Staying Present When You Have Binge Eating Disorder

March 2, 2022 Emma Parten

Binge eating disorder makes it hard to stay present. For example, have you ever noticed yourself feeling distracted or disconnected throughout the day? I experience this often, especially when I'm trying to check off my to-do list. It sometimes feels like having tunnel vision. My hands move while I'm thinking about what I have to do next. The time I spend in this zone-out space feels like a blur.

Staying Present When You Have Binge Eating Disorder

This disconnected feeling is similar to having intrusive eating disorder thoughts. On a difficult day, my thoughts gravitate toward food. What have I eaten so far today? What did I eat yesterday? When can I eat again? Is this too much food? What if I binge later? Thoughts like these take up my attention, and I feel disconnected from wherever I am. If I'm with family, I withdraw. I'm less likely to pay attention to the conversation around me. If I'm by myself, I jump from task to task feeling uneasy. 

How to Bring Yourself Back to the Present When Binge Eating Disorder Affects You

I've been experimenting recently with ways to bring my attention back to the present moment. If I've slipped into thoughts about food, I take a break to reconnect with what is going on around me. Here are some things I've found that help me return to the present moment.

  1. Take a stretch break -- Pause whatever task you are doing to stretch your body. Find a few stretches that feel great and focus on the sensations you feel in your body. I like to do forward folds because I get a great hamstring stretch, and I can observe my environment from an upside-down point of view for a minute. I can see with a different perspective. Repeat this stretch break whenever you are lost in binge eating disorder thoughts and need to remind yourself to let go and be present.
  2. Observe your breathing -- When I'm lost in eating disorder thoughts, my breathing becomes short and shallow. When I notice this, I take big, intentional breaths. Raise your shoulders towards your ears with your breath and let them relax and fall while you breathe out. Observing your breathing pairs well with stretching, too.
  3. Seek a hot or cold sensation -- Have you ever accidentally burned yourself or taken a cold shower? Hot and cold sensations snap us out of our thinking brains and into our bodies, but you don't need to burn or freeze yourself to benefit from this. Try taking a break to hold and sip a hot cup of tea or coffee. Run your hands under hot or cold water. Step outside to change the temperature that surrounds you. Pay attention to the sensation of heat or cold. It will help bring you back into the present moment.

The next time you notice yourself thinking about food when you want to be present, try some of these tips to help ground you. I hope you're able to check in with yourself throughout the day, so you can create a day that is not dictated by eating disorder thoughts. 

Let me know in the comments what other strategies you have to bring yourself into the present moment. 


APA Reference
Parten, E. (2022, March 2). Staying Present When You Have Binge Eating Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Emma Parten

Connect with Emma on her personal blog.

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