Cycle of Overeating and Restricting

Mario eating food

Mario eating a S’More

Ew, gross. That is your first thought when you wake up and look in the mirror. The stresses of work, traumas of the past, and pressures in your relationship are all too much to handle, so you skip breakfast. And snacks. And lunch. Before you know it, the sun has set in the evening, and you still haven’t eaten one bite.

Head whirling like a carousal, you stumble over to the fridge to make a salad. Healthy, right? But the leftover cake catches your eye. Just one bite, one little nibble…a half of an hour later, the cake is gone as is a jar of peanut butter. Still, you continue to search, now in a state of frenzy, for more food. Your stomach cries out like a ravenous beast as you tear about the kitchen in search of prey.

After a tiring binge, you lie down for sleep. The barren craven of your stomach that throbbed all day now aches as Noah’s flood rages inside of you. Lulled to sleep by your own tears, you promise to not eat anything tomorrow. You must be stronger.

This cycle of restricting and binging is all too familiar for people with and eating disorder. Thankfully, I have not ever been at this extreme. However, finding the right amount of food is very difficult to do. For one thing, even people without an eating disorder are disordered eaters.

So, what can break this dangerous and miserable cycle? I am still trying to figure that out myself. Here are a few suggestions, however:

  1. Eat with others – This will help you to stay accountable. Although comparing your food to their’s can be harmful, ask about the amount that you are eating. Just be sure that these are people you really trust.
  2. Be honest. – Often, people with eating disorders are embarrassed to admit struggles with swinging between restriction and overeating. By opening up, you will save yourself the trouble of waiting until others notice your struggle.
  3. Pack just the right amount of food. Bringing the exact can be difficult but helpful. If there is too little, you are not caring for your body. Too much food will leave you prone to binge. Talk with a dietitian to figure what is the right amount for you.
  4. Be patient with yourself. – Recovery is not simple. Learning to eat the proper amount of food will take time and effort. Try not to berate yourself for mistakes or setbacks along the way.

What are some ways that you deal with this cycle? I hope that people can be honest about this instead of hiding it in shame.


5 thoughts on “Cycle of Overeating and Restricting

  1. Mem says:

    Four excellent and do-able strategies.
    Keep working at it. You’re making great progress.
    In recovery, as like a woman who has a color the salon, it gets worse before it gets better.
    Consider the cycling back and forth part of the worse, as you give yourself permission to eat but struggle to figure it all out.

  2. […] Cycle of Overeating and Restricting – by Anna Rose Meeds […]

  3. SaneBrain says:

    These are excellent strategies! I have used some of these before and they helped me with my recovery. Awesome work!

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