What to Eat After a Binge
Updated: May 29, 2018
Ohh, I know. It sounds enticing, doesn't it? The idea that there are rules, some guidelines, a plan that someone can give you to erase your discomfort, to regain strength and a positive mind, to undo the shame and guilt you feel after once again breaking a promise to not binge?
Here's the truth: there is no quick fix that will erase the physical or emotional effects of a binge. Quick fixes are not the solution. There are no rules that you can play by that will solve this struggle for you overnight. There's nothing concrete to grasp onto in order to find your footing again. There is simply time, forgiveness, and a committed desire to learn, grow and evolve.
After a binge is time to surrender, not to control or make new plans for fresh starts. After a binge is time to listen in, calm that damaging voice that tries to punish you with words. After a binge is time to put you hands up and say that's enough, it's okay, what's done is done, it's over now. After a binge is time to ask, in a gentle voice, what happened here, how could I have avoided this, what thoughts did I follow that encouraged this binge? After a binge it is time to become your biggest support, treat yourself with kindness, and say, I'm learning, these binges aren't in vain.
Binges happen for more than a few reasons, but some of the most common are: 1) a counter-reaction to control and restriction of food, 2) a counter-reaction to punishing, abusive thoughts like 'you have no self control, you'll never get over this, you're worthless', 3) an answer to emotional unease like boredom, loneliness, broken hearts, social disconnection, or other, and 4) situational- that the foods you are most compelled to eat are in your house or available to you.
So, what should you do after a binge? First, you should speak to yourself in a way that isn't punishing, harsh or criticizing- instead be curious, be mindful, be gentle, and consider each binge an opportunity to learn, and a way to understand your struggles more clearly.
And what should you eat after a binge? You should eat when you get hungry again, then you should ask yourself what would feel good in your body? You should eat 3 real meals a day, and don't skip meals because of what happened yesterday or earlier. Don't compensate for the binge because control, restriction, and fear of weight gain is what leads to more binge eating. I'll say that again, in bold this time. Controlling your food intake from a mental/rational position instead of a response to body cues, restricting meals and calories in an effort to repent for a prior binge, and behaving in reaction to a fear of gaining weight will lead you to another binge down the road. I know it feels wrong, I know you truly want to repent, and I know you don't want to gain weight, but in order to break the binge eating cycle, you must eat- eat enough, eat adequately, eat at least 3 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner (not mini meals, real meals), and start listening to your body, not your mind.
The longer you try to undo what has already been done, the longer you'll be caught in the cycle of restriction, control, guilt, diet mentality and powerlessness, leading to binge eating, again.
Regain your power by supporting yourself, forgiving yourself, nourishing your body regularly from here on out, learning from each binge, evolving, being curious and staying present. With that you are a building solid ground to stand on, and a loving support from which to learn and grow after each binge.