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Every once in a while it pops up, that urge to binge. Maybe I’m having a rough morning, and someone just so happens to bring a tray of desserts to work. I will see them in the break room every time I walk by to use the restroom. There they are, just waiting to be eaten, and the room is empty. There’s a part of me that wants to run in there and grab half of the tray and scarf it down.
I usually have an inner battle with myself at this time, struggling with fighting that urge. Sometimes it’s all I can do to stay in my seat, and not run towards the offending food. Keeping myself in check can be a hard battle, especially on days when I am feeling more stressed than others. Self control can be a big struggle, especially in someone who has suffered through multiple eating disorders. Too often in the past I succumbed to terrible binges, and immediately afterwards I would feel like a failure and have the urge to purge. Then the feeling of failure was even worse.
In times like this I have found that asking myself these questions can help me fight the urge a little better.
5 Questions I Ask Myself Before a Binge
What will this do for me?
What will this food do for me? Will it satisfy me? Is this going to make me feel better? Is it going to help me deal with the emotions I’m feeling? Is it going to fill up that empty space for me? Or am I just using this as a distraction? What is is that I’m feeling, and is this going to help me?
What is it that I really need?
Is it the food that I need? Am I really that hungry? Or is it something else that I need? Maybe some reassurance, or some kind of comfort, or rest, or even just a hug? What can I do to get what I need?
I also would stop to analyze what my body needed if I feel hungry. Often, if our body is craving specific foods, then it is looking for certain nutrients. In this case, I find the Food Cravings Chart to be helpful.
How am I going to feel afterwards?
Will this really make me feel better? How will I feel about myself? Will I feel ashamed, mad and upset with myself? Will I feel low, and like a failure? Will I feel sick? Will my stomach feel better or worse afterwards?
Is there someone I can reach out to?
Be it a friend or family member I can call, or maybe I can just ask a co-worker to keep me in check. If there isn’t anyone available, or I don’t feel comfortable with asking the people that are available, there are resources I can turn to online, support groups and chat rooms.
What can I do instead of bingeing?
Is there something I can do to de-stress and take my mind off the urge to binge? Something to help me get what it is that I need? Maybe just listening to a good playlist, or journaling, or taking a walk or jog, or drinking a glass of water, having a cup of tea, or connecting with someone, or even coloring (it may sound silly, but has therapeutic benefits). Maybe I just need to cry, or be alone for a little while.
Stopping to ask myself these questions will usually help calm me enough to where I realize that I don’t really want to binge. Sometimes I just need to slow down. But some days may be harder than others, and I can’t seem to exercise good self control. Slips can happen. In these moments, it’s important to remember that it’s okay, and you don’t have to be perfect. You are not a failure because you binged, and you don’t need to punish yourself. It’s good to have self control, but if you lose it, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Take some deep breaths, and tell yourself that it will be okay. If you feel bad, think of some tools you can use for next time to avoid feeling that way again. It’s important to give yourself reassurance and to treat yourself with love. Always remember to love yourself!