5 strategies to overcome evening binges

Catherine Liberty's picture

If you find yourself remaining strong, determined and recovery-focused all day long, only to come under attack from overwhelmingly powerful binge urges later in the evening, then you are definitely not alone! 

You know that giving into those binge urges will only make you feel terrible afterwards and you know bingeing and purging won’t give you the sustainable relief and numbness that you crave, but for some reason you still you find them impossible to fight off. 

The truth is that most people in recovery from bulimia nervosa find the evening and end of the day the most challenging time.

Why are binge urges more powerful later in the day?

There can be many different things that contribute to powerful binge urges later in the day. Things like tiredness, stress, loneliness and real hunger can all play their part. 

For many of us, late evening is the first time we actually get to relax and “switch off” after a long day in work, school or looking after our children. Our bodies and minds are crying out for relaxation and our old bulimic logic tells us to seek that relaxation in the form of a binge. 

When I first started to recover from bulimia I would feel so completely exhausted after staying mindful and on track with recovery all day long that I’d just want to let go. I think we’ve all felt like taking a break sometimes.

Unfortunately taking a break from recovery is just not a realistic option, so what can we do to lighten the load later in the day?

Here are some of the things that really helped me to overcome binge urges later in the day while recovering. 

What can you do to overcome evening binge urges?

1. Make sticking to your structured eating plan earlier in the day a top priority

Of course in recovery you’re undoubtedly already prioritizing structured eating but it’s important to understand the significance of eating enough earlier in the day. Eating regularly throughout the day really does help to curb those evening binge urges. In fact, if you continually struggle with evening binge urges it can be a great idea to slightly increase your food intake earlier in the day. 

If you keep a food journal you should notice a clear relationship between food consumed earlier during the day and the intensity of your binge urges later that same day. 

2. Add a portion of carbohydrate, fat and protein to every meal 

Eating in this way is really essential for curbing intense cravings later in the day because it allows you to feel full, content and satisfied for longer. 

You should also find you have less energy dips, less mood swings and more importantly less intense binge urges when you eat in this way.   

3.  Increase the amount of fibre in your evening meal and snack

To really fight off those evening and late night binge urges pay special attention to the amount of fibre in your evening meal and snack. By including more wholegrains, fruits and vegetables you will maintain more stabilized blood sugar levels, feel fuller for longer and be far less likely to succumb to binge urges. 

Remember to drink water too, because this really helps all of that wonderful fibre to do its job properly!

4. Occupy your mind 

Things like boredom and loneliness can be especially powerful binge triggers so it’s important to think up some ways to occupy yourself later in the day. This could be something as simple as writing in a journal, catching up with friends at Bulimia Help or even finding a new hobby or pastime that keeps you busy for a couple of hours. If you have long, hectic days then try to think of something that will allow you to relax while still keeping your mind engaged. 

5. Create your own relapse prevention plan 

If you know that you’re vulnerable to evening or late night binge urges then a little planning can go a very long way. Take some time to think about all of the small steps you can take that may help. For example:

  • You could plan to take an extra snack to work with you that you will eat on the way home. 
  • You could put the foods you’re prone to bingeing on out of sight each morning so they are not the first thing you see when you return home. 
  • You could write a simple list of things you will do when those binge urges strike so don’t find yourself looking for avoidance strategies on the spot. I always had logging into Bulimia Help to talk to my recovery buddies at the top of my list! 
  • You could rearrange your structured eating plan so you eat your last snack much later in the day.
  • You could confide in a friend or family member who could support you during the evening. (telling someone you're bulimic)
  • You could plan exactly what you will do in the event of a slip-up or relapse.

At the start,  giving in to these powerful urges will seem inevitable, but with enough practice and perseverance and by continually implementing great strategies like the ones suggested above you will find that evening and late night binge urges lessen. 

If you’ve got a great tip for overcoming evening or late night bingeing then I’d love to hear it! Why not post your own tips and advice in the comments section below? Other members may really benefit from your advice and insights. 



chelsi323's picture
These are all great

These are all great tips!
Along with occupying my mind, I try to do something to occupy my hands. Sometimes I want to binge just because I'm so used to doing SOMETHING, so my evening routine is to watch TV, but I play spider solitare on my computer because I have a hard time watching TV without wanting to eat.

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Chelsi :) That's a great

Hi Chelsi :)

That's a great tip, thank you so much for sharing it! x x

Mouli's picture
Yes, I have started cross

Yes, I have started cross stitching a really sweet name plate for my daughter. Sounds a bit fuddy duddy but it is keeping me occupied...when i get a chance that is!!!
thanks for the helpful tips and am glad to be receiving the newsletters now filled with even more useful advise. Thank you and I hope all is well, m x

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Haha not at all, it sounds

Haha not at all, it sounds lovely, I love all crafts like that.

I did some lovely little Christmas cross stitch cards last year - also repetitive motions like that really help with relaxation and endorphin boosts so I think it's a great idea! :)

Lamby's picture
Wrote comment, saved it and

Wrote comment, saved it and it disappeared. Same with a blog!

sally anton

sherryberry's picture
I love this article. Thank

I love this article. Thank you! I have a super difficult time to not binge in the evening as well. Sometimes I sit in the shower, the warm water does wonders for calming me.


Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Thank you for sharing that

Thank you for sharing that Sher, and I'm so glad you like this article!

I love your suggestion for taking a hot shower, there really is something very relaxing about that cascading water :) x x

hayleyjanemakeup@hotmail.co.uk's picture
I have incredible urges to

I have incredible urges to binge at night......today I discovered to draw beautiful flowers peonies. I visited a botanical garden recently and the flowers inspired me to calm down. Il get trying this I must admit its really difficult for me everydayIseem to binge but I have certainly reduced the purging so I feel physically alot better..... xx Thank you for everyones support

tapirs's picture
i like knitting, and the

i like knitting, and the repetitive nature is satisfying

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