In this article, I’m going to walk you through these 18 different strategies to help you get back on track after binge eating for a week.
How to get back on track after a binge week
Take positive actions as soon as possible
Put your binge into perspective
Focus on having a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset
Get right back to the habits that were working before your binged
Increase your physical activity
Wait to eat until you’re really good and hungry but not overly hungry
Drink more water
Address the root cause of your emotional or binge eating
Reflect back on what you were doing to lose weight, was it too restrictive?
Focus on more lean protein, fruits and vegetables for a few days while potentially decreasing fats and carbs slightly
Improve the quality and quantity of sleep
Slow down while eating and eat with focus on enjoying your foods in your day to day meals
Reaching out for professional help
Reach out for personal support
Avoid overcompensating by getting too strict with your diet
Avoid the scale for a couple of weeks or all together
Use the red light, yellow light, green light technique to help binge eating
Binge eating is a tricky mountain to climb.
One of the biggest keys for people trying to lose weight is figuring out how to get back on track after binge eating.
Look through these techniques and experiment to figure out how to get back on track after binge eating for a week.
#1 Take positive actions as soon as possible after binge eating
The reason I have this as the first item is that it’s incredibly important.
Binge eating has large emotional components to it.
By taking some sort of positive action it will start the process of getting into a better headspace around your most recent cycle of binge eating.
Even small steps can help you to feel like you’re making progress.
#2 Put your binge eating into perspective
In my experience, the biggest reason that people struggle with getting back on track after binge eating is due to the fact that they feel like they’ve “ruined everything” with their diet.
This often leads to people feeling large amounts of guilt or shame around the act of binge eating. Ironically, this often leads to even more binge eating.
Something that a lot of our clients find helpful is trying to remember that you can’t ruin everything from a binge eating episode.
It doesn’t matter if it is one meal, a weekend or even a full week of binge eating or longer.
Successfully losing weight is all about permanently changing your habits.
If you were losing weight and getting results you were making changes to your lifestyle.
If you were learning how to consistently follow through on those new habits and changes to your lifestyle before you binged then you haven’t lost that progress.
Try to keep perspective on the fact that binge eating was just a misstep on your weight loss journey, you didn’t ruin everything. This perspective will help you get back on track after binge eating.
I’ve been coaching people on how to lose weight for about a decade and a half and I have not coached a single client that doesn’t get off track with their diet.
Even the clients who have reached their weight loss goals and maintained those results for years still get off track with their diet and at times binge eat.
Getting off track with your diet is all part of the process of losing weight and living your life.
Try to keep this perspective in mind to avoid strong feelings of guilt and shame that can continue and prolong the binge eating cycle.
#3 Focusing on growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset
There is a psychological theory that explains two different types of mindsets that you can have.
Growth mindset is when you look at your ability to do something (skill level) as flexible and able to grow and evolve.
A fixed mindset means that you look at your ability to do something (skill level) as static. Essentially, either you’re good at something or you’re not.
At first, most of our clients have a hard time seeing how this relates to getting off track with your nutrition and binge eating.
But, in reality, eating is a set of skills.
Being able to stay on track with your diet is a series of skills.
Being able to get back on track with your diet is a series of skills.
Most people simply look at sticking to their diet as something you either “do” or you “don’t do.”
If you start changing your perspective and begin trying to learn from your experiences with binge eating you’re going to start building skills.
When you’re trying to figure out how to get back on track after a week of binge eating try to stop and identify why the binge occurred and what actions you need to take in the future to be able to make binging less likely to happen again in the future.
Also, pay attention to what works to help you get back on track with your nutrition.
You can learn more about growth vs. fixed mindset by watching this video.
#4 Get right back to the habits that were working
Prior to binging for a week (or however long you binged for) you were doing great.
Assuming you were happy with your progress and how things were going.
What were the habits you were doing in your day to day life that were producing the results you wanted?
Get right back to doing those habits as soon as possible after you’ve binged.
One of the biggest problems with binge eating and weight loss is most people take far too long to get back on track to the habits that were working for them prior to the binge.
Often, this is because people get lost in a negative cycle of beating themselves up for getting off track and then eating to help manage those feelings of guilt and shame around getting off track. This can be a very vicious cycle.
Try to break this cycle as quickly as possible and get right back to what was working.
#5 Increase physical activity
After a week of binge eating try to increase your physical activity. This will actually help in a couple of different ways.
First, it helps to burn more energy.
If you're expending more energy it will help you to get back into an energy debt and losing weight again.
Second, it helps you to get a release of dopamine.
After coming off a week of binge eating your body has gotten used to getting a release of dopamine on a regular basis.
To simplify, dopamine is a chemical the brain releases that make you feel good.
When eating sugary or foods your brain releases dopamine.
A lot of the pull people feel towards food following periods of binge eating is a result of your brain wanting dopamine to be released.
The good news is that there are other things you can do to get a release of dopamine.
Exercise and physical activity (especially outdoors) can trigger your brain to release dopamine.
Exercise can really help you get back on track after binge eating.
#6 Wait to eat until you’re really good and hungry but not overly hungry
This is a technique that is incredibly helpful coming off of shorter periods of binge eating such as one meal, day or weekend.
But, can also help with more prolonged periods such as binge eating for an entire week.
What I’d suggest doing coming off of a binge is to wait until you’re really good and hungry before eating again.
Important note, when doing this make sure you have a very nutritious meal that will have you feeling satisfied all ready prepared ahead of time.
Something that is higher in lean protein, veggies and some whole food source of smart carbs.
Although you want to wait until you’re really good and hungry to eat do not wait too long.
If you get overly hungry it will have a negative impact by making it harder to break the cycle of binge eating.
#7 Drink more water
Something that can help curb hunger is making sure you get enough water.
When coming off a period of binge eating your body will often make you feel incredibly hungry.
Try to make sure you’re drinking enough water to help manage your hunger levels.
Here is a rough guideline we use with clients to help them figure out if they’re getting enough water.
#8 Address the root cause of the binge eating
A huge percentage of people who are going through cycles of binge eating can track the root cause back to emotional eating.
If you are having challenges with emotional eating willpower will not be enough to help you push through this.
If someone is struggling with emotional eating they need to develop tools to help them manage this problem.
Here is a video on emotional eating if you’re looking for tools to help with this.
#9 Reflect and reassess the strategies you were using to lose weight
Often people wind up binge eating when they’re dieting because they’ve created too much restriction in their diet in an attempt to lose weight.
It’s a very common theme I’ve seen over the years working with clients.
It can be a perception of too much restriction in terms of food choices which leads to someone feeling like they are missing out on all of their favourite foods.
This leads to a strong desire to eat certain foods.
Someone can find just the smell of certain foods to be an overwhelming trigger.
When someone is in this state of having a strong desire to eat and they get a taste of one of their favourite foods this can be enough to start a massive binge.
Also, a person can become too restrictive on calories.
I’ve seen a trend of people restricting calories too low too quickly which physiologically leads to your body giving you stronger and stronger cravings for calorie-dense foods.
In time this leads to someone using all their willpower to stick to their diet.
Inevitably, in time the person cracks and goes off their diet.
Typically, this leads to a feeling like they’ve “ruined everything.”
If you’ve gone through a recent binge stop and take time to reflect.
Did you get too restrictive with your diet? Did this play a role in your binge eating?
Do you need to make adjustments this time around?
#10 Focus on more lean protein, fruits and vegetables
After coming off a binge you want to get a lot of nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories and keep you feeling satisfied.
I’d suggest focusing on what we call lean proteins as well as lots of different types of fruits and vegetables.
Here’s an article that helps you with how much lean protein you should eat per day.
Getting more nutrient-dense foods like lean protein, fruits and vegetables will help to get you back into an energy debt while keeping you feeling mentally and physically satisfied.
Some people will find it helpful to have a slight decrease in carbs and fats for a few days after a week of binging.
However, be very careful with this strategy because it can lead to binging again if you get too restrictive.
#11 Quality and quantity of sleep
A lot of people don’t realize that sleep has a massive impact on your hormones.
Specifically, poor quality of sleep or not enough quantity of sleep has been shown to impact your hormones that affect your hunger levels. (1)
Getting a poor night's sleep is one of the hidden causes of binge eating that most people are unaware of.
Focusing on your sleep patterns is one of the most effective ways to get back on track after binging.
#12 Slow down while eating
One of the major causes I’ve found with binge eating relates to a lack of satisfaction after meals.
I have found over the years that a lot of people aren’t feeling satisfied mentally or physically after their normal day to day meals.
In my experience, when people slow down and focusing on the texture, taste and experience of eating it helps them to have higher levels of satisfaction upon completion of their regular meals.
If you are having consistently higher levels of satisfaction after your typical meals it helps to put you in a better space mentally to avoid getting pulled into binge eating.
This is especially important when you’re indulging in your favourite foods.
Often, when people are eating foods they view as “bad’ foods they eat them quickly.
For example, people who love ice cream, chocolate, potato chips eat incredibly quickly when they’re indulging in these foods.
They’re eating these foods so quickly that they don’t get a chance to actually get full satisfaction mentally or physically until they’ve overeaten.
Try slowing down and being mindful when eating.
#13 Reaching out for professional help
This is something that can be really important if you are having a reoccuring problem with binge eating.
Struggles with emotional eating or binge eating can be incredibly challenging to sort through.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to get help from someone who is experienced in helping navigate challenges that go along with binge eating.
#14 Reach out for personal support
This piggybacks off of the last point.
Look towards the people closet to you in your life.
Is there someone you feel comfortable to reach out and talk to.
Often this can help to manage feelings of guilt or shame around periods of binge eating.
If there isn’t someone you feel comfortable talking to at this point a technique that helps some people is to sit down and journal about what they’re feeling.
The important thing is to find some outlet to get your feelings out in a safe productive way.
#15 Avoid the overcompensation trap
Often, when someone is trying to figure out how to get back on track after a week of binge eating they overcompensate by getting too strict with their diet.
As mentioned earlier in the article in strategies #9 and 10 you want to avoid getting too strict with your diet because this can lead to more binge eating.
#16 Avoid the scale for a couple of weeks….or longer
A lot of people should not weigh themselves.
It’s a problem that we have noticed where the scale can elicit strong emotional responses with many people.
If you are able to look at the number on the scale simply as data with no strong emotional response to your weight going up and down you’re probably safe to weigh yourself.
On the other hand, if you find that your entire day can be positive or negative depending on the number on the scale. Then you are probably will be best served by not weighing yourself.
Many people are triggered to binge eat when they don’t get the results they expect on the scale.
So avoiding the scale often helps people get on track with your nutrition.
#17 Use the red light, yellow light, green light technique to help binge eating
One technique that we have found helpful over the years is something I learned doing some of my education through Precision Nutrition. It’s a technique called, red light, yellow light, green light foods.
It’s a very simple, but powerful technique to help people get back on track after binge eating.
If you would like to learn more about this technique I walk you through it in this article here or you can watch the video below.
How to Get Back on Track After a Week of Binge Eating Wrap Up
Getting on track after binge eating is tough.
But, as I talked about earlier it is a skill and you can get better at the process of figuring out how to get back on track after a week of binge eating.
The most important thing to understand is that different things work well for different people when it comes to binge eating.
Different strategies can work well for you at different times. What I suggest is to look at it as a science experiment.
Try different things from this list and see what works best for you!
And most important cut yourself a break, it’s really challenging learning to manage binge eating.
- Say goodbye to guilt and negative thoughts. ...
- Take a day off from the scale. ...
- Drink plenty of water. ...
- Review your goals. ...
- Go grocery shopping. ...
- Remove temptation. ...
- Get moving. ...
- Listen to your hunger cues.
Keeping your body well-hydrated is always a good practice, especially after a binge, because water aids in digestion and reduces bloating. Vavrek recommends sticking with vegetables, fruits and other foods with high-fiber content as well as lean protein the day after a binge.What should I do after binge eating for a week? ›
- Relax. 1/12. Don't beat yourself up. ...
- Take a Walk. 2/12. An easy stroll will help stimulate your digestion and even out your blood sugar levels. ...
- Drink Water. 3/12. ...
- Don't Lie Down. 4/12. ...
- Skip the Bubbles. 5/12. ...
- Give Away Leftovers. 6/12. ...
- Work Out. 7/12. ...
- Plan Your Next Meal. 8/12.
Binge eating is when a person eats a much larger amount of food in a shorter period of time than he or she normally would. During binge eating, the person also feels a loss of control. A binge eater often: Eats 5,000–15,000 calories in one sitting.What Not To Do After binging? ›
5 Things Not To Do After A Binge
- Do not commit to new food rules. ...
- Do not skip your meals. ...
- Do not increase your social media usage. ...
- Do not turn to methods of purging. ...
- Do not do nothing.
If you consume an extra 4000 calories over the course of several days of partying - well, on a -500cal/day plan, you've only set yourself back by 8 days.How long does it take to bounce back from a binge? ›
It takes around three days to recover from a binge and return to your regular weight. Furthermore, the amount of days it takes to lose binge weight is determined by how different the binge food is from your usual diet, your fitness and activity level, and how you react to the binge.How much weight can you gain in a week from binging? ›
So here it is: If you live an entire week avoiding nutrition labels and making gym excuses, you can expect to gain about four pounds—one to two pounds of water weight (bloating) and one to two pounds of actual fat, Glassman says.Should you fast after a binge? ›
Do not fast. Fasting after binging raises the risk of triggering a binging-fasting cycle. Fasting can make you more hungry so that you subsequently overeat.Should I exercise after a binge? ›
Incorporating exercise into your routine can also improve your mood and reduce stress levels, which will both help reduce your risk of emotional eating ( 4 , 5 ). Try hitting up the gym shortly after a binge to stay motivated and get back on track. Even better, make exercise a regular part of your routine.
Though some of the complications associated with BED may be reversible once treatment is received and binge eating behaviors cease, others may lead to long-term or even permanent damage. Long-term consequences of binge eating disorder include: Type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure.Should I Undereat after a binge? ›
Don't try to undereat the entire surplus in one day by creating a deficit as large as the surplus because that will most likely lead to another binge in a few days. If your surplus was too big, simply get back on your diet and just think of it has your diet having extended just one week.How do you Debloat from binge eating? ›
- Don't skip breakfast. You might think skipping a meal after that all-too-heavy meal the night before is a good idea, but it's really not. ...
- Get out of bed and off that couch. ...
- Hydrate yourself. ...
- Eat potassium-rich food. ...
- Sip some hot tea.
A binge eating episode can last over an hour, though it may be much shorter or longer. Sometimes binge eating is a planned activity and other times it is not. Most binges involve the consumption of more than 1,000 calories, with a quarter of binges exceeding 2,000 calories.Is 400 calories considered a binge? ›
While both may be triggered by similar issues, night eaters tend to nosh, eating no more than 400 calories at a time. Binge eaters may consume an unusually large amount of food, between 2,000 and 3,000 calories, in one sitting, and usually quit after that.How do you purge the binge? ›
Purging is then used as a way to “undo” the binge. The most common form of purging is self-induced vomiting but can also include the use of laxatives, diuretics, or excessive exercise. Like binging, purging is often done in secret and leaves the person feeling ashamed, disgusted, and out of control.How do I overcome binge guilt? ›
- Before anything, forgive yourself. ...
- Be objectively curious about what happened. ...
- Stop trying to compensate or “punish” yourself. ...
- Find a way to genuinely relax. ...
- Challenge your food stigmas. ...
- Reach out for professional support.
This pattern of bingeing and restricting can lead to health problems, such as cardiac issues, metabolic issues, and various emotional and mood disturbances. While someone engaging in this cycle might not be diagnosed with BED or bulimia, they may be given a diagnosis of OSFED or Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder.What is bulimia face? ›
When a person has been engaging in self-induced vomiting regularly and they suddenly stop engaging in the behaviour, their salivary glands in front of their ears (cheeks) may begin to swell. This makes their cheeks look swollen.What happens to your body day after binge? ›
After a binge, your system is overloaded with a rush of calories, sugar, and fat. In addition to causing hormone and energy levels to fluctuate, this significant excess of calories promotes fat storage, inflammation, and digestive discomfort (think bloating and constipation).
NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent - or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter - or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.Should you cut calories after a binge? ›
After a day or two of overeating, many people feel the need to start cutting immediately to get rid of any fat they may have gained. While it's fine to stay in a calorie deficit if you simply don't feel like eating much (which is usually the case for me), I'd caution against crash dieting.How long does it take for your stomach to shrink after a binge? ›
If you have a big meal, your stomach doesn't magically get bigger and stay that way—it shrinks back down to its previous size in about four hours or less as your food is pushed along to the small intestine, Staller says.How long after a binge does it take to gain weight? ›
A 2012 study at Oxford University found that the fat in your food ends up on your waistline in less than four hours. Carbohydrate and protein take a little longer, because they need to be converted into fat in the liver first and it takes nine calories of protein or carbohydrate to make 1g of fat.Why am I gaining weight when I barely eat? ›
Unintentional weight gain occurs when you put on weight without increasing your consumption of food or liquid and without decreasing your activity. This occurs when you're not trying to gain weight. It's often due to fluid retention, abnormal growths, constipation, or pregnancy.How long does it take for water weight to go away after a binge? ›
The length of time that it takes to lose water weight depends on how much water you're retaining, the cause of the water weight gain, and the action taken to lose it. If you have one high-sodium meal and then return to normal, healthy dietary habits, you'll likely return to your normal weight in 1-2 days.How do I know if I ate too many calories? ›
Overeating causes the stomach to expand beyond its normal size to adjust to the large amount of food. The expanded stomach pushes against other organs, making you uncomfortable. This discomfort can take the form of feeling tired, sluggish or drowsy. Your clothes also may feel tight, too.What exercise is best after a binge? ›
Gently exercising, such as going for a brisk walk, may help people feel less full or bloated after binge eating. The authors of a 2015 meta-analysis found that walking helped empty the stomach quicker than more intense exercise, such as cycling.Is eating too much a mental disorder? ›
Binge eating disorder is a serious mental illness. People with binge eating disorder regularly (at least once a week) eat large quantities of food, rapidly, in a short period of time. They feel out of control and unable to stop themselves from eating. This is often linked with high levels of distress.How often does the average person binge eat? ›
The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.
Many people who have binge-eating disorder feel negatively about themselves and their skills and accomplishments. Triggers for bingeing can include stress, poor body self-image and the availability of preferred binge foods.Do you weigh more after a binge? ›
Skip the Scale
After a feast, you may weigh more. That's not because you gained body fat, but because of water retention from extra salt that was in the food you ate. So don't weigh yourself.
When it comes to knowing what to do after a binge, skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do! Skipping meals will only cause your hunger to grow throughout the day and may even result in another binge. Instead, try to eat as clean as possible so that your body is filled with wholesome foods.
The more calories a food has, the more energy it can provide to your body. When you eat more calories than you need, your body stores the extra calories as body fat. Even a fat-free food can have a lot of calories. Excess calories in any form can be stored as body fat.Why do I feel leaner after a binge? ›
Research shows that after a cheat meal, the body increases its metabolism, causing you to burn calories faster. This is caused by increased levels of leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells and responsible for maintaining energy balance in the body.What to do after binging without gaining weight? ›
- Drink Plenty of Water. Even though you are probably retaining water, it still helps to keep flushing your system. ...
- Get Some Sleep. Clock in a little earlier each night to get some additional rest. ...
- Eat Foods That Decrease Bloating. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Balance Your Electrolytes.
Eat Dinner Early
Cut off food intake by 7 pm or 8 pm at night, and delay breakfast a little further into the day. Make sure you have at least 12 hours between your last meal tonight and your first meal tomorrow. You'll give your digestive system time to recover, and deflate your belly just in time for fun in the sun!
While it may feel like the urge will never go away unless you binge immediately, these feelings will pass with time. Our brains and bodies can't cope with long periods of intense overwhelm, and given a chance, these feelings will reduce.What exercises to do after binging? ›
Go for a Walk
One easy way to get your dinner digesting better is to do some easy, low-impact cardio post-binge.
While eating too many calories will cause weight gain, because your body stores any excess calories as body fat, overeating at one or even a couple of meals won't undo your weight loss progress. However, in the meantime you might see a temporary difference on the scale.