I really am hesitant to ask this question--but I need some help so I'm going to reach out here since this is a pretty helpful group of people.
I am really struggling with binge eating. I keep bingeing on nonpaleo foods even though I KNOW that I feel awful when I eat them and that they tend to keep cravings going and exacerbate problems with bingeing. I am torn between trying to "solve" this problem (and the weight gain associated with it) by using a "food plan" where I weigh/measure my food OR by actually learning to eat when I'm hungry, stop when full, etc. I know it sounds really stupid, but I cannot figure out what to do. I am desperate to lose some weight--I am gaining at an alarming rate because of my binge eating--but attempts to follow "plans" (even at 2000-2200 calories) generally seem to result in failure and binges.
I'm just wondering if anyone would be willing to share their experience(s) with this and how you "solved" the binge eating problem. It is my Number One Problem in life--and I am a middle-aged woman with a husband and kids...in other words, I have a LOT of other issues in life--but I can't seem to "fix" this one. I am on medication to help--but it doesn't seem to help. I just feel like I don't know where to turn. In all other areas of my life, I'm quite functional--but I'm kind of a mess with food. I have issues with satiety and some mild issues with hypoglycemia--these things don't make it any easier.
Thanks in advance--I know it may be difficult for people to share personal information, so I understand if people are unwilling to do so.
I'm already out of the binge closet, I did a post on it http://huntgatherlove.com/content/binge-eating
I think it's really really common. Many members of my family have had issues with it. Our society encourages it with hyper-palatable cheap food.
I think the only solution is to remove binge foods from your house completely. I never did any weighing or food plans. Let your family know that you are the equivalent of an alcoholic and it's not acceptable to have binge foods in the house. If they care about your physical and mental health, they will understand. The consequences of binge eating can be just as bad as alcoholism.
I don't keep candy, chips, or other binge foods in my house. I just was able to start having ice cream in my house this year, but only full-fat real food ice cream.
Binge foods are almost always neolithic foods. When was the last time someone binged on steak? Oreos, bags of candy, ice cream, cheese sticks, and cake were my binge foods. Those foods should be out the door.
A therapist or a support group might also help.
I would like to chime in with my experience since I am a former binge eater. I had a huge problem with binge eating for years, which has pretty much gone away since I went primal/paleo at the beginning of 2010. What really helped me was to not have any rules or restrictions about eating, other than avoiding the non-paleo foods which were causing my bingeing. I told myself that the nost important thing was to focus on ending the bingeing, and not to focus on weight loss or trying to be perfect. If I could get through the day without a binge, I was proud of myself. I decided to be kind to myself and not beat myself up for eating waffles or something. It's just food, it's not something to feel guilt or shame over. I would focus on how good healthy food made me feel, rather than focusing on all the things I couldn't eat, such as bread and pasta, etc. I also noticed that when I would eat grain products, I would never feel full no matter how much I ate. It's especially important at breakfast to stick to paleo foods I find. I hope you can find releif from your binge eating problem. I know how awful it feels to be out of control with food, and not being able to stop eating until you are literally sick. Good luck!
Hey your not alone. I have binged many times. I have horrible memories of me lying in a room with cheesecake, biscuit and chip packets thrown about the place. It looked like a bomb had hit. Since I have been on paleo I can honestly say I hardly ever binge anymore, if ever. The one thing that struck me was that you are either eating non-paleo foods or you are restricting calories. So by restricting calories your body might be craving food (even if your restricting on paleo foods), and it will crave anything it can get you to eat - usually forbidden food. My advice to you is stop counting calories (for now), dont worry about your weight (for now), and just try to make sure that you only eat paleo foods, but with no restrictions. Once you do this, and you stop bingeing, THEN worry about your weight. Email me at email@example.com if you need to ask any other questions. I have been through this!!!!
None of the answers really resonated for me. I can eat two bars of 90% dark chocolate no problem. I can binge on unsalted nuts. I can eat 2lb of grass-fed meat no problem, and when I'm binging, I do. Removing "binge foods" is pointless for me because I can binge on anything at all. For me, it's all about will-power and affirmations like "I'm not the kind of person who eats between meals" and "I'm not the kind of person who overeats" and "if I can make it through 24 hours of not binging then I'll stop being hungry" which luckily for me is true. I hate affirmations on principal, but they do to be helpful. :-) Also, I eat very low carb but I absolutely will gain weight binging on meat. Calories may not matter to some people but, sorry to be heretical, for me they do matter, and if I can limit my calories to the 2000-2500 range, then my weight is nice and stable and I feel great. If I overeat, even the most paleo foods possible, then I feel crappy. Pardon my contrary view ... and suggestions beyond will-power are appreciated. The good news, at least for me, is that it's a habit, and once I'm in the groove of not binging, I can stay that way. It's a matter of not falling of the wagon. Yes, I do get addicted, not to carbs but just to eating.
As Melissa said getting rid of easy access to the binge foods is really important.
The other thing that really helped me is to disregard any concerns about how much I eat - no calorie counting! If I get the urge to binge, I let myself do it, I just do it with paleo foods as that's all that I have around.
The most important thing is to limit the consumption of high-glycemic non-paleo food. This is going to greatly regulate your blood sugar and overall hunger levels. You still will probably binge on foods, but they will be the right kinds of food and this will help you self-regulate without a lot of conscious effort.
Allowing yourself a cheat meal once a week can also really help. Some advice that worked well for me was to restrict it to a dinner though as this will decrease the chance of a cheat breakfast turning into a cheat day.
Stick with it and don't beat yourself up - this will get easier!
I still have issues with "knowing the difference between my mouth and a vacuum". lol. My main solution is to find foods that I can eat while dealing with the urge to binge that won't totally wreck me. My go-to foods have become pickles and very very dark chocolate. Both of those tend to end up sating me fairly quickly. So yeah, if I'm craving something salty, say chips, I'll start chomping on pickles. They may not be exactly what I want, but after a few I feel the binge urge go away. If I'm craving something sweet... well first I'll force myself to drink a glass of water, because often times when I get a sweet tooth I find that I'm actually dehydrated. I'll generally try to eat some pickles too at that point, but if I find myself rummaging for dried fruit I'll force myself to stop and go eat a piece of extra dark (I'm talking like 85% or darker) chocolate.
Blueberries and raspberries also seem to work okay to curb my cravings if I'm not being too vacuum-like. I've found that nuts are a BAD idea, I have seriously gone through an entire bag and then gone looking for more. I'll sometimes throw some bacon on the foreman grill, if I think I can manage to wait long enough for it to cook!
I think the most important thing is to not beat yourself up if you do binge, instead analyze what happened and come up with how you could do it differently next time.
you know--though it is counterintuitive (restricting = binging)--16 hour IF helped me enormously. I eat from 11 to 7pm--and my desire to snack or binge has been very nicely contained by the IF. It feels biochemical to me, although I am sure the idea of a window is helpful--all I know is that previously, any limitation would create oppositionality and a need to binge. 16-8 not so much!
I had great success controlling bingeing with a zero-carb diet. About a month on nothing but meat and water, and when I felt in control of my eating habits I started adding back in other foods. Whenever I feel myself craving those foods now, or having bouts of uncontrolled eating (usually with vegetables... nonetheless uncomfortable), I'll spend a few days back on meat and water. Personally, I feel like it's the tightly controlled simplicity that helps the most; you know what you're going to eat no matter what and you never have to think about it. It also helps to not control calories during this phase, that way if you get that bingey-feeling (for me it's about wanting to eat more and more food despite feeling physical fullness) just load up on meat until the obsession wanes, and it wanes quickest with meat in my experience.
It's also good to identify what triggers binges for you. Fitday can be good for that actually, they have a notes section that I used everyday along with tracking food intake and weight to determine if there were any patterns. For me, it seems to be a bunch of things: lack of exercise, coffee, lack of water, snacking, monthly cycle, a change in eating patterns or even calorie allotment (seems like a few days of low carb veggie/meat followed by a day with a few servings of fruit trigger a binge, but I don't have the same reaction if I have an equal portion of fruit everyday).
I truly feel your pain. My wife and kids eat totally SAD and are very resistant to change. So my house is full of temptation. I used to be a fast food and junk food junkie as well. I am not totally over my own food demons, but here is what helps me:
1> I make sure to eat a decent amount of protein daily and keep my fat intake high. This is so I am never really hungry.
2> Glutamine - 1000mg 2x day (morning and night) really helps cut sugar/sweet cravings and (as a bonus) helps me sleep better.
3> Every time I fail, I vow to do better and remember how crappy it made me feel. Plus, being T2 diabetic - failing will kill me sooner! I'm now up to a month or two between binges and never go off for multiple days like I did last year.
Don't give up! It gets better/easier with time. Addictions are hard to break, but it can be done.
I literally came to this website to search this topic and it was on the recent feed. What a sign! Currently in the guilt, bloated, want to cry phase. Thank you everyone for your input.
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