5 ways to re-set after binge eating

You've had a binge, you’re feeling mad, bad and perhaps guilt, now what? 

There are hundreds of videos and blogs out there telling you to eat protein, drink water, eat healthily and I think it is all really good advice, however, the brain is going, yes I know that but I can’t seem to do it. You all know that you might have one side of you telling you to eat healthily yet you have the emotional side also, overtaking thoughts and telling yourself non-helpful stuff like – do not eat anything, you’ve eaten far too much. Or you have ruined your diet now so you may as well eat everything you want.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot switch off the non-helpful voice and you end up in the same cycle as you were in before. Dieting hard, then bingeing hard. Let's try something different so you can stop these binge eating patterns from repeating themselves. 

This is where hypnosis and meditation can help.

1. Self-hypnosis

Start by breathing deeply. This is to break your pattern of thinking and give you some time to let your mind calm down. After a binge, we often move straight into feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment etc. This can cause us to totally restrict ourselves, or to keep bingeing to stop the feelings. This is the pattern we want to break.

Breathing deeply is a way to stop and pause your emotions. It also stops and pauses your thoughts and any frantic feelings. The way to do it is to:

  1. Find a quiet place to sit.
  2. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  3. Start to pay attention to your breathing.
  4. Take a few deep breaths.
  5. Allow your body to relax. If it helps, play some relaxing music.
  6. Keep following your breath and allow each body part to relax even more. It is like building your bank of calm.
  7. When the timer is up, you can come back and open your eyes and carry on with your day, but notice in what ways that relaxing has helped you to calm. 

2. Move your body

If you have just had a binge eating session you no doubt are feeling low. We want to change that mindset and one of the easiest ways to do that is to move your body.

After you have taken a good few deep breaths, move your body and move to somewhere else.

This might sound simple but moving your body interrupts that pattern of thought and then moving somewhere else gets you away from temptation if you are near food or even thinking about food. 

Stand up if you can, swing your arms, swing your legs, sway your hips, twist your body, have a good stretch and a yawn which releases tension. Even better to go outside and breathe in some fresh air, it helps to reset your mind. 

3. Say something positive to yourself 

It is easy to fall into the trap of telling yourself how rubbish and out of control you are. Anything that is harsh on us. Work out why you are doing this? What is the purpose that it is serving? What are you trying to achieve? Chances are you're trying to stop yourself from doing it again.

If we use a bit of logic here – if you have done that pattern before and you still binge, it is not going to work this time. How good does it feel to talk to yourself in this way? Not very good I should imagine. Talking to ourselves negatively pushes our behaviours completely the other way into denying ourselves food.

Because we have been so bad, we now need to go without. When you feel restricted, all you want to do is have whatever you cannot have. You want to feel free and live life on your terms. Not some rules that you put on yourself.

Start by being kind to yourself. Give yourself some understanding of why you binged out. Take away the judgement that you were too weak or bad. Bring in a level of acceptance where you were just being human and repeating old patterns. You were just reacting to your restrictiveness. By bringing in that understanding and kindness you can start to be nicer to yourself, which will bring in this balance within ourselves. Forgive yourself.

Woman looking out of window

4. Understand your patterns of binge eating

When you are calm and relaxed, that is the time to work out what your triggers are. What sets you off on a binge eating session? What are the feelings you feel before binging? Because we have been able to calm ourselves and give ourselves some positive understanding, we are able to answer with a level of curiosity.  

Why did you eat the food you did? Did it satisfy you? Did you want the sweetness or saltiness? What did those flavours stop you from feeling? What is the opposite of when you binge? In other words, are you coming out of a restrictive period or were you denying yourself something? Understanding all of this allows you to gain better insight into your patterns of eating and what you were doing.

It is getting you away from acting on autopilot to being mindful and eating on purpose. You are finding that peace with food and peace within yourself. 

5. Resist the urge to diet

If you are feeling sick, bloated, annoyed with yourself, the first thing you may want to do is to restrict your food intake. I am going to shout loudly, no. Stop. It is this all or nothing mindset that is causing you to snap the other way and binge out.

Going on a restrictive diet because maybe you want to lose weight is not the answer. When you get hungry, you will be driven by that hunger and eat anything that is in front of you, so by not restricting you are also not pushing yourself to snap and binge out.

Go and have a big drink of water, hydrate, then plan our next few days meals. If you think about it now, you can think about how you can make it healthier and still satisfying. You can also do any prep like make things or bring food into work with you. Planning ahead also stops you from getting very hungry so you are not tempted to eat rubbish food. 

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Ashford, Middlesex, TW15

Written by Vanessa McLennan

Ashford, Middlesex, TW15

Vanessa is an eating issues, emotional eating, food addiction and weight loss specialist. She has studied many facets of therapy, including hypnotherapy, counselling, EFT, EMDR, CBT and naturopathy. She has a vested interest in health and was brought to this area by her own health issues. She loves helping people heal on a deep level.

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