Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What to do the day after a binge…

In case you haven’t read any of my other posts on this topic, I’ll first start with... “What is Binge Eating Disorder, or B.E.D.?”
Well, everyone overeats from time to time.  Quotes are from another blogger who personally struggled with, and beat, Binge Eating Disorder.  You can find her article here.
“Okay, so we’re ALL human, well I hope so.  We all eat and sometimes we overeat.  How many times can you remember taking a second serving at Thanksgiving, or Dinner?  Maybe even a third….Well it’s normal.  Self control sometimes goes M.I.A. (missing in action).  This may seem like binge eating, but it’s definitely not the same as Binge Eating Disorder.”

So, what is B.E.D.?  (Also quoted from the above link)

“If you eat until you are full and have no control over what you are putting in your mouth until you are painfully full several times a week or maybe even daily, this is a sign of binge eating disorder.  The binge episodes usually put you in a state of guilt and shame.  After a binge or even during a binge you may keep telling yourself “I’m going to stop tomorrow", or “I’ll go on a diet for the next couple weeks" but, most likely, you will end up over eating again because your body will be deprived.”

“Feeling out of control when you are eating is a huge sign of B.E.D., but here are some more:

·         Eating faster than a normal person would.
·         Feeling painfully stuffed and continuing to eat.
·         Being content and not hungry at all but unable to control the urge to eat and eat.
·         Eating alone because of the embarrassment
·         After eating feeling guilty and out of control
·         Depression related to eating.
·         Binge episodes without purging, starving or use of laxatives.
If these symptoms happen a couple times per week over a couple months then you should see a doctor about the issue of binge eating disorder.”

So, with that covered, what should you the day after a binge eating episode?  Sometimes, it’s hard to get help right away.  You might be put on a waiting list to see a counselor.  Or you might not have a good doctor – his recommendations might do more harm than good.  You need help now.

You can’t forget what you ate yesterday and are full of shame and guilt.  You can still physically feel the food sitting in your belly.  You have a terrible headache.  All you want to do it go back to bed and try to forget.
I found this quote from "Healthy Girl".  Check out her book "Food; the Good Girl's Drug".

“Handling the day after a binge episode is most certainly not for the faint of heart; it is one of the most difficult challenges that we face in overcoming emotional overeating and binge eating. When all we want to do is hide under the covers is the precise moment at which what we need to do is call on all of our reserves and prepare for battle. We are no longer just fighting against the temptations of trigger foods, but also against the insidious voices that try to undermine our recovery.”  ~ The Binge Diaries: The Morning After

Don’t look to Oprah, or Shape Magazine to help you get over B.E.D.  I might have thrown a brick through their headquarter windows if I read one more piece of advice that said to go for a walk when you feel a binge coming on.  They have no idea the severity of this disorder or what to do about it.

If you want to stop the cycle before it starts again, then you have to begin with addressing the day after.  If you continue with the same routine day after day, then you will not see any changes.  You have to try changing your daily schedule and then working with a professional to help you deal with the main issues that are causing the disorder.  You have to get to the root, but you also have to work on changing the habit simultaneously.

The morning after, you’ll feel like going back to bed, calling into work sick, skipping breakfast and lunch, cancelling your plans, and stewing in your guilty, shameful emotions for the duration of the day.  But, that is a recipe for disaster.  If you give into those feelings, it will only result in yet another late night binging episode.  And then you’re back at square one.

When you wake up the morning after a binge eating episode, try these practical tips to help you get back on track.

Eat. This one may seem like a no brainer to some people.  But to people with eating disorders, this is not something we can think of on our own.  The day after a binge, you must eat.  Do not try to justify the food you ate the day before by making up for it the next day.  Our bodies do not work that way.  Machines work that way.  Every human person has a body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, intellect, etc.  Skipping meals will mess up your psyche and cause you to be overly hungry late at night.  Skipping meals starves your body and your soul, no matter how much you ate the day before.

Binging foods usually involve lots of carbohydrates, sugars, and salts. If you can, give yourself protein options first on the day after a binge. Yet, only if it sounds good and you are hungry for it. If not, that’s OK too. The key is to listen to your body.

“Many of those who binge tend to do so on high carbohydrate foods, and there’s a scientific and perfectly comprehensible reason for this. Carb-rich foods help the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin – the “feel-good chemical” in our brains. When we binge and eat lots of carbs, we increase our serotonin levels and voilà! – we feel good. But as you might expect, as our blood sugar and serotonin levels even out or drop, we can feel sluggish, irritable, and depressed. Eating protein-rich food ensures we’re getting enough tryptophan and keep our mood in check.”

Call a good friend and vent. Talk about your problems. You don’t have to bring up food if you don't want, but talk about some of the real issues that are bothering you. (There are always other issues that trigger the episode.) If you don’t have to go to work that day, meet for coffee. If you do, call them on your way to work. Even if you don’t talk about anything at all or even if it is just for a few minutes, just talking to a trusted friend or family member will lift your spirits enough to help you get to the next thing. Talking to another living human being will help you come to terms with reality. It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. Some people will recommend journaling. However, journaling did not work for me. It might work for you, so that’s why I’m putting it out there. Yet, for me personally, journaling only exaggerated my negative feelings. The more I wrote the angrier and the sadder I became. It was better for me to just talk it out to a level-headed, understanding friend.
Get rid of the rules.  Diets inevitable lead to binge eating.  There is no such thing as bad food.  You are allow to eat today, and you are allowed to eat tomorrow.  You can eat now and you can eat later too.  Eat what you want and what sounds good to you.  Do not eat something just because you think you should.

Be kind to yourself.  Treat yourself like your own best friend.  Imagine a good friend going through the things you are going through.  Cut yourself some slack.  Forgive yourself.  I know, I know...much easier said than done.  But you have to start somewhere.  Start with being gentle and loving toward yourself.

Exercise in moderation.  You'll want to beat yourself up.  You'll want to exercise until you drop.  But what your body needs is a light walk or bike ride; something to get your blood flowing and the exercise endorphins going.  Binge Eating is a traumatic experience.  Do not expect to train for a marathon.
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