to have a little oasis of pleasure and relaxation in your day so that when you finish work the pressure to feel better RIGHT NOW and to EAT ALL THE THINGS is much more manageable.
Let’s make it actionable
- Delicious nutritious lunches – arguably the hardest one. If you buy lunch, invest in yourself and your health and buy the quality of food you’d like your (real or imaginary) children to eat for lunch. Love yourself as you’s love them. If you bring lunch from home – leftovers are your savior. The biggest problem I commonly see with this is that people don’t bring enough food. Make sure you’re ready to fuel yourself for the second half of your day. Aim for real, fresh foods, and a good amount of protein and fat, with some quality carbs.
- While you eat, take a break. Mindful eating is awesome and you’ll get even more of that much-needed pleasure from your delicious nutritious lunch. So, find a place to eat. If it has to be your desk, turn of your screen and put your phone in a drawer. Just eat and love it. I’ve also got a whole lot more ideas if you’re looking for other ways to take a break at work
- Finish off your meal with a treat. Something totally yummy that you really enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a ‘healthy’ pseudo-treat, make sure it’s something you’re looking forward to and that will give you a ton of yum. I find if I do something I perceive as ‘luxury’ (so, a little bit more expensive than usual), I savor the food more and find it more enjoyable too.
Stop binge eating after work
These 3 lunchtime makeover ideas help you to get some pleasure – both food and non-food, get more yum and nourishment, and relax a bit. All three combined give you the boost you need to de-emphasize after work face-stuffing.
For me, my fave part of this plan is the treat part. Here’s a list of ideas to get you going:
- Fun-sized candy bar
- Kids’ lunch treat
- Favorite fruit (especially if it’s a little pricey!)
- High quality chocolate
- Special tea
- Lara bar
- Mixed nuts
- Dried fruit
- Home baking
- Fruit kabob (with marshmallows)
- Hot drink
- Snack sized chips
Want more help?
Take a look at my work with me page – I do skype and in-person Eating Psychology coaching and work a lot with binge eating.