Avoiding the Binge/ Restrict Cycle

Avoiding the Binge/ Restrict Cycle

Have you ever done so “good” the entire day only to screw it all up by bingeing at night?

Have you ever skipped breakfast or restricted calories the next day after bingeing at night in order to gain back control and “make up” for the binge? If so, you are not alone.

The reality is restricting, and binging are equally feeding into each other and many people can easily get trapped into this binge/restrict cycle

Here are some important steps you can take to help break the binge/restrict cycle, reduce shame & guilt, and stick to your goals: 


1.) No Foods Off Limits

Give yourself permission to include ALL foods into your diet. We often can spark a binge when we tell ourselves that we can’t have a certain food because it’s “bad”. As humans, we want what we can’t have, so if you tell yourself you can’t have a cookie because it’s “bad”, you will start to think about it and crave it more. I know you may think you might go overboard (binge) if you let yourself have the “bad” food,  and you might at first, but if you trust your body, you will find a balance and you will start to not crave that food as much anymore.


2.) Don’t Restrict After a Binge 

People often think they should compensate for a binge by skipping the next meal & reducing calories… but this strategy will only keep you in the binge/restrict cycle! Instead, we want to actually do the opposite and continue to eat consistently, every 3-5 hours. We want to also include an adequate amount of healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber to keep us satisfied.


3.) Listen to Your Body’s Hunger & Fullness Cues

Do you often honor your hunger when your body tells you it’s hungry? Or do you just shut it out and wait until you’re starving to honor it? It is so important when preventing a binge to honor your hunger in the moment that you feel hungry. When we wait too long, our primal instincts kick in and it forces us to binge eat so that our body can maintain its functions.


So what are some things that you can do after a binge you may ask? Here are some things you can start with:


1.) Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Anyone who’s been there knows the feeling. The aftermath of a binge is uncomfortable and discouraging, but, what’s done is done so there’s no need to harp on it. Try to find other things you can do to take your mind off of it such as, going for a walk, reading a book, watching your favorite show, playing with your kids, coloring, meditation, etc!


2.) Reflect on the Situation

Ask yourself after the binge, “what might have triggered me to binge?” and it out. Journal how long the binge was for, what you ate, and what triggered it. Getting curious and bringing awareness to the situation can help you to see a pattern and can help you to see if you’ve made progress!


3.) Get into Comfy Clothes

This can really help you feel more comfortable after a binge vs wearing tight clothing.


If you continue to repeat this cycle and it becomes worrisome to you, check in with your healthcare provider. You are not alone and there are numerous resources available to help you.