22 Year old male. Compulsive overeater. Have been down the psychologist path in the past only to be told I need to include some food that is a reward once a week, that item being a good quality ice cream. Sounds alot like a cheat meal to me and guess what led me to where I am today, good old cheat meals. I am quite sure that sugar and to some extent gluten grains are the major players in the addictiveness of these foods and the relapsing of binge eating tendencies. So I am looking for advice. I am of a pretty high level of fitness, sub 50minute 10km, near double bodyweight backsquat etc but hold alot more weight than someone of my training level should. Is a whole30 with the goal to try and kick the sugar cravings/addicition worth a crack? Say a whole30 incorporating a big protein breaky kruse style and then eating my other two meals in the window after my two workouts? I've run out of ideas and just want to be able to live a normal life again where I don't have to deal with feeling like shit, bloated, depressive etc for a few days every few weeks due to a binge.
Thanks in advance.
I am a compulsive over eater too. Once nearly 400lbs though. Now 160.
Address the why. The sedation? Boredom? How do you feel after you binge? Better emotionally, but not better physically, I would imagine. Do you eat to get numb, or for the endorphins?
Doing the Whole30 will help the cravings and how you feel -- but it wont help the why. If a psychologist told you, that you could overcome being compulsive binge eater by rewarding yourself with food you need to see another psychologist.
Compulsive over eating is just a socially acceptable way of doing something compulsive. You wouldn't tell a drug addict to limit themselves to 1 high a week, a compulsive gambler to just go to the casino once a week... or a sex addict to just sleep with 1 random person. However, because we MUST EAT, you can't tell someone whos compulsion is to eat to stop eating.
Figure out the why.
EDITED: I used to be a compulsive overeater, but I no longer do it. People used to tell me it is all in my head. I used to think I was an emotional overeater and I ate because I was stressed. NOT TRUE. I stopped overeating when I started to follow Terry Wahls protocol.
I actually believe that compulsive overeating is a sign of nutritional deficiencies. Again, I am not a specialist in this area but I completely disagree with psychological dogma "it is all in your head" thing. I believe it is a biochemical reaction to malabsorption/malnutrition. I can prove my point with following:
It is impossible to compulsively overeat broccoli or kale. Just try it raw and see how far you are going to overeat them.
It is impossible to compulsively overeat liver. I cannot have more than 1/2 lb of liver at one time - I get full right away.
She explains cravings in the middle (after the first hour).
If you agree with the statements above, then start working on meeting your nutritional needs. Terry Wahls has a very good eating plan. If you follow it, it is going to be very hard to continue compulsively overeating.
Meeting your daily nutritional needs in addition to Paleo will solve many of your problems. GAPS + quality probiotics + Terry Wahls + Weston Price (stay away from grains and dairy, they are not nutritionally dense).
Make it your number one priority to record what you eat the next 30 days. In fact start with one week for now. Basically keep this journal/smartphone at all times. BEFORE you even eat anything write it down, what this does it makes you aware of what you are actually going to eat and if it is unnecessary you won't eat it. Soon this will become your natural state and you won't need the journal anymore. Also analyze your emotions when you over eat.
I am a compulsive overeater, and with the fellowship of the Overeaters Anonymous program, as well as a very good paleo program, have lost 222 lbs in the last year in a half.
I found that I could not eat sensibly, could not reward myself with chocolate, sugar or any other foods that I could not eat like a gentleman. One bite was too many, 1,000 is not enough. The miracle is not that I haven't had my trigger foods in a year an a half, it's that I don't want to eat that crap anymore.
I would suggest getting to a meeting, they are free, no one will lecture you, and they may have men's meeting as well.
Figuring out why I was a compulsive overeater was not enough, knowing that I was one was not enough. I needed a daily program of living that made me face the world with a new perspective.
lightbulb... Could both physical and psychological factors be contributing to binge eating? I battled with it in the past, and I feel that this was the case for me. I think my problem was about 70/30 physical/psychological. Tracking my diet and discovering that I had some big nutritional gaps (although I thought, before actually tracking and documenting, that I was eating a balanced diet), and also recognizing that I was suffering some blood sugar issues shed a lot of light on why I was eating the way I was. It seems to me that nutritional deficiencies and blood sugar spikes and crashes were tipping off the binge, and because I would sometimes feel better physically after binging, I came to connect that comfort with binge eating. That comfort led me to binge sometimes for largely emotional reasons.
Now that I've gotten my nutrition in order and addressed the blood sugar issues, I rarely feel the urge to binge, and to a certain extent, have lost the ability to do so. If I find myself emotionally overeating, I do often get a clearer signal than in the past to just stop.
The changes I made:
Cut out caffeine. When I come down from its stimulation I feel hangry.
Tracking my diet on cronometer. Discovered that my diet was chronically low in potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Started supplementing and focusing on getting more of these nutrients in my diet.
Started taking chromium to help with blood sugar issues.
Drinking more water. Thirst signals can be easily confused with hunger signals, especially if you're craving sweets.
Considering the true nature of cravings. Sometimes I found that I was binging and binging and binging on sweets, then realizing that what I truly wanted/needed was something salty (with a good quality sea salt) - indicating that maybe my cravings really were linked to mineral deficiency. Sometimes as soon as I made that realization, I would eat the kind of food I needed and feel satisfied. My cravings were sometimes vague and misleading.
Obviously your problem could be completely different from mine, but I would definitely recommend documenting your diet, assessing patterns that exist with your binge eating, and assuring proper nutrition. If you seem to be well-nourished and you're still having problems, then continue to look deeper into the emotional aspects of your eating.
Oh, and I totally recommend the no caffeine lifestyle as well.
Are you eating enough during the day? You say you're fairly active maybe check what you should be getting each day: http://scoobysworkshop.com/calorie-calculator/ I find the days I don't eat enough I'm starving the next day to make up for it, perhaps this is what leads to the binges?
Good luck in working it out :)
There's probably some factor of food reward/boredom built in, but most of it is going to be "I need this mineral/micronutrient, I'm starving for it" and to a lesser extent chemical addiction.
So if you eat food like products that are depleted in micronutrients, i.e. crap in a bag, you'll never satisfy the hunger. Feeding with more sugar laden crap isn't going to silence the requirement - it'll make it worse since eating refined sugar (and carbs) is going to further deplete certain nutrients such as magnesium.
Also things with artificial ingredients, i.e. color/flavor are designed to be addictive, so there's the other half of that piece. If you see high fructose corn syrup, wheat, MSG in all its forms - hiding under dozens of different names, artificial sweeteners, etc., they're all addictive.
So yeah, eating some ice cream here and there is just going to make things worse on several levels. Even if it's high quality ice cream, since it's going to be made with refined sugar. If you really want to, see if you can make your own using whole ingredients.
There's another aspect to this that's handled by the book "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross - turns out that when we're missing certain kinds of proteins that control serotonin/dopamine levels, we start craving sweet foods. You can supplement with things like 5HTP, tyrosine, tryptophan, DLPA - there's symptom charts in the book that can guide you to which of these to supplement with in what way, so check that out. You could of course, just get lots of good quality protein from meats/fish/eggs, and get lots of greens with it.
At the same time, the level of exercise you're doing is going to demand carbs, so try to get in the good kind, sweet potatoes, etc. as they've got minerals and carrotenoids, and vitamins. But make sure you get plenty of good fats and meats at all meals.
As an example: If you're craving something sweet, one thing you can do is mash a baked sweet potato with some vanilla extract, cinnamon, a bit of coconut oil, and maybe a bit of cocoa powder (unsweetened.) If it's not sweet enough, add a bit more cinnamon, and if you really have to, some stevia.
This is a shot in the dark, but have you considered that your binges might be set off by something bio-mechanical like a fungal overgrowth? I have strong suspicions that compulsive actions we take, or feeling like something else is in control might be just that.
It might be worth trying Diflucan or some strong probiotics and seeing what happens.
I am also a binge-eater! Wow, doesn't that feel good to admit :) I am working through this myself without professional help (even though I likely should seek some out). It looks like everyone has already made the main comments (trying to find the 'why' you are eating, and ensuring it is not due to deficiency) However a couple things that help me are: 1. NEVER reward yourself with food. You are not a dog. If you have been 'good' today then you have to get into the mind set that keeping a good diet is also good for you. 2. NEVER eat junk alone. For me, it's often at social gatherings and I try to avoid it, but sometimes I give myself permission to have a piece of cake at a birthday party. However, I treat it like I would with alcohol...instead of the occasional 'drink' with friends, its the occasional 'piece of cake' with friends :) 3. Try not to have 'cheat' meals. When life sometimes gets tricky and I go a little crazy I'll have some dark chocolate, or a glass of wine. Full-blown cheats to a binge eater is way to hard to come back from. For me, its also too mentally damaging. If I just have a 'taste' rather than a 'cheat' I feel better and my recovery is much quicker :)
I know these 'rules' won't fix problems, but they have significantly helped me.
Hi there, Wow, can I relate to what you're saying. I know that sometimes it might seem impossible to overcome the compulsion. I spent my whole life in it. I am now out of it, and I am now devoting my life to helping others out of it. You can check out my story on www.ranaolk.com. I coach others on the path to wellness, it's free, and I would love to chat with you too.