It’s been a tough day, week, month!  You’ve been struggling with your eating behaviors and you’ve been upset that you’ve starting binging more often.  Things had been going well for awhile and you thought you had the binging under control.  You convinced yourself after every binge that you won’t binge again.  And then, it happens again and again.  You may feel like a failure, disappointed in yourself or just tired of dealing with this issue.  But maybe you’ve been thinking about this all wrong without knowing it.

Ever wonder why you are struggling? It may be due to intergenerational trauma.  Learn more by viewing my TEDxPleasantGrove talk:

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Hello everybody! Welcome to the show! Today I’m going to answer a very important question to you and that question is “What should you do after you binge?” Stay tuned.

It’s been a tough week and It’s been a tough few months and I know most of us have been struggling to maintain our eating behaviors and you may have been struggling too. And maybe you’ve been finding that you’re bingeing more than you thought you would. Maybe things had been going well for a while and you thought you had to bending under control and you may have convinced yourself after every binge that that was the last one that you weren’t going to do it again. And then guess what? it does happen again and again. So I know that many I’ve been talking to people actually from around the world. I had a conversation with a woman from Brasilia, the capital of Brazil and I’ve talked to people in Canada and the United States and I know we’re all experiencing a lot right now. And if you’ve been bingeing more often in response to all of the stress, you may feel like a failure or some people tell me that they feel just disappointed in themselves or just tired of dealing with this issue. But maybe the problem is that you’ve been thinking about this all wrong, thinking about it from the wrong perspective. So instead of trying to prevent a binge, what I want to talk to you about today is what to do after you binge? That’s a time when you’re probably most able to make the important changes in your thinking that will enable you to actually change your behavior, you know, trying to prevent a binge, sounds good, but it usually doesn’t work. It’s usually harder to prevent a binge. Once you already are caught up in the cycle of feeling, whatever you’re feeling and then using crude to self-sooth or to non yourself. So instead of trying to prevent a binge, let’s talk about what you can do instead. Well, we know that binge eating is always followed by self-judgment, right? So whatever happens in the binge happens and then here we go, we beat ourselves up, judge yourself over and over and this just strengthens the vicious cycle of bingeing. Now I’m hearing you think that what in your mind beating yourself up helps you stay in line. So like Dr. Phil says, I’m going to ask you, how is that working for you? Because if that truly worked, then you wouldn’t be having bingeing episodes and they wouldn’t be occurring more and more.

So self-judgment and I’ve talked about this in previous podcasts and, and other videos just really strengthens the disordered eating part of yourself. It just reinforces, you know, a bad person, I’m a failure then why should I even try? I might as well just keep bingeing. So this, you know, the cycle of bingeing often starts with a trigger usually related to some kind of stress that is going on in your life and it may not even be something that you’re thinking that much about. Maybe you’re just passively going through social media and you’re not even aware of how it’s affecting you or you’re listening to the news or watching news videos on YouTube. And before you know, it you’re at the refrigerator or at the freezer getting out the ice cream. So, this type of stress though leads to uncomfortable emotions and that’s the part that usually gets, it gets skipped, it’s unconscious to many of us. So these uncomfortable emotions then trigger feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, and sometimes even hopelessness. And then after that, so you have the emotions, you have these feelings of negative self-worth and then you may have thoughts such as I’m a failure, I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough, or I’m not lovable. Now it is these emotions and those self-judgmental thoughts and beliefs that then set you up for the next binge. So, before you were even thinking up about binge eating, you’ve already then set up for your next binge. So after you binge, if you’re able to recognize this pattern of stress, leading to bingeing behavior, leading to emotional upset and self-judgment, you have a chance to intervene and do something different.

So here are three points in the binge cycle, or you can use your awareness of this pattern to interrupt unwanted behaviors. The first point is write after you binge. So get up from the table, get up from the couch, write after you’ve binge and instead of starting that cycle of beating yourself up, soften towards yourself, acknowledge that you’ve had a binge. Yeah. I had a binge and then before you start hating on yourself, find something encouraging to say to yourself. So it could goes something like this. Okay. So that happened, meaning I binged, but it doesn’t make me a failure. It does make me a disappointment. It doesn’t make me weak either tomorrow is a new day and I don’t want to carry these negative feelings with me. So you don’t have to use that sentence. You can come up with any affirmation. That you want to use, but come up with something that you can use over and over. When you start to go down that path of, you know, what’s wrong with me, why can’t I fix this, why do I have to keep dealing, you know, that constant, like being on a treadmill of thoughts and feelings that never you can never get off of. So that’s the first time right after the binge softened towards yourself.

The second opportunity is reflecting back on the binge You can identify if possible, identify your emotional trigger. So maybe later that day or the next day, never, you’ve kind of come back into your body and not more conscious. See if you can understand what you were feeling before you binged, where are you feeling? I don’t know, frustration, anger, maybe it was just a brief flicker of emotional response to something you saw on TV or something someone said to you at work, that you didn’t even think bothered you, but it really did bother you maybe had a talk with someone that upset you.  Did you spend too much time online watching the news? That’s wooh! That’s a major trigger for me, I have to really take a news break and not obsessed about what’s going on in the world. I want to be informed, but I don’t want to obsess and I particularly don’t want to watch new stations or news sources that just wrap up a person’s fear. And I know I have patients coming to me all the time who say that, you know, I saw this on such and such news channel or saw the sun such and such YouTube channel and it just makes me afraid. So if I find myself feeling fearful, then I want to change my new station, or I want to take a break from the news. So whatever the trigger was and maybe it wasn’t even something you noticed, you may have to go back a day, two days a week. Maybe it was something that happened when you had an interaction with a family member that’s a typical one that I hear. Ask yourself, how did it make you feel and try to come up with an actual emotion? So not like I just felt, you know, that that person was wrong, that’s not an emotion, just saying. Okay. So the emotions are fear, anger you can even throw in frustration if you must, joy sadness, guilt, shame, things like that. Okay. So see if you can use one of those one word descriptions I felt, and then the emotion should really be one word. So I felt angry, I felt sad, I felt can add lonely, I felt anxious, whatever the word is, should be one word. If you’re using three sentences, then you know, you’re not talking about your emotions. You’re talking about your thoughts. Alright, so let’s review right after the binge softened towards yourself, acknowledged at the binge happened and then find something encouraging to say to yourself. Number two, reflect back on the bench, identify your emotion, but you felt before you’ve binged and remember that it may be something small, maybe something that happened several days ago. See if you can identify your emotion.

And then finally, number three, recognize that you can build a different off-ramp. Okay. Well, what do I mean by that? Well, I, you know, I kinda think visually about a lot of things. So I think of the binge cycle is like a highway that you’ve taken over and over and once you get on that highway, there is no way for you to get off until you’ve had that binge. But what you may not realize is that you can build your own off-ramp. If you know the emotions and thoughts and self-judgements that form the pattern that trigger your binges then you can build off ramps that give you a way to take a detour away from the next binge.

So one off ramp could be attached to the emotion you identified in number two. As soon as you feel that emotion, like if you can stay aware and feel your feelings like, Oh, I’m feeling angry. Well, that’s a, that’s a, usually a trigger for me to binge if I’m feeling angry, I need to do something different. Right or you know, another off ramp could be attached to recognizing when you fall into negative self talk or self judgment. So if you have that feeling, just think of how it feels when you say those negative things to yourself, like I’m just worthless. I’m no good. I’m just a disappointment. Just feel how that feels in your body and see if you can lock in that feeling and if that feeling comes up, that’s a red flag for you that it’s time to get on the off ramp. So if you’re used to being on the highway to your next binge, it will take practice to see the possible off-ramps and to build off ramps that takes practice too. And it will also take willingness to make that detour, bingeing is the easiest and quickest way to find comfort. No doubt about it, but when you think about it, you know, that the comfort you get from a binge does not last very long. So if you’re willing to try and practice other ways to soothe yourself, you will find these, build these new offer amps and, and they will provide you with skills that work much better than just using food. Once you know how to use them once you practice them and what you’re willing to make that detour. Okay. So I’d like to do a little guided process with you right now that will maybe illustrate a little bit better for you, how this all connects and how that, you know, highway to the next binge is, is like an automatic thing for you. So if you’re not driving. You’re not in a big meeting with your boss. I know you’re not listening to a podcast when you’re in a meeting, but you know, you want to be someplace private where you won’t get interrupted. So find a place to sit, put your feet flat on the ground or the floor be comfortable. But make sure your body’s well supported and just slow your thoughts down. Take a deep breath in, through your nose and out through your mouth. Now let’s breathe in to the count of five and breathe out to the count of five. Okay. So breathing in two, three, four, five, exhale, two, three four, five breathe in two, three, four, five, exhale too. Three, four, five, one more time breathing in two, three, four, five, exhale. Two, three, four, five. Just scan your body make sure that your jaw is not clenched. Allow your shoulders to move away from your years. Just allow your hands to rest comfortably in your lap. Make sure you’re not holding tension in your chest, your upper back, the lower back and if you are just breathe into that area and release the tension in your out-breath now moving into your belly and your hips again. Just those areas melting into the chair where you’re sitting. Wow. Your thighs to be very relaxed. You need your lower legs and your feet. Now I want you to imagine yourself at an old timey outdoor drive in movie. Yeah. You’re sitting in the car. You’re by yourself. It’s very private because it’s dark and in front of you, it was a large movie screen. Now on that screen, just play the last. The previous three or four days before your last binge, see yourself at home, doing what you do on a daily basis, having breakfast with your family or alone, working whether you working from home or going into an office now. Driving to the grocery store. Just go through your day, day to day and notice any times when you felt any tightness or tension or when your mind became chaotic with thoughts of fears or self-judgements or any kind of emotions that pass through your life in the past three days, you’re seeing you’re in life, up on the big screen, maybe it was a call from your mother or from your mother-in-law. Maybe it was an illness in a family member. I just noticed the events that occurred before your last binge. You’re watching them, like you’re watching a movie. Leading up to the binge. For see if you can identify the trigger. Yeah. And was it loneliness? Was it a phone call? Was it an argument? It was a feeling of frustration. Was it fear? Was it, can you find that emotion, that one word emotion, when you find that one word emotion. Now, see if you can just allow yourself to feel whatever that is and notice how that feels in your body. So if your emotion was anger, maybe you feel your jaw clenching on your shoulders become very tight. If it’s loneliness, maybe you feel a heaviness in your chest and your body. Not just pay attention to that emotion and pay attention to how it feels in your body and just allow yourself to feel that feeling, breathe into it. If you feel it in your chest directed. Direct your breath into your chest. If you feel it in your shoulders, direct your breath into your shoulders. Again, just put your attention on the emotion and how it feels in your body. You can in your mind’s eye, see yourself feeling. That emotion on the big screen. Does your character on the big screen? Does she have tears in her eyes? Is your face flushed? Maybe her hands are balled up in a fist or maybe she’s punching pillow or pacing in her home. Just notice and experience what she’s feeling. Now, after that next, you want to identify the self-judgment set happen when you feel that way, feelings of worthlessness, disappointment, feeling like you’re weak, you should have done differently and just see how the, those self-judgements affect on her on the big screen. Just notice how she is affected by those thoughts. Do her shoulders droop, do your eyes go doll, do you notice that she looks deflated? Just pay attention to what you’re seeing on the big screen.

You know, what’s coming next and that’s the binge. You don’t need to re-experience that. So instead let’s experience what it would be like to take an off ramp. So again, go back to watching yourself on the big screen. Feeling the emotion that you identified, just pretend it was anger. How can you build an off ramp? So feel the anger in your body. Breathe into that anger. Now let’s use breath, work to deal with the anger. So we can do the four square breath breathing into the count of four, holding the in breath for four, breathing out to the count of four, holding the out-breath for four. Let’s do that a couple of times together breathing in two, three, four, hold. Two, three, four, exhale. Two three, four, three and two, three, four, hold to three, four, two, hree four hold, two, three, four. And you can go back to breathing normally. And just to notice whether that breath work, helped her with her anger. If it didn’t. And what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a couple of other options that we can try if it’s available to you and you like doing it, you can take a bubble bath. You can also take a walk around the block or if your gym is open, we’ll work out at the gym. None of those are working for her. Maybe she can call a friend and talk about her frustration or her anger. So those are the potential off-ramps. Now, if you miss that first off ramp, the next off ramp can come when you notice yourself with all that negative self-talk. So when you start hearing yourself, beating yourself up, hating on yourself, that’s another off-ramp that you can build. You got to build fast because of binges coming up next, you can use the exact same skills or you can try new ones. So we talked about self-soothing, the five senses that can be putting a drop of essential oil lavender on your pillow or on a napkin that you keep in your person that you just breathe in throughout the day. We can talk about taking a small vacation in your mind’s eye, where you do something like guided imagery and I’ve offered you free access to the loving kindness meditation. Sometimes that can help you can use the distraction skill of, you know, walking around the block, calling a friend, all of those can be used. So just allow yourself to imagine yourself doing any of those that strike you as appealing and just see yourself like practicing. Maybe you’re getting a pretend massage, a virtual massage, and maybe the massage therapist is using essential oils. Maybe you can finally go and get a nanny Patty, and that can be your distraction. Or you can read a book that’s uplifting or download a funny, hilarious movie.

All of those techniques, which we take many of them for granted can help be. Off-ramps. That take you off the highway that automatically leads to your next binge. So, as I said, bingeing is the easiest and quickest way we can find comfort. It’s what you’ve known many of you since you were children, but if you think about it, that comfort only lasts a short while and it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to try to prevent the binge. It’s exhausting to recover from the binge. So if you have the willingness to try and practice other ways too soon, yourself, you will find that these new skills work much better once you practice them over and over and over. So I encourage you to take any of the skills Ijust have talked to you about. And to end the meditation, just take a deep breath in that sail through your mouth, gently open your eyes whenever you’re ready. Keep that visual image of yourself that you saw on the movie screen, because that showed you the pattern of your binge. And we practiced how to build off ramps off of your binge highway. So if you keep that visual image, you can come back to that at any time, and it will allow you to get off that vicious circle of benching and feeling bad about yourself and benching and so on.

If you want more help. Building your own personal off-ramps.  If you want more support, if you want to learn more about how I work with people with binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, food addiction, and emotional eating. The anchor program, we’ll be starting a new group very soon. So you can schedule a free consult. Just go to my website, That’s a-n-c-h-o-r and click the button that says book a consult. You book a consult we talk about your own personal issues and whether or not you decide to join the anchor program. I promise you you’ll get a lot out of that consultation with me. So again, don’t give up on yourself. If you’ve been on the fence and you’re thinking, Oh, I can’t do it. Things are so uncertain. Sometimes the best time to work on your own issues is at a time like this. I know the astrologers have, my sister always sends me a astrology reports and they say that this time of the year and this time in our lives is the time to work on these, what we call the shadow sides of ourselves. The parts of ourselves that we haven’t accepted, whether we have an addiction or an eating disorder or depression or anxiety that actually astrologically whatever that means. This is not something I’m an expert in. So I’m telling you wrong and there are astrologers listening please let me know. But I’ve been told by a couple of different people that now is the time to work on these parts of yourself, the shadow parts of yourself that you are ashamed of. You reject, you don’t accept as part of you. So it may seem like this isn’t the right thing to do, but feel into that. And you may find that intuitively you realize that this is exactly the time to start making these deeper changes.

Okay, well, thanks for listening. Please give us a review so we can get more people listening to the podcast and I look forward to talking with you next time.