- in Blog by Melissa Costello
How to Recover from a Binge
We all know that a binge can send us off into a spiral of shame, self-criticism and defeat. Binge Eating is often a result of dieting, restriction or depriving yourself of certain foods, over a period of time, especially the ones you love. Having food rules, and judgements around food can also lead us to a binge.
And binge eating can often have nothing to do with food, and everything to do with an event or trigger in your life that you may not be facing; a pain you haven't addressed, or situation you don't feel good about.
One of my clients shared with me that prior to our working together, she had gone to the doctor to get a check up. She got on the scale, and he told her she needed to lose over 50 pounds. She also learned that she had high-blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. All of this "bad" news coming at once, and the idea of going on yet another diet, sent her in an emotional tail spin. That night she went home and binged for 3 days straight.
Unfortunately, the dieting mindset is ingrained in most of us. We believe that it's impossible to lose weight without massively restricting ourselves, and this can leave a lot of us feeling defeated and wanting to give up. If you are someone who has been a long-time dieter, or you have events in your life that you don't want to face, I'm sure you've had a binge episode or two. Bingeing doesn't mean you have failed, it just means that there is a deeper message needing to be revealed.
Below are my top steps on how to overcome the shame after a binge so you can move forward with grace.
The dieting mindset often leads to binge eating or over eating. It's time to bring the diet culture to it's knees!
Step One to Recover from a binge
Don't go into restriction or diet mode
Dieting and restricting are most likely the things that you got you here in the first place. I know it's tempting to, once again, promise yourself that you are going to be "good" tomorrow, get back on track and NEVER binge again, but you are just setting yourself up to fail.
Refusing to make these false promises to yourself is a great way to break the vicious cycle. By going on another diet or restricting, you keep the cycle alive, which will lead you to another binge.
Refusing to diet is a great way to pattern interrupt the habitual cycle. We must break patterns in the moment, and the more you turn away from that old cycle, the more you will want to do what feels good for you. You want to do things that are in service to your well-being and that could mean choosing foods that feel good for your body, staying hydrated, facing your emotions and taking care of yourself, versus going into a spiral of self-loathing and hatred.
Step two to recover from a binge
Ask Yourself This Powerful Question....
After a binge, it's important to tune into what nourishing and loving actions you can take to support yourself. As I mentioned above, you want to do things that are in service to your well-being, and by slowing down to tune into this, you are showing up for yourself in a powerful way. This will help to connect to what you really need.
So, take a moment and ask yourself, What is the most loving and nourishing action I can take right now?
Maybe you feel lonely and need to call a friend. Maybe you are stressed out and need down time. Maybe you are angry that your boss was mean to you. Maybe your kids are driving you nuts. It's important that you ask yourself what it is that you need before you set any rules, restrictions or guidelines around food.
Once you attune to what it is that you REALLY need, instead of what you think you need (rules, diets and restriction), then you can take action to give that to yourself and truly take a stand for your own healing.
Step three to recover from a binge
Typically, along with a binge comes all kinds of self-loathing, judgement and self-criticism. We feel ashamed, remorseful and overwhelmed with feelings of failure. These things perpetuate the bad-feelings and the binge cycle.
It's important to be the Warrior Guardian of your Mind in this circumstance, and to cut every negative thought about yourself off at the knees. You can do that by the powerful practice of redirecting your mind to self-forgiveness.
Could you imagine reprimanding a small child for binge eating or eating more than they should? Could you imagine saying all the mean things you say to yourself, to a friend? You probably wouldn't have many friends left.
Every time you think a negative thought, say the following out loud:
1. Stop (this helps pattern-interrupt the thought)
2. I forgive myself for judging myself as a failure (or insert whatever other negative words you say about yourself).
Continue to repeat #2 with all the negative judgements you made about yourself after the binge. You can even write them out on paper to make it even more powerful. This step helps you get in touch with your own compassion.
Integrate these loving actions after a binge and see if you can get to the root of what your binge is telling you. There is always a message in our triggers and struggles.
Are you ready to break out of the vicious food cycle?
I work with smart, busy professionals, just like you, who are frustrated and tired of the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. I help them to stop dieting and radically transform their relationship to food so they can say bye-bye to diets once and for all, and find their natural body weight. If you're ready to finally BREAK FREE, learn more about my private and group coaching to see how you can finally create the life you have dreamed of that is free from diets and food struggles.