Picture this. You’re sitting on your sofa and you’re feeling sick to your stomach. You just ate dinner, turned on the TV and decided to go downstairs to the vending machine of your apartment building because why not get a few snacks? You get a “healthier” chip option (Lays baked potato chips to be exact) and a granola bar because that doesn’t seem too “bad” and you go back upstairs. You sit down in front of the TV and you eat the chips and granola bar within a few minutes, barely taking a breath in between. You’re still not satisfied. ‘I finished with something sweet…now I need something salty again.’ You go back downstairs to the vending machine, and this time you go for it with gusto — you grab a bag of Doritos, a Snickers candy bar, and the family size bag of M&Ms. You go back upstairs for the second time feeling as if you’re on autopilot, sit down, and eat through the second round of snacks in moments. At this point, you’re beginning to come back into the present moment and you’re incredibly ashamed of yourself. You’re sad, you’re scared, and you’re feeling alone, so you go back downstairs for the third trip and promise it’s going to be your last. You grab cookies and your last bag of chips and make your way back up. You eat through those with so much hate for what’s happening, but you can’t stop. You call your mom in tears, and the night ends with a stomach ache and feeling so incredibly disappointed in yourself — shameful and emotionally drained.
Every binge is different, but what I just described to you is a narrative of one of mine. I remember it so clearly. I remember the way I felt when I headed down to the vending machine for the first time and I remember how I felt when I woke up the following morning. An emotional eating episode is a scary place to be, but let this be a reminder that you’re not in it alone. I wrote the following tips because when I struggled with emotional eating, these are the steps that helped me bounce back ~ the steps that ultimately contributed to me loving myself again when I did them over and over again until I finally unlocked the code to my own recovery.
So here it is: What to do After an Emotional Eating Episode: 5 Simple Steps. Remember you are human, and you are worthy of your own compassion and love.
This is as simple as it sounds ~ forgive yourself. You are not your binge episode and you are not a terrible person for overeating when you were stressed, angry, sad, or bored. Your forgiveness will take you further than your self-criticism ever will.
Pause the self-sabotaging thoughts and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a few moments, and then release it out through your mouth for an open mouth exhale. Begin to take 2 times breaths ~ breathe in for 2 seconds and out for 4 seconds (raise is to 3 and 6 or 4 and 8 as you reach a calm state). Our breath is a tool that is so readily available to us at all times. Next time you’re feeling the urge to binge, try it out and see if you can flip the script.
Often times, a binge occurs when you’re feeling stuck ~ stagnant in the mind and unhappy with where things are at in that given moment. Move your body to move your thoughts and increase blood flow throughout your entire body. Remember that it doesn’t have to be intense. Go for a walk, stretch, or try this restorative yoga flow for free on YouTube.
Call someone who understands you and sees you deeply. It’s common to want to hermit and hide after a binge eating episode, but that often leads us nowhere (other than more sadness, self-criticism, and maybe even another wave of binging shortly after). Connection is incredibly healing and it provides us with a space to feel held and supported. Reach out when you’re having trouble reaching in. Sometimes all we need is a close friend to tell us we’re doing great.
As much as it’s easy to beat yourself up post-binge, put effort into doing the opposite. You are worthy of your compassion and your love and you deserve every bit of it. In a journal, write down 3 things that you truly love about yourself. If you can’t think of anything right away because you’re still in victim mode, take another deep breath and try again. It’s in there ~ I know it is. You are someone to love and you have so much to contribute to this world.
Just as my experiences, such as this one, made me into the guide I am today, your experiences are opening doors for you to choose strength, growth, and transformation with relentlessness. Just remember that you don’t have to navigate this journey on your own. If you’re looking for support along your quest for the freedom, ease, and empowerment you are oh so worthy of, book your free 30-minute Connection Call with me here.
In wholeness and with lots of love,