Jenn is a 23 year-old recent college grad from Canada who is a recovering bulimic, but still struggles with binge eating. Today she’s here to tell us about how she deals with what to do the day after a binge. xo…Sunny
“I am so bloated from my head down to my feet.”
“I am so full. Why did I just do that?”
“It will all be okay if I subsist on only protein and veggies today and burn 2000 calories working out.”
I am embarrassed to admit that all of the above thoughts are things that I have thought after a binge and even into the next day. Anyone who is a binge eater knows that the next day you wake up feeling like you have the worst hangover possible. The physical repercussions are not what makes the day after a binge hell, the mental battle with yourself is challenging because you feel like there is no point to what you are trying to do because you’re bound to fail. A cloud of negativity follows you around all day and constantly berates you, making you feel like you are less than. I have found a few tricks that help me feel better about myself I hope will help you repair your self esteem and will help you get back to normal.
1) First and foremost, you must forgive yourself. This is so much easier said than done and I am sure you are looking at your computer saying “Easy for you to say, buddy.” Well friend, why would you not want to forgive yourself? A few times, I have tried to list all of the reasons why I deserve to live in agony because I had a binge, but I was left staring at an empty paper. The first step in this process for me is telling myself that I am forgiven, then displaying it to myself in my actions.
2) Forget the restrictive diets and the cleanses. These regimens are unhealthy and deny our bodies of valuable nutrients. It is imperative that we don’t restrict ourselves because by forcing ourselves to follow a restrictive diet, or we will set ourselves up for another binge; when you “can’t” have something, it is all you think about. I went through a period this past summer where I was experimenting with a popular, low carb diet and when I finally did give in to my cravings I binged. I am working on finding a middle ground with my wellness regimen and have to constantly remind myself that wanting a cookie or a piece of fruit is okay. It’s also been important to find some form of exercise that I enjoy and that manages your stress. I like Crossfit because it helps me feel strong and like I’m able to do anything I set my mind to.
3) Find meaning in the binge. None of us binge because we like food or because we are particularly hungry. This is obviously really tough to do because it hurts to acknowledge your weaknesses. When I was 19, I had my first official boyfriend and my first real physical relationship. When he broke up with me in the middle of my exams, and gave me no reason why he had to break my heart, I was devastated. I felt like there had to be something wrong with me as a person because if only I was prettier, skinnier, or a better girlfriend maybe he would not have broken up with me. I am 23 now and since then I have sought out relationships with four men not looking for anything but a physical relationship (they were all single! I didn’t go down that road just to make it clear). After having my heart broken royally this last year, it finally dawned on me that I sought out companionship from men that wouldn’t give me what I wanted because I believed that I deserved to be rejected. Obviously this is completely untrue, but it is something that I know has had a dramatic effect on my self esteem. It’s helped to look at my life and see if there are any patterns that I am repeating. If you can bring positive intention to your future actions and awareness to your weaknesses you can help figure out ways to fight a binge or to distract yourself. When I find myself feeling anxious, I get out of my house and go to the library or to the bookstore and look at novels I would like to read. I have a handful of friends I can talk to that I feel comfortable venting to.
4) Last, but certainly not least, go out of your way to feel beautiful. When I take an extra 10 minutes in the morning to apply eyeliner, put on lipgloss, put on my pretty earrings and my long blue scarf, I feel like a princess. I am not my eating disorder, I am a girl who has struggled but has made the decision to triumph and not let anything get me down.
Thanks again, Jenn, for sharing what works for you! For more smart ideas for what to do the day after a binge, check out this previous post from psychologist Ashley Solomon. Have ideas to share of your own? Please do! xo…Sunny