First things first: I want you to know that binges don’t make you a “gross” or “bad” person. I know that binges can be hard to experience and talk about, which is why I’m so glad you found this post. I’ve got your back through this, just like I do with my clients.
Binges aren’t a character flaw – they are a learned eating behavior that can be unlearned when you have the right process, consistency, and focus to do so.
If binges are getting in the way of you feeling present and connected in your life, you aren’t alone. This post will help you to effectively walk away from a binge, and not let emotions like guilt and get the better of you healing your relationship with food. My clients are breaking their binge eating habits and I want to share my top 3 tips so you can do this too.
1. Remember binges aren’t something that you can turn “on” and “off”
It’s really tempting to promise yourself you’ll never binge again the second it’s over, but this expectation is not how binges go away! My clients see binge reduction over time, not overnight. They are able to do this because of the mindset they apply after a binge.
I want you to consider how you usually speak to yourself after a binge. Is it kind and nurturing? Or harsh and judgemental? Instead of saying words like “Im disgusting” or “I blew it again” offer yourself affirmations that are more accepting. For example:
- I am not a bad person for eating this way
- I’m learning about what triggers my binges, and I can build on that next time.
When you beat yourself up, this can worsen the feeling that you are out of control. Binges, in part, are emotionally driven. Feelings of guilt and shame will only make binges worse, and not better. By offering self-compassion after a binge, you are more likely to reduce their intensity and notice patterns driving binges in the first place so you can learn new responses that leave you feeling better next time.
2. Cope with the physical discomfort
Binges can lead to physical and emotional discomfort. Rather than fighting with this experience, my clients create and use emotional coping toolkits to let these uncomfortable feelings pass. After a binge, give yourself permission to put on sweats, drink soothing tea, and re-watch episodes of the Office for the 300th time. The feelings of extreme fullness will pass, and you will feel better. Help yourself by using your emotional coping skills.
3. Don’t “make up for it” by cutting calories the next day
It can be tempting to “make up” for a binge by skipping meals or cutting calories the next day. Hear me out: do not restrict calories after a binge! By doing this, you are inviting binges to return full-force. I mentioned earlier that binges can be emotionally driven. A more common factor causing binges is not eating enough calories. Make sure you plan to eat enough after binges so that you do not enter into an unlivable binge-restrict cycle. A general suggestion would be to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks each day so that binges do not worsen because of restriction.
In addition to these strategies, my clients work with me to find specific patterns that drive binges so that they can experience them less often. Download my 3 step guide, which includes a body awareness journaling tool, that may help you uncover patterns to prevent your next binge, just like my clients do!