I have a history of binge eating. It started about 4 years ago when i was 16 and it is still a problem for me today. I mainly binge on paleo foods. I don't binge on modern processed foods. I mostly start bingeing at night when i'm bored and have nothing better to do. Most days i constantly think about food and when the next meal is comin'. I know i have a problem. Any suggestions on how to curb my appetite? Does IF help regulate hunger hormones (ghrelin, leptin ect.)? I mostly binge on high calorie snacks like dry fruit(prunes, apricots, raisins) and avocadoes. Also lots of different nuts and seeds.
When I used to binge at night, in 99% of the cases it was because I hadn't eaten enough during the day. The fact that you're thinking about food all day suggests to me you are restricting your intake too much. Try frontloading your meals - bigger breakfast and lunch. If you go into dinner ravenous, there's bound to be problems. Better to go into dinner with a little appetite, but not ready to devour the fridge.
I also find binging more likely when I don't actually enjoy what I'm eating. If I have a disappointing dinner, then I'll keep returning to the fridge to try to "make up" for it with more food. Make sure you really LIKE your meals. And as said by others, sufficient protein and fat is key to satiety. I don't think I've ever binged after a big juicy ribeye.
Binging also has a strong emotional aspect - have you heard of "HALT"? Eating disordered behaviours are more likely when you get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired Try being mindful of how you are feeling going into a binge (i.e. sad and lonely), and develop other methods of dealing with that emotion (i.e. calling a friend).
Also remember that urges to binge are like waves - if you can find ways to distract yourself while you're having the urge - knit something, do laundry, walk around the block, play a video game, file your nails - the urge does pass.
I also struggle with binge eating. It's certainly a process to work through it, although it seems that you're aware of some of your red flags/warning signs, which is a great and essential step. My suggestions:
I hope some of this has been helpful. I really feel for you and encourage you to fight the binge monster - it's really terrible, and it can be so defeating. You will find a lot of support on PH and other paleo forums, if you need it. Good luck!
Go to bed. There's about a billion studies connecting staying up late and sleep deprivation with jacked up hormones and disordered eating patterns.
You could also be sensitive to certain trigger foods that set you off. Just can't have one bite-you gotta eat the whole carton or whatever. Watch yourself and the reactions you have after you eat certain things. Keep a food journal.
If you are thinking about food all day then you aren't satiated and that could be part of the problem. Eat more fat.
I had this problem when I first started paleo, and what really helps is having someone to talk to about it. Fasting can help for some people, but for others it can trigger them to binge. It is really difficult to give a definitive answer since there could always be some underlying issues that are causing the binge. For me it is stress, it will have me eating cashews by the handful after downing two whole cups of coconut milk ice cream. The food that youre bingeing on is at least good for you, however I reccomend talking to a therapist, or trusted friend or family member about the problem.
Also, I know it can be tough to admit to people you love about having an eating disorder. The hardest part is the shame that you dont look "sick enough" to really have a problem. In my house my husband has a safe word when he notices me start to get into binge mode, where nothing will make me full, and he is instructed to say a safe word to me. It is really corny, but god help the person who ever says to me, "are you sure you should be eating more?" Anyways, the safe word usually snaps me back into reality and then I just go for a walk or something to burn off the stress. If I choose to continue on with what I am doing, I have then sacrificed the right to complain about it later. No whining about how fat I feel or anything else. Perhaps having the support of people you care about in the same manner will work for you
I have problems with bingeing as well and starting Paleo today actually :) The last year, I've started to write down in a journal what triggers my binges- this really really helps and I would recommend you try that as you'll have your bingeing patterns on paper. It's very revealing. For example in my case (this is my situation- so not a set of rules for everyone else):
1) eating carbs triggers a binge
2) at night, just moving to my bedroom vs sitting in the living room (w/open kitchen) reduces my binge thoughts by almost 50%. its amazing how just physically sitting in another room with no food helps
3) when i havent slept enough and very tired, i eat. even if im not hungry. lack of sleep is definitely a major binge trigger.
4) if i havent eaten all day, i'll binge at night. my body is just too hungry, it cant fight against starving anymore
5) if im stressed or start getting anxious, it may trigger a binge. for that i do things like listen to music or call a friend, etc.
So on and so forth.
IF however did not help me in any way or other. If anything, it made my binges worse. When I start Paleo now, my objective is to eat every day. No more IF- it mentally frustrated me and set me up for a binge.
I do not know the answer to your question, but nobody else can claim they know it either. The science is not advanced enough to answer it.
I have a guess, though, based on everything I went trough and everything I learned so far in the process.
Since you crave sweet and fatty foods, it means that something is not right, and this "something" is probably your digestive system, which, surprisingly starts with your liver.
While there is no definite scientific explanation to this, many naturopaths and holistic nutritionists label it as "stressed liver", "sluggish liver", etc. Let me assure you - it goes undetected by blood tests, ultrasound, etc. but there are definite common symptoms of it.
It is puzzling to me what could be the cause - high stress environment? System wear and tear with aging?
I had sweet/fat cravings all my life and they only stopped when I started taking herbs for liver support. The funny thing, when I supplement that with bitter herbs and raw bitter greens, my desire to eat completely subsides and I can go for a whole day without food not craving anything.
I believe that IF eases up the symptoms of stressed liver (I have read an account when an acute appendicitis was treated by a weekly water fast) and resolves many other issues, but I would also look into getting some liver support, as well as having some raw foods with every meal and getting some bitter herbs with every single meal.
Try experimenting, sooner or later you are going to find a solution that works for you.
Its possible that more carbs would help you. If not, then I personally would look to neuro-transmittors as the issue here.
Its quite possible that your serotonin and or dopamine are low. Lots of times a high protein and saturated fat diet will ameliorate this, but not always. Luckily there are supplements that are helpful for this.
Notably 5htp (to increase your serotonin) and Mucuna pruriens (L-dopa) to increase your dopamine. Designs For Health makes a product called Dopaboost that is very helpful.
Good luck to you.
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