Have you ever had a binge and been stressed about what you should and shouldn’t do and eat afterwards? Then read on to discover five essential strategies to help you recover from a binge.
Recovering from a binge isn’t just about what you eat, although that’s important, it’s also about how you treat yourself and how you talk to yourself too. It’s about reducing the tension that you feel and switching off the negative feelings that you have about yourself – it’s a holistic binge detox that encompasses the body and the soul.
So, what can you do the day after a binge? Well, lots! But we’re going to look at just five strategies here:
Binge Detox Tips for the Body & the Soul
You might think that the day after a binge you should restrict your eating as much as possible. Not so! This only perpetuates the binge/restraint cycle and you need to break this if you’re ever going to kick binge eating into touch.
Re-balance Your Blood Sugar
When you’ve binged you’ve probably eaten lots of simple carbs (biscuits, cookies, ice cream, bread, crisps/chips …) and this means that your blood sugar is unbalanced. To rectify this you need to eat three meals and at least two healthy snacks each day.
This means that you need to eat breakfast (the most important meal of the day), a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and perhaps an evening snack. These meals and snacks need to include a good mix of complex carbohydrates and first class protein and good fats – you need to eat for optimum nutrition to help your body regain balance so that the likelihood of bingeing again becomes reduced.
Here’s a sample meal plan:
Breakfast: 2 egg omelette on a slice of wholemeal bread.
Mid-morning snack: 1/2 tub hummous with crudites or oatcakes
Lunch: Greek salad
Mid-afternoon snack: natural yoghurt with a piece of fruit
Dinner: Ginger Chicken with Butternut Squash
Mid-evening snack: warm milk
Drinks: water, redbush tea, herbal teas
Drink to Overcome Dehydration
After a binge your likely to be dehydrated too so drink plenty of water and herbal teas.
It’s best for people who struggle with their food to avoid tea, coffee and soft drinks as these are stimulants and so help to unbalance your blood sugar. Try Red Bush tea as a naturally caffeine-free alternative to tea.
Increase Your Serotonin Levels
When you binge it’s very unlikely that you’re getting the right amount of complex carbohydrates and protein on board. This very quickly upsets your body’s delicate internal balance and means that you won’t be producing enough serotonin. Low serotonin levels can lead to low moods and binges so it’s important to take steps to redress the balance.
De-Stress through Relaxation
Bingeing is, in part, a reaction to events or situations that you felt threatened by and because you don’t have helpful tools on board you use food to squash down your feelings. When you feel threatened, whether that’s through a stressful situation or because your self-esteem has been knocked, your stress response triggers and you begin to eat. The bingeing helps to reduce this tension and following a binge it’s a really good idea to try to reduce the tension further by triggering your relaxation response. You can do this by learning relaxation techniques such a diaphragmatic breathing and mindfulness, and using deep guided relaxation. These can all help you to relax both in your body and in your mind – essential if you want to quit binge eating.
Forgiveness & Self Care
After a binge it’s likely that you’ll be full of recriminations, guilt and shame. These feelings will only fuel the next binge so it’s important to try to reduce their intensity. How can we do this? Well, one simple technique is the say to yourself ‘I feel guilty and I accept myself. What’s the kindest thing I can do for myself right now’. Simply doing this gives yourself permission to feel bad which in turn reduces the tension that you feel. Treating yourself to something, however small (and not food related) helps you to begin to appreciate and care for yourself.
What small thing can you do for yourself in this situation? A simple smile in the mirror without criticism? Putting on your favourite lipstick? A self-hug? Some kind words to yourself? It’s up to you – just enjoy doing it.
How do you recover and detox after a binge? And what kind things can you do for yourself to help the healing process. Let me know on the blog. I’d love to know.