Do you feel guilty after you binge? Do you feel apathetic, resigned, or indifferent? These are all feelings that make sense to feel after you do something that’s so destructive to your life. But are they useful? That’s not really a question we consider.
In this episode, I’m talking about how our post-binge feelings affect our future binges and how you can make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. You have authority over how you handle yourself after you binge so listen in to find out how you can do better and be better.
Hi! You feeling good? I am. I’m so ready to record this podcast for you!
Let’s get down to business. Let’s talk about how you feel after a binge.
Most likely, you’re going to feel bad. I’m not just talking about feeling physically bad, that’s pretty inevitable if you’re stuffing your stomach to capacity. What I’m talking about in this episode today is how you’re feeling emotionally.
Binge eating is probably not something you’re going to feel good about. You’re not going to be happy that you binged. It makes sense that you would feel bad.
But, although it makes sense, is it useful to feel bad?
I have a client who used to feel really guilty about her bingeing. Each time it would happen, she’d feel guilty and beat herself up for it and feel bad about it into the next day.
A few weeks ago, she shared with me that she no longer feels guilty and questioned whether or not that was good or bad.
She was worried that if she didn’t feel bad about it, then she’d just keep doing it.
I think this is a legitimate concern for a lot of people when they don’t feel guilty.
They think the guilt shows them it’s important and that they care.
They think it’s the guilt that keeps them motivated to stop doing it.
But is it?
What guilt really is, is thinking you did something wrong and the guilt is driving you to beat yourself up, which is not useful.
Beating yourself up doesn’t lead to any kind of positive action.
Really think about what you actually do when you’re feeling guilty. You over think things, you talk negatively to yourself, you might even go back to eating more food.
You’re not coming up with productive plans for doing better next time and building yourself back up, you’re not doing any of that.
Guilt also isn’t stopping you from the next binge you might have.
How many times have you felt guilty about a binge and then binged again the next time you felt an urge to do it?
It’s not like you’re stopping and thinking, “Well, I felt really guilty the last time I binged so I’m not going to do it again.” I mean, maybe you do, and maybe that does stop you from going ahead with the binge and that’s great. But it’s still not that guilt you felt after the previous binge that stops you this time, it’s your thought in this moment with this urge that stops you.
Your last binge and your current urge are two separate moments with separate thoughts and feelings. After the binge you feel a feeling and then later when you’re feeling an urge you’re feeling a new feeling.
That guilt you felt before doesn’t matter. It’s not relevant. What’s relevant is what you think about this urge and about giving in to it right now.
That previous guilt doesn’t stop you. That previous guilt only affect you in the moment that you’re feeling it and that moment when the new urges comes is no longer that moment. Unless it is, you’re feeling guilty because you just ate or binged and a new urge comes on and I’ll tell you, that’s not a useful combination to have. I know I never ate well when I was feeling an urge and guilt at the same time. That was a recipe for a binge for me.
So feeling guilty after a binge isn’t motivating you, showing you care, or stopping you from having another binge.
You can both be motivated and care without ever feeling guilty. Guilt, is not necessary.
But if you’re not going to feel guilty, what are you going to feel?
Like I said before, you’re not going to feel happy about it. You’re not going to be pleased with what you just did.
Well, actually, I hear from some of you that you are. You don’t always get negatively affected by your binges.
And this may or may not be a good thing.
Between the negative and positive is neutral, as we know.
And in that neutral zone, there’s a bit of a spectrum between a more negative side and a more positive side.
If you’re ultimately, in the big picture, being negatively affected by your binge eating, if it’s causing results in your life that you don’t want, then being on that negative side of neutral can be a dangerous place to be.
The kinds of feelings I’m talking about here are ones like apathy, resignation and indifference. It’s those feelings where you don’t care about what you did in a way that allows you to just move on from it without learning anything from it.
You just push it out of your mind, don’t think about it, and try to forget it ever happened.
But here’s the thing. It did happen. And if you don’t take time to understand why it happened and strategize for next time, then it’s just going to happen again. You’re just going to keep repeating the same mistakes which will continue creating those results you have in your life that you don’t want.
It’s one thing to not care and never think about it again, and it’s another to care, to not be upset about it, to accept it, to be curious about it, and to calmly get to work on understanding, strategizing, and planning for the future.
This is the positive side of neutral. This is not feeling bad, not feeling indifferent, not feeling good, but feeling forgiving, compassionate, curious, and encouraged.
These aren’t going to bring you down, they’re going to move you forward.
The most important thing you can do after you binge is to figure out why you did it.
Each binge you have is an opportunity to learn about your triggers, your weak spots, and where you have work to do.
If you’re anywhere on that negative side of the spectrum then you’re not going to do it. You’re going to do nothing.
If you binge, there’s a good chance your immediate reaction will be to feel guilty, regretful, disappointed, or ashamed afterward. Those feelings might come up.
But don’t stay there. Don’t stay in misery about the mistake you just made.
Bring yourself into a useful feeling which will drive you into useful actions that will set you up to do better next time.
And if you’re not sure about how to get into a useful feeling, have you been listening to any of the episodes where I’ve mentioned that it’s your thoughts that cause your feelings? Because that’s how you do it. You decide how you want to feel and you think a thought that will cause you to feel it.
For example, a thought that can cause forgiveness could be, “You made a mistake and it’s okay.”
Much better than, “You’re an idiot, I can’t believe you did that again, you’re never going to overcome this.” That my friend, is not where you want to be.
So if you binge, aim for the useful feelings, not the super negative ones.
It really is your choice.
It may not be a quick transition from negative to neutral if your brain automatically goes to negative first, but don’t give up on thinking more usefully. Move yourself in the direction you want to go and it will take as long as it takes for you to get there.
Have a great week, I’ll talk to you next time. Bye bye.