Five Ways to Beat the Binge/Purge Urge

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For those struggling with bulimia, the desire to binge and purge can be overwhelming. If you are struck with the urge to binge and purge, stay strong and look for ways to cope that don’t involve eating disorder behaviors.

Take time

Clinical evidence shows the longer you can separate the action of purging from the impulse to do so, the more likely it is that the urge will lessen. By taking a break and engaging in a mindful activity for 5-10 minutes, you can work to ease the intensity of your feelings. You could do laundry, go for a relaxing walk, work in the garden, take a long shower, or any other activity that provides a distraction.

Make a list

If you are a writer or someone who finds it challenging to sit still, try making a list instead. Write down and answer the following questions. 

  • Why do I want to binge and purge?
  • What am I feeling? Happy? Sad? Hungry? Full? Anxious? Angry? Lonely?
  • What will bingeing and purging give me? What will it take away?
  • What can I do instead?

Once you have answered these questions, reflect on your answers and focus on what you can do instead of engaging in eating disorder behaviors.

Find support

If you are experiencing a desire to use eating disorder behaviors, reach out to your support system or treatment team. Often, by talking about our wants and desires, we began to understand why we have them. These conversations can shed light on your eating and behaviors, which may make it easier to cope with them moving forward.

Take care of yourself

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s self-preservation! When you are struggling with the desire to binge and purge, it can be a slippery slope into negative feelings. Instead of engaging with the negative thoughts, try to redirect your thoughts to something more gentle. You could listen to your favorite playlist or podcast or read a book that engages your mind. If you need something a bit more active, try calling a friend, practicing progressive muscle relaxation, or taking a bath.

Reach out for treatment

Bingeing and purging are serious behaviors that have negative health consequences. If you are struggling with disordered eating, it’s essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. For specialized eating disorder treatment, reach out to The Emily Program at 1-888-364-5977.

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