I cannot stop binging. These are not simple sessions of indulgence, no; these are horrific, 10000 calorie gorge-fests of sickening concoctions which serve only to cram as many calories into as dense a package as possible for absolutely no reason other than to wreak havoc on my system - fried chicken american cheese mayonnaise bacon wraps, sticks of butter mixed with sugar cookie mix eaten raw, cups of peanut butter mixed with chevre and heavy whipping cream.
I try to convince myself that I'm in control, but given the frequency of these nightmareish binges (3-4 times a month at this point), I no longer believe that to be the case. I feel like I can't trust myself at all. They always occur first thing in the morning before I exercise. I start with something small, usually "paleo" (meat, for example) when I'm really craving bullshit junk food, and I end up caving and having a small bit of what I want, and then everything goes to hell and that bottomless pit sensation comes and doesn't leave until I've crammed a literal pound (+400g) of sugar into my system in the form of raw cookie dough and cereal.
I will write what I'm eating as it happens, write my thoughts, my feelings, and no matter what I convince myself it's worth it every fucking time. No matter the pain, the guilt, the restriction thereafter, the consequences just never outweigh the benefits of all those calories.
I'm constantly thinking about food, constantly have the urge to binge, and it's so frustrating to fight that 100% of the time. Of course I'm going to end up giving in; I'm a human, for God's sake.
The feeling of always being hungry has left me contemplating suicide. I can eat over 3000 calories of dry chicken breast in one sitting. I can eat heads of lettuce and want more. I want to be thin so badly, and I wish it wasn't this difficult. It shouldn't be this difficult.
To elaborate further, it seems like the reward value for food is just retardedly high for me. There is literally nothing more satisfying, nothing more enjoyable and comforting then just pure calories. That sounds so fucked up, but my body is just constantly screaming for food and when it gets that hit it's almost orgasmic. Ugh, I'm disgusted with myself.
What should I do? I'm not willing to give up yet. As a consequence of my binges I'm probably up to 134 pounds at 5'9", but 16-17% bodyfat on a lanky male leaves me with little more than a nice big flap of abdominal fat and cripplingly low self-esteem.
edit: question format, tags
I'm sorry you are going through this. I can relate. For the longest time I used to binge and binge and it caught up to me. It really does a toll on your body.
Two things that have helped me the most were
1) Therapy. I didn't realize it but the binging was related to deep-rooted issues and once I was able to overcome those, I noticed the binging doesn't occur.
2) I also sought out a hypnotist. It actually worked in the sense that it created a calming effect.
This is definitely a tough subject, but I think you really need to be happy with your body to give it the respect it deserves. You need to throw out anything that causes those triggers. Not in sight not in mind.
Hopefully this helps, and unfortunately there is no quick fix
**EDIT: I read that you contemplate suicide. This is a serious issue and I really hope you seek help. I was in the same position as you are and you cannot believe how much therapy has turned my way of thinking around. Prior to therapy, I could eat bags of m&Ms, cookies, what not, and exercise like crazy to help burn it off. It was not healthy and causing my health to detoriate. I am also on anti-depressants, because although cognitive therapy is important, sometimes you are hormonally imbalanced and require medication. I hope that I don't have to be on medication forever, that is why I turned to Paleo, hoping to heal my body naturally and ween myself of medication. But please, seek help and I hope that you will find support.
Hi, Matthius. You may or may not know this but I had a 50-year problem with binge eating disorder.
Please trust me when I say it's possible to fight your way out of binge eating but it is hard as hell. The general goal is to realize that binges come from emotional unrest.
There's no one right way--in fact, you'll probably need to find YOUR way. I'll give a quick list here and I also invite you to read longer articles I've written on the subject. Just check my profile for the link.
The hardest thing for you right now is to relax, but that's what you need in order to gain control. You may experience 3 steps forward, 2 steps back but don't worry about. Tomorrow is always a new start for you and you can do it.
If/when you can, switch to pre-emptive binges of paleo foods so any neolithic foods will have a hard time getting in. Gradually try to stay off the bad stuff and if you do all of the above you may find food becoming less important--but only if you practice finding other sources of fun and comfort rather than food.
Am I the only person here who's thinking that "up to 134 lbs" at a height of 5'9" is underweight?
Does your planned diet, aside from the binges, contain starch? I had similar (though not nearly as bad) problems for the past year when I avoided starches and was mostly eating meats, veggies (tubers included), dairy and fruit. My diet wasn't very low carb but I still was hungrier than I should have been when eating those amounts of protein, fat and calories. I was and still am a few kilos overweight too - I actually started gaining weight when I went paleo in 2010.
I added in "safe" starches à la Perfect Health Diet a month or so ago, and haven't really craved sugar since. Before this I couldn't go a week without binging on candy or cookies. You might want to experiment with more starch if you haven't already. But like others have suggested, I would first and foremost recommend you go see a professional... They will help you and there's nothing to be ashamed of in seeing a therapist. Good luck! :)
I developed this problem, too, over a 2 year period of 70-lb weight loss and calorie restriction. Paleo has helped many things, but not this. I figured if I finally nourished my body, I would stop, but the scenario of binging on roast chicken, eggs, cans of tuna, roasted veggies, and straight coconut oil is all to familiar. As a matter of fact, my binges were on "healthy" food 90% of the time. The two things that CURED me:
I suspected I was having blood sugar issues. After doing some research I ordered the herb Gymnema Sylvestre and would let two pills dissolve in my mouth when I caught myself with my head in the fridge. Placebo effect, maybe (or the nasty taste of the pill itself) but it definitely helped take the edge off. I was later diagnosed with PCOS and put on Metformin, which GREATLY reduced the actual HUNGER I was feeling, but...
... I was still thinking about food all the time. I suppose it was out of habit at that point. I had read about the food reward theory and decided to give it a try. They say it takes seven days to break a habit, so I gave this method two weeks and I was CURED: I consumed 1800 calories (I am a 140 lb 5'7" female) per day of the following: 6 scoops of whey protein powder mixed with 6 T chia seed followed by either 1 T olive oil or 3 fish oil pills- split into 6 feedings per day. Yes, it sucked, but I definitely stopped looking forward to my meals and after about five days started FORGETTING to eat because I WASN'T HUNGRY AND I WASN'T THINKING ABOUT FOOD anymore.
3 months later - I haven't binged once.
I've read some of your previous posts, and I'm going to say the same thing I said to the last question you posed, which I think you deleted.
I think you need to gain weight. I know it sucks, and I know you don't want to, but you are recovering from, if I'm correct, years of extreme low-calorie dieting. Your fat tissues are starved and they are SCREAMING to be fed. You already know this. And they aren't going to stop screaming because you're eating chicken instead of cookie dough. They will stop screaming when they stop starving. And that might mean that you need to be skinny fat instead of ridiculously thin.
And you know this as well as I do. It's better to be skinny fat, or even slightly pudgy, than to be 17 and suicidal because you can't fit enough cookie dough or pork roast roast in your belly to stop being hungry (I'm not mocking you, I've been there, honest).
So the practical advice is to literally stop restricting. Keep working out, lift weights, eat healthy, etc. etc., but since your body is literally starving, and is literally sending your brain starvation signals, each day of fasting or not eating or whatever is just going to delay the day that your fat cells finally stop screaming at your brain. So some days you'll eat normally, and some days you'll binge. Then, maybe 10 lbs from now, you'll just be eating normally. This means you need to stop "making up" for your binges. This means your binges will add up to some lbs of fat over time. It won't be that much. It really won't. And the goal is to stop bingeing, to stop the next binge, NOT to make up for yesterday's binge, NOT to maintain a weight loss that is making you insane.
You can gain some weight without regaining all the weight, because you're not giving up on everything, you're not giving up on healthy eating or healthy living. You're actually committing yourself fully to healthy eating and healthy living, and that means not starving yourself to make up for yesterdays' binge, that means not beating the crap out of yourself over it. When you give up, that's when you gain ALL the weight back. Committing to being healthier, body and mind, means just gaining a BIT of the weight back.
And then, maybe six months from now, maybe a year from now, when you're a little more healed, in a little bit of a healthier place and aren't just getting off the end of a serious starvation diet, then maybe you can try again, slowly, with a relaxed attitude. And maybe you won't, because maybe you'll find that you don't need to, because maybe you'll be in college or whatever and you'll be playing sports and you'll have a pretty girlfriend or boyfriend and life will be good, and you won't be worrying about it anymore.
The good news is that you're only slightly flabby, so you can get back to leanness fairly quickly.
I think you should throw away all concentrated sources of fat, sugar and salt and start over with a much more elemental diet. Get that shit out of your house and don't buy more of it. Eat baked meat, microwaved sweet potatoes/russets, some liver and some egg yolks. That's your diet now. Don't eat any fruit since the sweetness will probably be a trigger. Don't salt anything.
The trick is to not take that first bite of anything that sends you down the path. Alcoholics in recovery aren't going to take the occasional swig, so you shouldn't take a bite of a cookie or some other drug-food.
You need to retrain yourself to start listening to actual hunger signals, which couldn't possibly be telling you to eat again with that much chicken in your stomach, for example.
Anyway, this will take time, so be patient. You need to etch these healthy pathways ever deeper.
When did you start binging? On Paleo or before? Please let me know - it is important. Usually binge eating starts after severe caloric restriction. Have you ever fasted or restricted your caloric intake dramatically (lower than 1,600 calories per day)?
Oh, and this is VERY IMPORTANT: do not feel guilt or shame after a binge. If you feel guilty, it will make binge eating behavior even worse due to the way our brains function. Say to yourself "Oh, well, so I overate - not a big deal" it is going to help your brain to recover better.
It is going to be okay, don't worry - I know a lot of success stories of former binge eaters. The best method out there is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It really works.
I used to go through similar episodes, and I think the 3 important things that triggered them were a) emotional issues unrelated to food, b) psychological self- restriction (wanting to be thin and forbidding myself to eat out of fear to get fat), c) relying on carbs for most of my calories (->insatiable appetite). I was never anorexic or bulimic, but the constant hunger used to haunt me pretty much all the time.
It changed gradually for me. Started with emotional healing. Then, being a sort of a skinny fat and not able to lose weight, I just decided that weight wasn't going anywhere and I would have to accept myself as I were; just try to be as healthy as I could. This lifted the psychological pressure to be thin, and helped a lot. I became more mindful of what I eat and stopped repressing myself. Haven't heard of paleo at that point, but lost some weight anyways. I then gradually started to rely on fat/protein/veggies for most of my calories, and that was crucial, as eating mostly carbs keeps you constantly craving for more. Then binges went away.
I think emotional/psychological factor is very important, and I know how hard it can be to get out of mental traps. So try to work on that along with tweaking your diet towards more fat, safe starches, veggies and protein. And be gentle on yourself! Hope this helps.