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You don’t have to look too hard to find a weight loss diet. You’ve seen them: Atkins, Nutrisystem, the South Beach Diet, Sugar Busters, the Cabbage Soup Diet (mmmm), and literally hundreds or even thousands of others options.

While I agree that it is possible to lose some weight in the short term, the real test of a program that aims to promote healthy fat loss is if the results are sustainable in order to avoid Yo-Yo dieting (the constant cycle gaining and losing weight).

The thing that many people don’t realize is there are often strong emotional factors which, if not properly addressed, can make long term weight management a very difficult journey. As Jillian Michaels (trainer for the black team on the show, The Biggest Loser) often says,

“Weight gain is the manifestation of other issues, not the problem itself.”

In this series, I’ll talk a little about the 5 major types of emotional eaters:

* Binge Eaters
* Emotion Eaters
* Stress Eaters
* Self-Esteem Eaters
* Snowball Effect Eaters

Binge Eaters

The first and most difficult type of eater is the binge eater, but the good thing is that it is also the least common type. A binge eater is someone who, once they have had even a taste of a certain food (their “binge food”), is almost completely out-of-control until they’ve consumed as much of the food in one sitting as possible and who are eating for reasons other than physical hunger or emotions.

Binge Eating Is An Addiction

You’ve probably heard of the phrase “Chocoholic” to describe someone who absolutely loves chocolate (If not, well, now you have. You: 1 Ignorance: 0). Besides an attempt at hilarity by over-paid food industry marketing consultants, it’s a condition similar to that of an alcoholic or any other type of addict.

Now, the purpose of this post isn’t to argue the severity of one addiction over another, but I’m sure the person who’s experiencing symptoms ranging from aching knees to more serious conditions like diabetes and/or heart problems due to an intense psychological need to voraciously consume certain foods would argue that it’s not a joke. Feel bad for judging?

I’m sorry. It’ll never happen again, I promise.

Food Can Contain Mood-Altering Substances

Take it easy, Cheech. By that I mean some foods contain certain chemicals, like pyrazine, that some say affect the pleasure center of the brain in a similar fashion to more traditional vices. It puts new meaning into the phrase “comfort food’, doesn’t it?

Well, there is some truth to that. A binge eater is unconsciously eating large amounts of their binge food due to their brain being flooded with feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This positive feeling is met with the rationalization of:

“Mmmm it feels to so good to be eating this right now. I’ll go ahead and have one more little bite. *chomp* Well, I guess one more won’t hurt anything. *crunch* Alright seriously after this, I’m done. *chomp* There’s only a little bit left, so it’s not really worth saving the rest…”

What Does This Have To Do With Healthy Weight Loss?

That’s an excellent question! Imagine for a moment that you’re a binge eater who has recently achieved 50lbs of fat loss. One day, you decide to reward yourself by buying a bag of potato chips (your binge food in this example) since they are, after all, probably your favorite thing to eat. You take the first salty bite and revel in the crunchy goodness.

“It’s been far too long, my delicious friend.”

You notice the words, “Once you pop, you can’t stop”, and not being one to get in an argument with a bag you grab another handful. And another. And another. And another until most, if not the entire bag is gone. But the real issue is when you step on the scale the next morning.

Your weight hasn’t changed! Awesome!

You think to yourself that maybe you’ve become one of those people that can seemingly eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce. So you get another bag of chips and start down the path of slowly gaining back the lost weight and more.

Identifying Binge Foods

As I mentioned, a true binge eater is the least common type of emotional eater (In actuality, it’s not emotional at all as you’ll see with the rest of the series). For someone that is a binge eater, it’s necessary to identity what specific food(s) are going to set off a feeding frenzy and ruin your weight loss goals.

Step 1. Identify your binge food(s)

  • Ask yourself “how does eating this food make me feel?â€? Happy, content, depressed,  full of energy? Have you ever been able to eat just one (or a single portion) without an overwhelming craving later in the day/near future? Do you feel nervous or guilty after eating it? How often do you start overeating after you’ve tasted this food? Do you feel compelled to eat this type of food even when you’re not upset/stressed/etc.? If not, you’re not a binge eater and should try reading the next post in this series.
  • Try eating without any distractions like television. Eat one thing on your plate at a time while noticing your levels of anxiety. Did you feel like you didn’t want anything else but large quantities of one specific food?
  • Binge foods can be general, as in spicy foods, or sweets, but are usually more specific (nacho cheese chips vs. chips in general).

Step 2. Avoid Your Binge Food

I know, that’s probably not the most popular answer, but for a binge eater abstinence is the only answer, if they want to avoid the proverbial upswing of yo-yo dieting that is. Alcoholics can’t start drinking again without a severe risk of relapse, so why is it any different for someone who is addicted to overeating a certain food?


That, my friends, was the first of my many logic bombs.

I’d love to hear your questions, comments, criticisms (j/k not really), ideas for future posts, or anything else you have to say, so please leave them in the comments section below!

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Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is one of my favorite things to drink, though a good dark beer is definitely up there. :D You almost can’t beat it when it comes to health benefits, simplicity, or low-cost. I mean, I love Starbucks as much as the next person, but a couple of  bucks a day just to make the mornings bearable can add up pretty quickly. Amirite?

What Is The Difference Between Different Types of Tea?

The three main types of tea – Black, Oolong, and Green – all start their lives as leaves on the same shrub (Camellia sinensis if you’re ever on Jeopardy). A few times a year these tender, young leaves are picked and are allowed to dry on large racks, but they’re not ready for the teapot just yet.

First, they must go through varying amounts of fermentation which breaks down some of the natural chemicals found in the leaves. The darker the tea, the longer it’s been allowed to ferment before being heated to stop the process. Since the green tea has only been allowed to lightly ferment, it has a milder flavor and higher concentration of polyphenols called catechins (CAT-uh-kins).

These plants don’t produce these chemicals because they want you and I to live disease-free for a long time. Since these catechins are very potent antioxidants, they help protect the plant from various environmental hazards and help provide us the same protection from free radicals, which damage your cells and can speed aging and trigger disease .

Some Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea:

  • Green tea consists of about 30 to 42 percent catechins, while black tea has approximately 3 to 10 percent and oolong being in the middle between black and green tea.
  • In many studies, green tea catechins (which consists largely of EGCG) have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
  • It can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to many diseases from MS to ulcers.
  • These polyphenols, especially EGCG, have been show to promote a higher metabolism and weight loss.
  • They can lower blood pressure and cholesterol which can help prevent heart disease.
  • They have also been show to help lower blood sugar, which could help in preventing diabetes and weight gain due to overeating.

Probably the best part is you can make it for less than a couple dollars per gallon! A couple times a week I brew a gallon of green tea to keep in the refrigerator or better yet, make a batch of homemade kombucha.

I recommend that most people drink 3 cups of green tea per day, since each cup contains about 90mg of EGCG and only 50mg of caffeine. Studies have shown that green tea won’t potentially raise blood pressure despite its caffeine content, but it would be smart to consult your doctor if you have any concerns  or restrictions with regards to caffeine consumption.

The ease, cost, and health benefits of green tea makes it a simple, yet powerful, choice that anyone can make to do something positive for their well-being. After all, some of the healthiest cultures in the world have been drinking it for thousands of years which is a pretty strong track record in anyone’s book.

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