You don’t need better willpower or a stricter diet, but this new approach to food.

How many times have you laid in bed at night, mentally calculating then finger-wagging yourself for what you ate that day? 

“You really shouldn’t have eaten that.”

“Why can’t you have more self-control?”

“Tomorrow, you have to be way better.”

Even with your best intentions, reprimanding yourself like a naughty toddler will never help you lose weight or stop overeating. The next day, like your comfiest, most familiar pair of leggings, you’ll slip into the same old cycle and end up feeling guilty again.

When it feels like you’re stuck on the can’t-stop-eating-merry-go-round, here’s what to do.

Binge eating is more common that you might think. Image: Bridget Jones' Diary
Binge eating is more common that you might think. Image: ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’

1. Focus on health and habits, not weight loss and restriction

Swap “I shouldn’t eat ____ tomorrow” for “I’m going to eat more vegetables tomorrow and snack on fruit”. Then set yourself up for success and prep enough healthy food so it’s easy (I teach you exactly how on my app Back to Basics).

Swap “I need to stop hitting snooze. I need to stop overeating when I’m tired” for “I want to get to bed half an hour earlier (so I wake up and exercise in the morning and don’t snack all evening because I’m exhausted)”.

Focus on the healthy habits you can achieve, not the restrictions you think you need to adopt. Think practical, doable, enjoyable. If you need some inspo here are 29 healthy habits more effective than diets

2. Don’t undereat

If you eat a small breakfast, light lunch and binge eat all night, it’s VERY likely that you’re undereating during the day, especially if you’re exercising, too. 

Your willpower will lose every time when it’s fighting hunger and feelings of deprivation.

Eat more during the day. Don’t avoid carbohydrates. Have a sandwich, a wrap, sushi or a really hearty salad for lunch. If you’re hungry, you must eat. Do not try and be ‘good’ (i.e. eat like a rabbit). You’ll just stay stuck in the cycle, overeating in front of the TV again the next night.

Carbs at lunch help with not overeating at night. Image: Lyndi Cohen

3. Meal prep, even just a little

Reaching for convenience food like bread with peanut butter and a bowl of cereal or pasta is natural if you don’t have more veggie-rich options sorted. 

These foods are healthy but they’re quite easy to overeat and if you consistently choose them over cooking a balanced meal, you could be getting more vegetables and variety.

I teach you how to meal prep ahead of a busy week in just one hour on my Back to Basics app, but here are some more tips:

  • Always make twice as much dinner so you have a healthy lunch the next day.
  • Find some healthy recipe inspiration here.
  • Make a big pot of soup for the coming week. Cook in bulk and freeze food.
  • Rinse and chop your veggies and fruit. Store in airtight containers.
  • If you constantly overeat on certain foods (like bliss balls), then choose another snack option (like fruit, yoghurt) instead.
Meal prep over mince pies. Image: ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’

4. Break the TV and food habit

Do you do most of your overeating late at night, or after work, in front of the TV?

When you eat in front of the TV, you train your brain to crave food when you tune into your favourite show. The brain is rewired and the cravings become so predictable.

This is an important habit to break. Turn off the TV when you eat. Then come back to your show. You’ll be surprised by how much more you can tune into your hunger.

If you want more support with step-by-step guidance to help you feel in control around food again, check out my Keep It Real Program. It’ll teach you all the strategies I used when I learned to stop binge eating.