The Morning After (a Binge)


You binged last night. You feel sick and bloated, you’re sure you gained like a million pounds, and you don’t want to go out in public.

Your first instinct is to diet-plan: make some clean eating grocery lists, pin a few new recipes, and prep some meals.

Now, you may not remember in the rush of diet-planning, but diets don’t work. Sure, in the short term, you might feel back in control (I’m definitely not going to binge this time!) and lose a few pounds. But in the medium term, you’ll feel (and likely actually physically be) deprived, binge-eat, and end up trapped in the diet-binge cycle. And in the long term, you’ll gain weight.

So, the morning after a binge, don’t diet-plan, and don’t diet.

Here’s what to do instead: manage your present moment.

The only thing you can do, really, is manage your present moment. Because literally, the present moment is all you have.

Here’s how to manage your present moment. The morning after a binge, pause for a moment and check in. What’s coming up for you?

Here’s how that might go:

I feel sick. How would you take care of a little girl who felt sick? How about some rest? Some broth? Some ginger tea? How about some Netflix? Do that.

I feel bloated. Would a heating pad help? Taking a nap? Going to the bathroom? Movement? What would serve you right now? Do that.

I feel like I gained a million pounds. A. k. a. I feel fat. Fat is not a feeling and that’s a whole discussion worthy of its own blog post (or like, many blog posts, or, better yet, a telephone call), but in the meantime, here’s what I want you to remember: you live in a society that abhors, fears, and condemns fatness. So of course you use the words I feel fat to describe discomfort in and anxiety about your body. (You’re normal and it’s not your fault.)

So when you say I feel fat, what does that mean? Does it mean your pants aren’t fitting like they usually do? Does it mean you feel unloved or lonely? Do you feel unmoored and off-center?

What’s making you uncomfortable and how can you address it right now? Maybe there’s something you can do in this moment, or maybe there’s not and you have to learn to sit with that discomfort that manifests as “feeling fat.”

I don’t want to go out in public. It makes sense that you don’t want to go out in public when you’re not feeling well and when the society you live in is so fatphobic and expects your conformity to its “beauty” standard.

So don’t go out in public. Or do. Give yourself a break to take care of yourself. Or not. Either way, give yourself as much grace as you can, from moment-to-moment.

Maybe these are the types of things that come up for you when you check in the morning after a binge, or maybe there’s something else. Be as gentle and compassionate as you can with yourself, and try not to get caught in the allure of planning another diet.

Rather, take care of yourself from moment-to-moment.

Holland Hettinger