Wednesday, February 22, 2017

3 Things to Do Following a Binge

Let's face it - most people aren't feeling so great after a binge. Whether it's physical discomfort or the mental and emotional experience of guilt, frustration, or self-attack, the moments (or hours) following a binge can be rather unpleasant. But there are some things you can do to reduce your distress, as well as the incidence of future binge episodes.

1) Engage in self-care. What do you need to do to make yourself more comfortable? Would it help to lie down? Change your clothes? Might anything help settle your stomach? Is there something you can do that is emotionally soothing - maybe read a book, draw, or watch a favorite program? This is not the time to berate yourself. All you need to do is give yourself the same care you would a friend who told you she wasn't feeling well.

2) Stay on track with future meals and snacks. There's a tendency to want to restrict future intake following a binge. Some of it might be that you're still feeling full, while a large part might be motivated by trying to compensate for overeating. But doing that will continue the restriction/binge cycle, so committing to your next meal or snack is a big part of recovering from a binge.

3) Get curious. With a non-judgmental, observational approach, examine what some of the factors were that might have contributed to the binge. Did you let yourself get too hungry? Were you consciously (or inadvertently) restricting your intake earlier in the day or week? Were you feeling certain feelings that you wanted to escape? Was there a particular trigger that set off this behavior? Knowing some of the contributing factors for your binge eating can help you plan more effectively for the future. You might start carrying snacks with you so that you never get too hungry. You might work on recognizing challenging emotions as they creep up and find more effective ways of coping with them. Again, conducting a postmortem of the behavior is best done from an investigative, uncritical stance. Also focus on what you did well in this scenario. Despite how challenging an episode might have been, there's usually something you can identify that you did well. Did you tolerate an urge for a period of time (even briefly) before giving in to the feeling? Were you mindful at all during the binge? Did you practice self-compassion after the fact? There's usually something you can identify that is reason to reinforce. Your goal in this step is to learn more about yourself so you can build upon your strengths and continue to address behaviors that don't serve you well.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at

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