How To Stop Binge Eating Because of How You LookMar 02, 2023
It sounds like the most counterproductive, self-sabotaging thing to do - binge eating because you feel gross about your body. As if stuffing your body with 1,000s of calories is going to help you feel better about your body.
I have been there too. Stuck in this cycle of feeling shit about my body despite being on a diet 24/7 and thinking, “Fuck it! There’s no point, I might as well just binge”
Let’s talk about what to do when you’re struggling with this type of self-sabotage. Here are my 5 tips:
1. PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
I’ll start with the unsexy answer first but the most important one. Prevention is better than cure. In the 30 Day Reboot course, the main focus is getting to the bottom of the binge eating - instead of trying to find quick fixes to feel better about your body or hacks to stop the urge to binge.
So instead of focusing on curing that urge to self-sabotage in that emotionally charged moment, spend more effort healing your binge eating during the rest of your time.
What could that look like? Well, if you’re binge eating out of self-sabotage regarding your body - spend more time improving your mindset towards your body (Body Love Academy is amazing for this). Work on releasing that link between your self worth and how much you weight. Loosen your definition on beauty. Release some of that perfectionism around how you look.
Do this so that when that ‘fuck it, I look gross, I might as well binge’ feeling arises, you’re equipped with a stronger arsenal of tools too reason with that thought. Over time, that thought will stop coming up so much because you’ll be so much more compassionate and flexible with yourself that the idea of saying ‘I look gross’ doesn’t even feel natural.
As someone who’s been there, I know that once you’re at this point down the binge-restrict cycle, it’s likely that you’re on some form of a diet to compensate for the bingeing weight - which is likely keeping the cycle going. I know that when you feel unhappy with your body - feeling like there’s no point, you’ve totally had to give up on the idea of how you thought you’d look, how you wanted to look - you start to take more drastic routes with food and exercise.
With that in mind, continue working on healing the root of your binge eating - which may also be restriction at this point too. Ensure you’re getting in 3 satisfying, balanced, delicious meals daily at least. Give yourself one less reason to binge.
From working with 100s of women - I can safely say that the longer you go without bingeing, your desire to lose weight (especially in a drastic way) decreases - you start to feel a lot more stable and less extreme.
2. IMAGINE THE NEXT 24 HOURS AFTER A BINGE
A handy trick that my 1:1 clients have found useful is to pause in that run up to the pity binge and imagine how the next 24 hours are about to go.
If you binge, yes - there’ll be some short-term relief or pleasure by numbing out with delicious food. But what else? You know you’ll feel disgusting afterwards. But even more - you’ll sleep poorly, you’ll wake up in a mood, you’ll feel sluggish and irritated during the day, you’ll probably cancel on plans that you may have been looking forward to, you won’t show up your best for work/school.
Do you really want to throw off another whole day (at least!)?
One of my favourite questions from the 30 Day Reboot is: how can I love myself more in this moment? What do I actually need?
Once you’ve imagined how the next 24 hours might look if you go down the binge eating path - explore what you might actually prefer in this moment where you’re struggling. Be compassionate with this hurting self as if she’s your 5-year-old self.
3. FIND THE MIDDLE GROUND OF THINKING AND FOOD
When you’re in that moment about to binge because you don’t see any point anymore - it feels like the end of the world. It feels like your life and body is a disaster, it’s all pointless, nothing matters. I’ve been there - I know how catastrophic the thinking can be (and after the binge too!).
Catastrophic Thinking is one type of problematic thinking from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) - even having awareness over when you’re thinking that way is helpful.
The aim is to start noticing when you’re thinking that way and pulling the lens back, zooming out and being a little bit more flexible and rational with your thinking. So that we don’t end up binge eating on 1,000s of calories because of how we look.
Practice noticing this type of thinking - even outside of binge settings too. We all do it from time to time!
How can you think and act from the middle ground a little bit more? Whether it’s replacing thoughts like “I’m a complete failure for gaining this weight, I might as well just eat the whole tub of ice cream anyway!” to “Actually, in the scheme of things, it’s just a bit of weight which is something I can change anyway. What would actually make me feel good right now?”, or choosing to be more flexible with food choices - allowing in more ‘normal’ foods instead of surviving on only salads or cookies — getting back to the middle ground will change everything!
4. HAVE A LIST READY
In that emotionally heightened moment of “I’ve gained so much weight, what’s one more binge anyway?” - it’s easy to get swept away with your thoughts. To let them take hold and act upon them.
Sometimes it can be hard to be that voice of reason when that devil on your shoulder is so loud.
One of my past 1:1 clients loved having a list ready for potentially difficult moments or making ones.
There’s something about writing down a plan of action that can help get you out of your head.
So have a list of things you could do in these self-sabotaging moments - or even a list of reminders (like how you’ll feel in 24 hous if you binge out of body hate).
5. REGAIN HOPE
Lastly, and more generically, start doing what you can to regain hope that you’re on a path towards healing. In those poor body image moments where everything feels pointless, and it seems like the only way to any positive feeling (despite being short-lived) is a binge — what you are really craving is hope.
Hope that there is a way out. Hope that change is happening. Hope that you won’t feel this way forever.
Think about what can help you regain hope. Some ideas:
- Small wins towards food and body image healing (see #1 on prevention)
- Tracking and celebrating that progress to remind yourself that change is happening
- Talking to others that have been where you’ve been and changed for the better
I know I used to binge in those low moments because everything felt hopeless - but once you start to see some light at the end of the tunnel, it becomes much easier to say no to a pity binge.
For help building up those small wins and seeing light at the end of the tunnel - check out the 30 Day Reboot course where I’ll show you the way to food and body freedom.
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