A food binge doesn’t need to be a game ender.
If you struggle with binge and emotional eating then this post is for you! I’ve talked about changing my relationship with food in another post but I only lightly touched the topic of emotional eating. Emotional eating was (and in many ways still is) the biggest hurdle in my health journey. My inability to control how I used food was always my downfall. And there was the terrible habit of letting a single food binge equal automatic failure.
Are you using food to fuel your body or abuse it?
Answering this question honestly was one of the first steps toward healing my relationship with food. It’s kind of like the AA mantra, the first step toward health is admitting you have a problem and that you are not in control. I had to admit that I was using food like a drug, and not to nourish my body. I was using food to numb my emotions and my feelings.
My food binges had nothing to do with will power. Will power is about stopping yourself from eating a delicious piece of cake after dinner. A binge is demolishing half a loaf of bread and some peanut butter. And you don’t even like peanut butter that much. Like many people reading this, my binges were blind, aggressive and pure escapism. Whatever I was feeling, I took it out on my body and food was my weapon of choice.
Separating emotions from food.
Separating food from my emotions meant that I had to actually address my problems in the first place. I had to learn how to actually deal with what I was feeling instead of blindly filling my stomach to capacity. Part of that meant finding healthy ways to deal with everyday stress. Personally, I adopted a rescue dog and began daily walks to release negative energy. My daily walks with my dog became the most incredible therapy. I also found that when I took the time to address why I would food binge, I was able to remove (or at the very least address) those sources of stress from my life.
But the truth is, sometimes binges still happen.
I still on the rare occasion binge eat. But, I think I can say that it doesn’t happen blindly anymore. When it does happen I have more self-awareness around the situation and find I can stop myself before it gets out of control. What can I say, it’s a work in progress. But what I do know for sure, is that a binge doesn’t reflect who I am or negate my hard work. If it happens, it’s simply a moment in time that I have to address and move on from.
How to get back on track.
- Acknowledge and address why the binge happened. If you’re unsure, write down what was going on in your life in the hour before the binge and see where the triggers were.
- Forgive yourself. If you don’t forgive yourself for the food binge, you won’t be able to fully move forward.
- Do something productive. It doesn’t matter what it is, how small or big. It can be crossing something off your to-do list, or doing a light workout. The task can even be running an errand, really it does not matter. Simply give yourself the opportunity to feel accomplished.
- Practice some self-care. Compensate for the binge but pouring some extra love into yourself. Have a relaxing bath, enjoy a warm beverage with a favourite novel, get your nails done, or do some yoga. Do a few things that make you feel calm and relaxed.
- Make a plan. A plan will make you feel confident and back in control. Your plan doesn’t have to be anything big, a 7 day plan will do. Everyone’s plan will look different but it should include some meal planning for the week, exercise and time for self-care.
Long held habits can take a long time to break.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. It can take a really long time to change lifelong habits. If you’re reading this post you’ve already taken a small step toward a better relationship with food. So, don’t allow for a food binge to truly sabotage your hard work. Learn from your triggers, forgive yourself and move forward with your goals.
Want to read more on recovering from emotional eating?
- 10 Ways To Overcome Emotional Eating
- 30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge
- 3 Simple Steps To Master Your Terrible Self-Talk
- Mindful Eating: Breaking The Emotional Cycle
What are your biggest struggles after a binge? Share with me in the comments.