Last night I started to write this blog post, about what to do after binge eating. As I was writing, negative self talk started taking over my thoughts. I started thinking "No one will read this. I am not good enough to help others. Who do I think I am?"
In that moment, I wish I would have used the methods I learned and shared in my last blog post, about awareness, but that is not what I did at all.
What I honestly did, was let myself get consumed by the idea that I'm not good enough, and walked away from the computer to get a bowl of cereal. That bowl of cereal lead to five bowls of cereal and a trip to the store for (vegan) ice cream that I finished before coming back to my house. When I did get back in the house I ate six slices of bread, slathered in peanut butter and another three bowls of cereal. Within about 2 hours, I consumed well over 6000 calories of junk food.
When I finally gave up eating and went to sleep I was feeling completely numb. This morning I woke up feeling bloated, ashamed, unmotivated, and depressed. Despite the 844,698,623.974 times I have told myself not to binge eat- I woke up from another night of over eating feeling disappointed, but not surprised.
In a few blog posts I have referred to fight against binge eating as a battle. It's not just a battle, it's an all out war. Last night I lost one of the battles to this massive, consuming, almost endless war. As stupid, worthless, and sad as I made myself feel, I know this does not mean I will stop fighting.
Now, in my second attempt to write this blog post, I am not going to tell you what to do, but rather share what I am doing in my own recovery. If you relate, I hope you will find this information useful.
Forgive Myself: I have to accept that I am human. I get triggered, feel overwhelmed, and resort to punishing myself with food when I feel like I am not good enough. While I am feeling shame, guilt, and disgust, I am also a person who isn't giving up, strives to help others, and deserves forgiveness. I am trying to talk to myself like I would talk to a friend. I am reminding myself that this is one more opportunity to learn and grow.
Get Back on Track with Healthy Eating: After a binge I often feel tempted to starve myself. Even while I am shoving food in my face, I will tell myself that I just will "make up for it" by not eat tomorrow. Starving myself is never the right choice. Instead, I am eating clean, whole foods. A good balance of protein, fiber, carbs, and healthy fats have helped me get back in the right frame of mind. For breakfast I had a plant based protein shake, for lunch I had a loaded sweet potato, and for dinner I have a spaghetti squash in the oven cooking for me right now, that I will top with grilled veggies and marinara sauce.
Drink A Lot of Water: Staying hydrated can aid in binge recovery by aiding digestion and fighting gas-induced bloat. Today I have been drinking water non stop. I think I have had about 100 ounces of water at this point!
Analyze What Happened in a Non-Judgemental Way: What were the vulnerabilities, specific triggers, and difficult emotions that made me seek comfort in food? This is something I already touched on. I recognize that I was feeling worthless and allowed my low self esteem to take over.
Move My Body: Since the last thing I want to do is get into gym clothes and show my food baby off to the world, I chose to hike today. It allowed me to get in a good walk, to aid the digestion of over eating, and time to think about comping mechanisms that I will use the next time I feel the urge to over eat.
Tell Someone Trusted About the Binge: It lessens the shame. I spoke to my life coach about it this morning. She helped me realize what my triggers were, and encouraged me to write this blog.
Do a Compassionate Act Directed Toward Myself: I took a hot bath and allowed myself to take a guilt-free nap in the middle of the day. Later I may give myself a pedicure.
Examine the Parts of Me that Might Want to Keep on Binging: Rather then do the work to learn and grow from this experience, it would be much easier to get a doughnut for breakfast. There is a place near my house with vegan doughnuts that I have been tempted by many times before.
Assess Current Vulnerabilities and Problem-Solve Problematic Areas in Life: Sometimes I feel like my vulnerabilities are endless. If I am not triggered by someone being slightly rude to me, or a small fight with a friend or relative, I make up my own reasons to be hate myself. In this case, nothing outside of my own mind caused my binge. It was me telling myself I am not good enough. As much as I have preached about binge eating and creating a plan, I never made one to protect me from myself! This is why I am going to add more self care to my daily routine. I read so many self help books and exercise daily, but do I really practice self care? No. Little things like painting my finger nails, deep conditioning my hair, or using a skin care mask will help me in my journey to truly love myself.
Adjust my Crisis Plan Accordingly: To avoid binge eating, I always plan ahead. For example, if I am going to be staying out late I know there have been many times that I have over eaten late at night- stopping for fast food after a concert or getting pancakes at a diner at 2:am. Now I eat less though out the day when I plan to go out at night, and bring along a snack to have at the end of the night. Or, if I am going to dinner, I visualize myself politely turning down junk foods or ordering something that fits in my "calorie budget" for the day.
Another part of my crisis plan is having distractions readily available. I have avoided over eating in the past by turning my attention to journaling, drawing, taking a bath, or going for a walk.
These plans have truly helped me in the past, but they have are clearly no match against my chronic low self esteems and negative self talk. It's time to take my own advice, and adjust my crisis plan accordingly.
Adding self care to my daily routine will help. Additionally, I will be using affirmations to help boost my mood when I am feeling like I am not good enough. When I find myself feeling down, I commit to going in the mirror and saying positive affirmation to myself. These might include:
I deserve to be happy and successful
I deserve a good life. I deny any need for suffering and misery.
I am competent, smart and able.
I am growing and changing for the better.
I love the person I am becoming.
Moving forward I will continue to learn from my mistakes. I no longer want to take any steps backwards, because I am dedicated and committed to my fitness goals and helping others. I forgive myself for last night, and I am proud of myself for truly learning from the experience.
The best thing to do after binge eating is forgive yourself and move on. If you need additional support, remember to consider the Finally Inspired Online Coaching Program.