How Do I Start Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder?
Maybe you've known for a while that your binge eating disorder (BED) is out of control. Maybe you've been deciding if you should ask for help. Starting BED recovery can be confusing, and the steps you need to take are difficult to navigate on your own. Recovery from BED requires a shift in the way you think about yourself, your body, and your relationship with food. When you're struggling to make it through each day without bingeing, it's difficult to create a fresh perspective. So how do you begin to recover from binge eating?
Asking for Help to Start Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder
Before I asked for help with BED, I received treatment for restrictive eating. I would talk to my counselor and dietician about my restrictive routines, but I would leave out my struggle with binge eating. I was embarrassed and ashamed to ask for help with the full reality of my eating disorder. I ended my treatment, and I continued to struggle.
After many years, I was able to find a different counselor and share my experience with BED. With the help of a fresh perspective from my counselor, I observed my behavior and began to restart my binge eating disorder recovery.
If you're wondering if you have BED or are trying to recover on your own, I recommend finding someone outside of yourself to help support you and answer your questions. A counselor, a friend, or an online or in-person support group can be useful. You are initiating change for your life when you take the brave leap to ask for help.
How to Begin Binge Eating Disorder Recovery
My BED recovery began with a leap of faith. My counselor encouraged me to "legalize all foods," meaning I would allow myself to eat what sounded good to me. I would practice listening to when my body was hungry and full. The rules I'd had about what I could eat and what I couldn't eat prevented me from recovering in the past. While having rules about food made me feel like I could control my weight, they also led me to binge from hunger or obsession over forbidden food.1
The transition into intuitive eating takes daily practice and self-observation. With most meals, I had to ask myself: Am I eating this because it sounds good? Or am I eating this because I believe it will keep me from gaining weight? After almost two years, I am still practicing listening to my body instead of my eating disorder.
Tips to Begin Binge Eating Disorder Recovery
These are the steps I took when I initially started recovering from BED.
- Give up the scale and trust -- In recovery, you stop trying to regulate your weight through dieting. You must learn to trust your body. When you weigh yourself, you can trigger the need to try and control your weight. A mantra I use is: "My body gets to decide what weight it is comfortable at."
- Focus on regular eating patterns -- After legalizing all foods and deciding to trust your body to regulate your weight, you can practice building a routine of regular eating during the day. Once you begin to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time each day, you'll notice your cravings to binge will be reduced.
- Spend your downtime on what you value -- During the beginning of my BED recovery, I would visit my family often so I could remind myself that I am cared about. What is something kind you could do for yourself? What have you not had the time to do in a while that you enjoy?
I hope these tips and insights help you start recovery from BED. Keep your eyes open this next week for opportunities to reach out to other people and share yourself. You deserve to be seen and heard.
- Mullen, M., "Is it Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Are You Stuck in a Vicious Cycle?" Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association, Accessed March 8, 2022.
Parten, E. (2022, March 9). How Do I Start Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, November 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2022/3/how-do-i-start-recovering-from-binge-eating-disorder