Stop the binge sooner…

Yesterday I commented on binge-eating, and how to begin learning to prevent binge episodes. Here are some additional tips for learning to control binge-eating and ways to stop yourself during a binge.

After a binge: Rather than feeling guilty after a binge – because it is done, you cannot change it now – spend some time thinking about what just happened…

  • Think about what led up to the binge:
    • What happened today?
    • What were your thoughts prior and during the binge?
    • Was it mindless?
    • What were your feelings?
  • What was the outcome of the binge?
    • Thoughts/feelings after?
    • Did your emotions increase or decrease?
  • Did this help you reach your long-term goals?
  • Do you have regrets? The guilt and shame associated with a binge-eating episode only serve to further push you into a negative coping cycle, increasing the likelihood of bingeing again.

REMEMBER: purging (throwing up) after a binge is NEVER the answer. Most of those calories have been absorbed into your body anyway. People who purge do vast damage to their internal system, retain water and appear bloated, and can have a host of potentially life-threatening medical complications.

During a binge:

  • If you notice the binge while you are doing it, slow down! Stop yourself if you can.
  • Think about the decisions you are making. A binge episode is not just one big decision, it is multiple decisions over time, and can be stopped at any point.
    • You can stop a binge after 5 bites, 10 bites, etc.
  • Remember that stopping a binge mid-way is better than continuing to eat everything in sight.
    • Think about calories over the week versus moment to moment. Less calories in today, even if over your allotment, makes a big difference at the end of the week.
  • Ask yourself:
    • What is this behavior going to accomplish for me?
    • How will I feel after this episode is done?
    • Will I feel better if I stop now?
    • How is this impacting my long-term goals?
    • How will this impact my self-talk and positive versus negative thinking?

Whenever you engage in a behavior your regret, something you wish to change about yourself and develop more personal control over, it starts with thinking about the event without placing great guilt and shame. Even if you don’t realize it until it is over, thinking about what happened (even if thinking happens the next day), will make it more likely you will catch yourself sooner next time (this is true for impulsive arguments with loved ones too!). Paying attention to your mind, body, and behavior will help you learn to slowly change and control those behaviors.

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