If you fast and shrink your stomach and can tell when you are actually hungry, it will be easier to not eat the bad stuff, but it does not hurt to have things handy to eat that will keep you satisfied and ward off binges on unhealthy, high calorie food.
One of my favorites is popcorn. This will not work if you get those microwave things full of butter and salt. There are too many calories in them. I make it with extra virgin olive oil and don't put any butter or salt on it. I only use about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to make a big bowl of popcorn. I just make it in a pan on a stove burner. It has very few calories this way and the olive oil gives it a taste I like a lot. It is quite filling and satisfies the need for crunchy. When I eat it I know that I am satisfying an emotional need to eat something. I know from experience that when I feel this way, unless I eat something like popcorn, I will go on a binge and eat so many calories that it will take me a week or more to burn them up or lose by not eating or eating calorie reduced foods.
Every person has to find their way of satisfying the urge to binge. Popcorn may not be your solution. Another one that I use sometimes is salad. As long as you don't load it with high calorie food and dressings, a salad does not have many calories, in enough to fill up your stomach and satisfy your urge to binge. A salad has to look nice to satisfy me. I keep extras around all the time for this purpose. Some of them are small cans of mushrooms, black olives, breadcrumbs, cooked rice, low fat yogurt, and I have cherry tomatoes and basil growing in my apartment so they are usually available fresh. The black olives can be a little risky because they are high calorie. You have to make sure not to use too many. They are mostly for decoration.
There are a lot of filling vegetables, for the number of calories. I happen to like broccoli and sometimes steam some frozen broccoli for a snack when I want to binge. Another one I use, that is not quite so low in calories, is frozen fries made of sweet potatoes. I cook them on a cookie sheet in the oven. This will not work if you fry them in fats.
Knowing yourself helps enormously in losing weight or keeping it off. I went to one of those expensive diet counselors to lose weight one time. She had me keeping a food diary. The food diary was very educational to me because I learned a lot about why I eat, especially when I am not really hungry. I see no reason to pay somebody to tell you to keep a food diary. Pay yourself and go get a new outfit when you lose weight or a new mp3 or ipod or something. I guess I will write a blog on food diaries. If you are very happy with your weight loss feel free to send me an ipod, too.
One of the best parts of going to a diet counselor is accountability. You have a live person looking at you when you step on that scale and it is good news or bad news. You can get that by having a diet buddy or going to a diet support group. One of the worst parts of going to a diet counselor is that lately they want to sell you prepackaged low calorie and portion-controlled foods. The foods can be fine. They just cost too much. Ok. I'm lying. I have not tried all prepackaged foods sold by weight loss counselors, but the ones I tried were awful. I believe the box would have been tastier.
I went to a diet counselor when I wanted to lose weight for my wedding. It was not worth it because the marriage was awful, but I lost it by going on an extremely low calorie diet. Those diets are nasty because one bite of bad food makes you gain a huge amount of weight overnight. It puffs you out like a balloon. I don't think those diets are so good for you because I think they can pull nutrients out of your body and cause problems later. I took vitamins, but scientists have been finding out about phytonutrients. They are very small amounts of nutrients that vitamins do not have. Vitamins sometimes go straight through your body and don't help. The powdered or chewable ones can help with this.
The awful marriage did have one somewhat good effect. I was so stressed out by the relationship that I got so I couldn't eat much and when I did eat, it came back up. I lost over 25 lbs in one month before I left and I was already skinny. I told some of my fat friends about that . They wanted to borrow my ex. I was thinking about renting him out. I doubt the restraining order would have allowed that though. :-)
If my popcorn, salad, and vegetables don't do anything for you, it is necessary for you to find your own foods that will do the same thing for you. Some people are able to satisfy themselves with herbal tea. Baked potatoes can be lower calorie if you don't load them with fattening stuff like butter. I have used some of that butter flavored powder from the grocery store and, of course, basil from my greenhouse. I put fresh sprouts on the potatoes sometimes too. I grow those and they are easy and taste extra good when fresh.
I can see that I need to put in a post about keeping a food diary, so I will. Another post about recipes like cooking low calorie popcorn and baked potatoes seems like a good idea too.