Understanding Eating Disorders: Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

15 Binge Eating Recovery Tools to help bring you harmony, control, and happiness

A binge causes not only extreme physical discomfort but can also be emotionally and psychologically traumatic. The feelings of shame, guilt, and panic that often follow a binge are overwhelming, to say the least. The intense anxiety and overwhelming negative spiral you may find yourself in can mirror the level of discomfort felt physically by the binge. It is common that after a binge, feelings of isolation and hopelessness arise. The binge cycle is powerful and may feel like you’re on a merry-go-round with no end in sight. However, binge eating disorder recovery is entirely possible! There are many forms of therapy, ways to work through the triggers, and small steps you can take everyday to slowly regain control. Below are 15 different ways you can recover yourself from binge eating disorder.

  1. Understand BED – Having a foundational knowledge of Binge Eating Disorder, what constitutes a binge, what triggers a binge and what is common practice after a binge, will help those who are struggling start to potentially self identify and remain cognizant to when it is happening to them. Although becoming more aware of the disorder will not necessarily stop someone from engaging, it will provide a deeper understanding of what is happening and why.
  2. Pitch the Scale – Weighing yourself everyday, every other day, or even once a week is not helping you overcome binge eating disorder. There are a myriad of reasons why weight naturally fluctuates, and a person’s worth should not be dictated by the numbers that are seen on the scale. 
  3. Power in People – Reading real life accounts or memoirs from those who have also suffered from BED can be an extremely powerful tool in feeling less alone! Speaking with those who have had similar experiences and can empathize with the raw and confusing emotions you may be feeling will help lighten the load. It will also give you hope that recovery is possible, and the future is bright!
  4. Establish Routine Pt 1– What is important is to establish consistent times to eat meals throughout the day, that you adhere to, everyday. Regardless of if there was a binge or not, sticking to a routine will help ensure that you are feeding and nourishing your body in consistent intervals which can help mitigate restrictions which lead to inevitable binges.
  5. Establish Routine Pt 2 – Similar to scheduling mealtimes, it is also important to work in consistent and regular snack times. Our body has different hunger levels everyday and expecting to feel the same way day in and day out is unrealistic. Some days we eat more, and others less, however, allowing the freedom of snacks between meals will encourage you to respect and respond to hunger cues, even if it is not designated mealtime. Don’t forget, a snack is still deserved and important, even if a binge happened!
  6. Do. Not. Compensate. – Continuing to restrict after a binge will further fuel the binging…and the restricting…and the binging…etc. It might be uncomfortable to eat so closely after a binge, but it is important to remember you never have to earn food, and sticking to a routine will help your body to realign its hunger cues.
  7. Rely on Routine – Relying on a routine that pushes you to eat but takes the guesswork away will help create a subconscious rhythm for your body. When your body knows that it will remain nourished all day, hunger cues, which are our body’s way of speaking to us, will become louder and clearer.
  8. Listen Pt 1 – After a meal or snack, check in with your body to honestly assess its satisfaction level. Some foods will keep us feeling full and nourished longer, those are foods worth keeping in your regular rotation. 
  9. Listen Pt 2 – In the way that we can listen to our body to intimately understand how foods affect us, it is important to remember that sometimes our eating disorder voice is so loud it drowns everything else out. Eating to the point of satiation at meals may feel uncomfortable as your ED may tell you to stop (or keep going) but stopping when you are satisfied is an ideal place to be.
  10. Listen Pt 3 – The most vulnerable listening you can do is listening to your body when a binge urge arises. Learning to identify the urges and triggers early will help to potentially prevent them from happening.
  11. Post-Binge Assessment – Although the negative spiral post binge can feel like a free fall, it is important to assess the binge itself. Perhaps it was shorter or less food was consumed. That is progress and should be celebrated. 
  12. Challenge Yourself – Particular foods are commonly included in a binge, although these differ by individual. Try purchasing these foods in small quantities and portions and eating them in a controlled environment. Taking away the power these foods have can potentially lessen the urge to binge on them.
  13. Challenge the Food – In the same vein as challenging yourself by allowing controlled consumption of trigger foods, start to unpack what these foods mean to you. Often, there are emotional associations with these foods and getting to the root of what they mean can free you of the control it feels like they have over you. 
  14. Allow for Vulnerability – Finding a safe person to speak to about what you are experiencing can be incredibly cathartic. Speaking up and out about what you are feeling may be the first step to recovery. 
  15. Be Gentle – Eating Disorders aren’t recovered from in a day. Be gentle with yourself when you have minor, or major setbacks. The road is not linear, and some days may feel tremendously hard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t all be worth it!

Although recovery is possible, and the above 15 steps can provide incredible tools for someone who is suffering from BED, it is important to understand that Binge Eating Disorder is a serious eating disorder that may require therapeutic intervention to support sustained and long-term recovery. 


Q: How long does it take to recover from Binge Eating Disorder?

A: The recovery time frame differs from patient to patient. There is, however, a general understanding that eating disorders require up to a year of more intensive work, where after a year the patient is usually in a better and more stable state. However, for someone to fully recover from an eating disorder it can take years, upwards of a decade.

Q: Should I do cardio after binge eating?

A: No. Doing anything that compensates for a binge will continue to perpetuate the binge-restrict cycle, which is what should be avoided. If, however, the patient routinely engages in mindful cardio, it is okay to continue doing so after a reasonable amount of time has passed from the binge. 

Q: How many calories is a binge?

A: A binge can’t be quantified by the calories consumed. A binge is very subjective and dynamic, varying from person to person and situation to situation. A defining feature of a binge is feeling out of control while eating. 

Dr. Natalie Mulligan graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). She completed her clinical internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic with a focused interest in mental health. Prior to attending CCNM, she completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Waterloo.