Let’s say you’ve heard that voice in your head that you’re going to binge and it tells you that it’s unstoppable. And let’s say you ‘just know’ that you’ll do it.

OK! Good… relax, you’ve decided to binge. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It means nothing at all about your value as a human being – all it means is you’re going to eat a lot of food in one sitting.

If you want to make it count as a learning experience then try this:

1. Decide what you’re going to have. Really, give it some thought. Will it be doughnuts with icing? Chocolate – what’s your favourite kind? Cake? would it be creamy, spongey, with or without icing? What about some ice cream? A few brownies? Cheesecake? Or will it be more savoury? A quiche perhaps, a burger and chips, crisps, crackers and cheese, a bowl of pasta? Maybe a combination?

2. Get the food. Be deliberate about it. There’s nothing shameful here. Take as much time as you need. If you don’t have what you want readily available then go and get it if you can.

3. Lay the table.  Put every thing on plates – the best you have. Remember, you’re a worthy human being just as you are – so get out a tablecloth, your best crockery, and arrange everything on plates – make it look like a banquet. A vase of flowers would be lovely too – and possibly a lit candle. Do it with love and care – you matter, remember?

4. Sit on a chair. I’m not being funny. Most of the time you probably binge standing up, or if you’re sitting it’s in the car – right? This time, sit on a chair, at the table.

5. Take a breath. Make it long and slow. Now take another. And another. Remind yourself that it’s ok! You are making a choice about this, and you’re doing it in a conscious way (which means, by the way, turn off your radio, TV, and all devices connected to the internet).

6. Eat. Do it as slowly as you can. There’s no need to rush, since you’re not pretending that you’re not doing this, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it anyway – why would you rush? Before you start, feast your eyes on your banquet – isn’t it beautiful? Now notice if any of the foods have an aroma. When you start to eat, do it as slowly as you can – see if you can savour each mouthful, and make a mental note (or better still, write it down) of whether or not you are enjoying the taste. Chew, chew some more, swallow. Decide if you want more, and if you do, give yourself full permission to do so. Feel free to move from one thing to another.

7. Watch your mind.  Now that you’ve finished, you might be getting out the whip and shouting at yourself for how bad, shameful and wrong you are. Just notice whatever comes up, and choose not to engage with those thoughts. Let them pass you by like migrating geese.

8. Go on with your day and choose to do something else for yourself the same day that is self-caring. What might that be? Playing with your pet or child? Going for a gentle walk or a meditation group? Being in nature? Connecting with someone you care about…

Be good to yourself. Bingeing is not a crime. Staying aware of the process can help you learn some things about yourself: how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, whether or not you’re enjoying the experience of it, how you feel afterwards. It’s all useful to know because it’s all about YOU and your relationship with yourself, with food, your body, perhaps with other people, and almost certainly with life itself. It matters because YOU matter.

With love,