If you've read my earlier post, you know my honest past with binging. Below I wanted to give you all some inspiration and hope for what to do if you’ve found yourself having binged, and you feel upset and don’t know where to turn.
These are things I wish I had known myself.
1. First and foremost, forgive yourself
This is the biggest thing I can pass on to you. It’s a great lesson for all things we do in our lives that we’re maybe not so proud of, but binging can feel especially shameful. I spent many years ashamed, keeping it a secret, beating up on myself, and it only made it that much harder for me to break the cycle. You aren’t bad, you are still strong, and you can turn this around.
Talk to yourself in the mirror.
Listen to music that makes you happy.
Watch your favorite movie.
Smell yummy scents like lavender and cinnamon. Tell yourself you are not bad because you binged, say it out loud if you have to. It is just something that happened. Forgive yourself.
When you acknowledge and accept the forgiveness, you break the cycle of beating up on yourself, and looking at yourself as unworthy. You treat yourself with kindness, and when you do this, you’re going to be much more likely to pull yourself out, do things that make you feel better, and find a way to love yourself through it.
You are not alone. It took me a very long time to see that in my own struggles. But know, you are not alone, and forgive yourself, for it all.
One day you are going to look back and see how darn strong you were to do so, and all the ways this contributed to your growth.
2. Know you can get through this, and come out on the other side
When you’ve binged, it’s almost like a out-of-body experience. You’re so in it, that you can’t stop and you don't care about anything else but making yourself feel better and getting rid of all of all the calories.
I often found myself so out of control, that I didn’t want to find control again, because it felt too painful to accept the reality of the circumstances. I often thought I’ve already gone so far…why stop now? I ruined my whole day, my whole week, the workout I did earlier—there is no point in getting out of bed tomorrow, I’m canceling my plans with my friends, I’m going to eat everything in site again.
What I wish I knew, and could have told myself in those moments, is that one binge isn’t going to make you fat.
You can forgive yourself, and what you ate, and wake up the next day, continuing on with the path you were one.
Maybe you had a really good relationship with your food all week, or walked every day, or were able to go out with friends and not obsess over what you were going to eat. Those are huge accomplishments! Don’t then beat yourself up, and throw in the towel, because you think you’ve “fallen off the wagon.” There's no such thing, really. You just start the next day with your regular habits and go on from there. Or maybe you can't. Maybe it takes a few more days to move forward, and that's ok too. No matter what, you’re going to learn something about yourself. And you just keep going. You will come out on the other side.
Forgive yourself, and start the next day from a loving place. Don’t look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re fat and ugly. Love yourself, despite it all. Do one thing the next day that makes you feel normal, happy, productive, pretty, worthy, makes you laugh, challenges you—whatever it takes. Get out of the house. Do your hair, put on an outfit you like. Its the last thing, you'll want to do, but this will help you break the cycle. Sometimes we have to fake it till we make it. Often after a binge, if I got up the next day and did something as simple as run an errand, or talked to someone I loved on the phone, or did something on my to-do list, I felt like I brought myself out of it—I regained some positivity and I moved forward, and that's the best thing you can do.
3. Don’t restrict the next day—break the cycle
The day after a binge, it was very hard not to completely restrict my food. I would work out, drink a skinny latte to suppress my appetite, or eat sugar-free jello cups, completely depriving my body of the nourishment it so desperately wanted. It felt wrong, I wasn't listing to my body, but my mind told me I was "bad" for binging and this is what I just had to do. I thought, without adequate reason, I was evening things out. I’m here to tell you, our bodies don’t work like that. I actually desperately needed to eat more, and nourish myself.
Due to partaking in such drastic restriction…I would only be able to starve myself for so long, and usually wound up binging again, and again. This is where the cycle of years of doing so, came greatly into play.
My body was so confused, out of balance, nutrient depleted, and my emotions and hormones were so far out of sync, there really was no way that breaking the cycle could come easily.
Starving myself was not the answer.
My body was screaming for nourishment, to eat when it was hungry, to show it love, respect, consideration. I wasn’t doing any of those things, and it’s a no wonder that I fell into a pattern I didn’t know how to get out of for far too many years.
So no matter what, no matter what you have to do, remember that one night of binging cannot make you fat, you can break the cycle the next day without starving yourself. Do not under any circumstances feel the need, or pressure yourself into restricting the next day. It will be so much harder to break the cycle, and you just do not deserve it. Give it everything you have, not to restrict.
Find forgiveness, treat yourself with love and kindness, and see things only for as they are in the moment and move forward.
Don’t get caught up in counting the amount of calories you just consumed, support yourself, find support in others if you can, do something that makes you feel good about yourself, get good sleep, drink lots of water, and wake up with the intention to continue to love yourself, forgive, and keep going.