One bite of a delicious treat can very easily morph into a binge frenzy. It’s inevitably followed by feelings of guilt, shame and panic, particularly if you’re on a weight loss journey.
The reason so many of us are susceptible to a binge is a complex mixture of psychological, physiological and environmental factors.
For many it’s an emotional coping strategy: when things get tough, food becomes a source of comfort.
The truth is, an occasional blowout doesn’t matter in the long term. The way you pick yourself up afterwards, however, is crucial – it can either break or entrench the cycle.
Also read: 8 Ways to Change Your Relationship to Food
Here are 5 things to do immediately after a binge
1. Forgive yourself
Why? Forgiveness is the first step in letting go of any guilt or shame. These are two very powerful and destructive emotions, and if not properly managed, can undo a lot of your good work more than any calorie-laden treat can.
How: Say to yourself: ‘It’s not the end of the world! It was delicious and now I feel full. I’m human and everyone does this. This has nothing to do with my self-worth or value!’
2. Have some water
Why: Staying hydrated will help digest the food and reduce any bloating.
How: Add some sliced fresh lemon to a tall glass of iced water, or have a cup of herbal tea. Slow down and sip mindfully.
Why: If your binge was emotionally charged, you’ll have heightened levels of adrenalin flowing through your body immediately afterwards. Concentrating on your breathing will help reduce anxiety and give you perspective.
How: Easy! Take a deep breath in, hold for a few seconds, and slowly release. Repeat 10 times.
4. Make your next meal a healthy one
Why: It’s a very bad idea to skip eating for the rest of the day after your binge. It creates a ‘binge and purge’ cycle that becomes very hard to break. You need to treat this indulgence as a one-off that has no impact on the rest of your day.
How: Focus on something light, fresh and protein-rich, such as a chicken broth soup or baked salmon with veggies.
Why: Exercise will get your blood pumping, digestive juices working and your endorphins firing! In other words, you’ll feel less bloated and emotionally down.
How: Wait at for at least an hour after eating if you’re doing an intense workout. Otherwise, a 30 to 40 minute walk is perfect.