How to Recover from a Binge

Binge eating disorder is a serious, dangerous disease that you should take seriously and treat immediately if you think you’re suffering from it. While binge eating isn’t officially an eating disorder, it can be just as dangerous and just as destructive to your health and well-being as bulimia or anorexia, so it’s crucial that you get help to overcome the urge to binge eat and/or recover from binging already in progress. If you want to learn more about how to recover from a binge, keep reading below!

Change your mindset

The first step in getting back on track is admitting you have an issue with food. If your binges are limited to social gatherings, then chances are you’re not ready or willing to change. But if binging has become a regular behavior—even when there’s no reason for it—then it might be time for some self-evaluation and change. In fact, lots of binge eaters enter recovery through therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Reevaluate your goals

If you’ve been off-track for days, take time during your recovery period to reevaluate why you binged in the first place and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Sure, you might have been hungry or just bored, but why did those feelings become so strong that they drove you to binge? Are there more constructive ways of addressing these emotions? Do you need more food groups or specific nutrients in your diet? Have your goals changed and do you no longer want to reach them?

Prioritize the basics

Hunger, thirst, and sleep are often neglected when we’re busy—but they’re essential for recovery. Before anything else, make sure you get plenty of each (eight glasses of water per day is typical advice). We tend to eat more when we’re not eating right or not sleeping enough (or both), so getting back on track with these basics is crucial.

Have an accountability partner

When you’re trying to change your eating habits, having an accountability partner (whether in person or virtually) is one of your best friends. This person can keep you on track by making sure you don’t fall victim to cravings, overindulge, or miss workouts. Ask someone who cares about your health and fitness—in person or online—to help support your goals and ask questions when you need it most. Who knows? You might even inspire each other!

Write down what you eat

Keeping track of everything you eat can help you make healthier food choices. Studies show that people who keep a food diary lose twice as much weight as those who don’t! The act of writing down what we’re eating helps us more accurately understand just how much we’re consuming. It also reminds us of how rewarding it feels when we choose healthy meals and snacks over fatty, sugar-laden ones.

Journal your feelings

While journaling can sometimes help you overcome binge eating, there are many additional benefits of keeping a personal journal. For one thing, it’s an excellent way to process your emotions. Keeping track of how you feel can help you more easily identify triggers for binge-eating episodes and notice patterns in your behavior. One study showed that journaling helped participants lose 20% more weight than those who didn’t keep records.

Eat food before going out

As tempting as it may be, don’t drink on an empty stomach. When you go out with your friends, you’re likely going to want some nibbles—before long, it turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Don’t sabotage yourself by skipping dinner! Have a big meal before heading out for drinks or have healthy snacks in your purse or bag so that when hunger strikes, you can eat and drink responsibly.

Set reasonable portions

If you’re having trouble controlling how much you eat, try setting yourself realistic portions. Stop eating when you feel comfortably full—not stuffed—and put down your utensils after each bite. You may be surprised at how quickly your hunger subsides! If overeating is an issue for you, it’s also important to keep in mind that studies show eating meals and snacks more slowly can help reduce portion sizes by 20 percent or more. Use smaller plates too!

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