After the Binge…

by Eden on November 24, 2011

I apologize if this week has been cluttered with more “ED” posts than usual. I just figured its the official start of eating/dieting season so food, stress, and cellulite is on many people’s minds lately.

The truth is, after years of eating meagerly, the latter decade of my eating disorder was a vicious “starve-all-day-binge-all-night” cycle. Oh and lots of exercise thrown in there. So I was still very underweight despite binge eating at night. Anyhow, lets get one thing straight: the definition of a “binge” is can be different depending on who you’re talking to. I met a girl in my treatment program that thought a bowl of cereal was a binge. Some people seem to think Thanksgiving is a form of a binge (and to those people: um, no…its usually just lunch or dinner with pumpkin and tryptophan but whatever..).

see even Barbie has problems.

I’m not gonna tell you if you eat “x” amount its a binge. Thats a whole issue for another post.

But what I will tell you is some things that helped me after a binge:

Resume “Normal” Eating and DO NOT restrict food to compensate
Its the law of ED physics. To every restriction there is an equal or opposite binge. The more you restrict your food intake the more likely that you will end up binging. By not restricting you are getting rid of one of the main binge trigger culprits: ‘physical hunger’.

Leave The House (And See Some Pandas)
Even today, I often struggle with just ceasing to eat after a meal. Sometimes, I feel like my “off switch” isn’t working properly and I blame my several years of restriction for this. Anyhow, when I’m at home and I’m done with a meal and I just can’t seem to stop snacking after, I just leave the house and remove myself from the food. Go for a short walk (NOT a full on exercise routine to try to compensate!), a drive, a movie, a bookstore…Fuck, go to the zoo and see some pandas because pandas are cute, silly and probably fatter than you.

See, you can still have a very good sex life

See, feel better, no?

Talk to Someone

This could be a therapist, but I for example can’t afford a therapist right now. So have a few close friends/hairdressers you feel comfortable shooting the shit to and give them a call or meet up. Its amazing how just connecting with someone can make you feel better and help get your mind off how bloated you feel.

SLEEP!

Lots of “articles” will suggest to go for a run or do some yoga. But to be perfectly honest, just sleep it off.  When I’m bloated and so full I’m about to burst (and yes, I get like that) the last thing I want to do is do downward dog.  Resting makes my body feel best.

Wear Comfy Clothes

Don’t deny the fact that you feel bloated, gassy, and just plain irritable. Why suffer through with skinny jeans on?! This is why sweat pants are so fashionable. And here’s an added bonus: NO CAMELTOE!

just...ew.

Move On

Ok, you ate a lot. But its really not the end of the world. I personally don’t think you need to reflect on it too much. I had a therapist make me analyze and journal after I’d binge to “learn from it” but this just made things worse. Doing this might work for some people, but I like just trying to start with a clean slate and trying not to stew in what happened in the past. To quote Gone With The Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Because at the end of the day, there really are worse things than overeating.

Like cameltoes.

 

 

 

 

How do you get over eating a little more than usual? I hate saying “eating too much” because that’s hard to define and some people dont eat enough. Speaking of which, what do you think constitutes a binge?

Enter Your Mail Address

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire November 25, 2011 at 2:28 am

A binge for me (& I totally agree its different for everyone) is when I feel my eating is out of control- that can be overeating one meal or snacking constantly all night. I don’t mean I shouldn’t have had dessert full, I mean the I can’t breathe properly I was feeding my emotions not my body kind of full. Pretty much any time I can’t comfortably tense my stomach muscles after eating is too much for me.
I know you say restricting after overeating isn’t a good thing, and in general I agree but for me limiting my food the next day to meals based around fruits and veg as well as incorporating exercise I enjoy fixes me up. Its not full on fasting so I don’t get stuck in the starve/binge cycle but its enough of a change to put me in a good headspace.
Love the panda pic lol

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

Everyone will have something different that works for them and everyone has a different level of fullness they feel comfortable. I’m rare in that I actually like feeling full.

Reply

melissanibbles November 25, 2011 at 4:11 am

I love that you don’t define a binge. Binge isn’t defined by X amount of food because it’s a mental thing. Someone might binge on cookies, cake, pasta while one person might binge on a bowl of cereal and a cookie. They’re both binges if both those people feel out of control and manic while eating. Great post Eden!

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 7:21 am

yep, and I often wish we didn’t call it “binge” because who’s to define what “excess” really is? But the common thread here is the feeling of losing control.

Reply

mac November 25, 2011 at 4:17 am

This is a great post – I feel like bingeing is an issue often ignored in the blog community, and think it’s important to talk about. And binges are so subjective. I can eat a gigantic christmas meal and then snack on mince pies and cake all afternoon and feel okay, or I can be in tears while stuffing celery, cherry tomatoes and raw mushrooms in my mouth – it’s the loss of control, not the calorific intake, that makes it a binge for me (although admittedly the calorific ones make me feel a whole lot worse). I’m getting better now, through not restricting my intake in the next days and talking to my boyfriend (who I live with) if I feel like I could binge, which calms me down.

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 7:23 am

Exactly! I sometimes would stuff myself with my “safe foods” just so I could be so full that I would stop eating! Crazy, I tell you. You can always email me too. I’m no boyfriend, but I have funny pictures of pandas!

Reply

mac November 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm

yay pandas! Oh I forgot to respond to your bit about finding it difficult to stop eating after meals…yeah I get that too. What I find helps is having a meal with lots of small components (like maybe I’ll have soup with some crackers and cheese or hummus on the side, and some veggie sticks with a dip, and something small for ‘dessert’ even if it’s just some fruit). I think because it takes me a bit longer to eat and is more fiddly I have more time to feel ‘yup, I’m good’.

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I do sometimes have meals where I’ll do the “components” thing. Usually for breakfast and dinner. And as much as I love you, fruit is not a dessert! 😉

Reply

mac November 26, 2011 at 1:55 am

oh i agree, hence the quotation marks!

A.W. November 25, 2011 at 4:47 am

A few years ago, I had a whole session with one of my therapists about this. I agree with the others, that a binge is the “out of control” feeling. That said, if I ate one cookie and felt out of control, I probably wouldn’t really consider it a binge — maybe a binge that I stopped before it spiraled?

I guess the same can be said for restricting. It is probably defined by the person more than the amount of food eaten or not eaten.

For me, since I am at my “happy weight,” compensating for overeating happens naturally. I find that in the days or weeks after I overeat, my body naturally balances out. I don’t restrict, but I do notice that my appetite is naturally a little lower. Knowing that my body will readjust takes away a lot of the anxiety about a big meal or two at the holidays.

(And, yes, therapists is plural for me. I can’t even remember all of the ones I’ve seen in my lifetime!)

Great post and happy Thanksgiving!

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 7:24 am

Dude, I’ve been through so many therapists, I should really have a Ph. D by now.

Reply

Jane November 25, 2011 at 4:53 am

I’m in a hard spot because I’m physically underweight and need to gain; but I’m eating steadily and lots during the day and really (really) going way overboard at night (borderline binging); I don’t think its some physical need either, I think its emotional.
So, this is very hard, I need to gain (so need to keep eating each and every day), and I Do Not exercise (other than one leisure walk) and I’m binging at night. I’m terrified at how this is going to end up. I’m not some teenager, I’m an older woman and I’m just going about things all wrong.

Hearing others talk about their “binges” and their subsequent exercise, it just confuses me and frustrates me. I am really lost about it all. Really, really lost.

I wish therapists helped. I’ve yet to meet any that weren’t a waste of time.

Reply

Jessy (squeezetheday) November 25, 2011 at 5:01 am

@Jane, check out the link I posted above. It sounds like it could be relevant to your situation.

Reply

Jane November 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for the response. That is an interesting article and gives something to think about. But I still wonder how to get past it. I think the article basically says you have to go 2500+++ in order to even get a control of things. Definitely something I need to re-read a few times.

Its hard though. I still feel confused and shamed , you know? Its hard to explain.

Reply

Jessy (squeezetheday) November 25, 2011 at 4:56 am

I don’t think eating a lot of food (even past the point of being hungry) during a holiday meal is binging, and neither is eating when you’re not hungry just for fun/pleasaure/etc.. For me, binging is when you feel like you can’t stop eating and you want to eat everything in sight, until you reach that point of fullness when you just can’t stuff your face anymore. I agree that restricting the day after is the worst thing to do, because that way you engage in the never-ending cycle of restricting&binging. On one hand I think it’s good to think about what in general is making you binging (most of the time the answer is restricting), but not over-analyze it, because you only make a bigger problem out of it and that makes you feel desperate, out of control. At least that’s my experience.
A while ago I read an article about why bingeing is not bingeing when you’re recovering from restricted eating and it changed the way I see binging and eating disorders.

Reply

OldZelda November 25, 2011 at 6:15 am

For me, any eating that is not serving you and your intentions for yourself is binging. If you planned to eat a big holiday dinner and enjoyed it and did not “push the envelope” (as in overfill the tummy); that isn’t binging. Eating a mindless Twinkie without really tasting it is, to me, a form of binge. If you have to ask, “why did I do that?” then you are binging.
To make up for overindulgence, I try as much as I can to keep it to plain food the next day or two. Just basic fish, chicken, veggies and fruit. I lay off the fats and bready-pasta-ish simple carbs. Drink water.
When you get to be of a crone-ish age, you won’t eat as much due to the agony you will feel if you overfill your stomach. If you dare, you will have burning acid and will not be able to sleep or lie down for many hours. So enjoy eating mass quanities while you can. Or better yet, learn to enjoy the things in your life that fill other, nobler needs. Binge on joy! (ie: sniff baby necks, nuzzle puppies, try on shoes, take hot bubble baths and kiss cute guys.)

Reply

Rune November 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

I don’t know… personally I’d disagree with mindless Twinkie eating being a binge. I have multiple none disordered friends who often eat food ‘because they feel like it’, or they’re bored, or it’s just there. I think there’s a difference between eating past comfortable fullness and the kind of frenzied ‘I MUST EAT ALL THE FOOD’ I associate with a binge.

I think there’s a difference between overindulgence and binging too. ‘Indulge’ and ‘binge’ don’t really work together in my mind… I don’t think many people feel good after a binge. Getting back on the normal eating wagon after a binge is really the best thing an eating disordered person can do, in my opinion.

I’m really not trying to pick a fight or anything, by the way. I just wanted to add my two cents.

Reply

Jane November 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I agree.
Eating a twinkie because you’re bored or just because it is there is not a binge. If you had to sit there and debate eating the damn twinkie – then you’d be an overthinker and something is wrong.

Technically, a binge is literally thousands upon thousands of calories. I once read a book called “The Good Eater” by Ron Saxen ( a man who experienced both extremes of restriction and binging). Stopping on the side of the freeway to eat 5000 calories of snickers bars, followed by 2 mcdonald happy meals, and 3 tubs of ice cream is what is technically a binge.

I don’t know. Its a complicated and almost “hits-too-close-to-home” situation to even think about .

All I know is that there is profound guilt and confusion and shame.

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Yea, I don’t think “mindless” eating is binging…My dad “mindlessly” chews on almonds while reading, even if he just had dinner, but he isn’t “binging”. And a big difference is my dad isn’t freaking out about it. Its just that theres a bowl of almonds on his desk. If I took it away, I don’t think he’d get up and find the almonds so he can down them even though he’s not hungry.
I encourge discussion, so don’t hesitate to give three cents 😉

Reply

julie November 25, 2011 at 7:52 am

hahahaha i’m sorry i know this is supposed to be more serious but i can’t stop laughing at the panda sex comment. hahahaha

Reply

Char @ www.charskitchen.ca November 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

Great post! Sometimes I struggle with not overeating after a meal, but it is better. Learning to create new habits after recovery can be tricky, but all sorts of tips like this help.
I no longer binge, though sometimes I eat a little more than usual. It just doesn’t feel emotional anymore, and I feel like I have more control. I’m okay with having a couple extra cookies. I think a binge can be very different, depending on who you talk to. When I was battling anorexia, a small chocolate bar or two was a binge to me. Even two bananas were a binge to me. I think anytime there are negative feelings around it, it can be classified as a binge. But how you bounce back from it is important, and I have to say that I did a lot of the things listed in this post during recovery. They helped :)

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I think people don’t realize that its totally normal to eat “a little more than usual”. Some people seem to have a nervous breakdown if they had ONE extra cookie or if they cleaned their plate at a restuarant. I’m glad you see the difference and that you’re ok with it. It shows you’ve for sure come a long way since your ED. You should be very proud.

Reply

Char @ www.charskitchen.ca November 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Thanks, Eden! And yes, you make a good point- I used to panic about cleaning my plate or *god forbid* eating dessert. I’m sad for those who still struggle, and I know I do have to be careful not to fall into old patterns.

Reply

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

hmmm…what constitutes a binge? I’m thinking it’s when you keep eating whatever you see, even though your overly full. I’ve definitely been there with the starve/binge cycle. So ridiculous! What were we THINKING?!!?

Reply

Asian Bitch November 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Gosh I love pandas.

Those are the most important rules! Thnks for the reminder.

My experience with binging:
I wonder why I didn’t started binging earlier, given my circumstances. Even though I was underweight (you know, that ”underweight” place where you don’t LOOK underweight but are, and where it’s the most mentally hard because you have a hard time adapting to your new body?), my mom would tell me to stop eating, take away that bag of chips (that took me 3 months before I could make myself to open it because I was too scared) while I was eating it, tell me I was a pig (no, not exaggerating here)…
I’m basically living in an Anorexic’s dream family. My dad is the only who believes I have an ED, but he works from from 6am to 11pm (typical workoholic Asian), so I barely see him. My mom would tell me a wrap is more than enough for lunch. I could not eat all day, and she wouldn’t force me to eat. It doesn’t bother her that I don’t eat, but it bothers her when I do.She says that I use my fake anorexia (she doesn’t believe I had anorexia, even though I’ve been in the ER for low blood pressure and forced in IP) to justify my eating.
Hence why the binging started.
Somehow, the fact that she wouldn’t let me eat what I wanted gave food more power over me, and the fact that she won’t listen to me made me start to punish myself with binging (or restricting or cutting, depends on days…)
Sometimes, I wonder why I’m doing this, because it would be so easy to give into those nasty behaviors (restricting, binging, cutting) and ”get away with it”. All I know is that I can’t, so I don’t (or at least I try my best).

Geez, that was really hard to write. Fuck.

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I know its tough to write, but I’m glad you did. Its a release, ya know? Feels way better than keeping all these feelings inside. And I’m so sorry to hear all that. It never makes things easy when you don’t have people that are supportive in your life and seem to make things worse. I hope you can overcome those nasty behaviors despite your mom being so hard on you. And I guess I hope your dad learns to relax from work a bit.

Reply

Asian Bitch November 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I think that’s why I hate recovery blogs. When I see that they complain about how fat they felt after their mom told them they looked healthier, it makes me want to scream. I would give anything to have a mom who at least would understand that calling me a pig when I’m eating a Pringle is not helping my recovery. I know I sound like a whining bitch, but I just want to tell them ”Fuck you. Seriously. You have the recipe for a successful recovery. Take this opportunity, fucking idiot. Don’t waste it away.”
Having a really hard time justifying myself over why the hell I decided to gain weight on my own and get to deal with all those feelings, when I just could have left everything like it was before. I know I did the right thing, but I don’t why I did it.

Jesus-Christ, your blog has turned into a therapy session. How much do you charge?

Reply

Eden November 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm

You did the right thing. You don’t need to question “why”? We can’t live our lives asking “why” and “what if”. Some things we jus gotta do, even if we hate doing them.

And I charge three and a half ass kissing gestures per session 😉

Reply

Jane November 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Hey, I can see what you’re saying here.

I’m underweight now and I need to gain, but I’ve entered into binging mode. My guilt and shame are profound because I’ve gone to the opposite side. The worst of it is that I’m gaining dead-slowly, and I’m not exercising, so all I’m doing is really torturing my internal body.

I’ve gone from being slightly orthorexic, to standing over the counter each night each ungodly amount of chocolate and entire boxes of crackers and stuff. The thing is that I’m still eating these real big meals and snacks, but I just don’t (or won’t) stop.

I really do feel lost because this doesn’t seem the right way to go about this gaining thing. To wake up every morning feeling lousy and having no clue what to eat (but knowing you can’t restrict) and also not exercising. I dont know how to “buck up” and get a hold of it all.

Reply

Asian Bitch November 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

:(
I’m no good at giving advice…Just good at saying ”I can relate”.
But, then again, all eating-disordered people can relate to each other so it’s not saying much.
I hope you’ll get out of this cycle…It’s hell, I know it.

Reply

Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) November 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

If I eat a little more than usual, I just go back to normal eating after and it all balances out.

Reply

sarah@spinach and spice November 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

all i can say is, thank the lord for your blog. seriously eden! i come here everytime i have a bad night (which lately is, er, all too common). I rarely comment cause it’s hard for me to open up about these things, but my binging has been ridiculouuus lately. I used to binge on “safe” foods: the carrot sticks, watermelon, broccoli you name it, and i felt super depressed afterwards. now, though, its bingeing on the things i restricted myself from for so long.. chocolate, cookies, you know the drill! the surprising thing is, i don’t feel as bad now (bingeing on the high calorie things) than i did when I was stuffing myself silly with “negative” calorie foods. i realized if anything, it’s more “normal” to be okay with eating sugar, salt, and carbs. the only part that really bugs me anymore is that I know it comes as a result of my emotions. it’s like i’m trying to fix my life with food.. which i realize sounds silly. i’ll eat that piece of cake (or two) cause I feel like it’ll make me feel more normal. Though in reality it’ll make me feel guilty right after, and i’ll keep myself cooped up in my room to “recover” from the binge.
I probably sound like a crazy person, and feel free to disregard any sentences that don’t make sense :)
But thanks again for allll of your posts. I don’t comment nearly as much as i should, but really your blog gets me through those rough nights!

Reply

Eden November 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm

aww, I’m so glad you find some comfort. I still struggle with eating large amounts all at once. Its very painful and I don’t always know why I do it when it never feels good or fills that emotional void. Don’t hesitate to email me too if you’re having a rough time.
And yes, please comment! I love comments.

Reply

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) November 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I agree with all that say that it’s an emotional state rather than a physical one. however if you eat thousands of calories in a really short period of time, chances are there are emotional undertones to it. I learn a lot just looking at ‘normal’ people like Derek. When he overindulges (he doesn’t really binge although sometimes he does when he goes to town on chocolate or something), he naturally seems to eat less over the course of the next few days. or he’ll say he’s still full from dinner the previous night.

Just last week, I was eating a ridiculously huge salad (one that people stared at) and thinking: this is not normal or good. I was really just trying to feed the beast til the late dinner reservations with other people but even though it wasn’t technically a calorie-binge, it felt icky. Blah. I couldn’t even come close to finishing it. Binge? Not sure. Just knew it didn’t feel right. Great topic, Eden.

Reply

Eden November 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Yea, but I think the main difference between Derek and who are we kidding, most guys, is that when they eat lots of calories at once (and they totally can!) they don’t sit and think about it. They might be like “ugh…I think I ate a lot”, but they’ll shrug it off, going about their business. After a binge comes a huge emotional rollercoaster of shame and guilt. There’s so much energy towards it and thats what I think really seperates it from when “normal” people eat thousands of calories in a sitting.

Reply

Reader November 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Guilt and shame.
Bigtime.

Its too the point now with me that even guilt and shame accompany meals and snacks …their still big compared to others, or i have no hunger, or its ridiculous portions of certain things, or includes the “wrong” things and “wrong” indulgences and “wrong” combos :(

I really worry sometimes, personally, that I’m really hurting my body more because I get a ton of gas-buildup in my body and a ton of “bathroom” issues…I might see a GI doc…but I”m so so so relunctant (because I’m underweight and I fear the tie-ins, etc…i just want to gain and hope it goes away, but its been so so long). .
Ugh…its like for me personally I just don’t know how to eat anymore…
and when I see some others (bloggers or others) eat really little or totally “perfect”…just makes my shame worse.

SO SORRY for saying all this…just gets me thinking and once i start venting it off my chest, i can’t stop..i guess i always struggle to relate to someone . i don’t know. sorry !

Reply

Eden November 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I think a good first step is to stop reading these blogs that make you feel worse about yourself. I can’t say much else cause I’m not a therapist, but its a start.

Reply

Eden November 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

me included. If my blog is triggering, just stop reading. I don’t blog for traffic or whatever so I don’t care.

Tina @ Best Body Fitness December 14, 2011 at 7:22 am

I just had to chime in that its so true that a binge is different for everyone. It takes a different face, but they all have that underlying emotional battle and feeling of loss of self-control. Which eats you alive. Thanks for sharing your experiences. And I also am huge on forgiving yourself after a binge, moving on, and not trying to “make up for it”. Great post!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: