It’s Friday. Are you happy? Excited? Looking forward to the weekend ahead – having a lie in, meeting up with friends, playing sports? Or are you anxious about having to go out with friends? Are you feeling sick with dread because weekends are ‘bad’ for bingeing? Are you feeling upset that you are spending another weekend alone at home?
This is very common for anyone struggling with bulimia or binge eating. A Saturday night out with your friends can start as early as Thursday, worrying about what to wear, obsessing over your weight, stressing over who you might meet or what people will think of you. Bingeing from stress, or restricting yourself in an effort to lose a few pounds, it all adds up to your night out not being the relaxed enjoyable event it should be.
Instead of your weekend being a disaster, or a stress-fest, try some of the following tips:
1. Be in the moment. Today, you are the weight you are, and that is not going to materially change, and definitely not impact on your size, in 48 hours. So instead of getting caught up in a cycle of trying to change this, simply allow yourself to be the weight you are TODAY. Girls, pick out the outfit that suits you best as you are today, choose your favourite accessories, your sexiest shoes, and spend extra time doing your make up – or get down to your local store or mall for a make-up make over, most beauty counters offer this service, or book a blow dry for your hair. Guys, pick out the outfit that works best NOW, and head down to the barber for a full hot towel shave, get a free skin or consultation at a cosmetics counter or salon, and treat yourself to a facial product.
2. Keep Breathing. If you find yourself getting panicky or anxious, or can feel a binge coming on, stop what you are doing, sit down, and BREATHE. Deep, slow breaths in, to fill your lungs and tummy, and long, slow exhalations through your mouth. Your body can’t be agitated and nervy when you are breathing deeply.
3. Plan. Decide today what you will have in the house to eat over the weekend. Make sure you have the right foods that work for you, buy your favourite lunch stuff today for tomorrow, or arrange to meet up with a friend or have them over for lunch with you tomorrow or Sunday instead of allowing yourself to get caught up in your normal negative Saturday/Sunday cycle.
4. Don’t get Drunk. Hangovers are not good, they tend to go hand in hand with bingeing, so plan your night out too, drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink, switch to something lower in alcohol than your usual tipple, or plan to stop drinking at a certain point and switch to soft drinks or sparkling water.
5. Plan More. If weekends are difficult because you spend time on your own, then be pro-active. Plan to meet a friend for a walk or a coffee, go online and find out what’s on in your area and arrange to go to something. Make a list of jobs you’ve been meaning to do for ages, and get one or two of those done – clearing out the wardrobe and putting your real winter stuff away, cleaning out and organising that room/cupboard/drawer that you shove everything into (we all have one), sorting out your garden or pots after winter – whatever you’ve been putting off, plan to sort it out instead.
6. Nourish Yourself. Ask yourself this simple question whenever you go into the kitchen to get food – “Will This Nourish Me?” If it won’t, then try to eat something else instead, that will. This links back to point 3, if you have shopped mindfully for the weekend, you will have nice, nourishing foods available. Use this as an affirmation for the whole weekend : “Today I will nourish myself”. Not only with food, but by looking after yourself better generally.
If you know, and dread, your normal weekend experience, then DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Plan better. Be mindful. Nourish yourself.
The smallest things can make a big difference.
By Emma Murphy, founder of Change Panda, Counsellor & Psychotherapist.