I binged again: After 2 years of not-dieting, I almost turned back. Here’s how I got through it with grace

I binged again. Cue the imposter syndrome & the ultimate path through it

Confession time: I binged again. It sucks. And it sucks even more lately because I feel like someone who teaches others how to stop binge eating can’t be a binge eater herself!

“I can’t be doing this. It’s my freakin’ job to not do this!” my mind shrieks.

Sheesh. Talk about a double whammy of shame.

Today I’d like to share why my latest long-term binge happened and how I got through it unlike any binge before. I hope you find it helpful if you struggle with binge eating too.

Let’s start from the beginning.

[Side note: This was originally posted almost five years ago exactly. While I am now updating it to have more clarity and conciseness (because my writing has come a long way in five years), the content itself remains the same.]

Why I binged again: My “gradual binge bender” of 2018

that time that I binged again: [image of a sinking ship with a caption 'my internal state of min at the time'] imposter syndrome: "an internal experience of intellectual phoniness"

About 3 weeks ago, I went on a gradual binge bender, which is my term for overeating a little each day for a long period of time. This one lasted about 2 weeks.

My gradual binge bender led to some weight gain, some bloat, and a lot of panic.

This is the first time that a long-term binge has happened since I gave up dieting back in 2016, so panic-mode was fully engaged. I was struggling with feeling like a fraud and other heavy emotions around my behavior.

When you couple my shame with the feelings that I was already not feeling (because that’s what every binge stems from: uncomfortable feelings that you’re trying to numb), I was about to face a whole mountain of discomfort.


But this is what I signed up for, right? Feeling your feelings is the bedrock of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness (my anti-diet approach to stopping compulsive eating), so yeah, this is EXACTLY what I signed up for.

Knowing how to stop binge eating, but not doing it

that time that I binged again: the Stop, Drop, & Feel®️ is my #1 tool to stop binge eating

tools. As you know, the Stop, Drop, and Feel (SDF) is my favorite method for stopping a binge in its tracks.

It simply involves getting curious about your feelings when you’re about to binge or on a binge. Nine times out of ten, it gives you the ability to choose to feel those feelings instead of numbing with food.

This is my favorite tool because it works! Try it before you dismiss it, because it is truly amazing how it takes the compulsion out of compulsive eating (which means you have access to free will, and you can choose to eat or not eat – truly).

Here’s a video on how it works:

how to stop a binge in its tracks with the Stop, Drop, & Feel®️

Sometimes the discomfort is too high to be willing to feel your edginess, though. This was my case these last few weeks.

I had just moved into a new apartment that had more quirks than I hoped; sustained a knee injury that kept me from my favorite things like surfing; and felt stuck with a heavy case of loneliness.

Enter: food.

As the binges slowly started happening, I was aware of it. But I couldn’t stop. Many of us know this as being in awareness hell. Each time I ate past fullness, I knew it was because I was so freaking uncomfortable that I was seeking comfort (and distraction) from food.

And I couldn’t stop, it seemed.

After I binged again, I panicked

that time that I binged again: when life feels out of control, it's typical to reach for the "control" of a diet

I knew it was my feelings that were driving the binges. I knew that I just needed to sit with the discomfort instead of eating. But my brain was saying one thing and my body was doing another. The edginess was just too high. I kept eating.

And once I kept it up long enough to see my pants fitting tighter and my face getting rounder, I became completely panicked and considered restricting my diet…

Diet mentality came in full swing: “Maybe I should just eat keto for a few days. That always helps me get rid of bloat and shed weight quickly. That’s not a diet. That’s just healthy, right?” (If the restriction results in binge eating, then yeah, it’s a diet.)

Something was different this time, though. Instead of getting seduced by the control of dieting, I decided to test my strength.

Rolling up my sleeves, and practicing what I preach

that time I binged again: the Stop, Drop, & Feel®️ actually made the binges stop

As I trudged through the heavy sludge of emotion, I tried my hardest to stay committed to not dieting, since I know that dieting always leads to binges. And I practiced the SDF a lot.

(I also wrote a letter to remind myself of why I started this journey. You can read it here: An open letter to anyone thinking about dieting again)

I spent the last few weeks with large chunks of alone time, just lying on my bed and letting my emotions wash over me. For long stretches each afternoon, it was just me and all my edginess, going face-to-face.

And you know what happened? I didn’t die like I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong: I felt like crud.

No one likes feeling lonely or ashamed, but I made the choice to feel those feelings instead of numbing them; to open instead of close; to grow instead of recoil.

And I survived. And most importantly, the binges ended and my weight is starting to normalize and I did the whole thing without resorting to dieting.

Let’s look at this through a skill-building lens: dieting only helps you get better at dieting, which always ends in a binge. The Stop, Drop, & Feel helps you get better at sitting still with your discomfort, which ends in stopping binge eating.

I stopped binge eating by developing “grit”

that time that I binged again: binge eating is how we shut down. getting curious is how we stay open. [image of a person lying down with a caption 'the most unsuspecting pose to stop binge eating']

As I’ve practiced the SDF for the last couple years (with extra diligence the last 6 months) I’ve rewired my brain to develop what I call emotional tolerance. This is your willingness to sit with your discomfort without getting swept away by it. In Positive Psychology, they refer to it as grit.

Some synonyms for grit are: courage, bravery, backbone, strength of character, toughness, determination, tenacity, and endurance.

That sounds incredible. And I feel incredible. It took so much hard work to develop this trait! And it’s not a one-and-done thing. It’s a decision I have to make on a regular basis to choose to face my inner dragons (i.e. feel my feelings in the precise moment where I really don’t want to) instead of protecting myself with (the false illusion of safety that comes with) a diet.

How You Can Stop Binge Eating Too

Giving up dieting was one of the best decisions of my life. Choosing to feel awful instead of reaching for food is a decision that I have to make on a daily basis. They are both really good decisions.

They help me stay sane around food and bounce back from binges much quicker, without falling into the restrict-binge cycle on most days. I am human, as are you, and that means we are not perfect, and we make mistakes. Fortunately, emotional tolerance is an evergreen skill that will help you in the long run. Dieting can’t claim that benefit.

If you’d like to learn more about this unique approach to stop overeating, grab my free ebook below that explains more about Psycho-Spiritual Wellness:

Keep It Going: Get The Spiritual Seeker's Guide to Stop Binge Eating (Free Ebook)

want this epic 13-page ebook on eating psychology?
plus a free 5 day email course in Psycho-Spiritual Wellness?

Free 13-page ebook: Keep your momentum going by downloading my free ebook, The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide to Stop Binge Eating. It’s not just junk to get into your inbox, I promise. Sign up and see for yourself. You can unsubscribe anytime.

5 day email course — also free: You’ll also receive a 5-day email course in Psycho-Spiritual Wellness, my unique approach to stopping compulsive eating, enriching your journey with more practical tips.

Sign up below: Enter your email below to dive deep into this wiggy world where eating psychology and spirituality collide:

You're On a Roll: Take the Eating Psychology QUIZ!

Even if you struggle with overeating, I bet I can guess your strength around food.

You're Really on a Roll: Let's Put an End to Self-Sabotage

Ready to dive even deeper into your journey of self-discovery? I proudly present my most celebrated workbook, Why We Do the Things We Do. This 75-page digital workbook reveals your unique psychological blocks to compulsive eating. By actually putting pen to paper, you’ll be surprised by what comes up.

Some say ‘feel it to heal it’ but this workbook takes it a step deeper and helps you ‘see it to heal it.’ If you’re the kind of person who logically knows how to live a healthy lifestyle but you compulsively do the opposite, this workbook will illuminate what’s standing in the way. Then, you know exactly where to focus your energy.

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I read and reply to every single one! Just like I do with my emails. Since I don’t use much social media (outside of Pinterest and YouTube), I very much enjoy this opportunity to hear your thoughts and connect ✨

6 thoughts on "I binged again: After 2 years of not-dieting, I almost turned back. Here’s how I got through it with grace"

  1. Terisays:

    I noticed I started bingeing again-hmm with a new job approaching, deadlines for research, current job training and more deadlines, Rover sitting, senior year of college about to start, presidents of the biology club on campus, ill father in nursing home, AND my car broke down for the 3rd time and scholarship money down the drain for it… oh it was only a matter of time!! Wow I think just writing all of this helped me… humans weren’t made for this multi-tasked duties like they are today. How can we control this?!?!

    1. Kari Dahlgrensays:

      That is a lot to deal with all at once Teri! I hope you can find compassion for yourself. I think most people would turn to food for comfort during times like these, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Resilience helps us deal with the tough spots, and it comes with time and lots of Stop-Drop-and-Feeling.

  2. Linda Wagenersays:

    Is there anything that really works? I have been bing eating 50 years. And than dieting. I am very good or very bad. Lost same 70 pounds 3 times.

    1. Kari Dahlgrensays:

      Hi Linda! I think many of us (and I mean MANY of us) can relate to this — especially the all-or-nothing eating. I know how maddening it can feel!! And I think all the principles I teach here on my blog, YouTube channel, and books are the stuff that actually works. Of course, I’m biased, but giving up dieting and focusing on psychology has been one of the best decisions of my life. My weight stopped yo-yo-ing after that. So I hope you can treat yourself with kindness because this is very difficult work, and I also hope you take advantage of all the resources available around here. xo

  3. Lenasays:

    Kari, thank you for sharing your struggle and success. Somehow it is so motivating for me to keep trying hearing of your experience.

    1. Kari Dahlgrensays:

      Aww thanks Lena!! It is just as therapeutic for me to share the vulnerable pieces, and I am so glad it’s helpful.

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