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How to practice self-compassion after binge eating

Beating yourself up after a binge is not helpful, In fact, it does more harm than good and will most likely lead to another binge.

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Binge eating can feel so lonely!! There is the secret eating, hiding of packaging, and overexercising to make up for it, it can feel like leading a double life! Trying to be normal around your friends but constantly thinking about food and your next binge.

Many smart, successful women keep saying, “I just don’t understand why I lose control around food?” They are hard on themselves for binge eating and say the worst things about themselves and their bodies.

Binge eating occurs for so many career women in the pursuit to have it all. They put too much pressure on themselves to succeed and still have the “perfect” body. The pursuit of perfection can drive them to feel overwhelmed, leading to poor self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. The more they pick themselves apart for their body flaws, the more they talk themselves down, eventually, something has to give, naturally many find comfort in food.

This was me for 13 years. I struggled with binge and emotional eating and hated myself every time I lost control of food. I tried to be more restrictive in my eating, cutting out food groups and running 60 plus kilometers a week to make up for my binge eating. I would say the most hateful things to myself “you’re a failure, you can’t even stick to healthy eating” or “You’re such a pig, get a hold of yourself”. This form of self-talk only aggravated my emotional eating. The more I fought myself on my eating behaviors, the worse my binge eating became.  

What I have learnt through over a decade of inner battles is that beating yourself up after a binge is not helpful, in fact, it does more harm than good and will most likely lead to another binge. When we add guilt and hurtful words to our actions, it creates even deeper emotional wounds that would seem to only be soothed by food. 

When recovering from binge eating, it’s vital to practice self-compassion (even if you binged). Scientific studies strongly support self-compassion as a tool in relation to binge eating recovery. Mindful self-compassion has shown to calm down the nervous system, reducing anxiety and emotional avoidance practices such as binge eating.

When we incorporate self-compassion into our daily lives, we can change the way we feel about ourselves, and this will reduce the impact of our feelings about binge eating and our bodies.

Self-Compassion is the ability to be accepting of yourself despite your flaws. Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for losing control around food, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with binge urges or the act of overeating.

Learning to forgive yourself for a binge and moving on is one of the biggest obstacles during recovery. Instead of punishing yourself for binge eating or not fitting into your clothes, accept that you are not perfect, acknowledge that you somehow started using eating as a crutch, and be gentle with yourself. You are not a bad person or a failure, there is hope for recovery.

Gratitude is the right attitude

Gratitude changes your vibration by helping you focus on something other than what you ate. This can change your mindset, and having a positive outlook on life could reduce emotional binges.

Rather than wishing that you didn’t lose control around food, there is strength in appreciating what you have right now.

Speak kindly of yourself

Have you noticed your self-talk when looking in the mirror or after overeating?

Usually, it’s not something you would even say to your worst enemy. These words can be so hurtful and can lead back into a binge-guilt cycle.

 The first step in recovery is to let go of negative self-talk. Words are powerful forces, and they can lead you to believe that you are unworthy of happiness.

Let go of judgment
Are you judging yourself or others for what they eat? Judgment feeds the inner critic and will rob you of positive future decisions about yourself. When we remove judgment, we release feelings of shame and guilt tied to eating food, and this can prevent further binge episodes.

Be mindful

Binge eating is commonly triggered by hunger, emotion, and habit. Being mindful can create an awareness of your eating patterns, highlighting your urges driving you to binge.


Be mindful of your urges and how you speak to yourself when they arise. When we are mindful, we can detect our self-talk and limiting beliefs about ourselves! In addition, mindfulness will be helpful in cultivating forgiveness.

Recovery from binge eating might seem daunting, however applying these principles has not only helped me but is also making a massive impact on my clients and their recovery.

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