Turning It around When You're Spiraling Out of Control

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan, ~INDYGIRL

Embarrassed... I admit to you all that for a few days last month I was out of control. I binged one or two times and chose really junky food that left me feeling toxic and demoralized and strangely enough like eating more of it. Sometimes I get to feeling so badly, that I eat badly, and feel worse, so I eat worse... It's really hard to dig out or even have the desire to dig out. I used to just resign myself to failing.

Since joining SparkPeople, I have done things differently when I've had these bouts. Now I know how to turn it around.

I want to share my turn-around with you so it might help you turn it around during a bad spell.

Notice first that all of it starts with feeling… feeling badly, so you eat.... Even if you started with eating something you were ashamed of, it was the feeling of shame that kept you going. In other words, an event happened, triggered you to eat, shame followed, which turned into an event itself, so you eat more, have more shame… That’s the spiral.

The BEST thing you can do for yourself is to treat yourself well. That's right, have a manicure, wear your favorite outfit, do whatever makes you feel your most beautiful or handsome. Your actions will follow how you feel. Have you ever noticed when you’re in these moods how you want to lay around in sweats or not put on cosmetics? It’s like you’re punishing body even further by making sure it isn’t allowed to look good if you can’t be “perfect” with your eating. So then you feel lousy and keep eating junk.

I also notice that when I’m in a spiral I won’t exercise, eat my vegetables, fruits, or drink my milk. It's like I have a total disregard for my body because I think “Why bother, I'm such a failure.” Then I look over at some piece of tempting food and think “I ate that extra helping of ____. I may as well…” Here is where I tell myself "If I can say 'I may as well,' I can say 'I may as well not.' "

One slice of pizza is always going to have fewer calories than two. I get a grip and feel a bit of strength coming on, as I remind myself “If I got a traffic ticket I wouldn’t break every traffic law the rest of the day. So why toss the whole day over a slice of pizza or some cookies?" These are my mantras, my powerful sayings I bring to mind when I need strength to pull through.

Then to get cravings and attitude under control, this is what works for me:

  1. Go to the Spark Start Page and reset my weight goal and date to something realistic. It gives me a fresh start and a new beginning, rather than a place from which to unbury myself.

  2. Drink extra water, tea and eat extra fruits and vegetables to get in fluids, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and natural sugars to stop my cravings. Eating extra lean protein helps me, too.

  3. Eat filling snacks that combine protein and fruit like an apple and peanut butter or cheese and pineapple. The fiber and protein keep me full, while the sweetness of the fruit helps calm my residual sugar cravings. Vegetables provide crunch and fiber to combat the nervousness that comes with coming down from a binge.

  4. This is the time to spend that money that I would spend on junk food on a fruit or veggie tray instead. They are a beautiful and delicious treat. We don't think twice about shelling out $10 for fast food or junk, but we deprive ourselves a pretty precut deli tray of fruit or veggies pretty often.

  5. When I can, I get a massage or a pedicure or anything that makes me feel special and beautiful. You can even do a spa treatment at home with one of the luxury masks or nail kits available at the store. The important thing is to get myself feeling like the beautiful person I am again and out of that “I’ll just wear sweats, stay in the house and eat” mentality. When you feel good about how you look, don’t you notice that you tend to eat less? I do anyway.

Pretty soon I feel like moving around again and be refreshed. Hope this helps you like it does me.

How do you recover after a binge? What do you do to pick yourself back up?

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PATRICIAAK 9/23/2019
:) Report
RD03875 8/20/2019
Thank you for this article, it helps! Report
ARNETTELEE 6/25/2019
thanks Report
KITTYHAWK1949 5/4/2019
Thank you. Since reading this I have treated myself to cut up fruit and veggies. We are worth it Report
KHALIA2 3/19/2019
Good thinking! Report
I am pulling myself out of the spiral now and was so glad to read your blog post, Beth! I need that reminder that we can always turn the car around. My problem is sugar. I am always caving in to sugar!!! I found how not to - avocados! They seem to calm the cravings. I mix with tomatoes, salt and pepper, maybe a premade salsa instead, and eat it right off the spoon! (No chips!!!) Keep sparkin'!!! Report
BONNIE1552 3/15/2019
I'm trying to resist driving to the grocery store to buy a bag of cookies. Report
Haha! Last night I indulged in 'healthy' junk food - and you're right, I'm wearing baggy sweats! However, I did start the day by washing my hair, and I've got a healthy plan for the day which includes more water, and more protein. Sugar and carbs certainly create a spiral of craving for more of the same, or a swing from sugar to salt, then back again! Report
U30MIN 12/18/2018
I really like the way that, in order yo stop the spiraling out of control, you recommend things that treat your body to gentleness, kindness, and compassion. Thank you :) Report
KHALIA2 12/6/2018
Great tips! Report
Glad to see I'm not the only one who goes through this! I've allowed myself to spiral out of control at the moment and am having some difficulty getting myself back on track.

One unrelated point: In the 2nd sentence of this article you spoke of "feeling BADLY." Unless you are unskilled at experiencing emotions, you feel BAD, not badly. "Feeling BADLY" means you're not very good at it. Sorry; I'm a teacher; can't help myself. Report
I love # 4...it makes so much sense to me. I am going to start doing that. Report
Interesting Report
great thanks Report
I like the article. It gave me some insight on how to right this ship I'm in. Report
Fascinating article. Report
Thank you Report
good article--glad you posted it. Report
It's like you were reading my mind when you wrote this. This is exactly what happens to me...up to the sweats and no makeup. Holy crap what an eye opener to say the least! Report
Very interesting article. Report
Encouragement for the times we all will experience on occasion. Thanks!
My "a-ha" from this article was that pre-cut fruit/veggie trays cost just as much as that fatty delivery pizza I just got. Good point for me to remember next time! Report
Good info Report
Good tips Report
hen I was learning to fly, recovering from a spin was a series of specific steps, level the wings, stop the descent, establish a safe rate of climb. This is similar, take the steps to stop the tailspin and recovery will follow! Report
Great blog and ideas: simple, realistic and sound inspiration. Thanks! Report
I have been off track the last few days, and this is exactly what I needed to read. The timing could not have been better - thank you so much. Report
These tips and your mantras are as golden now as they were in 2010! Report
Good tips. Thanks. Report
How inspirational! This will help me get through the holidays without feeling defeated! Report
Exactly what i needed today
I've never been a huge eater of junk food. My downfall when I'm spiralling is peanut butter. And not just a tablespoon on a slice of bread. Two, mixed with corn syrup and slathered on.....my mouth waters thinking about it. And then, the guilt. And you're right. I often look at fruit trays at the grocery store and don't purchase one. And now I'm thinking "why not?" Too me, it seems like the perfect idea, especially with summer here. Report
How to help me refocus...so hard sometimes. Ice cream in the freezer, cheesecake left over from the 4th. No willpower. Tomorrow is a new day and a new start! Report
I really needed this today. Thank you. Report
This was a great read on a day when I really needed it. Thank you! Report
so glad i logged in this morning..... i needed to be inspired before going to work.... the traffic ticket did it for me.... and you are right.... 1 pc of pizza is less than 2 (or 4)
Need to read this. Thanks for sharing! Report
I've been feeling crappy and totally guilty for the past few days. I needed to read your uplifting and inspirational blog. Thanks so much for sharing! :D Report
felt lost today, but this is exactly what I needed to read....Thanks Report
Thanks so much this has helped me to get motivated again. I plan on using the advice in this article.
This is a good article . I plan to try some of the things it has mentioned today Report
Sometimes I get depressed, but now if I have a binge, I remember that I am human and sometimes we all take a few steps back. Report
The traffic ticket analogy was great and true! Report
First great blob - very realistic for many of us. I believe the best defence is a good offense. I look for things that set me off and try to combat those prior to the binge occurring. I also try to remind myself that the answer to problems are not found in food in fact it usually makes it worse. I like these suggestions in the article as well. Also sometimes I try to substitute the type of comfort food for something healthier - an extra serving of vegetables of a meal of pasta rather then candy. Report
This is an excellent article. I have read it several times now as I have been falling off the wagon as of late. I feel so badly sometimes I just don't feel like monitoring and measuring and eating every thing right! Perhaps I'm burned out, but by golly I am determined to get this weight off. This article is a huge help in getting me back on track!

You are right on point. I could have written this. Thanks for the suggestions to pull yourself up. Please keep the inspiration and motivation coming. Report
Love this! Great tips like treating yourself to a fruit tray (I always talk myself out of spending money on those!) and having a massage or mani/pedi. Report
I, too, recognize the spiral set off by one binge. It feels like a little voice in my head compelling me to self-destruct: thou shallt not be happy. Sometimes, not always, it helps me to pause, breathe, be aware of what I really need. Report
Wow!!! I loved your blog. It was like seeing myself in the mirror... I kept nodding.. " aha... oh, yes... me too"
Off to get a pedicure as soon as I am done here... thanks! Report
I especially like the "I may as well not" bit. This is my downfall time and again. Thanks for sharing! Report