Don’t think you’ve completely wrecked yourself after a food binge. While many of you might try to ‘fix’ a binge with a fast, low-calorie diet, or crazy workout, these are actually some of the worst things you can do. After a food binge, you’re body needs rest, healing, and a gentle detox. We’ve all gone overboard in the food department. But if you’ve recently overeaten or overindulged, read these seven tips for physically, mentally, and emotionally overcoming a food binge.
1. Don’t Panic
It’s natural to want to panic after a food binge. Sure, you’re probably thinking about how many calories you devoured in those chips, cookies, and that entire pizza. But remember that at the end of the day, food is just food. It is neither a friend nor an enemy. French fries don’t hate you and salads don’t love you. Ultimately, food is an inanimate object we often use when we’re really sad or even when we’re really happy. As much as you want to panic about the ginormous amount of food you ate, worrying about a binge will actually only make it worse.
2. Don’t Try to Make It up
Many women try to ‘make up’ a binge by fasting or following a very low-calorie diet the next day. This is absolutely one of the worst things you can do for your body. Not only will this mess up your electrolyte balance, but it could actually set you up for another binge. The lack of food from your fast may make you hungry once again, releasing the binging process all over again. Instead of battling a vicious cycle of chronic overeating and chronic under-eating, try riding the middle road of moderation.
3. Eliminate Trigger Foods
Have you ever asked yourself what made you binge in the first place? Were you genuinely hungry, or did you overeat because you were sitting home alone on a Friday night? Was it a specific food that caused you to indulge and then binge? If you know you have a weakness for cheese puffs, avoid buying them for a while and see if your eating habits change. Often one of the reasons a person binges is because they have a ton of junk and other trigger foods in their house. If this is what’s causing you to binge, eliminate these foods from your kitchen.
4. Gently Detox
If you are feeling super bloated and uncomfortable following a binge, it might be a good idea to gently detox. Don’t do anything crazy (i.e. below 1200 calories). But depending on what you ate, it might be good to cut back on certain food groups. For instance, if you ate an entire pizza for a binge, maybe you’ll want to take it easy on bread for a while. Your body is already busy digesting and breaking down the loads of bread you put into it the day before. Let it take a break by focusing on lean proteins, lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Some of you might have problems with constipation or other digestive issues following a binge. It’s very important to drink plenty of water after a binge. First of all, you’re probably dehydrated to begin with, and when you’re overeating, your focus is naturally on the food and you tend to drink less. Second, your body needs extra hydration the next day to efficiently digest the surplus of food you ate. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and even more after a binge.
6. Write It out
If you’re still feeling stressed out after a binge, try writing out how you feel. A letter to yourself about all the positive traits you have could easily help offset the negative feelings following a binge. Even better, try keeping a food log or food diary of everything you eat. Knowing that you need to write down everything you eat—including that fettuccine Alfredo—might make you more likely to stay on track following a binge or to avoid binging altogether.
7. Move on
At the end of the day, is one dinky little binge really worth getting worked up about? There’s not much you can do after you’ve eaten the food. Some of the few things you can do are: admit you ate too much, try to figure out some strategies to prevent it from happening again, and ultimately move on. One binge doesn’t make you a bad, stupid, or worthless person. Harping and obsessing over what you eat each and every day could, however, lead to some dangerous habits and behaviors that are harmful to your health. Remember that a binge isn’t the end of the world and over time you will overcome it!
No one enjoys overeating or binging and the uncomfortable physical and mental feelings you’re left with once it’s over. Try to keep binging to a minimum, and when it does happen, rest assured that you now have an arsenal of tools to get back on track. What do you usually do after overeating to get back on track?