If you find yourself amidst a post-Christmas food coma, unable to even think about touching another morsel of food ever again, you’re not alone. One of the most common things I hear from my clients is that they struggle with the big, bad B-word: bingeing.
For so many people, it is the dirtiest word imaginable. Binge eating can be a truly scary experience, and for many, it becomes larger than life. It can happen due to stress, anger and even happiness. And in my opinion, it happens from having a complicated relationship with food—as well as not feeling good enough. You binge on food to fill those feelings. And then the guilt, the anxiety and the self-loathing begin. And it happens again out of guilt and anger at yourself. A horribly vicious cycle. Through personal experience and from talking to clients, I’ve developed some top strategies to help you recover and get back on track, pronto.
How to recover from bingeing
Let go of deprivation
A binge doesn’t mean you should now restrict. This perpetuates the cycle and almost guarantees another binge. You have to give yourself PERMISSION to eat your favourite foods, with joy. Incorporate healthy foods—you’ll quickly learn to enjoy them because they nourish and protect your body. Your body deserves this respect. Become a conscious eater —eat what you wish, but remember moderation.
Recognise that food is abundant
Clients often tell me they fear there is not enough food at meals. Perhaps as a child, their mum didn’t cook enough at dinner time, or because they deprived themselves for so long they fear food is scarce. Remember you can always have more another time. See, dieters tell themselves they can’t have it later, because “starting tomorrow I am going to be good. I am not going to touch one unhealthy thing.” The pressure that comes with that statement eventually leads to a binge.
For many, it helps to see a counsellor to remind yourself of this or to figure out what you don’t believe you are. You need to make peace with yourself in order to have a peaceful relationship with food.
Let go of what you ate yesterday or last weekend. Today is another day and your body can handle an imperfect day! Trust your body will break the food down, and then get back on your journey of healing.
Granted, all of these tips take practice. Just as the outlet of bingeing becomes a habit, so too does the act of doing something else in response. It will take time. But know that each time you utilise one of these tools instead of a trip to the kitchen to soothe yourself, the closer you are to being binge-free. And, you really can get there!