I remember those moments vividly, snapping back into reality after a binge and realizing what just happened. And the physical pain of a raging stomach ache is not only there, but the emotional pain (the shame, judgment, anger, disappointment) kicks in. And then the question of ‘what do I do after?' becomes top of mind.
In these moments, it can be extremely tough not to engage in destructive thinking and destructive compensatory behaviors. However, if these destructive thoughts/behaviors had worked, they would have already worked. So what might happen if we tried something different? If you are wondering ‘what do I do after a binge?' let's try this:
01. Separate Yourself
Wherever the binge occurred, separate yourself from where it just happened. For example, if it was in your car, go inside. If it is in your kitchen, go to your room. If it is in your room, go to your living room. Because our environment can directly affect our mood, separating yourself from where the binge occurred can help promote healing rather than punishing yourself.
02. Calm Yourself
Emotions are going to be HIGH after a binge. Stop, drop, and calm yourself down! You can do this by allowing yourself an excellent ol' cry, practicing breathing exercises, calling a friend or loved one, closing your eyes and counting backward from 10, curling up with a pet and snuggling with them, etc. Rather than suppressing emotions (or trying to run from them), allow the feelings to move through you by calming the emotions.
03. Soothe Yourself after a binge
If a child came to you and said they ate a little more than was comfy in their stomach and now their tummy hurt, what would you tell them? What would you do for them? How would you care for them? And can you offer yourself the same compassion?
- Maybe you get them some water.
- Perhaps you help them change into comfy clothes.
- Maybe you lay down with them and rub their belly.
- Perhaps you go for a gentle walk with them.
- Maybe you make them some warm herbal tea.
- Perhaps you draw them a bubble bath.
Soothing your upset stomach, rather than punishing yourself, is much more productive in healing. Treat yourself no different than you would a child who had an upset stomach after eating more than was comfy. You deserve that kind of care.
04. Reframe The Thoughts after a binge
It is easy to fall into destructive and harmful thinking after a binge. However, these thoughts don't do anything for us. They only perpetuate shame, guilt, and emotional pain. You might not have control over the automatic negative thoughts that arise; however, you do have control over whether or not you choose to engage with those thoughts. Rather than engaging with those thoughts, let's try practicing some reframes.
Each binge is an opportunity for me to learn something new. Therefore, this isn't a failure because I will allow myself to learn from this as I continue on my recovery journey.
Shaming myself after binging has never worked for me before. So today, I am going to choose compassion.
This binge is a sign I have unmet needs. It doesn't mean I have no control, or that I'm weak, or a failure. Rather than blaming myself, I will prioritize myself to meet all my needs.
05. Reflect On What Happened
The biggest mistake I see many making in recovery is not reflecting after a binge. It is imperative to reflect after a binge because binges are a biological response, not necessarily a choice. Therefore, if we are not reflecting, we cannot uncover where these needs (that we are reacting to via a binge) are unmet.
Click HERE for a guide to help break down your binge for aid in reflection.
Binge eating recovery takes time. So rather than looking at the binges as a failure, let's shift into looking at them as an opportunity for you to learn something new!
More Blog Posts On Binge Eating Recovery:
- How Your Thoughts Can Trigger Binges
- Binge every time you're alone? This is why!
- 5 things I (Ryann) had to do to STOP binge eating.