Binge Eating When I Come Home from School

By October 29, 2012

Howdy. I’ve been in recovery for anorexia for 10 months now, and I’ve come a long way (praise God for His power). However, I started battling binge eating and bulimia during those months and I’m still battling it. One of the hardest times is when I come home from school and have a good 3-4 hours by myself with nothing to do. The temptation to go in the kitchen is overwhelming. I can tell that when I eat better in the morning and at lunch that it’s not as big of a problem, but it’s still horribly painful and tempting to not go in the kitchen to binge and then purge. Any advice? – anonymous

Dear anonymous,

I share your gratitude for God’s Holy power. Congratulations on your 10 month recovery! You are actively pursuing a life outside of restriction and severe control. I am amazed at your insight in to what is a current “trigger” for binge episodes. Realize it is not uncommon for persons to “swing” on the continuum of disordered eating. You are choosing to consume food after a length of apparent restriction of certain fats or foods. When one begins to “re-feed” their body a healing process begins in the body and I have had clients report that they find themselves craving or being drawn to binge on simple carbohydrates or sugar foods. Many clients state that this is an anxiety provoking experience.

Obviously, you have experimented with the fact that when you eat a balanced breakfast and lunch the desire or drive to binge is less. On your own you have generated one solution. Choose to eat well so that your body is reassured that you are in fact going to be meeting its needs with nutrient full foods. Next, you have identified a specific time when you feel most vulnerable to a binge (after school/alone/”nothing to do”). Again, I have found through the shared stories of many that when a person is relatively new in their recovery (under 5 years) times when they are alone are most challenging. Probably most of your energy has been spent on issues directly related to the disordered eating and you have not had the energy or time to note “what I do when I am not practicing disordered eating”. We can become good at designing a recovery plan (food plans/exercise/support groups/accountability) but we lack practice at designing our lives (what we do when the disorder is not lurking) without the problem.

For the immediate future change one thing. Consider not going home immediately after school. Go home one hour later or 30 minutes later. Find a volunteer opportunity in your community or a pace to serve during that span of time that allows you to experiment with things that might become a long term interest for you to do when you are no longer hassled by disordered eating. You have already begun with great accomplishments—you are claiming your freedom from disordered eating…and I applaud you!