We can often get REALLY critical of ourselves after we binge.
When we’ve been “trying” to stop overeating for weeks, months or even years, bingeing can completely throw us off course.
In this post, I’m going to share what to do after a binge based on my own experience as well as what I’ve seen work for my clients. As a holistic nutritionist and emotional eating coach with 9-years of experience working with women overcoming bingeing and restricting, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
So what to do after a binge?
The first thing I want you to remember is that bingeing is a message.
When we binge, it’s a cry from a deeper part of ourselves that’s trying to get our attention. Bingeing gives us clues; it shows us where we need to look deeper into a trigger, an emotion, or another situation in our lives.
We use food to cope with life, to numb out, to escape a feeling, to reward ourselves, to relieve boredom, or to deal with a situation we don’t yet know how to deal with.
It only means that:
#1 something is up for healing and #2 you are dealing with something you haven’t yet learned how to cope with.
Bingeing falls away as we begin to learn new coping mechanisms.
I used to wallow in hatred and self-loathing after a binge. When I began shifting my attitude to see what it was trying to tell me, I began developing the coping mechanisms to deal with life (instead of using food).
So, the next time you end up bingeing, remember these 3 tips:
1. Steadfastly Refuse To Diet.
Our knee-jerk reaction when we binge is to restrict ourselves afterwards.
It can give us a sense of control and hope. We think, “I hate how I feel. Tomorrow I’m going to eat super healthy and get back to feeling more in control around food.”
But the problem is that any diet or restriction will inevitably lead to “falling off” the wagon again (i.e. a binge).
Refusing to diet is a great way to counter the continuation of the binge-restrict cycle. That doesn’t mean we can’t eat lighter if we feel heavy, drink lots of water, or meal plan a bit more. It just means that these actions are coming from a place of taking care of ourselves instead of hating ourselves.
2. Ask “What Would Nourish Me Right Now?”
When we ask ourselves what we truly need on a soul level, it can help kickstart our healing.
What do we deeply long for? Is it a hug? A nap? A good cry? Time alone? Connection? A walk in nature? Rest?
Ask and see what arises.
This question is a game changer. There were many nights after a binge where I just cried and cried, realizing what I needed was to feel emotions that I had been stuffing for years.
Soul nourishment is what heals.
Begin asking yourself that question, and be open to seeing what comes up.
3. Give Yourself More Love & Kindness Than You Ever Thought Possible.
Our typical reaction after we binge is deep self-loathing, criticism, and judgement.
But these feelings only perpetuate the shame and the remorse we feel. When we can catch ourselves thinking those thoughts and instead shower ourselves with kindness and compassion, we end up learning the lesson the binge was meant to teach us.
Think about a child who is sobbing and comes to you upset.
When you’re harsh and critical with them, they shut down.
Ex: “Why did you do that?! You know better!”
When you are gentle and loving, they open up.
Ex: “What’s wrong, sweetheart? Why are you upset?”
That’s what we’re aiming for with ourselves.
Compassion above all else. Kindness at all costs. This is how lasting change happens. Criticism never motivates us to change for the long haul. Love always does.
It’s Your Turn:
Which of these steps resonates with you? Do you have any others you’d like to add?
I’d love to hear. Share in the comments below. 🙂
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About the Author:
Jenn Hand has been helping women like you become normal eaters since 2015.
She’s worked with thousands of women, helping them to balance their bodies, end bingeing, stop obsessing over food, and start feeling amazing again. As a board-certified health coach and holistic nutritionist, Jenn knows how to support you in making real positive changes that last.
Her articles have been published on Mind Body Green, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global and other local and global media platforms. She’s the author of How to Be a Normal Eater and the creator of The Normal Eater’s Club program. Listen to Jenn’s advice and tips on the Cake Doesn’t Count Podcast, or read more of her articles for free on the Food Freedom Blog.