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February 15, 2016

Binge Eating Disorder Relapse Prevention Plan

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Contributing Author: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC, CEO @ Eating Disorder Hope

Slipping back into old unhealthy patterns with food and eating is a challenge for those in recovery from Binge Eating Disorder.

Particularly because for many this has been a life-long pattern of behavior that is extremely difficult to change in the short term.

Relapse can and does happen, but there are some key tips to help you stay in recovery from BED and avoid falling into full blown relapse.

1. Follow your treatment plan

The best line of defense in addressing binge eating disorder is to establish a treatment plan with a team of eating disorder professionals. The team should include a nutritionist, therapist and physician.

Remember that you deserve to seek and follow the best treatment plan available to you. It is important that this plan be based on advice that is derived from scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

2. Avoid Triggering Situations

Identify your own personal triggering situations, emotions, people, etc. Make a list of these and when possible, avoid these triggers. However, when not possible, plan in advance how you will take care of yourself if you find yourself exposed to this trigger and wanting to fall back into binge eating disorder behaviors.

For example, if you always binge when you watch television late at night (highly common!) then choose a different evening plan of reading, taking a bubble bath, doing a crossword puzzle, etc.

3. Express Your Emotions in Healthy Ways

young woman enjoying riding bike outdoorsIdentify your feelings and let them out through talking with a trusted friend, loved one or therapist. It is also enormously helpful to write about your feelings in a journal.

Learn healthy ways to provide an outlet for uncomfortable feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment, too.

Beating a pillow can be surprisingly cathartic! Also, strenuous physical exercise (when okayed by your physician) can be a great way to dispel overwhelming emotions.

4. Be Kind and Compassionate with Yourself When/If you Fail

Remember that you have committed yourself to a long term recovery plan that encompasses physical, emotional and spiritual health.

If you do slip or fall into prior BED behaviors, forgive yourself! You are only human and most success is built on overcoming failures, learning from them and then moving on.

Do not berate yourself, rather strive to be your own internal best friend and coach. Remind yourself of the success you have had and simply resume your treatment plan with an eye toward the big picture of your long term recovery.

5. Take it One Day at a Time

It can feel overwhelming to contemplate the long haul of refraining from binge eating and dealing with life without this former familiar, but destructive, coping skill.

The “One Day at a Time” concept is the key to successfully stringing together successful days that turn into successful weeks and months.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What have you found to be helpful in preventing Binge Eating Disorder Relapse?


About the author:

Jacquelyn EkernJacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC – Founder & Director

Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website. In addition, she is a fully licensed therapist with a closed private counseling practice specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

Jacquelyn has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree from The University of Phoenix and a Masters degree in Counseling/Psychology, from Capella University. She has extensive experience in the eating disorder field including advanced education in psychology, participation and contributions to additional eating disorder groups, symposiums, and professional associations. She is a member of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), Academy of Eating Disorders (AED), the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp).

Jacquelyn enjoys art, working out, walking her golden retriever “Cowgirl”, reading, painting and time with family.
Although Eating Disorder Hope was founded by Jacquelyn Ekern, this organization would not be possible without support from our generous sponsors.


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.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 15, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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