My tips to recover from a binge

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16. January 2014 by swissfitchick

Good morning!

I really can not think of any smart intro to this post, so I’m just getting straight to the point.

My last binge is far away. I touch wood when I say that, but I’m very happy about it – if I can not remember when my last binge was, then that’s a good sign. I also don’t feel the URGE to binge – which is huge, cause many times in the past (and especially in winter) I had a hard time fighting against this urge.

After several years of battling bulimia (Anorexia 1994, then switch to bulimia which was on and off. On: 1997 – 2000 off: 2000 – end of 2005 on: 2005 – around 2013 and til today – sporadically), I can say that I tried so MANY things to avoid binges and if they happened even though, to recover from them. I think that today I am in a place where I can actually share successful cognitive strategies that worked for me. quote1Source

I’m going to focus on the recover part – cause I always got so many tips and advices on how to avoid a binge – but what do you do when it happened anyway? I think what you do AFTER a binge is just as important as what you do before.

1. Don’t think about what you ate.

quoteSource

When I was deep in my Eating Disorder, I ate a lot when I binged. Countless calories. Several chocolate bars, whole packs of cookies. bread worth for 3-4 breakfasts. Sugar Overload. When I sat there, desperate, empty from purging or stuffed from all the salt and sugar and I imagined how many calories just went into my body, I TOTALLY freaked out – heck that’s the reason why I wanted to get it all off as quickly as possible – by exercising excessively, gulping down pills or purging. So – the calories are there, and going crazy about it does not help. Stop analyzing. Don’t look back – it happened. Look forward. Focus on what GOOD you can do to your body now after that shock. If I have a slip up (I call it slip up, cause I don’t really feel like if I’m bingeing) I use to apologize to my body. I say sorry. That I filled it up with so much food which it can’t handle in one sitting. That I hurt it. And the next thing I do is something good for me and for my body. And that’s the next tip.

2. Go back to a normal routine right away.

I know the vicious cycle SO WELL. Oh God, it was my LIFE. Fighting, being hungry. Wanting to binge. Fighting. Giving in. Bingeing. Purging. Swallowing pills. Cardio for hours. Starving and restricting for 2 days. Fighting. Being hungry. Wanting to binge. And so on.

the-binge-purge-cycle.jpg w=450Source

No matter what time my slip up is – I plan my next meal exactly the same time as I would if I didn’t have a binge. Yes – even if I feel stuffed to the top, I eat a little protein and a small portion of veggies and fat for dinner. Not only does it help the body to handle the junk I ate,  but it makes me go back to my normal routine right away. The more you lengthen out the disordered behavior, the longer this binge can unfold its power. The earlier you are able to forget it and move on, the less the dominance is. I don’t mean you should ignore it – it’s important to face the emotions behind a binge – I only talk about the behavior. Go back to normal as soon as possible. Try not to compensate in extremes – cause this is the really unhealthy part – going from one extreme to the other. Rather than that, try to shift yourself into balance. You have to break the cycle and that only works if you stop obsessing im extremes.

Additionally to that, treat yourself – not with chocolate of course, but with something you love. There is obviously something bothering you and in times like these, any kind of ‘hug’ helps – if that is a manicure, buying your favorite perfume, listening to your favorite song, calling a friend or getting a REAL hug from one of your loved ones – do something to lift you up and to console your soul.

hug

As delicious as food is, it does not hug you back. Some of it works wonders for our souls, but not if you just came from a binge. At least not for me.

And here we come to the 3rd tip.

3. Don’t restrict.

This one is critical. I absolutely know the fine line between restricting and allowing when you are bulimic. For years I wasn’t able to touch a piece of chocolate without falling into a binge right away. It was all or nothing that worked for me and only that. On the other hand of course I eyed all the food that I wasn’t allowed to eat like a hawk. And when I binged, I ate it all. ‘Just for this only time and then never again’. Yeah, SO doesn’t work. I restricted after a binge for several days by only eating green leaves or drinking disgusting juices only to step right into the next binge a few days later. So even if you feel that you ate so much bad stuff, don’t cut back on everything – you will only want it even more.

It took me a long time to figure out a balance between eating well without overeating, indulging without bingeing and enjoying food without feeling guilty and still staying in shape and reaching my fitness goals.

But I can say for sure that when I started eating balanced (that’s when I started working with Danielle back in fall/winter 2012), my cravings started to slowly disappear. I felt energized, and I lost weight – by eating more and exercising less. Interesting, right? Balanced eating for me meant to incorporate carbs into my diet, healthy fats (I used to eat almost carb-free and fat-free) as well as my favorite treats. I was still very mindful of what I was eating, cause I was terrified of gaining weight, but I finally started to eat REAL MEALS that consisted of all the nutrients my body needs. Slowly but steadily I worked my way into healthy eating habits which includes all the foods I love – from veggies to fruit to dairy, meat, eggs, seafood, fish, chocolate, cake, cheese and nutbutters. Yes, I watch my intake since I have certain fitness goals – but I ENJOY it. And that’s the main thing, Life-balanceSource

And yes, I had set backs and relapses, loads of them and STILL HAVE. I am not perfect at all and I have anxieties and struggles from time to time. I have disordered behaviors which I might keep for the rest of my life. But I don’t feel restricted. And most obviously, my body does not either.

4. Stay positive.

I know this one is SO hard. My mindset after a binge was a DISASTER. I was crying, screaming, I felt helpless, hopeless, like a failure, ugly, desperate, fat and unworthy. Nothing, absolutely nothing could lift me up.

To change your mindset is in my opinion the hardest, yet the most important part. Thoughts are energy, and thoughts are actions. I practise positive thinking, gratitude DAILY in my meditations since 3 years now. And I finally see great results. But this one needs a lot, a lot of patience. Bear with yourself. This does not happen overnight, but it really is something that you can practise daily with little actions. Journaling, meditating, using affirmations, praying. This comes in SO handy when you are in a difficult situation like after a binge. Even though you dislike yourself and you feel completely negative, just TRY to see something positive in the situation. Don’t beat yourself up for what happened – it does not help, it only makes things worse. LIFT yourself up. This will make you stronger every time and the more positive you are, the less deep you fall.

quote2Source

Here are some great sources/articles to practise and learn:

Meditation – why it works for me  (fitswisschick.com)

Soul Sessions Meditation Album (http://heatherwaxman.com/)

Journaling – yes or no? (jessieloves2run.com)

Stop chasing happiness by choosing happiness (runningwithspoons.com)

8 things I learned since turning 30 (fitswisschick.com)

Oh, and….don’t step on the scale. Just DON’T. Trust me. Besides that NO number defines your value, it’s just a really dumb idea to step on the scale after a binge. Or actually, in general. Toss the scale. For good. Look at yourself and say that you are beautiful. NO matter what. NO matter what (yes I intended to say that twice).

quoteSource

xxx

Lucie

28 thoughts on “My tips to recover from a binge

  1. Tonia says:

    Thank You!!!

  2. This was a beautiful post, Lucie, and I know it’s going to be so helpful to those who are struggling. I hope you’re super proud of yourself for how far you’ve come. I still remember that you we’re having a much harder time when I first started reading your blog, and look at you now. You’re amazing, and I love ya, lady ❤

  3. I love this post. Thank you! This is great advice, especially eating normally after….not writing off the whole day as a binge fest. Well done for getting to such a balanced place x

  4. Enora says:

    What a great post! Thanks for being so honest and so positive! I never had bulimia but I know the struggle with food.
    Also you eat sooo clean and are so dedicated to your fitness! Thats a great role model!
    Enjoy your day
    X

  5. mitchell-james says:

    Thank you so much for writing this Lucie!

    I can eat well all day, but sometimes (today for instance) I come home from work and mindlessly eat, eat until I’m full, and then keep going despite the obvious cues from my body that it has had enough. Sometimes I go through a period where things are really good, then another where they are awful, but I would like to think I have made some progress over the last three or four years.

    Having a post like this to refer to when I’m nauseous, or beating myself up, or going over every single calorie is great, because it reminds me to refocus, to stop for a second.

    My goal for 2014 was to be kind to myself even if I do binge. I’ve had a slip once or twice, but can honestly say I didn’t treat myself harshly after, I just breathe and keep going.

    THANK YOU for this!

    • Mitchell, thank you. You can be really proud of yourself – cause even the smallest steps forward are progress and that is exactly what we need to visualize in hard times!! Most of the time we are already much further in our progress than we think. Keep up the great work my friend!!

      • mitchell-james says:

        Thanks! It is so great to be able to learn from somebody who has gone through something similar 😀 You’re the best.

  6. emmelineruns says:

    I’ve never struggled with a disorder but I do tend to eat a lot of something unhealthy then figure oh well, I already blew healthy eating, and continue unhealthily for the rest of the week before I try to reset. Going right back to your schedule is such a useful tip for everyone, not just those who have had disordered eating. And congrats to you for making such progress 🙂 glad I found your blog!

  7. cottercrunch says:

    you are such an encouragement friend and so strong. Love that you shared this because i know i can send it to others when needed. ❤ I also think this can apply to those who haven't binged but still need a healthy focus.

  8. Lucie this is such an incredible post. You are such a strong woman and I admire you so much! I know I just started reading your blog recently but I know of the leaps and bounds you have made. This post is quite interesting to me because I think in some way we all have these struggles. When I feel like I was in my “dieting phase” of life I remember beating myself up over overeating a couple of times. I would go above the calories for the day and feel pretty crappy too. Well it was largely because my approach was not balanced – I was depriving myself of having that piece of chocolate. Once I realized that I could lose the weight I wanted to and not miss out on yummy foods, I was happy.

    • Thank you so much Amy, your words went straight to my heart!! I exactly know what you mean – obsessing about the calories makes things really difficult and actually lead to binges even more. It is so important that we enjoy what we do – only then it will be something that can last. Fighting and depriving will always lead to a binge in the end.
      Thank you so much!!

  9. Thank you for sharing this. I love everything about this post. I’ve been in a situation COUNTLESS times where I binge and then just make poor decisions afterward. The key is to do the next best thing, which you clearly indicate, otherwise if you get in the pattern of restricting or purging it just will precipitate the likelihood of binging again. Also, you’re absolutely right about the mindset/mentality. If you stay in a negative place, you will only continue to make poor decisions. But if you make it your goal to TRY and reshape your thinking and focus on moving toward the positives, you will be doing yourself a HUGE favor. I have seen the huge difference that comes from either staying negative and hating on myself for a binge or saying “you know what, that was a mistake, but now I’m going to pick myself back up and keep going like it didn’t happen”.

    Thanks again, lady! 🙂

    • I absolutely agree with everything you say and I LOVE your last sentence!! Keep going like it didn’t happen – exactly. It’s the only way to break the cycle! I know it is SO hard to take reasonable decisions when being in such a desperate situation, but I’m convinced that it is all ebout practise – practising a positive mindset daily will grow and strengthen our minds to battle the binges for good.

  10. This is a great post, and I can only imagine how helpful it will be to people that are struggling.I love how you emphasized the idea of getting back into a normal routine and your normal habits right away – I know a lot of people will follow a binge with restriction, which will really just make the problem worse in the long run.

    • Thank you Sam!
      I is very hard not to switch extremes – cause that’s what bulimia is – but it is the key to get back into balance. I truly hope that anyone who struggles understands that.

  11. Lucie- thank you for constantly sharing your struggles and how you succeed and overcome them- I know there are MANY people out there who can relate to this and can find it so useful.

    You continue to be living proof that there is hope for others- and these setbacks are just temporary and ones that can be overcome.

  12. […] My tips to recover from a binge via Fit Swiss Chick […]

  13. Natasha says:

    I love this, I had a few instances where I under fed myself for such an extended period of time that I set myself up to pig out on food, and then I wouldn’t eat anything for the next day or until I was super hungry, and it was horrible, so these tips are definitely very useful and helpful for those that have had, or still have, struggles with overeating.

    Luckily, I have learned to not set myself up for that type of behavior, so instead of having a bit less of whatever food, I’ll eat a bit more, just so that I don’t eat everything in the pantry lol.

  14. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says:

    Oh Lucie! I love everything about this post! You are helping so many people out there with this! I commend you for being so incredibly open and honest about your experiences with bingeing…I know how hard it can be to “relive” those moments. I am so happy that you are far removed from those dark days, my beautiful friend! Oh I could just HUG you silly right now! I LOVE YOU!

    • Oh I love YOU!! You know how much I admire you for your hobesty in your posts and I think this is what is important to our readers. To know that we’re all in this together and support each other!!

  15. […] My tips to recover from a binge […]

  16. […] My tips to recover from a binge – If it happens, the first thing that matters is how you handle it. My experience, my tips. […]

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