Battling the bulge

In the battle- of- the-bulge only the strong survive. It's not easy: binge-eating, excessive snacking, chocolate addiction and comfort eating are only some of the vices our users deal with.  If you're battling with any of these, read how others on the Talk forums manage their situation.

Q:  How can I stop snacking in the middle of the night?

Could someone please give me some advice how to stop eating in the middle of the night? I always try and have a healthy snack before going to bed, but still wake up round about 02:00 am and go straight to the fridge without even thinking, and eat any leftovers (most of the time things I would not eat during the day).  I tried having a glass of milk or water instead, but then I can't get to sleep and still end up going to the fridge. I think this is one of the reasons I don't lose weight.

A: I used to do the same, so I made a huge pot of lentil veggie soup and had half a cup if I woke up for a snack, it was healthy and satisfying. Ideally it's not good to eat that time of the night. I don't think its hunger waking you up, most likely habit, so I'm not sure what will help here.

Q: How can I stop binge eating?

Every morning I wake up telling myself: "Today you WILL stick to your meal plan for the day".  All goes well until I go home in the afternoon. I try to stay away from the kitchen, but always end up eating a chocolate or something bad (due to my kids and hubby eating what they want to and not gaining weight). How can I stop binge eating? 

A: Yes, you can stop binge eating and cravings. By all means avoid trying to go on a "diet" which will just make your cravings worse. Just eat healthy foods only, avoid eating processed foods and sugar at all costs. This means you'll be eating more fruits, whole grains, veggies and protein. Eat until you are satisfied, don't limit your food intake. This way you won't feel deprived of anything.Trust me, when they eat their chocolates in the house you won't be feeling like you're missing out on anything. And yes weight loss will be automatic. As a kitchen executive, you reserve the right to minimize the amount of chocolate available in the house. That way there'll be no temptation for you.


Q: I'm addicted to comfort eating, how do I stop doing this?

Eight months ago I was widowed.  I am only 29, I have 2 small children and since then I have gained 20kg's (and I wasn't exactly underweight at the start of this). Talk about emotional eating. But I can't do it anymore, I am addicted to comfort eating.  Do any of you rely on food to help your moods and, if so, what have you done to replace it?

A: I too lost my man/ the father of my child - he was everything to me and this was just six months ago. I love food, but I did not eat through the pain* this is to let you know that you are not alone* my heart still breaks when I think of him. What motivates me, I remember the way he use to urge me on with my weight loss and that I need to stay health and alive for my son now that he is no longer here it's up to me to do all I can health wise and other wise.

This may sound a little forward, but I get motivated because now this means I have to meet new people and I need to look good so I am confident enough to hold my head high. Here is my advice I know you can do it think about your health and your children and then make the decision to change your lifestyle. Let your babies be your motivation for you to lose weight and stay healthy, eating won't take away the pain.

Q: I'm a chocoholic, I don’t know if I'll be able to get through a day without it. Please help.

I looked at photos taken of me at my 39th birthday lunch party this past weekend and didn't recognise myself. I look revolting, to say the least. Bloated. Since the birth of my daughter 3 yrs ago I have not been on a diet, exercised and never once got on a scale. I rushed out yesterday to buy a scale again and today I weigh 71.8kg. Not great for my 1.62 frame. So my diet starts today, actually it already started yesterday. I made it through Day 1 without a chocolate.

I am a COMPLETE chocoholic. It really is an addiction. I cannot get through a day if I don't have chocolate. Last night I was nibbling on carrots and I thought: "this is going to be hard". I have to lose at least 15kgs. How the hell am I going to do that? I am a single mom to a gorgeous 3-yearr-old little girl. We get home too late to still go to gym and I'm up at 5am every morning. That only leaves weekends, and I'd much rather run around with her in a park than a stinky old gym.

I have also just found out I'm premenopausal and my gynae's put me on hormone replacement therapy. I am sure being menopausal hasn't helped either. I seem to crave sugar even more. I could easily give up all foods and just live on chocolate. I am THAT addicted. How am I going to survive without it?

A:  I know how you feel.  I also love chocolates. I bought the most amazing book, and it has taught me to "listen" to my body rather than just eat for the sake of eating.  I've also heard that magnesium reduces sugar cravings. May be worth some investigating?  Exercise is not about going to gym, but about getting moving! Walk to the park with the little one. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park a little further from the shopping centre and extend the walk etc. You'll soon feel like "moving" a bit more and then the will to exercise will start whatever it is you choose to do.

For expert advice visit DietDoc, FitnessDoc and Eating Disorders Expert.

(Joanne Hart and Leandra Engelbrecht, Health24, September 2011)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
27% - 9950 votes
73% - 26266 votes