Why you binge ate this weekend and how to stop

I know why you’re here. You’ve been Googling “how to stop binge eating” and “how to never binge again.” Or, maybe something like that. I don’t have your browser history in front of me!


I know you’re feeling frustrated. It’s like nothing you do gets a handle on your binge eating. You feel fed up, like you’ve done everything you can think of. Maybe you’re on a website spree trying to find the best new way to stop your binge eating. You just want to go one weekend without ending up prowling around the kitchen.

You want your weekends to be free from bingeing. You are so fed up with every weekend being about how much food you can fit in. You want to enjoy your weekend relaxing, not trying to push the thoughts of bingeing away. You wish every Sunday night wouldn’t end with you vowing to be good tomorrow.

You might be wondering if I have some cameras set up in your house. No, I most certainly don’t! But I do know so many people just like you.

Did you know that Sunday is the most common day for binge eating? In fact, it’s the evening I get most enquiries to work with me. People just like you are in my email inbox. They are looking for answers, and most importantly - how to solve their binge eating. They want me to tell them how to stop bingeing; they’re done with it. But the truth is there is no short-term fix.

So if you binged this weekend, I want you to know you’re not alone. Just like Sunday, I received enquiries from seven people exactly like you. This might not sound like that many, but bear in mind I receive a similar amount every single Sunday! 

You’re looking for the top ways to stop bingeing, but if I were to just give you that information - I wonder what would change? Don’t worry, I have a ton of information on how to stop binge eating, but today I want to let you know the top three reasons why people binge at the weekend.

Three reasons you might have binged this weekend

1. Food throughout the week is boring as heck

Your weekend is filled with all the foods you love - you love them so much it makes you hate them. You wish you didn’t crave all the delicious foods. But no matter how hard you try, you can’t control yourself. One bite turns into what feels like one hundred.

You still want to have nice food at the weekend - which makes sense, it’s the weekend after all! It’s your time to chill and have some downtime. Maybe the weekend is the only time you actually have time to do the things you want. I know that’s the case for so many of the people I work with who are struggling with binge eating.

The thing is, weekends are special. So it makes sense that you want to treat yourself. It’s totally okay to have a different way of eating on the weekend. Even I do! You won’t find me having a basic sandwich for my lunch on Saturday, I want something more interesting. 

I work with so many people who say they are so bored with food throughout the week. Then they get to the weekend and it’s a huge relief. But here’s the thing. Having such a huge contrast between weekdays and the weekend might be setting you up to binge.

People who binge eat tend to see things as all or nothing - things are good, bad, healthy, unhealthy, a treat, or boring. So when you get to the weekend after a week of eating salads, rice cakes, rice and vegetables, it’s easy to see why you would binge. Your taste buds and brain are calling out for something tasty!

It just so happens the most delicious foods tend to be the foods people binge on. And the foods that are most demonised. I’m thinking about fresh bread, pizza, ice cream, pastries, takeaway food, fried foods, chocolate, and so many more.

If you’re this way, the weekend is going to be a free-for-all. No matter how much “willpower” you have. 

There’s no quick fix that will stop you from binge eating at the weekend in one day. But over time, there’s something that could be super helpful. I recommend having some of the foods you would eat at the weekend, throughout the week. Could you plan to eat some delicious food on a Monday night? Or a Wednesday after lunch?

Over time, weekdays and the weekend won’t look and feel as different. And you will be free to have a binge-free weekend, while also being able to eat tasty foods guilt-free.

2. Food is your only buddy at the weekend

It’s totally normal for food to be a big part of the weekend- some weekends seem to only be about food. You might be visiting cafes, coffee shops, or having a roast dinner on a Sunday.

But when food becomes an all-consuming, overwhelming part of every weekend, that makes it so stressful. Food can be a great way to unwind. But if it’s the only thing you have, it can feel pretty upsetting. Something I help my clients do is figure out what else they can do to have a good time than to only eat food.

How would you spend your weekends if you weren’t stuck in this binge routine?

Would you pick up a creative hobby, like painting or playing an instrument?

Would you like to connect with people, by going for a coffee with a friend? Or Facetiming family? Maybe you like to connect to yourself, by having a weekend filled with self-care.

If you don’t know what you would do, that’s ok too. I know what it’s like to feel like food is your only hobby or vice! I would recommend writing a list of every single activity you might consider doing on the weekend.

These can be simple things like doing your laundry, reading a chapter of that book that you’ve been trying to read for months, or taking a drive somewhere new. It might also be helpful to plan out a loose routine for next weekend. So that you aren’t left with too much unplanned time.

3. You’re planning a diet for Monday

This is probably the number one reason I hear from people who are trapped in bingeing.

Every single weekend, you tell yourself this is the last binge. But it’s never the last binge. The Sunday night binge sets you up to feel guilty on Monday morning. Then you finish up work on a Monday and you can’t stop thinking about that packet of biscuits in the drawer. You then feel even more guilty. You feel like you’ve failed, again.

Don’t you want to go into the new week feeling refreshed, ready to take on Monday? What would that do for your work performance and your connection to others?

I know you feel like every weekend is a ticking time bomb. You’re just waiting until the urge to binge comes. 

Have you ever heard of the “last supper effect”? For so many people, the anticipation of a new diet starting is enough to trigger bingeing. And by “a diet” I’m not just talking about shelling out £100s on a new juice diet. I’m talking about those thoughts that float about in your mind on a Sunday:

  • “Next week I am going to eat so healthy.”
  • “I’m going to go to the gym five days next week.”
  • “By this time next week, I will have lost weight.”
  • “I will only have one small treat a day next week.”
  • “It’s OK I ate crap this weekend. I will eat healthy on Monday.”

In fact, a study on people who were self-confessed chocoholics actually ate so much more after they went on a “chocolate detox.” They ate so much more chocolate than they ever did before they tried to cut it out. It’s also shown in the research (and I’ve seen it in my clients too) that the more intuitive people eat, the less intense cravings they have for foods.

If every weekend you’re vowing to start a new diet, I recommend taking time to reflect on how dieting has affected you. Has dieting ever worked for you? If it did work, how long did you keep the weight off for?

If you’re ready to finally stop spending your weekend bingeing, and telling yourself you will be “good” on Monday, I would love to help you do just that.

I’m so passionate about helping people like you. I want you to live a life free from guilt and bingeing. I want your life to be full of the things that matter to you, and to feel happy and comfortable around food.

I hope the advice in this article has been helpful. If you have any questions, or if you would like to work with me one-to-one, you can reach out on my profile. You can also visit my website to read more articles like this.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Edinburgh EH1 & London SW1W
Written by Shannon Western, Eating disorder & disordered eating, nutrition therapy
Edinburgh EH1 & London SW1W

Shannon is a Registered Associate Nutritionist who specialises in helping people recover from eating disorders and disordered eating. She supports people with a person-centred approach that combines nutrition science, counselling tools, and Non-Diet Approaches like Intuitive Eating. She is available for one to one online support.

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