How to Never Binge Again: Improve Your Diet Habits

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 never binge again when it comes to dieting? How can Glenn Livingston’s book help you kick your bad habits?

In his book Never Binge Again, Glenn Livingston teaches readers how to change their mindset, create a meal plan, and ignore the pig in their brain that wants to ruin their diet. Livingston’s advice also works for other areas of your life such as social media, exercise, and working habits.

Here’s a brief overview of Never Binge Again by Glenn Livingston.

How to Never Binge Again

Do you have a behavior that you rationally know is better for you, but find it too hard to maintain? Do you want to lose weight; stop using social media; exercise more; work harder and longer? Do you feel your self-destructive indulgent self feels so powerful you can’t stop it?

Never Binge Again presents a wonderful mental framework to help solve these problems. It’s directed toward binge-eating and weight loss, but the concepts are easily analogized to any other impulse or addiction you want to control

Introducing the Pig

Do you:

  • Feel unable to control your eating despite knowing it’s terrible for your health?
  • Feel powerless to resist anything that tastes good in mass quantities?
  • Find it hard to stop thinking about food?
  • Feel desperate to control your food problem?

There is a part of you that exists only to feast. It doesn’t care about your well-being and about your life goals. It defeats you at every opportunity and wants you to fail so it can have food orgies.

Call this the “Pig.” The Pig is your fat-thinking self. It hijacks your survival drive toward food behaviors that do NOT serve your best interests. It’s an out-of-control eating machine that will destroy everything if you love it. It sabotages your plans and exists only to satiate itself. The Pig is responsible for a lot of misery in your life—eating the wrong foods, in the wrong portions, downgrading your health and quality of life. 

The Pig is a bully that deserves no patience or tolerance. It’s held you back for years, possibly decades, talking you out of every reasonable weight-loss plan, robbed you of the body and energy you want, made you feel hopeless after years of effort. It’s time you put it in its cage. 

How the Pig Developed

The Pig arose as a survival tool, to make sure you ate enough to survive. This was important when prehistoric humans went through periods of intermittent famine. This behavior is common to pretty much all animals—call this your Lizard Brain, which cares only about eating, reproduction, and survival.

But in today’s environment, when survival is much easier and food is aplenty, the Lizard Brain is counterproductive. Food developers hijack this survival drive with addictive foods that give you Food Highs that deceive you about their nutritional value. The Lizard Brain makes you overeat well beyond what’s necessary to survive.

Over time, your Pig was strengthened by external influences like addictively delicious foods, cultural institutions around eating, and social pressure to avoid giving into your cravings.

Pig Squeals

If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you’ve almost certainly felt urges to break your food vows. First you say, “You’ve been eating well for a week, so let’s just have one cheat day.” 

Then you say, “Well since you’ve had one cheat day, that proves you’re weak. You should feel bad about yourself. So let’s go back to our binge eating!”

In the past, you would have thought of these as a natural, rational part of yourself that needed to be listened to. 

Now that you’ve isolated the fat-thinking self to a separate entity, the Pig, you can recognize all such urges as Pig Squeals. These are complaints, feelings, and impulses to get you to binge again. Squeals are all attempts to destroy your goals so the Pig can get what it wants (this is why the Pig cannot be tolerated and is owed nothing but contempt).

Since you’ve committed NEVER to binge again, any thought or impulse to binge again must be coming from the Pig. 

Create a Food Plan and Follow it 100%

A Food Plan defines rules that you want to follow for the rest of your life. They should be 100% explicit, such that if you showed the plan to 10 people, all 10 would unanimously say whether you violated the plan or not.

The plan consists of foods, drinks, and behaviors of these types:

  • Nevers (you will never do this again)
  • Always (you will always do this)
  • Unrestricted (you can have an unlimited amount of this)
  • Conditionals  (you can have these under certain explicit conditions)

After you have a Food Plan, you need to follow it 100%. Any violation of the Plan by even 1% counts as a Binge. Any doubt or impulse to deviate from the Plan comes entirely from the Pig. 


Before you binge, consciously weigh the benefits and the costs of indulging. Make a list of what you gain from indulging and violating your Food Plan, and what you gain by following it.

  • You will most likely find that the rational gains by following your plan (eg “I want to be confident about my body”)are far more important than those by indulging (which usually consist of “it tastes good”).

Weigh yourself every day. This gives continuous feedback and lets you make fast corrections before you go off track.

  • Think about how you drive. Do you open your eyes for a second, adjust the wheel, then close your eyes for 5 seconds hoping for the best? Obviously not. 

Keep a list of Pig Squeals, or justifications from the Pig to violate your plan. For each one that deserves a response, write your justification for why the Squeal is a terrible reason to violate your plan.

If you make a mistake, don’t be ashamed. Forgive yourself. Treat yourself like a child who’s genuinely trying to accomplish something important. If your 5-year-old daughter wants to learn to ride a bike but falls off, would you say, “OK, this is a sign that it’ll never work. You should never even try again, it’s just hopeless.“

How to Never Binge Again: Improve Your Diet Habits

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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 .

Here's what you'll find in our full Never Binge Again summary :

  • 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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