I have generally eaten healthy for the last year and been strict Paleo (no dairy, no nuts, minimal wine, but some berries) since January, and stay fairly active. I've leaned out over the last year and lost a few % of body fat since going Paleo. and was feeling and looking great until about April when I traveled to London and allowed myself to relax with a few meals allowing cheese, nuts, wine, sweets, etc.
Since London, I have gradually fallen off the paleo bandwagon in the last month starting with sugar binges on dessert/pastries/bread-items. Each time I eat something sweet, it turns into a binge and I tell myself that I'll "be good" starting tomorrow, and the day goes away because I allow myself to eat flouritems/sugar items recklessly! I've tried to IF for a few days here and there to try to 'reset' after some of these binges but has not helped. I am typically NOT hungry when I binge on gluten/sugar-sweet items, I don't stock these items at home, typically at events (conferences where there's infinite amounts of pastries lying around), in the office, or i will simply go and buy them.
The bad eating is now occurring more and more frequently and each time i tell myself i will restart eating well 'tomorrow', i will fall off the bandwagon again in 2-3 days. As a result, I am feeling less energy, sleeping less well, and also noticeably gaining fat! The problem is the negative results make me feel even less motivated to get back on the bandwagon since mentally, I am thinking oh i'm already making negative progress, i'll just do it tomorrow. My question is, how do I get myself out of this negative cycle, esp. since I made only positive progress in the last year with no significant setbacks, I know i can eat healthy and be consistent about it, why am I running into this problem?
While there may be some nutritional components that you can tweak (healthy sweet foods, following a program like Whole30, etc.) I think that you are experiencing the effects of emotional and/or psychological issues.
I have worked with weight-loss clients for over 7 years and any time there is a binge-purge cycle (in this case the "purge" is IF) there is mental/emotional work that needs to be done.
You've already recognized that physical hunger isn't the issue since you clearly state, "I am typically NOT hungry when I binge on gluten/sugar-sweet items."
The problem is that there is "good" vs "bad" thinking at work ("The bad eating is now occurring more and more frequently and each time i tell myself i will restart eating well 'tomorrow')
The "good" is anything that you think you can eat, the "bad" is all stuff that you think you can't. The truth that you can really eat whatever you WANT to eat is coming out in your actions ("I allow myself to eat flouritems/sugar items recklessly!")
Up till this point, you have made a choice to stay caught up in this way of thinking and are actually going deeper and deeper into it as a result ("The problem is the negative results make me feel even less motivated to get back on the bandwagon since mentally, I am thinking oh i'm already making negative progress.")
Since you made a point to post this problem in a relatively public way, you may be in a place where you are open to making some changes.
Instead of focusing on your eating habits (the symptom/effect) I encourage you to look at your thinking/feeling habits (the cause). Right now you have an unhealthy relationship with food in general that needs some work.
Like any relationship, moving forward requires a few things. At this stage, I encourage forgiveness. Honestly allow yourself to let go of the feelings of regret, frustration, despair, etc. that are based on the idea that you did something "bad" or "ruined" your hard work. Think about how you would react to a friend who told you a story like your own.
If a friend came up to you and said "I ate some cake, cookies, etc and now I feel horrible about myself" I imagine you wouldn't say "yes, you are a horrible person." There is no reason to treat yourself any different. Keep working on this until you come back to a place of love and acceptance of who you are, what you look like, and trust in the fact that everything that you have ever done, though, felt has led up to this particular moment and it has made you exactly who you need to be.
Leave the whole "paleo" vs. "not paleo" thing alone for a little while and get yourself back to a loving relationship with yourself first. It is only then that you can hope to see a change in your relationship with food.
I went through this a bit too. I started the Whole30 program and the article kicked my ass back on track, I've been eating paleo "better" than I ever have. I feel better and have already lost weight. I never thought I'd get back on track...if I can do it you can too! http://whole9life.com/2010/12/whole30-2011
I suggest the baby steps approach. Take it one meal at a time. You can do anything for one meal, right? Congratulate yourself when you are successful. Don't beat yourself up when you are not. Try to remember how good you feel when you are making the right choices for your body. Finally, create a reward. Something you really want - an immediate reward, say a movie you want to see, for a small goal met - a week with no pastry. A bigger reward- new jeans, an iPad, a trip, whatever. You get that reward when you meet your bigger goal.
Good luck. It's hard to get back in the swing, but you know it's the right thing, so JUST DO IT!
I'm going through the same exact thing right now and the "I'll start tomorrow, but may as well go crazy today" thing is KILLING me. The best advice I've heard is that "you can start your day over whenever you wish." So if you fall off the wagon at lunch, plan a perfectly paleo dinner and stick to it. The whole day wasn't perfect, but so what? It was one binge instead of two or three. It also helps to have a friend who supports you, someone to call when the sugar cravings hit. If you need to, you can e-mail your food to that person at the end of the day to hold you accountable. That helped me get back on track last time, here's hoping it works for both of us this time and we don't fall off the wagon again.
Cassandra, Thank you for publishing your pain. It helps me to keep focused on the importance of not letting things get out of hand. I'm so happy with the results of eating basically high fat lowish carb. I've been successful by not indulging in any bread. However I've let myself be seduced by some very good chocolate cake etc. recently. As good as it was. IT WAS NOT WORTH losing (self esteem etc.) all that I have gained by losing (weight). You have a track record of success and you can tap into that. All the best to you and let us know how you fare. Don't wait for Cozumel.
Based on what you said about "some berries", and one of your tags, I'm assuming you're trying to do low-carb, perhaps very low-carb, paleo. I would imagine that is very hard to do. Can't say for sure, cause I've never done it- and somehow still managed to ditch at least 40 lbs of fat.
In my view, paleo is not low-carb by definition. In fact, I dare say, the default should not be low-carb.
I think you're going to have a WAY easier time, and still see lots of benefits, by eating a fair amount of starch and fruit. Dare I also say, unless you have issues with it, let yourself have cheese (which is freekin' delicious, after all).
I think the priority should be eliminating the NADs. Focus on that, and address other issues with more tinkering if you have them.
An unlikely source of inspiration came to me while I was perusing a book on the human anatomy the other day. When I arrived at the section covering the GI tract, I had this thought: if it could talk, what would it say every time I shoved down a sugar/gluten/n6 bomb? I can almost hear my intestines screaming in agony...
This is a question I was about to ask.....the stress this month has been at an all time high and I have been travelling and had no way to plan my meals out....this in itself creates stress. I have to be an all or nothing kind of eater....any sugar can send me out of control as my body doesnt' handle it well. @Lizzish....thanks for that thought process as well as thanks to @Seadanes and @DudleyP for their insightful answers. I appreciate this community and their commpassion to this type of question.