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Breaking Free From Binge Eating Pt.2 Recovery

For proper recovery, your brain must be properly nourished. Things that you have been using to control your eating disorder such as restrictive eating, purging, and food avoidance may be the things that keep it going, which can be an uncomfortable thought. Early behavior change has shown to be the best predictor of recovery and anxiety.

Steps to break free:

  • Being aware of your triggers and early warning signs so you can intervene before the feeling gets overwhelming

  • Start eating regularly, adequate and appropriate variations of foods

  • Include fear foods

Identify your triggers and come up with ways to manage your stress and anxiety.

Do you know what triggers a binge for you? How are you going to manage the stress and anxiety associated with these feelings?

  • Is the trigger something you might have to work through with a psychologist?

  • You may have to look at different areas of your life. Are you lacking anything in areas of your life such as:

- Leisure

- Health and personal development

- Work and education

- Relationships

If you are, what are you missing? How can you change this? and how will you follow this? It is important to set boundaries for yourself, identify what could be causing you to feel stress or anxiety, and addressing the issue. This helps uncover the underlying cause of your stress and anxiety and help you recover in the long term.

But what can you do to reduce you stress in the moment when it suddenly comes on?

  • Journaling (just writing down your feeling and emotions)

  • Listening to calming music

  • 5-10 minutes of deep breathing and/or meditation

  • Finding an activity you enjoy such as gardening or painting

  • Spending 20 minutes in nature

Optimal Energy

Optimal energy occurs when a person eats regular meals and snacks throughout the day, preventing a drop in blood glucose levels, and entering a state of semi-starvation. Optimal energy improves overall body and brain function and well-being and can prevent a binge eating episode.

Balanced diet: structure (regular food intake), quantity (adequate food intake) and variety (eating multiple food groups).

Structure can be important when overcoming an eating disorder (3 meals and 2-3 snacks)

  • Give structure to your eating habits so they can be normalised

  • Prevents infrequent or delayed eating

  • Keeps blood sugar levels stable

  • Prevents grazing, picking and unstructured eating patterns

  • Challenges your rules around food and eating

  • Establishes eating habits that will reduce incidence of binging


  • Plan out the timing of meals and snacks the night before (gap no longer than 3-4 hours)

  • What are you going to eat and where is it coming from?

  • What foods/snacks can you prepare in advance? Can you take on the go snacks with you?

When a binge comes on

Urge surfing. This means riding out that emotion and tolerating your own anxiety long enough for it to pass (like trying not scratching a mosquito bite).

  • Set a timer for 30 minutes or 5-10 minutes if 30 is too hard. See if you can delay the binge for this time. When the timer stops, check yourself, and notice what happened to the urge. If your urge is still too strong. Write down that you delayed for 5, 10 or 30 minutes, and that was successful that you managed to delay the binge! In the future delay for 60 or 90 minutes. Eventually, you will be able to surf your urge until it goes away for good!

  • Find a distraction while you have your timer set.

Including your fear foods

This will be anxiety producing at some points, but the goal of this is to learn what your behaviours are, what are your triggers and how to reframe your thinking around emotions and eating. If there is no anxiety there is no change, so you must put yourself in these uncomfortable environments to make change.

I will be asking you to eat differently, reduce the use of restriction and challenge your ideas around food. We need to provoke anxiety in the short term, but you will learn that eating regularly has greater positive benefits, and the anxiety will fade. This is evidence based. Itis normal that it will be anxiety producing when you have used restrictive eating as a safety behaviour to control weight, which may reduce your anxiety in the short term, but increases it quite significantly in the long term. I am asking you to give up your safety behaviour.

Information for this handout was provided from ‘Centre of Clinical Interventions’: Disordered Eating; Workbook- Break Free from ED;

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