Five Tips to Find Peace After a Bout of “Unusual Eating”

First, let me tell you what I mean by “unusual eating.”  Think of this as a disclaimer. To me, “unusual eating” is my non-judgmental way of describing a binge.

Binging implies eating out of control, which is something that’s generally seen as a negative, self-destructive behavior. I’ve never battled a diagnosed eating disorder myself, but I have battled the cycle of binging and restricting. There’s a negative connotation around the word “binge,” and I know that thinking of “binges” as “unusual eating”—a bout of eating foods I don’t usually eat in quantities I don’t usually eat—has helped me find peace when I do find myself on the cusp of that restrict-binge cycle.

If you’ve ever been on a restrictive diet, you’ll be familiar with this pattern:

You’ve been good.

  • Following your diet to a “t” for two weeks.
  • Eating only foods that are on you plan.
  • Eating only foods that are on your plan in quantities laid out by your plan.

Then you start getting tired.

  • Tired of eating the foods on your plan.
  • Tired of missing the foods you really want to eat.
  • Tired of restricting yourself.

Eventually, the desire to eat the foods you miss—all of those off-plan, “bad” foods—becomes too much and you give in.

But once you start eating those foods that you missed, you find that you can’t stop at just one chocolate chip cookie, or one scoop of ice cream. It’s almost like a chemical switch has been flicked and you just can’t stop eating those foods that you’ve missed.

  • Maybe you eat five more cookies than you normally would.
  • Maybe you eat until you’re stuffed and then stopped.
  • Maybe you eat until you’re stuffed, and then continue to eat.

How much you eat doesn’t matter. What matters is the guilt you feel afterwards.

You see, it’s not the binge that’s the problem—it’s the guilt that follows.

One bout of unusually eating won’t truly hinder your progress toward your goals. Feeling guilt over that bout, however, will most definitely keep you from reaching your goals.

Finding peace with yourself is the most important thing you can do after a bout of unusual eating. Finding peace, releasing guilt and moving on with your life.

Without working toward finding that peace, you’ll be forever stuck in the restrict-binge-guilt cycle.

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So, now you’re ready to end the cycle, but how do you do it?

Here are five tips to help you release your guilt and find peace:

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Know that one day of unusual eating will not keep you from reaching your goals. Nothing is ruined. I promise.

3. Create a reassuring affirmation. Think of why you’re feeling guilty. Once you’ve discovered what’s really causing the guilt, think of the exact opposite and that’s your affirmation. If the guilt is because you’re scared of that out of control feeling, remind yourself that you know exactly what is best for you—that you’re in control of the choices that you make.

4. Think of your next second as your next opportunity to return to your usual eating habits. Wallowing in the guilt will only perpetuate the cycle. Skipping breakfast the next day, or eating very little the next day to make up for you unusual eating will keep you feeling restricted and more likely to rebel against that restriction.

5. Stop dieting. The best way to find peace for good is to break free from the cycle. If you’re not dieting, then you’re not restricting yourself, and you’re less likely to have a bout of unusual eating. Eating whole real foods within the Paleo Framework is the fastest way I’ve found to heal your relationship with food and leave dieting behind for good.

Finding peace, releasing your guilt and moving on with your life (free from dieting) takes practice and patience.

The patience to continue to love and treat your body well while striving to find a way of eating that works for you.

This post was shared on Thank Your Body Thursday. Click here to check out all the other healthy living posts.

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3 Responses to Five Tips to Find Peace After a Bout of “Unusual Eating”

  1. Heather February 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM #

    I understand the restrictive eating, I have been there and it was a hard cycle to break from and hard to even recognize for a long while. The bingeing, I don’t, but I have a friend that struggles. Each time she binges she feels guilty. Every time she does I tell her it’s ok, just don’t let it ruin everything. I see how easy it is for her to fall away from wonderful whole foods and beautiful eating habits and give into the “whole” bag of cookies just to get that “sugar high”. She will even talk about greasy fried food and highly sugared treats and tell me how it makes her drool just thinking about it. Even some of my own family members, I find doing the same. Though I am sure by my past habits would say the same of me.

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  1. Weekly Link Love - February 17, 2013

    […] fallen off the wagon in a few ways. Trying to stay positive certainly helps me, and so do these ideas from Frisky […]

  2. Link Love 2.22.13 - February 22, 2013

    […] Five Tips to Find Peace After a Bout of “Unusual Eating” […]

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