Night time…all is quiet in the house. It’s just time for you to relax. Maybe you’re watching TV, doing some online shopping, or just checking out your Facebook news feed. You get the urge to get up and get a snack. Cheese and crackers sounds good. You bring the whole brick of cheese and the whole box of crackers into the living room. Before you know it, you have mindlessly polished off the entire brick of cheese. You wander back into the kitchen and grab a bag of Hershey kisses. Next thing you know, there are 20 candy wrappers on the couch.
Why stop now? You made banana bread earlier. You get a large slice, then go back for seconds, and thirds. As you throw away all of the empty wrappers from your binge, you feel disgusting. You know you weren’t hungry, but it felt good to eat. You go to bed and fight through a restless night, your body trying to process all of that food, your mind already telling you how weak you are.
In the morning, you wake up feeling like you drank a bottle of vodka. Your mouth is dry, your eyes are puffy, you are exhausted. You drag yourself out of bed and get ready for work. Coffee? Yes, please. But you refuse to eat breakfast. You will not put any food into your body this morning. You need to atone for last night. At work, you are feeling sluggish and like a failure. The morning is spent beating yourself up.
You head to the break room…oh look, someone graciously brought in a box of glazed donuts. Might as well, right? Do you take one?
Have you been in this scenario? So many people struggle with binge eating, but don’t realize how common it is. People don’t talk about it because they feel ashamed, weak, and disgusted with themselves and their disordered eating. I can tell you all of this because I have been there…many times.
Once you are in the throes of binge mode, it becomes a vicious cycle that can turn into a whirlpool that you can’t get out of, and it takes you down quickly. I am here to tell you that there is hope. You CAN get out of this cycle. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it isn’t easy, but you CAN do it. Binge eating is just as emotional, if not more so, as it is physical. Not every strategy will work for every person, as we are all different, but I think there is definitely a list of things you can try to do to help yourself dig out of a binge hole. Please read and try these strategies the next time you find yourself post-binge and feeling worthless.
#1 – Eat breakfast
I know, I know, the last thing you want to do is put food in your body the morning after a binge. But you have to start the day off positively. You do NOT deserved to be punished for what you ate last night. Have a nice light, healthy breakfast. Some egg whites with spinach and whole grain toast. Yogurt and fruit. Something, anything…get it in your body. Tell your body and your mind that you are going to get right back on track today. This will set you up to continue to make healthy choices all day. Do not starve yourself. This will only lead to another binge later. Check out these posts to get some healthy breakfast ideas:
#2 – Drink water
A lot of water. Whatever you ate last night was probably filled with high amounts of sugar and/or salt. Today you are probably feeling bloated and puffy, and extremely tired. The best way to get rid of this is to chug as much water as you can. This will help flush out those toxins and get your body running the way it should be. This may take a day or two, which can be frustrating, but just keep drinking that water. See this post for more about the importance of water.
#3 – Write yourself a hate note
After a binge, you probably have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself going on in your head. You need to get them out of there. Write them all down on paper or type them out on your computer. All of them. How much you hate yourself, how much of a loser you think you are, how weak you think you are, how fat you feel, all of them. Then rip that note into tiny pieces and throw it out. Say goodbye, literally, to all of those bad thoughts and move on. I know this is hard, but writing them down will help.
#4 – Write yourself a love note
You have to follow up all of that negativity with some positive thoughts. Now it’s time to write down all of the things you are thankful for in life, what makes you a good person, what you are really good at, and what makes you happy. Get it all down. Then read your list out loud to yourself and post it where you can see it all day…on your office wall, on your fridge, wherever. Read it over many times and be reminded of all of the good in your life.
#5 – Come up with a mantra
This one may seem cheesy to some people, but it works. Come up with a saying to repeat when you are a having a bad moment. Maybe it will be, “I am going to have a good day,” “I deserve to be happy,” or “I am strong.” It should be a simple statement that makes you feel better. Say it out loud whenever those negative thoughts start to creep back in.
#6 – Get moving
The best way to actually make your body feel better is to do some exercise. I’m not talking about hours of punishment here, just a nice heart-pumping workout. You will sweat out the yuckiness and start to feel like a human being again. Working out will also give you the mental clarity to realize that you have worth and that there is hope. After a binge, you are dealing with physical and mental anguish, and exercise is just the thing to ease both.
If you ever feel like you can’t break out of the binge cycle and you need help, I am here to help you do that. I am not a psychologist, but as a nutrition consultant and someone who has struggled with binge eating, I can help give you the tools to break out of the cycle and get you back on track. Please contact me through email any time.