After a binge, you might wonder what to do next. Here’s the thing: it’s totally normal to feel guilt and shame, but reacting in certain ways can keep you stuck in an unhealthy relationship with food and your body. Instead of rushing to respond, take a moment to pause, breathe, and remind yourself that you’re okay!
5 Post-Binge Mistakes
Here are five things to avoid after a binge and some healthier alternatives to help you break free from the binge-restrict cycle and move towards a better life.
Mistake 1: Skipping Meals
Skipping meals can be problematic for binge eating because it disrupts your eating pattern and can lead to intense feelings of hunger later on. When you skip a meal, your body doesn’t receive the nourishment it needs, and this deprivation can trigger intense cravings, making it more likely for you to overeat or binge later in the day. Additionally, skipping meals can create an “all-or-nothing” mentality around eating. This cycle of deprivation and overconsumption can contribute to the binge-restrict cycle, making it harder to establish a healthy and consistent relationship with food.
Instead of skipping your next meal, sit down and have a balanced, nourishing one. This brings consistency to your eating habits, breaks the cycle, adds intention to your eating, and helps you reconnect with your body.
Mistake 2: Getting On The Scale
Getting on the scale can be problematic for binge eating because it reinforces the idea that your worth or progress is determined by the number displayed on the scale. Binge eating episodes often lead to temporary weight fluctuations due to water retention and food volume, which can be misleading and trigger feelings of guilt and shame. Weighing yourself immediately after a binge can exacerbate these negative emotions and may lead to a cycle of self-criticism and restriction in an attempt to “make up” for the binge. This cycle is counterproductive and can perpetuate the binge-restrict pattern, making it difficult to break free from disordered eating habits and work toward a healthier relationship with food. Instead of focusing on the scale, it’s more beneficial to reflect on the emotional and psychological aspects of binge eating, seeking support and strategies to address the root causes of these behaviors.
Instead of jumping on the scale, reflect on what might have triggered the binge. Plan how you’ll continue working towards recovery. Stepping on the scale only reinforces the idea that numbers matter and perpetuates the binge-restrict cycle.
Comparing on Social Media
Social media can be problematic for binge eating because it often serves as a source of comparison, unrealistic standards, and body image triggers. After a binge, individuals may already be feeling vulnerable, and scrolling through carefully curated images and content on platforms like Instagram or Facebook can intensify feelings of inadequacy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing oneself to seemingly perfect lives and bodies portrayed on social media, which can worsen negative emotions and perpetuate the desire to cope with food. Additionally, social media can be a mindless activity that distracts individuals from addressing the underlying emotional issues that contribute to binge eating. Rather than numbing emotions by scrolling through social media, it’s more productive to engage in activities that encourage emotional processing and self-soothing.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media, engage in more productive activities like coloring, journaling, watching a light-hearted movie, or calling a friend. Social media can numb your emotions, but it’s better to feel your feelings and soothe yourself in healthier ways.
Self-Harm or Self-Loathing
Self-loathing is problematic for binge eating because it intensifies the negative emotional cycle associated with this behavior. After a binge, individuals often feel guilt and shame. These feelings can lead to self-loathing, where individuals begin to hate themselves for their perceived lack of control or their inability to stick to their eating goals. This self-loathing, in turn, increases anxiety and self-criticism, making it more likely that the individual will turn to binge eating as a way to cope with these emotions. It becomes a self-destructive cycle where self-loathing triggers binge eating, which, in turn, exacerbates the feelings of self-hate. Breaking this cycle involves self-compassion, self-care, and seeking support rather than engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
Instead of self-harming or engaging in self-loathing, breathe through the anxiety and seek extra support. You don’t need to punish yourself; you didn’t do anything wrong. Treat yourself as you would a child who overate and has a stomachache.
Restricting Certain Foods
Cutting out specific foods after a binge can be problematic for binge eating because it often leads to a cycle of restriction and overindulgence. After a binge, there’s a strong desire to regain control and make amends for overeating. This may lead to the decision to eliminate certain foods, usually the ones involved in the binge, from one’s diet. However, this restriction can create a sense of deprivation and obsession with those foods, making them even more appealing. As the urge to eat these foods intensifies, individuals may eventually give in to the cravings, leading to another binge. This restrict-binge cycle perpetuates the problem, making it difficult to break free from the binge eating pattern. Instead of focusing on elimination, it’s more effective to explore the underlying emotional and psychological triggers for binge eating and adopt a balanced, flexible, and mindful approach to eating.
Instead of planning what to remove from your diet, focus on what you can add to promote healing and recovery. Cutting out foods often leads to more binges. Reflect on what triggered the binge to learn and continue your healing journey.
In summary, healing your relationship with food and your body isn’t a straightforward path, and binges can happen, even during recovery. But what you do after a binge matters. Make choices that align with your goal of freedom from binge eating by avoiding these five traps and opting for healthier alternatives.
More Blogs On Binge Eating:
- Just Binged? 5 Things To Do After A Binge To Heal
- 5 Things I Had To Do To Stop Binge Eating
- The Difference Between Binge Eating, Emotional Eating, and Overeating
10 Things To Add To Your Coping Box
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An emotional coping box, also known as a self-soothe or comfort box, is a personalized collection of items that can help individuals cope with difficult emotions, stress, or challenging situations. It’s a tangible and accessible resource that provides comfort and distraction during moments of distress. Here are 10 things you can consider adding to your emotional coping box:
Include items that bring you comfort, such as a soft blanket, stuffed animal, or cozy socks. These tactile objects can provide a sense of security and grounding.
Write down or print out affirmations and positive quotes that resonate with you. Reading these affirmations can help shift your mindset and promote self-compassion.
Incorporate items that engage your senses, such as scented candles, essential oils, or stress-relief lotion. Pleasant scents can have a calming effect.
Include small items like stress balls, fidget spinners, or textured toys. These can serve as a physical outlet for nervous energy and help redirect focus.
Keep a journal or notebook to write down your thoughts, feelings, and reflections. Journaling can be a therapeutic way to express and process emotions.
Include pictures of loved ones, happy memories, or items that hold sentimental value. Visual reminders of positive experiences can bring comfort and perspective.
Guided Relaxation or Meditation Resources
Include a small audio player or device with pre-loaded guided relaxation or meditation sessions. These can help you practice mindfulness and manage stress.
Playlist of Uplifting Music
Create a playlist of music that brings you joy or relaxation. Music has the power to influence mood, and having a go-to playlist can be a quick mood booster.
List of Coping Strategies
Write down a list of healthy coping strategies that work for you. This could include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or simple activities that bring you a sense of peace.
Remember, the contents of your emotional coping box should be tailored to your preferences and needs. Regularly review and update the items to ensure they remain effective for you over time. The goal is to have a readily available toolkit that supports your emotional well-being during challenging moments.