How to create a “Never Binge Again” Food Plan

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Never Binge Again" by Glenn Livingston. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Want to know how to make a Never Binge Again food plan? How can this food plan help you say no to the inner pig in your head that wants to binge?

In the book Never Eat Again, Glenn Livingston shares a food plan that will help you fight your binge eating urges. His food plan consists of always, nevers, unrestricted, and conditionals. He also provides tips and advice to keep your diet on track.

Here is the Never Binge Again food plan from Glenn Livingston.

The Never Binge Again Food Plan

How do you distinguish Pig Squeals from your own rational hunger? By constructing a concrete Never Binge Again Food Plan with your personal Food Rules. The Never Binge Again Food Plan gets you to take control over your eating and over your Pig.

Here are the categories that make up your Food Plan:

  • Nevers
  • Always
  • Unrestricted
  • Conditionals

The Food Plan is what you want to follow with 100% accuracy, for the rest of your life. Violating it even by 1% is going to be Bingeing.

These lines need to be 100% clear, or else the Pig will use fuzzy lines to attack your confidence. Write down every single food rule so that it will be 100% clear if you violated the plan or not (if you showed it to 10 people, all 10 would clearly say that you Binged or not). Make it SIMPLE.

Don’t go from 0 to 100 right away. Start with the LEAST severe food plan that protects you from troublesome behaviors. You might even just start with the one food that gives you the most trouble, follow it for a few weeks, then add more food rules.

Let’s break down each category.

Nevers

What foods, drinks, and behaviors will you never indulge in again as long as you live?

Pig Squeal: OK, OK, I know you’re serious. But let’s not take it too far. How about we just quit Bingeing one day at a time?

Response: Enough is enough. You’ve done something 100 times and you know you never want to do it again. If you give it any leeway, the Pig will open up the gap and the Never will become a Sometimes and then an Always.

Nevers aren’t as hard as you think. You walk by a bank and you never think about robbing it. You know never to put your hand into a fire. You know never to get into a police car and drive away. Over time, you will get to think this way about your Never foods.

Always

What will you always do regarding food and drink? 

  • For example: I’ll always drink one glass of water when I wake up. I’ll always write down what I’ll eat tomorrow. I’ll always try to eat a bowl of vegetables every day.

Pig Squeal: You can’t always do anything! There are always exceptions! So it’s better to just not plan for them!

Just like Nevers, there are plenty of things we Always do. We Always brush our teeth before sleeping. We always show up to work when we can. We Always pee in the toilet (when there’s one available).

  • Would you tell a child, “Listen, there’s NO hope of always brushing your teeth before you sleep. You might as well just give up and accept you’ll be a failure your whole life.”

Unrestricted

What food and drink will you permit without restriction?

These are usually healthy go-to foods you feel good about eating, like leafy greens, fruits, water. (Shortform note: You might be concerned about the idea of not having restrictions on certain items. Even when these things are unrestricted, you would likely get tired of eating it before it becomes anywhere near harmful to you.)

Conditionals

What food and drink will you permit only at certain times or under certain conditions? 

Be very explicit about these so there’s no ambiguity about when the light is red vs green. Avoid yellow, because the Pig sees yellow as bright green.

Don’t let this get too complex. It’s hard to remember complex rules when you’re hungry.

Examples:

  • One 16oz Gatorade only after one hour of exercise that makes you sweat.
  • At most two meals a week eating out with friends, and if so you must look at the nutrition info and decide what you want before you go.
  • Only eat 200 calories of chocolate on Saturdays.

If you’ve been struggling to find the right condition for a particular food, drink, or behavior, odds are you’d be better off putting it into the Never section.

Food Plan Notes

You need to set your own diet and be 100% responsible for it. Not 99.9% responsible. 100%

  • No one can follow you to the market, put food in your cart, take out money, drive home, prepare food, and stick the fork in your mouth. You need to be responsible for your own choices and not blame anyone else.
  • You’ve learned enough and heard from enough diet gurus that you already know what a well-balanced, nourishing, reasonable diet looks like.
  • If you feel you need someone else to set your diet, if you fail to follow it, you’ll blame the nutritionist, not yourself. The Pig will just squeal, “this must have been a bad plan. You’ll need to look for a new plan. But in the meantime, let’s binge!”

Set your food plan so you’ll have enough to eat. 

  • Don’t make it so strict that you’re constantly hungry. Start with rules that are easy to follow. This will eliminate the binging and overeating behavior first, before starting on weight loss.
  • If you have problem foods, start with avoiding those. Once you’re comfortable after 2 weeks, then add on calorie counting. You do not want to let your Pig Squeal that you’re about to die from starvation.

Consider just starting with ONE Food Rule. Keep it simple and make sure you can follow it. This will develop confidence that you can add on more Food Rules.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, be very careful about eating rules so that you don’t avoid eating altogether or avoid eating nutritionally important foods. Consult a psychiatrist and a dietician.

Your Food Plan and the Pig

Pig Slop is anything that violates your Food Plan even 0.001%. Bingeing = putting the tiniest bit of Pig Slop in your mouth.

The Pig Trough is where Pig Slop belongs. You never eat out of a Pig’s Trough, so you’ll never eat Pig Slop again.

Only Pigs eat Slop and you are not a Pig. There’s never any reason to engage the Pig about the idea.

In this way, you may defeat the Pig forever.

Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Indulging

The idea of giving up certain foods forever might be daunting. But let’s approach this rationally and note what you get by indulging in the food, and what you get by not indulging in it.

Picture a food in your Never or Conditional list. Then think about what you get from Binging on it. Most likely the best you came up with was “it tastes good” and “it’s convenient.”

Now think about what you gain by following your rule—or, what you lose by repeatedly violating it. Here your more fulfilling goals will appear—having the body you’ve always wanted; having more energy throughout the day; not being debilitated by disease at the end of life; obliterating your insecurity about being fat; feeling that you have control over your life.

When pictured this way, you have a lot to gain by never binging again—and a lot to lose by letting your Pig out! 

Many people have never made this conscious choice, and they’ve focused only on the taste or convenience of the food, while ignoring all the other less obvious costs of indulging.

Pig Squeal: Life should be free! You’re shackling yourself and restricting your freedom with a Food Plan!

Response: It’s the opposite—by having discipline in one part of my life, I’m giving myself the freedom to eat without guilt, live in the body I want, have the energy to pursue my goals, and keep accomplishing things. It’s my eating that’s restricting me.

How to create a “Never Binge Again” Food Plan

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Glenn Livingston's "Never Binge Again" at Shortform.

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  • How to lose weight, stop using social media, exercise more, and work harder
  • How to create a food plan and follow it 100%
  • Why you shouldn't be ashamed of yourself if you make a mistake

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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