Turning It around When You're Spiraling Out of Control


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  506 comments   :  138,909 Views

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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  • 506
    good article--glad you posted it. - 2/22/2018   10:44:50 PM
  • 505
    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! - 2/19/2018   3:08:53 PM
  • 504
    Very interesting article. - 1/25/2018   7:06:22 AM
    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! - 1/21/2018   10:03:12 AM
  • 502
    Good info - 12/19/2017   1:28:52 AM
  • 501
  • 500
    Good tips - 8/28/2017   12:29:11 PM
  • 499
    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! - 7/11/2017   8:04:49 AM
  • 498
    Great blog and ideas: simple, realistic and sound inspiration. Thanks! - 5/28/2017   8:50:39 PM
    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. - 5/17/2017   11:04:49 PM
  • 496
    These tips and your mantras are as golden now as they were in 2010! - 3/22/2017   6:57:46 AM
  • YMWONG22
    Good tips. Thanks. - 3/16/2017   11:13:04 AM
  • 494
    How inspirational! This will help me get through the holidays without feeling defeated! - 11/23/2016   8:50:02 AM
  • 493
    Exactly what i needed today
    - 7/6/2016   9:49:57 PM
  • 492
    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. - 7/6/2016   9:34:19 PM
    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! - 7/6/2016   9:09:44 PM
  • 490
    I really needed this today. Thank you. - 6/21/2016   8:16:01 PM
  • 489
    This was a great read on a day when I really needed it. Thank you! - 6/15/2016   7:50:01 AM
  • DEC146
    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)
    - 6/15/2016   7:28:46 AM
  • 487
    Need to read this. Thanks for sharing! - 5/23/2016   8:44:35 PM
  • 486
    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 - 4/26/2016   8:34:45 PM
  • 485
    felt lost today, but this is exactly what I needed to read....Thanks - 3/3/2016   7:20:07 PM
    Thanks so much this has helped me to get motivated again. I plan on using the advice in this article.
    - 2/20/2016   6:19:27 PM
    This is a good article . I plan to try some of the things it has mentioned today - 1/27/2016   5:31:10 PM
  • 482
    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. - 1/5/2016   5:48:21 PM
  • 481
    The traffic ticket analogy was great and true! - 11/24/2015   12:58:15 AM
  • SUSANK16
    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. - 11/6/2015   2:12:59 AM
  • 479
    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!

    - 10/10/2015   7:47:50 PM
  • 478
    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. - 10/1/2015   1:02:28 PM
  • 477
    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. - 8/4/2015   10:20:16 AM
    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. - 6/21/2015   4:02:20 AM
  • 475
    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! - 4/28/2015   2:15:14 PM
  • 474
    I especially like the "I may as well not" bit. This is my downfall time and again. Thanks for sharing! - 4/19/2015   12:00:07 AM
    Just what I needed! Thanks! - 4/4/2015   10:24:44 AM
  • 472
    wow this is so encouraging i have felt like this these past 2 months and the result i gain 10 lbs .i will use these tips to get back on track today........i love ur comment about the traffic ticket its so true - 2/22/2014   10:05:58 AM
  • MAIDEN24
    Perfect timing for me to find this as I was sitting here binging on chocolate! Great post. - 2/9/2014   7:57:26 PM
  • 470
    I realize that you wrote this a while back, but the timing for me to read this was impeccable. I love your analogy about the parking ticket and going to quote you in my journal. Everything you wrote was so spot on. Thank you for sharing your journey. Hugs Rachael - 2/2/2014   8:48:24 PM
  • 469
    I needed this. Thanks so much! - 11/30/2013   12:00:52 AM
  • TONDI002
    wow That is really inspiring. great post. - 11/28/2013   3:44:48 AM
  • 467
    If I didn't just know that you didn't know me, I'd think that you knew me! Lol! Thanks for sharing! Been trying to change that pattern and now I have a guideline to put in use! - 11/14/2013   10:36:00 PM
  • SPARKME120
    I really like the analogy to the parking ticket! That puts all the "food trash talk" into perspective in my head and gives me a better argument for not running with a binge!!! - 9/25/2013   2:50:45 PM
  • SPARKME120
    I really like the analogy to the parking ticket! That puts all the "food trash talk" into perspective in my head and gives me a better argument for not running with a binge!!! - 9/25/2013   2:50:43 PM
  • POOKS53
    I too was at that point in my life and now I make myself happy when I think I might fall!!! - 8/13/2013   12:31:43 AM
  • 463
    Thank you sooo much....These things I know and I actually I just came back to SP today..!!...It's probably the best site for everything and it's free..!!!...I started from scratch again today work towards only wearing jogging pants for jogging..If you feel good you look good and are more apt to watch your calorie intake....AND...thank you again for a wonderful article....it was very appreciated....Good luck.... - 8/10/2013   9:44:53 PM
  • KIMKAY150
    I needed this. Thank you for sharing! Very inspiring! - 7/21/2013   8:16:06 PM
  • 461
    Thank you! This is a very informative piece. I know a fruit tray and a manicure would make me feel better when I have a set back. I'm going to try this next time. :) - 7/17/2013   9:20:06 PM
  • 460
    Thank you for sharing your struggle and coping strategies. Also, for reminding us that we are on a journey; a few steps forward, a few backward. The main thing is to not give up and find strategies to help us continue forward! - 5/22/2013   11:16:30 AM
  • 459
    I am just coming out of a spiral. When I got on the scale this morning, I knew it would be bad and it was....I just have to take a breath and get myself into gear again. Thanks for an excellent article. - 4/17/2013   8:12:48 AM
  • 458
    I have several notebooks that I've recorded my weight loss progress in, so when I feel discouraged about a gain on the scale, or a weekend of poor food choices, I just look back at one of the notebooks to remind myself of how far I've come. I also like to tell myself, "I've escaped from fat prison and I'm NOT going back!" LOL, if nothing else, it gives me a good laugh :)

    Julia - 4/13/2013   8:18:56 AM
    Thanks for sharing. I too suffer with depression and I can identify with what you have shared with us. - 4/12/2013   2:23:22 PM

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