Binging. It’s upsetting, uncomfortable, and stressful. Today I want to talk about things we can do after a binge has happened to help us feel better and most importantly, treat ourselves with some kindness. The idea of treating those times we binge with kindness and curiosity is hard. I want to give a few pointers that can be helpful if you are struggling after having binged.
1. Be Gentle With Yourself
I’m going to say it again, being able to be gentle with ourselves after a binge episode and not go into the cycle of berating ourselves for having binged is hard but so incredibly important. Typically, when we binge and then shame ourselves for having done so, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle where the shame around binging actually prolongs the current binge and/or can be a trigger for future further binging. If you noticed yourself engaging in this negative self talk it’s helpful to have some other things you can say to yourself instead. Sometimes a simple “it’s ok, I’m ok” can be helpful, sometimes just saying a strong “NO!” when you notice those thoughts can be helpful, sometimes saying something along the lines of “I’m not bad or good for eating any food in any amount” can be helpful. Of course, there are many other helpful phrases that can help guide your self talk in a more positive direction as well so it's helpful to experiment with your self talk.
2. What do I need, What am I thinking, What am I feeling
Another thing that can be helpful is asking ourselves some key questions to help us identify what is really going on. We can ask ourselves these questions before a binge happens, when we are feeling the urge to binge, we can also pause and ask these questions during a binge (without obligation to stop eating), as well as after a binge has already happened. Asking what do I need, what am I thinking, and what am I feeling can be so helpful for helping us not only start to identify some of the underlying issues that tend to lead us to binge, but also it can be the pause we need to help ground ourselves and either prevent a binge or stop one as it is happening.
3. Get up and do something
This typically is the exact opposite of what we feel like doing after a binge but can be really helpful. Rather than sitting down on the couch and watching tv or going and laying down in bed after a binge because you feel so uncomfortable, it is helpful to pick a (fairly low key) activity and go spend some time doing that. Maybe it’s reading a book, coloring, or taking a bath, or something else you really enjoy doing. Whatever you choose to do, it is really helpful to involve yourself in some sort of activity as soon as you are able to help prevent just sitting and stewing about the binge.
4. Gentle Movement
This last tip is one it’s important to be a little more cautious with then the others I’ve given. This is especially true for those who struggle with compulsive behaviors around exercise. That said, it can also be helpful to do a little gentle movement to help you feel more comfortable. Taking a brief walk, doing a little stretching, or some light yoga will do the trick. (Trying to do an intense workout on such a full stomach is NOT going to feel good!)
Any questions about binging or anything else food/body image/eating disorder related? Feel free to get in touch!