Many women fall into the all-or-nothing trap, meaning that we’re either fully on board with something or saying screw it to everything. This can look like being obsessed with a diet or fitness plan for a period of time and then putting 0 thought into either category at other times. This mentality really stems from perfectionism since we’re basically telling ourselves if we’re not doing something absolutely perfect, then what’s the point of trying at all? As you can probably guess, all-or-nothing thinking can quite easily spiral into a habit of binge eating. Because, again, we’re either sticking to our pre-packaged, portioned boring meal of chicken and broccoli or we are mindlessly eating whatever we can find (likely because we’re hungry and unsatisfied!).

Nicki Parlitsis is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer who helps her clients achieve their goals while also understanding WHY they might be harming themselves with food through binging or restricting. So let’s dive into some of her favorite tips and tricks that she uses in her practice every day.

Create routine in your day

  1. Treat your meals/snacks as “events”. Plant both feet on the ground, take a deep breath, and chew thoroughly. 
  2. Schedule these meal events throughout your day. Whether you have 5 or 30 minutes, aim to eat every 3-5 hours. This may look like 3, 4, or 5 sit-down moments during the day. If you get the urge to graze, see if you can wait until the next event or if you need to sit down earlier. 
  3. Check in with your body & mind between or before meals. Sometimes we eat to avoid feeling emotions when they get too overwhelming. 
  4. Pencil in some “you time” to release emotions and calm your nervous system. A 5-minute break to dance, lay on the floor, or walk outside can bring you back to baseline.

Meal prep like you’re a toddler

  • Prepare 2-3 proteins ahead of time 
  • Cook 2-3 vegetables that you’re vibing with right now or that are in season
  • Make 2-3 carbs that you love (like potatoes, rice, quinoa, etc) 
  • Buy convenient options from the grocery store like pre-cut veggies or pre-cooked meats
  • Stock your pantry with your favorite condiments or sauces 

Then, when meal time comes around, you can simply open your fridge and build a plate of one protein, one carb, and one vegetable that sounds good on any given day and zhush it up with a sauce or condiment. We find that this hack works incredibly well for lunches because most of us don’t have the time or capacity to drop everything during our work days and whip up a full lunch. This way you’re guaranteed to get a balanced meal with little to no effort, meaning there’s a much lower chance of you reaching for any snack foods you can find in lieu of lunch or binging later due to a lack of fueling earlier in your day.

Build a workout menu

If you haven’t already noticed, the throughline here is creating options for yourself while also implementing some sort of routine or framework. Nicki likes to call this “structured flexibility”. Similar to the meal prepping idea of having various food options you can choose from on any given day, it can be really helpful to create a list of workouts that you go to for different energy levels. For instance, maybe on days when you’re feeling depleted or are in your luteal phase of your cycle a yoga flow could be just what you need. For those days you’re bursting with energy and/or need to burn off some anxiety, a run might feel good in your body. Then pick a few workouts that you can do on the in-between days, such as strength training or pilates. Of course, you can adjust these as needed based on what YOU like and what’s realistic for your unique situation. And try to get as granular as possible by linking exact online workouts that you find yourself coming back to or writing down the name and time of a specific class you love at a nearby studio. Definitely don’t include something on your list that you absolutely hate or never do – that’s not the point! The thinking here is that you check in with your body when you wake up, name your energy level, pull up your workout menu and quickly decide on your workout right then and there. See ya, decision fatigue. 

To learn more about binging and how to start healing your relationship with food, check out our full podcast episode with Nicki Parlitis, RD, on What’s the Juice.

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