Binge eating is not the most glamorous topic to talk about. After a binge episode you can feel shame and embarrassment to admit it.
Whether you are bingeing occasionally or have Binge Eating Disorder (BED) there are some ways to handle the post-binge experience that can help set you up for future success.
Well, it happened! There’s nothing you can do to change the past, but you can learn from it.
Don’t avoid weighing yourself or measuring yourself or tracking your progress however you track it. Use the data from how your body reacts after a binge to shape future decisions when it comes to your fitness and nutrition. Knowledge is power!
Facing the reality post-binge will help you feel like you are back in control of the situation. If you are working with a trainer or a coach, be sure to let them know what happened also. They can be a resource for learning from this experience and trust me, they’ve heard it all before!
It is a normal tendency to want to cut way back on calories for a day or two after a binge episode. Usually this is to ensure that you don’t lose any progress that you may have made. This restriction can actually lead to another binge episode!
Move forward with your day and plan as normal. Focus on each moment as it comes and eat as you normally would eat if you had stayed on track with your nutrition goals.
Just like many would want to restrict calories, it’s very easy after a binge episode to want to “out-train” your binge. However, the calories have been consumed and digested! There’s no use trying to out-train them.
Train as normal and allow your body to process through the extra food in it’s own time. Over-training to make up for extra caloric intake can quickly start a vicious cycle of binge-overtrain-repeat.
That kind of cycle isn’t good for the metabolism or your mind.
Move on as Normal
If your binge eating episode happens in the earlier part of the day, it can be tempting to say “screw it” and just keep binging for the rest of your day. I can’t take credit for this adage, but the “screw it” mentality is akin to slashing your other 3 tires just because one of them is flat.
Regardless of if you’ve slipped up mid-day, you can decide to continue to adhere to your nutrition goals for the rest of the day. This would be the more productive option versus going all out for the rest of the day.
Doing this will also give you power back in what can sometimes feel like a powerless mentality.
Reflect and Forgive
Reflect on your binge eating episode… is there anything specific that triggered it?
Was it cravings or a stressful day?
Have you been restrictive with foods and finally snapped?
Or are you a part of the population that suffers from BED, which is 1-2 binges a week for 6 months or more?¹
Regardless of WHY you binged, it’s important to reflect and write down how you were feeling. You also want to write down why you ate the foods you did. Do you have an emotional connection to a certain food from childhood? If so, write it down!
Keep this knowledge somewhere and reflect on it if a binge happens again in the future. Reflect again, and compare your notes.
Facing the reality and not shoving it under the rug may help you learn your triggers and reasons for bingeing and help you gain control of the situation.
Finally, you need to forgive yourself. We are human! Emotions get the best of us sometimes. Beating ourselves up for a mistake will not help us move forward, but allowing ourselves to be human and learning from our hiccups along the way will.
If you do find you are binge eating more often than not, it is absolutely OK to advocate for yourself. It is OK to seek help through counseling.
Often times, binge episodes can be linked to other underlying emotional stressors. We aren’t able to always connect the dots until a unbiased third party helps us see in ourselves what we can’t.
Remember, you deserve health and happiness!
¹Ekern, J. (Ed.). (2018, January 29). About Binge Eating Disorder: Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Articles For Treatment Help. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/binge-eating-disorder