Binge Eating Relapse Prevention Tips

Follow these strategies to avoid a binge eating relapse:

1. Know Your Triggers

One of the best ways to approach any battle is to “know thine enemy.” As you engage in treatment and recovery, take note of how your BED “thinks.” What situations often turn up the volume of the voice of your BED and tempt you to binge?

An ABC (“Antecedent→Behavior→Consequence”) chart can be helpful in understanding what triggers your BED behaviors.

Each time you engage in a binge or feel tempted to, record what was happening before, what you did about it, and what happened afterward.

This chart can help you to find patterns in your antecedents, pinpoint triggering events or scenarios, and process the aftermath.

2. Plan Ahead

The temptation to binge can sneak up anytime but can be unusually high in unfamiliar eating situations. If you know you will be in an eating situation that might trigger a binge, create a plan ahead of time.

Consider what food will be available and what triggers may be present and create a gameplan that you feel comfortable in approaching the meal.

3. Engage in Intuitive Eating

Binge eating is sometimes used as an attempt to cure sadness or anxiety with the temporary comfort of food.

This is when it becomes crucial to tuning into your body’s natural hunger signals, a practice known as “Intuitive Eating.”

Woman smiling

This philosophy promotes “eating only in response to physical hunger and satiety cues rather than for emotional, environmental, or social reasons” and is associated with decreased depression and increased self-esteem [2].

As simple as it sounds, Intuitive Eating is a behavior that many find difficult, especially those with an ED. Practice listening to your body so that you satiate your physical hunger instead of bingeing because of emotional hunger.

4. Combat it Mentally as well as Physically

The act of bingeing is physical, but the psychology behind it plays a huge role. Binge eating cannot be stopped by merely ceasing the physical act of bingeing.

Communicate honestly and frequently with your treatment team and support system to recognize the mental and emotional aspects of your disorder so that you can heal on all fronts.

5. Remember – A Misstep Doesn’t Have to be a Relapse

One of the main facets of a binge is a loss of control. So many people continue to binge thinking that they have already opened Pandora’s Box and might as well continue.

This does not have to be the case.

A misstep is not the same as a relapse. No recovery progress is lost in making mistakes, in fact, they often present information and lessons that recovery can be built upon.

All Is Not Lost

If you have a painful moment and engage in a binge, all is not lost. Complete your ABC chart, recognize what triggered the event, and move forward.

Image of Margot Rittenhouse.About the Author: Margot Rittenhouse is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.

As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.


[1] Crow, S. (2015). Research on binge eating disorder and medication. Retrieved on 07 November 2017 from
[2] Spoor, K. D., Madanat, H. (2016). Relationships between body image discrepancy and intuitive eating. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 36:3, 189-197.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on October 10, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 10, 2017.
Published on