What to Do the Morning After a Binge

 

A familiar site for those of us who have had binge eating issues.

I want to say a big thank you to Ashley Solomon, PsyD, a psychologist who blogs at Nourishing the Soul for writing this insightful and incredibly helpful post about exactly what to do the morning after a binge. It’s beautifully written, and cuts right to the heart of anyone who’s ever had to deal with binge eating:

The Binge Diaries: The Morning After

Your eyelids reluctantly lift from their resting place as the harsh light washes over you, signaling it’s time to rise from this intoxicating slumber. You’d like to pull the warm comforter back over your head and disappear into the abyss of ignorance – the place where you can forget the shame of last night.

But your body won’t let you forget. You feel the distinctively sharp pains deep in your belly; you still feel the food sitting high and heavy. Your mind spins in circles, looping in and out of the names that last night held such beauty and power, but now elicit a feeling of disappointment. Oreo and Oscar Meyer and Special K and Hostess. Those bastards – letting you down once again.

You promised yourself this wouldn’t happen again, you wouldn’t let food leave you feeling bent and broken in the morning. But here you are – alone, frightened of the voraciousness of your hunger, and desperate to get out of this cycle.

Handling the day after a binge episode is most certainly not for the faint of heart; it is one of the most difficult challenges that we face in overcoming emotional overeating and binge eating. When all we want to do is hide under the covers is the precise moment at which what we need to do is call on all of our reserves and prepare for battle. We are no longer just fighting against the temptations of trigger foods, but also against the insidious voices that try to undermine our recovery.

When you’ve just binged and come out on the other side, try these tips to bounce back:

1. Journal. And then journal again. Try to think of a binge episode as an opportunity to discover something totally new and interesting about yourself. No matter the circumstances and how familiar they might be, each binge is different and has its own identifiable triggers – environmental and emotional. Journaling is a fantastic way of analyzing the thoughts and feelings you were having prior to, during, and after the binge. If you’re getting stuck in the embarrassment or frustration you’re feeling now and can’t even remember what was going on before eating, then just explore those feelings. Your truth lies within the words – or images – that you can get on paper. There’s no wrong or write (pun intended!) way – just let it flow.

2. Eat protein. Not just protein of course, but make sure you incorporate protein rich foods into your diet after a binge. Many of those who binge tend to do so on high carbohydrate foods, and there’s a scientific and perfectly comprehensible reason for this. Carb-rich foods help the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin – the “feel-good chemical” in our brains. When we binge and eat lots of carbs, we increase our serotonin levels and voilà! – we feel good. But as you might expect, as our blood sugar and serotonin levels even out or drop, we can feel sluggish, irritable, and depressed. Eating protein-rich food ensures we’re getting enough tryptophan and keep our mood in check.

3. Start using those affirmations you’ve been collecting. You’ve heard them before. Maybe you’ve even written them in your journal, put them on your vision board, or recite them in the shower. Well, now is the time to pull out all the self-love wisdom you can muster and pour it on yourself. Some of my favorites: A lapse is not a relapse. I treat myself with kindness and patience. I forgive myself and others, release the past and move forward with love in my heart. Every day is a chance to recreate my life. What are some of your favorites?

4. Exercise. Gently! Exercise should not be used as a punishment – ever! Don’t plan on setting any marathon PRs today or burn XXX calories in hot yoga. Instead, focus on doing something that makes your body feeling utterly amazing and do it mindfully. This means keeping present with the way that your body moves and feels, even as you take a gentle walk or stretch out your limbs. Shifting your perspective from seeing your body as your enemy to seeing it as your ally will help prevent treating it with disrespect in the future.

The moral of the story is to be kind and patient with yourself. Tearing yourself down or throwing your eating schedule off even further with restriction or more binging will just make it more difficult to develop the healthy relationship with food and yourself that you want. Try something new this morning and start with self-love. And some protein!

You can connect with Ashley Solomon, PsyD, on Twitter and Facebook, and at her web site, Nourishing The Soul.

Now, what actions do you take the day after a binge or slip? Please share! xo…Sunny

9 Responses to What to Do the Morning After a Binge

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you so much for this post! This is one of the things I struggle with most…the morning after. I always feel so ashamed of myself, and I often wallow in the feeling all day. I really need to get back into journaling, because I know for a fact this helps me deal with my feelings! Thanks for the great article share Sunny.

  2. Jennie says:

    Wow. I am in awe of how syncronicity works sometimes. I’m living this morning you speak of right now- the plastic wrappers from last night within eyesight. Thank you for sharing on this, it was exactly what I needed to read this morning. I was feeling so alone and ashamed and this article was a gentle reminder that I don’t have to live in last nights binge. It’s a new day and a new opportunity to be kinder to myself and my body and to sit with and process what I was feeling yesterday- not as a punishment or to feel bad again but to learn and understand more about myself. Pain is the cornerstone of growth and we all deserve to grow and let go of the pain. Let’s all be kind to ourselves today- regardless the contents of your trashcan from last night. It’s just trash, and we are so much more than that!! xoxo

  3. I like to take a moment and try to figure out my binge. There is always a reason behind my binge and if I can’t figure out the specific reason (ie I looked at skinnier pictures of myself) I can develop techniques to avoid situations that would instigate the emotions that would drive me to binge. Understanding the reasons behind a binge help you deal with the emotional issues that caused you binge and how you can deal with these emotions in a healthier manner.

    Thanks for these fantastic tips! I always find a long walk after a binge helps me clear my head and feel less bloated.

  4. Lori Lynn says:

    Thank you also for sharing this post. I tend to have a lot of negative feelings, especially guilt, and it’s so hard to get past it. Thanks. :-)

  5. Mari says:

    Thank you for this post. I keep thinking binge eating is something in the past for me- that I’m “over” it (which is again my black and white thinking!) And yet time and time again, I feel food having a power over me and my emotions. It’s so difficult- when I eat one thing “off” my idea of healthy foods, I feel this need to punish myself and not care of me- and time and time again I go way past full.

    I’ve decided to re-read your book Sunny, but any other recommendations on past posts or other sites?

    Thank you!

  6. Alison says:

    Does anyone have any advice on how to stop binging in the middle of a binge session?? Oftentimes, if I have one instance of “bad” eating (e.g a bunch of chocolate in the morning), I will just continue on a downward spiral for the rest of the day (black and white / all or nothing thinking). Any advice on how to snap out of this unhealthy cycle??

  7. Kavin says:

    Great article!! I have been struggling with binge eating for a long time. I have recently been doing better with avoiding binges.. But I still wake up the morning after a binge feeling utterly disgusted with myself and hating myself. This is a great article and I am going to practice these things!!

    And Allison–I know what you mean about having a hard time being able to stop in the middle of a binge or the binge mindset–all or nothing thinking… Sometimes, if I do something that will break it like go exercise or talk to my mom about what I am feeling, that can sometimes help. But sometimes I will still binge… Yep…

  8. Susan Stracuzzi says:

    I woke up this morning after a 7 hour binge which happen to start at the grocery store. I have diagnosed myself as a food addict binger and I love this blog which i just found. It is so nice to know I am not alone in this horrible addiction. I will be visiting this blog often to help me get back on track…Don’t really want to go back to the rooms of OA and FA…I want to conquer this problem and not be in control of my food. thanks so much.

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