I’ve been dieting for 4 weeks and last night I binged.
I woke up this morning feeling so guilty and was worried I might spiral and end up back to where I was a month ago…For a minute I contemplated writing the diet of for today. But then remembered why I started…last July I sat in the park in a Puffer jacket because I hated my body so much. I’m never ever going to put myself through that again!
So I made a plan to be able to get straight back on the metaphorical diet horse and thought I’d share what I find to be the best post-binge strategies. I hope you find them helpful.
1. Track it.
The initial level of discomfort while doing this is on par with getting a Facebook notification to say you’ve been tagged in a picture on a night out when you know you were rammled. You don’t want to look but you’ve got to. You need to assess the actual damage.
In fairness, from my experience, the damage done (in the case of a binge, not a drunken photo) is usually not as catastrophic as we might have imagined. Once you get it down in black and white and give yourself a minute to squirm about it, it’s strangely cathartic.
It’s also the most helpful tool you can equip yourself with for understanding from a nutritional standpoint why you binged.
Having everything tracked not only helps you in this way but also enables you to see if there are patterns of eating or certain days and times where a binge has occurred. When you’re aware of this it’s a lot easier to plan ahead to keep control.
2. Trace Your Steps
In a similar vein to tracking really, trace your steps back to how you were feeling leading up to the binge and again see if you can spot any patterns of behaviour that tend to occur beforehand.
Ask yourself questions to help identify your triggers. Helpful things to question are, Did I sleep well the night before?, have I been overdoing exercise? How’s my water intake lately?
Poor quality or not enough sleep, exercising so much that your caloric deficit is too high and being dehydrated can all drastically increase chances of binge eating happening. Personally, poor sleep is one of my number one triggers.
Also If you have a nutrition coach and find you are struggling then do ask them to look over your calorie/activity data and check that you are eating an adequate amount and getting the right amount of exercise for your own goals.
3. Treat yourself
Following a binge-eating episode generally, our natural response, should we be dieting, is to go into panic mode and want to either restrict calories or do more exercise than normal to make up for it.
I’ve learned that this is counter-productive and by doing so it just perpetuates the binge-restrict cycle.
So instead of beating yourself up, treat yourself kindly.
Since my binges tend to be on high fat, non-nutritious foods that leave me feeling rubbish, I like to plan a big tea to look forward to. One that is high in protein and fibre to keep me full (I’m doing a turkey chilli tonight) drink lots of water, and eat regularly throughout the day. Find what works best for you and use it to your advantage.
4. Toodlepip 👋
Remember that what’s done is done and can’t be changed. The very best thing to do once you’ve identified the causes of a binge is to take as many lessons as you can from the experience. Then draw a line under it and say goodbye to any feelings of guilt you have. In my experience, these episodes tend to be forgotten about within a few days.
“The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It’s the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. Missing once is an accident, missing twice is the start of a new habit. This is the distinguishing feature between winners and losers. Anyone can have a bad performance, a bad workout or a bad day at work. But when successful people fail they rebound quickly. The breaking of a habit doesn’t matter if the reclaiming of it is fast.”-James Clear Atomic Habits.
At the end of the day, we’re only human and we can’t possibly be perfect all of the time. Just remember that a binge eating episode cannot ruin the progress you’ve already made either when dieting or when in recovery from binge eating disorder.
If you have a solid foundation of coping strategies that you can rely on should you need them then use them to your advantage and just keep going. ❤️