How to Recover From a Food or Sugar Binge: 10 Steps to Feel Better

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After you’’ve binged on sugar or food, you may feel physically uncomfortable:  bloated, overly full, gassy, or irritable. You may have a headache, feel a sugar buzz, feel wired, or sleepy. You may have strong sugar or salt cravings.

Beyond how your body feels, you may be filled with uncomfortable emotions as well. These can include shame, frustration, hopelessness, regret, or anger.
In the following post, I’ll share you how to care for your body, your heart and emotions after a binge. I’ll also share some thoughts on how you can prevent a binge next time.

At the end of the article, you’ll learn more about ways I can support you in outgrowing a habit of binge eating.

Ways to support your physical body:

1.    Eat regular meals. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but fasting or skipping meals after a binge will only destabilize your blood sugar, which can easily lead to another binge and feelings of hopelessness.

When you’re hungry again, eat. If you binged at night, start fresh by giving yourself a healthy breakfast. Stick to clean, whole foods and drink lots of water. Broth based soups and vegetable based meals often feel good after a binge.

Starving yourself after a binge can be a subtle form of punishment – “I was so bad yesterday I don’t deserve to eat today.” By contrast, feeding yourself when you’re hungry again is a tangible way of saying, “I forgive myself. I don’t have to suffer because I made a mistake.”

2.    Give your body gentle support. To help your body detox from lots of food, fat, salt or sugar, you may try having a cup of mint tea to soothe your digestion. (Celestial Seasonings’ Grandma’s Tummy Mint tea is especially nice.) Eating probiotic rich foods – kombucha, fermented vegetables, yogurt, kefir – can also help settle and support your digestion.

A shower or hot bath with Epsom salts may help you feel better both mentally and physically.

3.    Offer yourself regular, rhythmic self care. If you binged on lots of sugary or fatty foods, you may have intense food cravings for a few days. Your body may feel out of sorts as your body processes the excess sugar and fat.

What helps you move through this period of discomfort is structure, routine, and rhythmic support, what I call grounding. Grounding helps you feel nourished, capable, and strong. The power lies in its rhythmic nature: the routine itself can take over when you feel tired, overwhelmed, or inside out. You can ground yourself with regular meals, a daily routine, sleep, and gentle exercise. Learn more about grounding in 5 ways to stop a relapse and Help! I’m gaining weight and bingeing again.

Ways to support your heart and mind:

4.    Offer yourself compassion and self forgiveness. Beating yourself up doesn’t facilitate change. Here’s why:  when you’re caught in self blame and shame, your brain moves to defend you, to protect you from too much wounding. The consequence is that you’re not free to adapt and grow:  you’re not able to learn from your mistakes. Compassion, on the other hand, moves your brain into a space of safety, freeing you to learn and grow.

You can try comforting yourself just as you would a small child or talking to yourself in reassuring tones, “It’s okay, honey. You’re going to be okay.” Try picturing someone who loves you unconditionally and talk to yourself as this person would.  I talk more about self forgiveness here and here.

5.    Move the emotions through your body. A binge brings up strong emotions. A walk is a great way to move the painful regret, sadness, frustration and even loathing (which is actually frustration that has simply found a target) after a binge. A good cry can also move the strong emotion of frustration. Other ways to move the emotions:  writing, exercise, gentle yoga, stretching, deep breathing, rocking in a rocking chair or swing, meditation and dancing.

6.   Remind yourself of your wholeness. When you offer yourself mercy, you’re offering yourself unconditional love:  I love you so much even though you slipped up. This is important, because it reminds you of your wholeness. You are so much bigger than your thoughts, emotions and behavior – even bingeing.

One way to convey unconditional love is to put up photos of yourself as a young child in your home. Looking at these pictures can remind you that you still carry that child with you. You’re not a horrible person because you messed up; merely human. Learn more here about reconnecting with your goodness.

7.    Get support. You may find yourself hiding after a binge, feeling caught in shame. There’s tremendous vulnerability in sharing ourselves so intimately with another. But in reaching out, there’s also a big pay off:  connection instead of isolation.

When you’ve binged, I gently invite you to reach out for support and to talk with a trusted friend (the key word here is trusted), someone who can remind you of your wholeness and the bigger picture. When we move through our fear and reach out for support, sharing our pain with a trusted loved one, we often find acceptance, connection and belonging. This brings relief.

You can also offer yourself empathy. Listening to your own heart and caring for your feelings can prevent a binge, a process I describe in the post, Stop a binge in its tracks with empathy.

Ways to grow out of a pattern of binge eating:

8.    Seek understanding. One of the most powerful ways you can foster self forgiveness is to reframe why you binge. Many people see bingeing as a problem of poor will power, lack of self discipline, or a character flaw. When they binge, they then see themselves as someone with poor will power, selfishness, or low character. Oh, ouch! No wonder that point of view causes so much shame and feels so painful.

In my work, I offer a different perspective. You’re not bingeing on purpose. You’re bingeing to meet a need. Binge eating is an emotional coping strategy driven by deep, unmet needs. On this emotional level, your bingeing makes absolute sense, as messy or illogical as the overeating may appear on the surface.

This new way of thinking frees us from the pain of self blame.

9. Foster “and” thinking. When you’ve made a mistake, like a binge, it’s easy to get caught in intense emotions of hopelessness or frustration. These feelings can feel so big and true that you lose hope. You may feel like it will never be different or that you’ll never be able to change.

What shifts these feelings is integrative functioning – to see the other side. Integrative thinking is “and” vs. either/or thinking. It’s holding onto both the discomfort – I feel frustrated, I feel discouraged, I feel like I’ll never stop bingeing – and the hope – I know I can do better tomorrow. I know this will pass. This isn’t the end of my story.

How do you remember the hope? Honestly, when we’re caught in intense emotions, we often can’t. The emotions are too intense to mix. This is where loved ones, support partners, therapists, and sponsors can help. They can help you hold onto your integrative functioning when you can’t do this on your own. They can bring the hope when you can’t.

10.  Fully feel the grief. I used to believe – and teach – that when we know better, we do better. But I learned a different perspective from developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld that changed the foundation of my approach to healing binge eating. You do better – you make different choices – as a by product of emotional development, not knowledge.

Emotional development is the key to maturation, to outgrowing patterns of binge eating. It’s fostered by fully feeling the futility of your actions. This means that you have to fully feel that what you’re doing (the binge eating) isn’t working – it doesn’t bring you the relief you seek, it doesn’t truly meet your needs, and it causes pain and suffering in your life.

When you fully feel the futility of “This doesn’t work,” you’re able to move forward and change. It’s how you do something different. I appreciate how vulnerable this is, because futility is a place of loss, letting go, and surrender. Paradoxically, it’s also the doorway to healing and growth. As spring follows winter, grief leads to new life. As you fully feel that the binge eating doesn’t work, you’re able to change your habits with food.

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Is sugar a problem?

If you can't stop eating sugar once you start, if you want to free yourself from painful consequences of a sugar addiction, then this book offers hope through a personal story of redemption. Karly Randolph Pitman lived a sugar addict's life, with binges, violent mood swings, yo-yoing weight, low self esteem, bulimia, and depression. Finding the courage to accept her sugar sensitivity and heal her addiction, Karly now teaches others who are sugar sensitive how to heal. Kindle, Nook, PDF instant download.Overcoming Sugar Addiction ebook

How to Say 'No' to Sugar

Learn the 5 steps to break free and heal the roots of cravings, inside & out

If you compulsively crave or eat sugar for emotional support, to self soothe, or to manage stress, you may feel frustrated by a habit that feels out of your control.

You don't have to feel enslaved by sugar or sugar cravings.

There's a way to heal your sugar obsession so you're no longer compulsively eating sugar, craving it, or bingeing on it – but the answer isn't what you think. It's not found in a perfect diet, will power, self control, behavior modification or even a sugar abstinence...

On Wednesday, July 30 2014, join my free class to learn:

  • how to say no to the impulse to binge or compulsively eat sugar
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  • and how to eat sugar with joy and delight when you consciously choose to do so, but…
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About the Author:

Karly Randolph Pitman
Karly Randolph Pitman helps men & women heal the roots of disordered eating, food addiction, and sugar addiction through compassion and connection. Rather than learning strategies to control your weight, your addiction, or what you eat, Karly's "heart over binge" approach, growing human(kind)ness, heals the inner dynamics that drive the compulsion in the first place. Growing human(kind)ness arose out of Karly's personal 20 year struggle with multiple eating disorders, depression, and addiction. She speaks internationally, teaches weekly at growinghumankindness.com, and is the author of the best selling Overcoming Sugar Addiction, When Food is Your Mother, Overcoming Sugar Addiction for Life, The 30 Day Lift, and Heal Overeating: Untangled. Known for her compassion and insight, Karly's mission is to help others feel their belonging, know their goodness, and rest in love.

87 Comments

  1. […] How to Recover From a Food or Sugar Binge […]

    • Hannah May 26, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      This is so relevant to me, I have suffering with this for too long on and off since I was 14 and I’m now 27. The last 3 years after my first child has been the hardest I call my problem ‘fat bev’ like an alter ego and although I have managed to lose weight slowly I’m so stuck……
      Endless torturous cycle every, single day. I’m on anti depressants and have tried to explain to those close to me but they don’t see the suffering just the weight gain. Just now I have eaten 12 cookies, 3 jam tarts and Google how to help (again)
      Yesterday I worked out I over ate by 4000 calories and went to bed feeling uncomfortable and in pain….
      So glad to read some words that helps me understand I need to forgive rather than conquer. X

  2. ene May 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    I needed this article right now =/

  3. Philip April 11, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    I remember being at my heaviest 320lbs (at 6″2) and finally realizing (at the age of 17) that I had to do somthing or I was going to die young of a heart attack so I killed myself for 1.5 years loseing the weight by dieting, pulling 3 A DAYS, diet pills anything I could do! Finally I (what I thought) was an O.K. Weight (155lbs) completely skin and bones no kidding I stopped exercising so much but I never stopped with the reduction of calories… I ended up finishing each day in the NEGATIVE working out so much that I burned to the point where I’d go into the negative with calories! It sucked but I didn’t want to get fat agein. The only time I realized that it was time to stop doing that was seeing my crying mother at my bedside telling me to stop.. So I ate more and gained about 25 lbs back and joined the Marine Corps.. I made it through boot camp (barely) being skin and bones and all and I’ve come to a dilemma… Im indeed still in the Corps but I find myself binging again… I do workout daily at least twice to stay in that Marine Corps shape but I still binge… I am now about 220lbs at 6″3 and I think I look like well terrible but others tell me I look great.. I lift and do a exceptional amount of cardio.. But as the weekend rolls around BOOM I FALL OFF THE WAGON… It’s embarrassing as a male Marine haveing a BED especially all the stuff I’ve been through… What do I do! I need help.

    • Karly Randolph Pitman
      Karly Randolph Pitman April 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Philip,

      I’m glad that you were vulnerable, shared your story, and reached out for help. My friend, it sounds like you have a lot of fear and alarm/anxiety about gaining weight and going back to your heavier weight. This fear then causes you to restrict and try and control your body through diet and exercise. But it sounds like your goals for your eating and body size are really high, so you end up overrestricting and bingeing in response.

      In my experience, we fall off the wagon because the wagon is really an impossible tight rope: we’re trying to do the impossible. Then when we “fail” we blame ourselves, rather than questioning our expectations for how we should eat, care for our bodies, or how much we should weigh.

      I was bulimic for many, many years, and one of the triggers for my bulimia was this “tight rope” cycle. Because I was always unhappy about the extra 15-20 pounds I carried, I was always trying to lose weight. So the solution to my weight loss (and body acceptance) woes was to eat a perfect diet.

      But I couldn’t do it. I tried and tried, but couldn’t do it. (Then I merely tried harder and harder to do what was really impossible!) Every time I slipped from this ideal of “perfect eating,” I believed the sky was falling. It was the end of the world. So I would either purge, overexercise, or fast the next day to “make up” for my mistake. And the cycle went around and around and around…

      Oh, this cycle is so painful.

      I know it may feel counterintuitive and even scary, but the way to soften this pattern is to come more into the middle. I had to let go of my “perfect ideal diet” expectations, to soften them a bit and to find something that was more merciful. And I had to practice caring for the fear and anxiety that triggered my restrictive parts.

      I hear your desire to care for your body and your desire to be healthy, fit and strong. My friend, you can have these things without eating a perfect diet.

      I also reached out to George Bryant of Civilized Caveman Cooking, a former Marine who also struggled with an eating disorder. This is what he said: “Ask for help, something I didn’t do in the Marine corps. Either call a hotline or go to your medical and ask. You’re not in trouble for having this and you need help.”

      I’m cheering you on,

      In love and care, Karly

  4. […] on someone else's journal because I personally found it so helpful..maybe you'll like it, too? How to Recover From a Food Binge: 10 Steps to Feel Better – Growing Human(kind)ness Reply With […]

  5. […] How to Recover From a Food Binge: 10 Steps to Feel Better – Growing Human(kind)ness That site has helped me many times! Offering some support and virtual hugs from someone who has also experienced problems with bingeing! binging? I'm not sure how to spell that, honestly. I haven't read your entire journal yet, but the Hydroxycut and the lack of period is worrying. I'm assuming you've been to a doctor recently, but if not I recommend you get to one ASAP and explain the problems you've been having. Is therapy also a possiblity for you? For me at least the desire to binge came from a pattern of negative self view/emotional problems I've had since childhood. There is help, this is not a problem that is bigger than you! You can and will overcome this! Reply With Quote […]

  6. […] You may enjoy reading this article on how to recover from a food binge. […]

  7. […] How to recover from a food binge […]

  8. Alex November 21, 2013 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Hi, I've gone from way too much control over what I eat to now some nights I have no control at all. Tonight I binge ate on crackers, chocolate and a lot of peanut butter and it doesn't feel good like usual so I looked up some help and found this. These tips are so helpful and it's a lot easier seeing someone in the same boat as myself. No one I know gets the urge to binge and they do not understand my guilt after either or why I can't simply just stop. Ideas and methods to help me cope are much needed and I thank you for taking the time to post them.

    Much thanks,

    Alex

  9. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman November 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Emma,

    Great question! I answer it here, in this blog post on recovering from a sugar binge: http://www.firstourselves.org/help-halloween-suga

    Warmly, Karly

  10. EMMA November 12, 2013 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    hey thanks for the help but what about if there,s jus one special day that you ate waaaaaaaaaay too much sugar and the next two -3 days you are not hungry but nauseous basically after a sugar binge ,should I force myself to eat ?

  11. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman November 4, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Hi Brian,

    I can imagine that it’s difficult to be vulnerable and find support as a man struggling with binge eating – difficult, and lonely. I have two sons, and sometimes I ache that our culture doesn’t allow men to be more vulnerable. Thank you for sharing your struggle and feelings with all of us, so we can understand what it’s like for you.

    My friend, a few thoughts. I find that people tend to either binge in the morning or at the afternoon/end of the day. Yes, and it’s so common once you start bingeing to then go to a space of, “The hell with it. I’ll just start over tomorrow.” I have been there – and many times.

    When we go to a “hell with it space,” we’ve lost our integrative functioning: our ability to hold onto 2 opposing thoughts or feelings. All we can see is the mistake and that there’s no solace. Fortunately, we can support ourselves so we can find our integrative functioning. I talk more about how to mix feelings in this blog post here:

    http://www.firstourselves.org/kindly-change-food-habits/

    As for morning bingeing – on an emotional level – it’s often due to gearing yourself up for the day – it’s how we soften inner tension or soothe anxiety. I talk about this in much further detail in my Heal Overeating: Untangled program, but for now I’ll say that we feel anxious because we’re trying to push away feelings – something that’s arising in us. Then this leads to inner tension as we try and push down these feelings, or as we battle between two sides of us – the part of us that wants to self soothe in a binge, and the other part of us that doesn’t want to use food for solace. This tension between our opposing desires starts to feel overwhelming, and so we end up eating to lower the tension. It works – the tension is soothed – but then we feel discouraged for bingeing.

    I talk more about how to soothe this pattern in this video blog: http://www.firstourselves.org/video-sugar-binge-devil/

    The video is about sugar, but feel free to substitute any food that you tend to binge on.

    You may also find this binge rescue worksheet and audio to be a helpful resource: http://healovereating.com/order-binge-rescue-audio/

    You can also use The Binge Rescue worksheet to soothe yourself after a binge. It can help move you through your emotions so that you’re able to soften your thinking about how the day is ruined.

    In love and care, Karly

  12. Brian November 2, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting this. As a guy, it’s tougher for me to find people who can fully relate to me with these issues. It’s not masculine to discuss problems with binge-eating, so I have that x-factor that the majority of people (women) posting about the subject don’t have to deal with. My main issue is when I binge early in the morning. It’s one thing to start fresh the next day, but when I down a bag of Doritos before lunch time, I never know how to not just give up on the day. Lunch is usually only an hour or so away, so do I just skip lunch and try and wait for dinner and eat something healthy then? Probably. But my reaction is usually to just say the day is lost, and to get some McDonalds or something since “I’m gonna eat healthy starting tomorrow and will never get to have fast food again, so might as well indulge in it now since today is already lost”. Like it ever actually works that way in reality. And the cycle continues..

  13. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman October 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    My friend, you may also like this podcast on how to care for ourselves when we make a mistake:

    http://www.firstourselves.org/when-mistakes-happe

    (I hope I'm not overwhelming you with links – I just get excited to share things that I think will meet you where you're at and speak to your heart. :)

    In love and care, Karly

  14. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman October 22, 2013 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Hi Jenni,

    Oh, my friend – I can understand that space so well. It’s so painful to feel caught in something that seems to get the better of us, isn’t it? And the ebb and flow of confidence and despair with food can feel frustrating.

    You might find this post helpful -

    http://www.firstourselves.org/doubt/

    And this post on healing the voice of hopelessness –

    http://www.firstourselves.org/healing-voice-of-hopelessness/

    Both of these posts are based on teachings from The 30 Day Lift, which I have a hunch would be very healing for you –

    http://www.sugar-addiction-book.com/30-day-lift/

    In love and care, Karly

  15. Jenni October 13, 2013 at 3:39 am - Reply

    Karly,

    I think this is a wonderful post. I find the days following a binge to be the hardest because I feel as though I am just waiting to see the consequences of my actions. The horrible waiting sensation and feeling of regret can be overwhelming particularly if I had been eating clean for a long stretch prior to the binge. It amazes me how long it takes to get to a place were you start to feel confident and how quickly all of it disappears.

  16. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman September 23, 2013 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Bella,

    How lovely that your name is beauty. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling and appreciate the fear and confusion of feeling so out of control with food. A few thoughts – it sounds like you could use some support. Have you told anyone how you’re struggling? I would gently encourage you to reach out to a trusted person and share your struggles.

    In my own life, I struggled with eating disorders for decades because I felt so ashamed by them – I didn’t want anyone to know, and so I hid them as best as I could. In doing so, I also kept myself from the support that could help me.

    Secondly, this free tool, The Binge Rescue worksheet, is a way to self soothe the feelings that lead to a binge. You can download it here: http://healovereating.com/binge-rescue/

    For a long time, I thought my bingeing and overeating was about the food (and my inability to control my weight or my desire for food.) I was always trying to control how much I ate because I wanted to be thinner. I thought the way to cure my bingeing was to simply find greater control.

    But later I realized that it wasn’t really about the food at all: I was bingeing and overeating because of uncomfortable feelings I didn’t want to feel, and food was the only way I knew how to comfort myself. So healing my binge eating wasn’t about controlling/fixing/cutting out my out of control eating, but about learning new skills in how I relate to my pain and feelings. This worksheet is a good place to start to connect with and care for the feelings that are under a binge.

    Sending you hugs of love,

    In love and care,
    Karly

  17. After a Binge | Headed Healthy September 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    [...] How to Recover From a Food Binge Share this:Like this:Like Loading… Categories: Motivation | Tags: binge, binge eating, eating, Eating disorder, emotions, food, Health, healthy, purge, sad, scared, self-image, support, websites | Leave a comment [...]

  18. Bella September 11, 2013 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Dear Karly,

    I have a serious binging problem and it's getting worse and worse. I resort to purging, fasting, and pill taking, and it's horrible. I have no solutions at all to stop it- I feel like i've tried anything and still have no control over my eating. Sometimes I feel like food just takes about 90% of my life. I just really want to stop, but I don't know how, and it's upsetting.

  19. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman August 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Michele,

    Ah – granola has been one of my all time favorite binge foods. When I would buy granola, I would eat a 1 pound bag of granola, with yogurt, until I felt sick.

    It sounds like granola isn't a binge food for you, though.

    Warmly, Karly

  20. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman August 22, 2013 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Hi Isabella,

    I can definitely understand your pain and frustration. It’s so painful to feel caught in bingeing and purging, and all the shame that comes with it.

    My friend, it sounds like you’re trying to control your bingeing, cravings and emotions. Suppressing our feelings only works for so long, doesn’t it? And then those feelings come roaring up to the surface, and often do so in the form of a binge…

    That’s what I tried to do for my 20 years of eating disorders – but it left me heartbroken, discouraged, ashamed of my emotions (and I’m a passionate, sensitive person who feels deeply!), and even more stuck in my bulimia and binge eating.

    What helped me change my habits was something that sounds counterintuitive and even a bit scary: allowing, accepting, and caring for my feelings and cravings – moving towards them and feeling them more, not less – rather than trying to stuff them, control them, or keep them down.

    This works because we’re feeling our feelings and caring for our humanity rather than trying to keep this energy down (which is impossible!) The binge eating is merely our coping strategy – how we cope with all this suppressed emotional energy that’s in our bodies.

    So here’s a few tools that may help – have you grabbed the free Binge Rescue worksheet here?

    http://healovereating.com/binge-rescue/

    Also, you may enjoy this podcast on befriending emotions.

    http://www.firstourselves.org/allowing-our-feelings/

    Lastly, here’s an article on befriending cravings – http://blogs.naturalnews.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-sugar-with-compassion/

    In love and care, Karly

  21. caroline August 16, 2013 at 11:03 am - Reply

    I relate so much to your binging. I just had a whole pack of tim tams and ice cream, then ended up binging on pie, pasta, chicken and noodles to try get rid of that sugary high and now I feel disgusting. I don't know what to do but i do feel a bit better that I am not the only one with this problem.

  22. isabella August 16, 2013 at 10:51 am - Reply

    I often binge when I am feeling stressed and then fall into the trap of binge, purge, self hate leading again to stress, then binge, purge etc.

    It is a horrible cycle and I desperately need help. My binges seem out of control, going for high carbohydrate type meals such as pastas, breads, sweets and my binges can go up to 3000 calories in a day or 1500 calories in one sitting.

    I had found a way to break the cycle a few months ago which was just by stopping my purging after a binge and consuming tons of water, fruit and veg the next day with exercise. This slowly developed into normal eating habits though recently I have fallen into the trap again.

    I need to break this cycle and I don't think this article is giving me any help. Could anyone give me some ideas of meal plans to go by after a binge? How can I control my cravings and emotions?

  23. Michele August 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    May I ask what the heck is so guilt laden about granola?? While I see the connection, I came to this post to learn about ways to deal with binging. That just made me feel worse about it because eating granola is so not close to binging.

  24. Valeria August 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    This was so helpful. I just binged and feel awful. I have been having this problem since last year and still don't know how to deal with it or the reasons why it's happening to me. Hope I will find the strenght to change somehow.

  25. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman June 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Vanessa,

    Hmm – I hadn't thought of it in that way before – thank you for sharing your views and thoughts with me. Your feelings make sense to me – if I'm hearing you correctly, it sounds like you feel strongly about not doing things that contribute to disordered eating.

    That's my intention, too, and I'm glad we have that in common.

    Thank you for the lively discussion.

    Warmly, Karly

    • Dawn February 3, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Karly,

      Thanks for writing about this topic. I found it very helpful, and I’m sure others will too. I agree with Vanessa’s comment, although I think it could have been phrased a bit more politely. I think you’re right about getting loved ones to help us with strategies against BED, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to involve children in any way. I know one of the things that has contributed to my BED and feelings towards weight in general was seeing my mother yo-yo diet all throughout my childhood. I’m in no place to give advice to you on parenting, but I think it might not be a good idea to recommend to readers that they enlist their children to “hide” food from them. This is an adult issue and could be very confusing to kids.

      And to all the snippy comments about granola not being a binge food…those readers clearly don’t know what a binge is for those of us with an eating disorder. This isn’t just about having a bad dieting day and putting away a cheeseburger and large order of fries then regretting it. It’s not so much about what we eat, but more about how much we eat and our emotional, mental state while we’re eating. A binge can abuse any food…healthy or not…and that includes granola!

      • Karly Randolph Pitman
        Karly Randolph Pitman February 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm - Reply

        Hi Dawn,

        Welcome to the site! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me – I enjoyed reading your thoughts and perspective.

        I think you’re absolutely right. When I was first healing my eating disorder, I didn’t realize that involving my kids was unhealthy (having children help an adult is a completely different ball of wax than having adult or family support.) I’m grateful that you and others pointed this out to me over the years. This shows some of my own stuckness, doesn’t it?

        Oh, yes – any food – heck, broccoli even! – can be used as a binge food. The fact that granola was my favorite binge food doesn’t make my eating disorder any worse or less than others. It simply shows how my pain was expressed through food.

        In love and care, Karly

  26. Vanessa June 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I find it very unhealthy for your children to involve them in your own eating issues/disorders/slip-ups/however you'd like to call it. Children shouldn't grow up thinking that food is bad, or that mommy has an out of control switch and so it should be hidden. Food is just food. It's fuel. If you stop involving your kids in the drama you make up on your own head for overeating granola (seriously?), they could grow up without so many hang-ups on food that some many of us have to live with.

  27. [...] How to Recover From a Food Binge: 10 Steps to Feel Better | Via First Ourselves [...]

  28. Julia May 27, 2013 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Thank you for this advice! This is the most realistic, self-nurturing advice I've read on this issue. Very kind and wise. Xxx Julia

  29. Savannah April 16, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    This blog post has helped many people, including me, and the spelling did not distract anyone from the heartfelt message and deeply healing words.

  30. The Slip-Up | Sink or Swim March 5, 2013 at 6:54 am - Reply

    [...] need to recover from this episode of binge eating. I might need to start a food diary again, though I tried that before and could only keep it up for [...]

  31. Europa December 31, 2012 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    It's OK. After all, we're all humans. We need sugar every once in a while to keep ourselves sane. Trust me, what you did was not wrong at all. Even the best food gurus do it. We're humans.

    Happy New Year! :)

  32. Cha December 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    I've eaten candy for the last 2 days – this is after not having anything like this in quite a while. I got frustrated and angry at work, and the Christmas candy called my name here in the office. My veggie bowl and hummus just didn't cut it – I wanted something that satisfied me more. And to make it worse, this morning I added a donut to the mix. I have to share that I have not eaten something like a donut in probably 2 years. I basically gave up sugar, and have now given up wheat.

    As I was reading the article and comments, the same thought crept into my head: I'm a foodie. I like food, recipes, cooking, etc. For me, it's creative.

    So here I sit, feeling guilty about eating 4 pieces of candy and a donut. So I made a cup of tulsi/chamonmile tea and pulled out my veggie container.

    Life goes on, I guess. Thanks for listening.

  33. Nina December 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you. I really needed this just now

  34. G November 28, 2012 at 9:08 am - Reply

    I suffer with BED but recently its got worse than ever i have just had a 6 day binge i dont think anyone could do to themselves what i have just done, the amount i have consumed each day is sickening. i now dont want to do anything or see anyone i feel gross inside and out and dont know who to talk to about it because no one i know would understand. everyone has 'bad days' where they have a few too many cookies but mine are disgusting i consume packets of cookies as a mere starter, croissants cakes, bread, doughnuts, ice cream and all more than one serving. i need serious help but feel like im a lost cause. i have been living in shanghai for the past 6 months and am returning home on saturday. i am dreading everyone seeing me this way

  35. Sugar Binge « Flake And Cake November 21, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    [...] How to Recover from a Food Binge – First Ourselves [...]

  36. Chloe July 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I won't pretend to know how to solve your problem (but oh my goodness I'm glad there are others out there like me! I used to always wish I was addicted to cigarettes or something, because it just seemed simpler. Anyway I digress.)

    You probably already do this, but drinking water while you eat helps with digestion. Now, everything I eat, I'll have a small bite then a sip of water. It's gotten to the point where if someone offers me food I don't enjoy it unless I have water as well. It was a huge breakthrough for me… it's better for digestion, it slows my eating so I realize I'm full, and (a wonderful thing I didn't expect) I'm able to control my eating better because when I don't have water I don't feel like i need to eat everything.

    Good luck!

  37. Chloe July 14, 2012 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Hi!

    One interesting thing I never used to do was forgive myself THAT DAY rather than waiting to start over the next morning. Also, I forced myself to be healthy for a week and used that feeling as motivation to avoid binging or stop binging.

    It used to be I would eat too much, and I’d know that I didn’t feel great and was going to get a headache from the sugar and probably wake up the next day feeling like crap… and I’d think to myself “well the rest of today is a write-off – I might as well eat as much as I can now before I go back to being healthy.” Bad idea. Anyway, nowadays, even if I eat too much, I tell myself that I will feel better sooner rather than later, if I stop now and get myself back on track.

    Another thing that really helped, is for about a week (before I got a job, so I had nothing better to do) I used all my willpower, all my brain power, to eat healthy for a an entire week (I’d never made it to a week before). And the result was noticeable – I felt significantly less tired, more energetic, and like my body could do everything it needs to (hah I don’t need coffee as a laxative or to stay awake!) So I wrote down how it felt to eat healthy, made a collage of pictures of healthy people doing healthy things (climbing stuff and handstands and so on), so I can look back whenever I need reminding of what I’m working towards.

  38. jessica July 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    im sorry for not watching how im saying my words the way im trying to but i just re read it and hope in a way u do understand . yes right now Im in that physical pain and emotionally for not my mind is not stable ..but to find my words to make it work in a way i can truly feel .. i do know it will take me to where I need to be by living the moment but healing in my ways ..thats all for now and before I make another mistake . its time for me to listen to my body now and u have urself a blessed day .

  39. jessica July 1, 2012 at 8:08 am - Reply

    hi , I would like to say comming upon this page has been the answer to my own mistakes that reading this was all I could think about when going through these in my head non stop ..I have tried many years to make better changes but now I have gone out of control ..it took me to get through emotionally and physically that the opposite would be the right way ..that is the way I feel I need to approve and build my strength ..I have known what my feelings been pushing me to . and to the feeling I have not fully take in is now what I have to focus on ..I was damaged by my own self thought and false thought but to know how I feel is what I hanf in too , to feel like I can heal in myself will be my actions to others who can see what Im all about .now its time to go back and learn to take the right steps ..time is what it takes ..and now I thank u that this is what I need to do right now ..I have shed few tears for knowing im real ..but right now ..I need to start n this page will help me along the way ..okay well that feels so much better mentally n physically ..and now its time to clense out my body ..i will keep an update and it will be my time for me to feel im losing control but for now I can only foucus now ..thank you

  40. Tatiana June 25, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Thank you. I needed this today.

  41. Charmin April 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    I know your comment was posted almost two months ago, and I hope you are still checking this site. I completely relate to you. I have all of the same symptoms, expecially switching back and forth between sweet and savory while I am bingeing. I cannot stop. I have been dealing with this for almost two years. I, too, have eaten an entire loaf of bread in one day on many, many occassions (in addition to many other foods). I used to count calories, and have many times eaten 4,000 – 5,000 calories in one day. It is sick, and I am so ashamed. I have seen a therapist at an eating disorder clinic, and it did not help at all. I am so frustrated…

  42. T. Rice February 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Please learn how to spell before you blog again. It will be less distracting.

  43. Emily February 13, 2012 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Dear Karly,

    I have been suffering from BED for a few years now, spiralling in and out of control. I have been able to control my urges at some points but most of the times, I can not. I think about food constantly, especially when I am feeling stressed out. Sometimes, I can’t even hold a conversation with someone about a topic I do actually really care about because I am too busy thinking about where my next meal is coming from, what might be the “healthiest” option at the next restaurant I will visit, or counting and recounting the calories that I took in the day before. When I am recovering from a binge, lately all I want to do is heal myself by laying in bed or trying to use the bathroom.

    I am currently on a long-term travel stint so it doesn’t make my eating habits any easier to fix, but I have finally been able to station myself somewhere for a while. I have also had some severe constipation issues since traveling. With all the best intentions, I went out and bought some fresh fruit, yogurt, vegetables, oatmeal, a loaf of whole grain bread, and some high-fiber cookies. I promised myself that I will eat these things in moderation and save them for breakfasts and in-between-meal snacks. However, I soon realized that I can not keep ANYTHING in my own environment that can be consumed right away without cooking. If I tell myself that I can have just ONE high fiber cookie, it turns into two. Then, that turns into me getting all sorts of different ideas about how I can make the cookie taste better. I take out a yogurt, and dip the cookie into the yogurt. Once the yogurt is finished, I tell myself that I should have something savory to balance out the sweetness. So I butter some bread and bite into a tomato. It’s like once i START eating something, I can’t stop. Then, I justify eating other things simply because they are there. Like, I can’t let anything go to waste. Also, I tend to overeat on things that I THINK will help my digestive system. Like the oatmeal, fruits, veggies, etc. But especially whole grain bread! I ate the whole loaf in just two days.

    Not only is this inconvenient for moments where I want a quick health snack, but I also fear never being able to have food in my own house without it being gobbled up in a matter of days. How do you resist the urge to STOP eating once you start, especially when there is so much good food around and you are in the privacy of your own company?

  44. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Kalie,

    My guess after reading your comment is that you were hungry, as you hadn't eaten much all day, and so you ate the pizza and cupcake because you were overhungry.

    I find that eating regular meals helps stabilize your blood sugar so you aren't starving. When we're starving, our biology takes over and we'll eat anything in front of us.

    In love and care, Karly

  45. angie February 11, 2012 at 10:30 am - Reply

    NO NO NO TO #1!!! “fasting after a binge will only make you severely hungry, which can easily lead to another binge, decimating your self-esteem. When you’re hungry again, eat.”

    THIS IS NOT good advice to give someone on a binge. After binging, your blood sugar shoots up and you get “hungrier” (it’s temporary cravings, not REAL, “hi this is your body speaking & actually need nourishment right now” hunger. Usually if someone has just binged a day or a few days in a row, they won’t WANT to eat anything healthy (which shows they’re not truly hungry). All they would want is fattening things that they’ve been binging on. Thats because the cravings are still strong, so they “think” they’re hungry, even though they couldn’t logically be actually hungry after eating three days worth of food the day before. CRAVINGS =/= HUNGER. Cravings are simply mental longings for food.

    THE BEST way to fix all the symptoms after a binge (weight gain, super strong cravings, bloatedness, unhappiness) is to fast. Lots of people say “OH NO it’ll make me want to eat more!” but for most people, that’s a lie that they convince themselves, a self-fulfilling prophecy. fasting for a short time is not “starving yourself”, nor is it deprivation. It’s allowing yourself , your body, your entire digestive system to relax and recover after a sudden extreme overflow of fattening, damaging foods. After a short 24 hour fast, not only do I feel rejuvinated and un-bloated, but I also feel confident in my ability to continue my healthy eating as normal, because my body is now cleansed of most of the junk i filled myself with prior. fasting takes a lot of self control and determination, which is what many people who binge don’t have. But if you do push yourself to accomplish it, you’ll reep the benefits.

    I know that some days I’ve gone on a two day binge, but by finally gathering myself together and fasting for one or two days after that, I’m able to get back to my healthy diet and continue losing/maintaining my weight as normal, almost immediately recovering from the damaging binge. Whereas if I would’ve allowed myself to “just keep eating”, I would’ve probably gained even MORE weight, before I was finally able to stop myself from binging and start eating normally again. Fasting makes the process so much quicker and the effects MUCH LESS detrimental than they otherwise would be.

    It’s only if YOU see it as “starving” or “depriving” yourself, that you’ll want to go back to binging and overeating again. But these are lies you’ve programmed in your own head. The actual deprivation is allowing yourself to binge, depriving yourself of happiness and a healthy body. If you actually realize and believe in the healing effects of a fast, and look at it in a POSITIVE WAY, you will feel so much better after a short fast, and come back on your diet stronger than before.

    Trust me.

  46. Joi February 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    If its presented in front of you walk away, don't eat it. Don't have it in your house. I notice when I don't buy the bad stuff I don't eat it. If its easily accessible you will eat it.

  47. Kalie February 7, 2012 at 12:51 am - Reply

    I just ate a slice of pizza and a cupcake because I had such a terrible day and hadn't eaten more than 400 calories. I wish I hadn't done it but it was in a slur. Does anyone have a tip for how you can resist it if it's presented in front of you? This is a good article, but I find myself in that position a lot.

  48. d@the diet solution January 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    You are not a terrible person for binge eating. It used to happen to me all the time, but I finally had enough of it and changed all of my eating habits for good. You just need to keep a positive attitude, and things will change for you I am sure of it.

  49. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman December 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Joy! I see your passion for writing and helping others.

    We publish guest authors if you'd be interested in sharing more on First Ourselves. You can learn more here:

    http://www.firstourselves.org/about/blog-post-pol

    Warmly, Karly

  50. vicky December 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    I hate myself. I binged last night because I was alone and my parent went to sleep earlier. I consumed my entire days worth in 2 hours, froms 2AM TO 4AM (having already consumed what i should consume during the day) I felt so bad and so fat. I hate this world and everyone. I ate in the dark and constantly think about food until my stomach couldn't fit any more. What is wrong with me!!!

  51. joy November 13, 2011 at 4:01 am - Reply

    Just thought I’d share a few recent posts I’ve written on this topic:

    20 Reasons Not to Binge Right Now – http://recoverybits.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/20-reasons-why-i-am-not-going-to-binge-right-now/

    30 Things to Keep a Binge at Bay – http://recoverybits.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/20-things-to-do-before-you-binge/

    20 Reasons Not to Hate Yourself After a Binge – http://recoverybits.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/20-reasons-not-to-hate-yourself-after-a-binge/

    Recovery Is Not a Destination – http://recoverybits.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/recovery-is-not-a-destination/

    Hope you find them helpful and please let me know if you stop by – I’d love to hear from you!

  52. ana August 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    it happens everytime i lose… i just EAT SHIT and then feel so bad after its terrible

    then i have to start again trying to get fit and skinny and its just the worst

    i just did it tonight :'( i hate myself so much… its not just because of bingeing its everything as well.. I HATE MYSELF. I HATE ME. I WISH I WASN'T ME.. I WISH I COULD JUST BE NORMAL AND BE GOOD FOR ONCE… it will never happen beause i am shit i am no good i am crap

  53. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman May 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Angell,

    I just posted a new article on how to soothe anxiety without eating:

    http://www.firstourselves.org/2011/wavy-boundarie

    I hope you find it helpful!

    XO, Karly

  54. angell April 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    gosh i just binged on 300g of nuts, i feel awful and bloated and guilty. i idint touch any sugar though coz i'm ona a low carb diet. but i feel so bad now. what am i supposed to do? its all fats!!!

  55. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Dearest Elle,

    Something I've had to learn over and over again, and that greatly helps me: Never, ever, ever give up on yourself.

    Sometimes we binge because we feel hopelessness and despair. This sense of, "I'll never be able to change/fix this/make this better." So if this is the case, I might as well comfort myself with food ….

    I find sitting with hopelessness a powerful practice. To feel the sadness and frustration….and then to ask ourselves, "Is this true? Is it true that I'm hopeless?"

    And then, rather than trying to fix everything, I work on doing one thing differently. Just one thing. Doing one thing differently, dear Elle, can enact a powerful change of events – most especially because it brings back your HOPE.

    So proud of you!

  56. Elle G February 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Sweetie,

    I want you to know you are not alone:) There is nothing wrong with you and you are on a journey. It's a long and hard journey but it's so important not to give up. I find so much comfort knowing I'm not a freak and that there are people out there that struggle with this suger "demon" just like me. I'm still struggling. Somedays I feel like I'm drowning but knowing that Karly has such beautiful words and intentions seems to make it better.

    Elle G:)

  57. Gaynor @16.45 February 18, 2011 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Have just woken up after yet another sugar binge which has been a reaction to a wine binge, Feel awful, Tired, sick, bloated , fed -up Just cant stop doing this all the time. Feel so unloved and lonely. please help me help myself!

  58. Sweety February 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    I feel embarrassed about how much I think about sugar and food. It’s so sad and I feel ridiculous, and whenever I start binging on food I know that my body is going to hurt the next day and that I shouldn’t, and I try talking to myself, but the thing is that I enjoy eating too much and it’s so comforting, and I WANT to eat, so it feels like I cannot do anything to stop it. And then when I’m on a roll and eating I feel scared because it’s like I let this demon out of its cage and I’m like frantically looking for more food to binge on. My mom is always like…wow, you’re really hungry today huh? But it’s like NO I’m not hungry I…just can’t stop. Whenever I feel anxious or depressed (which is often), I try to fill this void inside by eating. And it just sucks. It’s a Tuesday right now and I’m thinking about food when I should be studying. Ha. I know that I can be strong at times, but I guess now is just not one of them. :(

  59. patti December 28, 2010 at 1:41 am - Reply

    I just ate a huge bowl of pasta. I feel full, bloated and fat. I'm about 40 lbs over what I'd like to weigh. As miserable as I am , I want Christmas fudge I was given. I tried getting all sugar out of the house, but i would just go buy candy or cake when I wanted to. Now I have a whole new inventory of holiday goodies. I waste so much time with bingeing and I'm so tired of letting food control me. None of my clothes fit, I get out of breath walking up my driveway. I'm fed up with myself, but I keep eating.

  60. peb2 December 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    i do the exact same thing deprevation!! binge on sugar! hoe r you doing now??

  61. peb2 December 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    i felt the same way how are you doing now?

  62. Angila December 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    This post was absolutely amazing!

    It came at a time when I was feeling ashamed and overwhelmed. Its practical and soothing steps helped me to pull myself out of the pit in which I was wallowing.

    Often times, I am at a complete loss after a binge. I can not tell which step leads to the right direction. These simple steps were exactly what I needed.

    Thanks!

  63. Sarah October 12, 2010 at 3:04 am - Reply

    My binging happens about once a week, but no matter how much I read or research on the subject I don't stop. Every other day of the week I'm in fear of eating more than 300 calories and the one day out of that week I binge on things like a lot of cereal and peanut butter (which is what really kills me) until I feel full and extremely sick. I don't know how to become healthy, not only with the binging but also with the borderline anorexia I delve into daily because of fear of gaining weight again. Help?

  64. sue July 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    i am recovering from a binge eating disorder. i thought it was gone. now it's that time of the month and i just binged on 4000 cals. yesterday was great. today is horrible. i was feeling so good about myself… perhaps what makes it worse it that i am leaving for a vacation in the bahamas tomorrow. how do i regain my confidence?

  65. amy June 27, 2010 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Thanks for the encouaging words. Got up last night at 3:30 am and made oatmeal cookies. Ate 8 of them last night, falling asleep between bites, then waking back up and eating some more. When I got up this am (11:00) I felt horrible. Dizzy, tired. So what did I do? Ate 6 more cookies. Now it”s 1:15 and half the day is gone and I feel like all I want to do is sleep. This was an almost every night occurrence for me when I took Ambien, but since switching to Lunesta 2 months ago this is the first time it’s happened. I’ve lost 15 pounds since I started sleeping all night and now I just pray that this isn’t starting all over again. For the first time in 2 years I feel focused and happy and I just can’t go back to the way I used to feel! Thought about going to buy some chromium (spelling?) to see if it would help me get past this feeling. I know if I take a nap, when I wake up the cravings are going to be worse then ever. It does feel better to tell someone though. I’m absolutly disgusted with myself right now. Sugar = tired, cranky, depressed and headaches. So why do we eat it ???????

  66. K June 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I just binged 4000 calories and feel like hell. I tried for the second time in my life to “purge” but my stomach is so stubborn I only ended up dry gagging and making my throat hoarse…just like the first time. It’s getting worse and I don’t know what to do. Before I’d freak out at 500 or 600 calorie binges and now I can’t believe I ever thought that was bad! I binge a lot but am just slightly overweight since I exercised tons to make up for it (we’re talking 2-5 hours depending on binge severity). I promised myself to stop since I know it’s bad and I ached so bad at times I binged more than 3 days in a row but the binging hasn’t stopped so I’ve gained 8 lbs in the last 2 months! I don’t even know what I’m doing posting here…I’m just totally at a loss for what to do. I was googling for what to do after binging haha.

    I think I can accept that my ideal weight isn’t Hollywood’s (that’s about 18 lbs below what I am now) but now I’m afraid I’ll never reach that either since dieting only makes binging worse, but I’m so depressed over how I look right now I can’t even go out. D–ned if I do and d–ned if I don’t.

    Your blog post did help though. I just have to wait until I don’t feel so gross and bloated that I can fall asleep.

  67. Karly May 30, 2010 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Hi Mary,

    Binges can make you feel terrible – I know. I hope that you were able to find some comfort. XO, Karly

  68. Mary Murray May 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Hi I hate myself I am a fat unmarried 47 year old and I have just binged on a whole saucespan of spaggetti bolognaise I hate myself

  69. Karly May 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Saskia,

    Yes, bingeing is hell – because of all the shame and self loathing and guilt that comes along with it. I hope you are in a better space now. And I'd love to reassure you that this, too, shall pass. XO, Karly

  70. Karly May 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    You are so welcome, Hannah. I'm glad you found us here! XO, Karly

  71. Hannah May 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Love this article. The best thing I've seen on the web with regards to overeating. Your lovely, compassionate tone heals even through the reading of it.

    Thank you.

  72. saskia January 23, 2010 at 12:53 am - Reply

    im bingeing at the moment….its hell. i will get abstinent again

  73. Karly November 26, 2009 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Mimi,

    I isolate myself when I'm overeating too. I know that pain all too well.

    When you say you feel out of control and fear being rejected, know that there are women like you encouraging one another in our Support Forum. It's a great place to come to get support and end the isolation. I learn so much from the wise women there.

    Best,

    Karly

  74. mimi August 20, 2009 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    rough day…need support. feel out of control. fear of getting fat..being rejected by everyone-and ending up alone.

  75. Karly June 6, 2010 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Hi K,

    Oh, sweetheart, I know, I know, I know. Those out of control binges feel awful. I binged for years – sometimes throwing up, sometimes not, sometimes trying to eradicate the effects of the binge with exercise…..

    From reading your story, I’m guessing that perhaps you are bingeing because you are hungry. Are you trying to diet to lose weight and then are overhungry and binge?

    When I skip meals, I almost always overeat. I have pretty sensitive blood sugar, so eating regularly is a godsend to me. I feel better on every level.

    Perhaps eating regular small meals would help you too.

    I’m also guessing that you are trying to lose weight. One of the reasons I started bingeing was because I was trying to be 10-20 pounds thinner than my normal, natural weight. In a sense, I was always dieting, which meant I was always trying to eat as little as possible.

    When I couldn’t fight my biology anymore – at some point, you can’t argue with genuine hunger – I would go crazy with food and binge. And then I would feel gross and disgusting and bloated and either purge or try and starve myself to “make up for” the binge.

    Crazy, huh?

    I have found tremendous healing with my food stuff by: 1. honoring my normal, genuine physical hunger by feeding myself regular, healthy meals, and 2. releasing those Hollywood expectations I held for my body size.

    This took me many years – mainly because I didn’t want to accept that my body would never be super skinny. (The only way my body is super skinny is with an eating disorder.)

    Releasing this idea that “I am flawed and terrible” because I am not a size 2 has given me so much peace.

    Releasing the idea that I am flawed and not okay, period, has been the deeper part of my journey out of food.

    I hope that my story offers you some hope as you travel on your own journey.

    You may want to read our free ebook on body image. Check the body image section for more info.

    Much love, Karly

  76. Karly July 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Sue,

    I’ve done that, too. And our hormonal cycles as women can definitely make it harder!

    One thing that I always noticed about myself was that vacations, visits to family, trips would trigger bingeing because I was anxious. I was nervous about how I might be perceived by friends and family and I would also feel anxious about not bingeing while traveling. I would then soothe my anxiety with food!

    I know it sounds crazy, but food was my go to coping mechanism. So even though my bingeing made me anxious life made me more so. So I would binge to soothe my anxiety about bingeing!

    It might be interesting to gently uncover what was really going on. What was frightening to you about going to the Bahamas?

    Can you hold that frightened part of you tenderly? Can you care for that frightened part of yourself? I do this by literally putting my hand on my heart and saying, “I care for you. I care for this suffering.”

    One thing that is helpful is to recognize that when you go back to food it’s not a sign that you “failed” or that you are no longer “healed.” It just means that your circumstances outstripped your ability to cope.

    So then it becomes a matter of asking yourself two questions: 1. How am I feeling? 2. What do I need?

    If I am feeling scared about this trip, or scared about going back to bingeing, how can I give myself feelings of safety? How can I reassure myself that I will be okay?

    Then find a way to meet the need. It may mean reaching out for support from a friend or loved one, someone with whom you feel safe. You may ask them, “Will you help me so that I don’t binge while on vacation?” and give them concrete steps they can do to help you, like taking a nightly walk with you on the beach if you feel the need to binge coming on, or keeping certain trigger foods out of the vacation home.

    Where many of us get stuck is that we stumble, and we feel so ashamed of stumbling that we “hide out.” We isolate ourselves. We suffer in silence. We don’t reach out for the support from others that could help us say no to a binge.

    You reached out by posting a comment here – a great first step. I would encourage you to keep reaching out for help. Take as much help as you need. It is not a sign of weakness but a sign of tremendous courage and strength – because you are willing to gather the support that you need to heal – even if it feels scary, uncomfortable, and humbling.

    Do not struggle alone. Life is way too hard for that.

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation and I know you can do this.

    XO, Karly

  77. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Gaynor,

    Your mentioning how the wine led to sugar makes me think that you’re sugar sensitive. According to Kathleen des Maisons, the author of Potatoes not Prozac, sugar addiction and alcoholism are *both* types of sugar addiction.

    You can learn more about the science behind this here, as well as take a brief quiz to see if you fit the symptoms of sugar sensitivity:

    http://www.radiantrecovery.com/newsensitive.htm

    When I learned about the biochemical origins of sugar sensitivity and sugar addiction, it *greatly* helped me release the shame I felt about being so gross, out of control, and more. It’s not your or my fault – it’s just wiring in the brain. In my experience, when we gain knowledge, we can remove the shame. Then I am much more able and willing to do the things I need to do to care for myself – and I believe you’ll find this true for yourself, as well.

    You are not alone, dear one. XO, Karly

  78. Sweety February 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Gaynor,

    I was feeling exactly what you are two days ago. It’s so frustrating because while you’re binging you KNOW that you’re going to regret it after–but if you don’t binge then you have this huge empty feeling inside and you can’t rest until you do it. The best thing to do (even though I haven’t gotten my binging episodes under control yet) is to just get right back up where you were. You wouldn’t have binged unless you were feeling disappointed about something, but life has its ups and downs, and in the grand scheme of things, you’re going to have binges but that doesn’t mean that things are going to end. Life is a big adventure and you have to just keep moving on… just think, maybe next time you get a craving to binge, talk to yourself and tell yourself how you’re going to feel if you binge on sugar, and then brush your teeth so you don’t eat anything, and then turn on some music. In the morning you will feel SO much better–and glad that you didn’t cave in to your inner monster! :) At least this is what I plan to do–or at least try next time. :)

  79. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 22, 2011 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Hi Sweety,

    Something I learned tonight in a parenting class: the brain can only protect or grow. It can’t do both at the same time.

    We often binge as a form of protection. It’s an old, old coping mechanism to protect us from a deep vulnerability. In order to feel safe to feel the vulnerability – without bingeing – we need safety.

    On an emotional level, we give ourselves safety with compassion and unconditional love; “inviting ourselves to rest and exist unconditionally in our own presence,” as Dr. Gordon Neufeld describes it. Without this love, we won’t feel safe to feel the vulnerability.

    One way we can offer ourselves this safety is by practicing this tip, from a dear friend (who also teaches Dr. Neufeld’s work.) When your inner critic goes haywire, whisper to it, “Shh. I love *all* of me.”

    Ah, just writing that makes my whole body soften and melt….

  80. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman May 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Angell,

    While sugary/starchy, salty, and fatty foods are the most common culprits, in my experience, we can overeat any food. I’ve even overeaten chicken breasts!

    One of the things that helped me was looking beyond the food itself to uncover why I was eating it in the first place.

    For example, I remember a time when I was overeating pistachios. I was running errands with my children while my daughter was at soccer practice. I was feeling frustrated at my two younger children (who were being silly and running around a store). I was feeling angry at them, and then feeling anxious for feeling angry. I then began mindlessly inhaling pistachios because I was feeling anxious about feeling angry.

    This is rich knowledge. I can see – wow, I don’t like feeling anxious! I eat to cover up this feeling. And I can see – I don’t like feeling angry, either. I feel guilty when I feel angry. So I can work on caring for my anxious and angry feelings so I don’t have to eat them.

    What was coming up for you when you reached for the nuts?

    XO, Karly

  81. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman December 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Oh, Ana, precious soul,

    I would love to hold you in my arms and reassure you how lovable and wonderful you are. You are not a terrible person for bingeing – my guess is that you are in pain, and you binge to care for yourself.

    Please hold yourself and let yourself feel held and loved. Your pain needs compassion and care – it is crying out for it. Do you have a strong support system? I would highly recommend seeking support from a counselor, friend, loved one, therapist – I know when I’m feeling caught in self judgment I need the love of others to help me heal. Therapists have been lifelines for me!

    I would also love to introduce you to the concept of foul frustration, a term of Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s. When frustration turns foul – when it gets stuck in the body, and when it feels too much to bear, like too many things aren’t working – we attack. We either attack others or we attack ourselves.

    The feelings of, “I hate myself,” are a form of self attack. When I learned this, I found it very helpful, as I could detach a bit from the feelings of, “I hate myself” and recognize them for what they are – frustration.

    In love and care, Karly

  82. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman December 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Dear Vicky,

    I would love to ditto what I shared with Ana below, as I believe these words may nourish your heart, as well.

    I would love to hold you in my arms and reassure you how lovable and wonderful you are. You are not a terrible person for bingeing – my guess is that you are in pain, and you binge to care for yourself.

    Please hold yourself and let yourself feel held and loved. Your pain needs compassion and care – it is crying out for it. Do you have a strong support system? I would highly recommend seeking support from a counselor, friend, loved one, therapist – I know when I’m feeling caught in self judgment I need the love of others to help me heal. Therapists have been lifelines for me!

    I would also love to introduce you to the concept of foul frustration, a term of Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s. When frustration turns foul – when it gets stuck in the body, and when it feels too much to bear, like too many things aren’t working – we attack. We either attack others or we attack ourselves.

    The feelings of, “I hate myself,” are a form of self attack. When I learned this, I found it very helpful, as I could detach a bit from the feelings of, “I hate myself” and recognize them for what they are – frustration.

    In love and care, Karly

  83. Karly Randolph Pitman
    Karly Randolph Pitman February 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Angie,

    I appreciate your sharing your experience, and your concerns. It sounds like you’ve thought a lot about this. I also hear a desire for freedom in your words – I hear how much you’re suffering and how much you want to be free from food and weight pain. I’m sorry that you’re hurting and struggling with food.

    I agree with you that we need to shift our perception of overeating/bingeing as being kind to ourselves and eating whole foods as punishing. So, yes, healing entails a shift in how we view food and our relationship to it.

    At the same time, I don’t recommend fasting after a binge and recommend eating normally. When I say normally, I mean eating whole foods and minimizing sugary, processed foods that are highly addictive by nature.

    Here’s why I recommend this: I find that in most people, fasting after a binge is used to “undo” the “damage,” – it’s a weight control device. I don’t think that this creates a healthy relationship with food, the body or ourselves. From my perspective, when fasting is used in this way, it’s either a subtle form of punishment or a way to try and “escape” from the natural consequences of a binge.

    My focus is not on behavior but on relationship and intent. This is because, in my experience, relationship and intent are the drivers behind lasting physical healing (the behavioral changes with food in what and how we eat), as well as emotional and spiritual healing. And it is this – the deepest level of healing – that I want for you, and for everyone.

    I can make this concrete with an example from my own life. For years I exercised to make up for my binges, and also to try and keep my body thinner than normal. On the outside, I was doing all the right things and looked like a poster child for exercise.

    And yet, my “healthy” behavior was actually quite unhealthy, because the relationship and intent (the energy driving my exercise) was controlling, anxious, fearful, and mean – it was about trying to control my body to look a certain way, not to take care of it.

    As long as my relationship to exercise was unhealthy, it didn’t matter what I actually did. What brought me freedom was aligning my physical exercise with my values – as a way of being kind to myself and caring for my body, not a desire to be skinny. Kind intent/relationship + healthy behavior = freedom!

    Lastly, I don’t see bingeing as an in issue of will power, determination, or control, but as a consequence of several factors – including overwhelming emotion, overstimulation/overarousal, and unmet needs. Physical hunger, low blood sugar, mineral/vitamin/nutritional imbalances and more may also play a part.

    For this reason, I don’t blame you, me or anyone who binges. I look at bingeing with curiosity – can we seek to understand what’s driving our behavior rather than judging ourselves for it? When we understand what’s going on, we can move to this step – caring for our pain so that we don’t have to binge to feel safe, lovable and ok.

    In loving care, Karly

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