Started peleo in Jan 2011 and it's been good in so many ways. However I have had a binge eating problem - probably since my teens. All last year I was on paleo then binging on crap. Sugar/wheat are really so addictive to me. I vowed this year would be different and I want to move past these binges.
Things that have helped: vlc(ketosis), 5htp, just good clean paleo diet, good sleep routine, lifting weights
Issues still/triggers: getting over tired, stress - the usual work life stresses, the constant bombardment of junk food everywhere!
Will OA be the final help I need to put this behind me? how do I get the courage to go to the first meeting?
I can answer this since I did go to OA. It is a wonderful organization, and it helps many people, and just like AA or any other addiction program, what you put into it is what you get out of it. You have to be committed and follow the program. It is truly confidential and anything you share is private, and even if you bump into someone in public, you say "hi" and move on.
Here is the hitch with eating paleo/primal. If you decide to go with a sponsor, you are going to be asked to come up with a food plan using a model that they have found seems to be successful with many OA followers. They prefer you eat three meals, no snacks. You will be expected to call your sponsor once a day, or more if you need to, and report what you ate, or what you were going to eat. I had alot of issues convincing my sponsor that the food I ate was necessary for me personally because of health issues, beliefs, etc. and that I was not always going to specifically eat three meals, maybe more, or graze, but I would stick to the food that I planned. It was a bit of an issue.
My suggestion. Go to some meetings and see if OA for you. Don't commit to a sponsor right away, see if you like the group. There are many meetings many nights having different purposes and missions, so find the one right for you, or you may prefer to going to several different meetings during the week with each one giving you something different. Some meetings are considered "positive" where there is no negative talk or complaining, you just focus on prayer and positive energy, and positive changes, goals and achievements. At any meeting, you are NEVER to discuss food by its proper names, what you ate exactly, menus, food plans, or what food items set off triggers or start binges, as your words may set off a binge for someone else. Those discussions are to be had with a sponsor only.
If you decide to commit and go with a sponsor, I would make sure very clearly and up front, that you eat paleo/primal, and have it all ok'd before you "finalize the deal". You may have to "interview" more then one sponsor, to find the one who is right for you, and remember your food plan may be personally problematic for them, so they might also feel they cannot help you either.
You are always welcome at any OA meeting any time without a sponsor. You do not have to have one to attend OA. They just feel you will be more successful if you are accountable to someone.
You can also attend OA meetings online, or call into meetings by phone. http://www.oa.org/meetings/find-a-meeting-online.php
All you can do is try. There is never a downside to attending a meeting. There is nothing to lose.
One last suggestion: overeating and bingeing usually stem from long term issues. You may want to attend OA as well as a therapist. I have friends who go to OA and also have a nutritionist (who understands their eating style) but its the accountability and focus that helps.
I wish you all the best and I support you in your goal to overcome overeating and stop bingeing.
I think you should try anything that sounds "right" to you. Finding the solution isn't easy and we all need help wherever we can find it.
In my case, what helped me was as follows:
I had such a meal last night and it worked beautifully as I was too stuffed to eat a bite after the meal yet this morning I feel calm and empty as usual. I've actually noticed the occasional large "paleo" meals are a good thing as it keeps my metabolism going and my weight loss doesn't stall.
Keep thinking, keep trying anything you want. You will find what works for you!
I also was in OA for a couple of years but ultimately I found my solution through diet and some behavioral changes that assisted in my compliance. I think the accountability factor of OA can be helpful for some and it's certainly worth a go if the idea resonates with you which it seems to.
Your last question about getting up the courage to go to a meeting struck a chord with me. Even after all these many years I still remember so vividly my absolute terror over going to an actual meeting. It took me many months to work up the nerve. I listened in on some phone calls (didn't have online meetings then) and got used to the structure of the meetings and the lingo. That helped. I went to a few meeting and just sat in my car watching people go in. Not very respectful of others but it's what I had to do. Finally I just went in one night. I finally felt comfortable and was able to walk in. At any rate, I just wanted you to know you are not alone in your fear.
For me the first OA experience was very respectful. Not overly welcoming and friendly so as to allow me to just observe if I liked yet I felt acknowledged and included. Looking back though I never really felt comfortable with the whole addiction model so I couldn't make the OA program work for me. I felt I needed more structure that OA provided and I even tried Greysheet for a while but that was just too much structure. In the end I just needed to get my food clean and learn to control my thoughts a bit more than I had been able to before. Still, I'm happy for the experience and I think everyone should try it if it calls out to them. Good luck!
How often do you go on these binges?! If its every week/every day it could be helpful to try OA...or maybe go speak to a psychologist if youre not constantly over-eating? It could be related to some other deep rooted emotional/mental triggers. If it is a super frequent thing, it definitely will help to talk about it/get help/gain techniques to avoid it.
Now for my "story" and my "remedy" for those crazy binge days....
For a good part of last year I would be really strict with my diet (I was under a lot of stress and it was all I could control) then every week I'd end up on some crazy binge where I would eat one thing to "kill the cravings" then say "F*ck it! Ive already cheated...I can restart again tomorrow. FREE DAY!" and binge on pints of Ice Cream, Chocolate, Pizza (more towards the beginning of Paleo), and other things, Paleo and CW, because they tasted SO GOOD and they made me feel better..temporarily. However, in the end I would just beat myself up over it. By October/November I showed some pre-eating disorder signs (emotional, mood swings, super strict diet compliance followed by binges, avoiding social settings, obsessing over working out, etc.) While I never developed an eating disorder (thankfully) I found that relaxing more, managing my stress(work, classes, etc.), and accepting things I cannot control (aspects of work, class, etc. that caused the stress) and enjoying Paleo foods I have been able to push past the whole compliance then binge thing.
I posted on a another question (I cant find it right now) about how I deal with my "binges." Thankfully after much experimenting and tweaking, I think I have found "My Paleo Diet" and the urge to binge has subsided...BUT I make sure there is no CW temptation in my house if I do fall off track and binge a bit...this happens right before I start my period or if I'm up late studying....or had a night out :P
Prepare yourself for a "successful" binge. Make sure there are NO C.W. foods to be found in your house, and keep a stash of Paleo acceptable snacks at work. Keep lots of bacon, dried fruit, nuts, Greek Yogurt (if you eat dairy)...dark chocolate...ANYTHING DELICIOUSLY PALEO. Seriously, if youre going to end up binging, as we all do from time to time, if there are NO C.W. foods in the house then youre already doing A LOT less damage than if there were cookies, bread, or what have you.How guilty could you feel for eating dried fruit and nuts?! However, I'm definitely not saying not to get help if binging is occurring on a super frequent basis.
I totally feel you on the whole stress-induced, lack of sleep, and junk food everywhere temptation to binge. I work with a Auburns football team (lots of free food for staff members come training camps/game days), I'm a full time student, and I have friends who EAT LIKE SHIT and are always shoving ice cream(my favorite thing ever), candy, pasta, and everything and anything else they can down their throats. I had to learn how to look at all of this, not from a point of deprivation, but motivation. I see breads and pastas now and all I can think of is my friend who is CONSTANTLY doing to doo because all she eats is candy, bread, pasta, and other terrible foods that "taste good"...I SWEAR she has G.I. issues from it, she is always on the toilet (Im talking poops like 5 times a day). You need to tell yourself that the temptation is temporary, but your health is permanent. How many more pieces of bread will push your body to the point of diabetes? Is it worth the risk? I do not want to find out. I'll have a sweet potato or nuts if I'm craving carbs! This is where the "preparation for a successful binge" comes in. Find the things that will satisfy your craving and fill you up. Sweet Potatoes are like crack to me. Not to mention, one sweet potato with some meat and I'm all food-babied up and ready to sleep ;]
Learn to breathe. Stress is not worth your energy...use that energy to experiment in the kitchen and make a kick ass meal or go on a long walk. Allow yourself a little time to breathe and do something for you everyday and try to tackle your stresses one piece at a time. Chances are, you are making a mountain out of a molehill. Prioritize. Focus on one thing at a time and slowly you will be able to control the stress. Controlling my stress was the biggest factor in my recent success...I am now sleeping more, eating better, and everything has started to line up.
I thought I might need OA so I tried a few online meetings last year. Then I was able to get on and stick to a low carb diet and my cravings and gnawing obsession with food simply disappeared. The hard part is getting over the hump of sugar/wheat withdrawal and then your taste buds reset to savoring things that better for you.
Maybe try a low carb Paleo approach for 1-3 months and then go back to a more varied diet.
i feel so good knowing there are people here with oa, paleo and emotional eating issues, like me. i took up paleo eating, because it is the only style that has made my emotions, confidence, and hope for a healthier future best. but since starting it up again in august, i have gained weight. i think it's because of using trader joe's non-paleo dressings, low activity, little sleep and nut butters :| the nuts coming from binges. i have a long past of emotional eating. i'm a highly sensitive person, and through self-research, therapy, real talk with friends and family, and in the past few weeks, oa, i have come to believe that my desire to over eat, and hide because i feel fat and ugly, is going away, is temporary, and is able to be helped. going to oa was the strength in the camel's back i needed, because talking to a therapist, loved one, and myself, wasn't enough. before oa, any time i struggled with food, a diet and weight, i always had the mentality that losing, or winning, based on my body image, was a personal and secret thing. if i failed, binged, beat myself up, i was a loser, and no one else was accountable. i had no support except for myself - and had boat loads of shame with little reflection. now, i try to love every part of what i do - failures in all, and oa is intimidating - luckily, i'm used to sharing my feelings and talking to all kinds of people, but at age 22, i am always the youngest one at the meetings, by years. i live in pittsburgh, and there are Tons of meetings - i try to go to 2 every week. and i am still scared to call people from meetings, admit to food cravings, and get a sponsor, but i have never felt more hope and pride about my self - then after oa.
i overeat because i feel a lack of connection to others. i feel too weird or edgy, in the cookie cutter college arena i am in. i want to change the world, spread peace, make humor - it's hard living away from home, and living with brutal people in the city. oa has helped me feel a friendship and kin with people that share in my deepest secret. that, alone, has helped me discover myself in a new light, and my binges and eating problems - stemming only from emotional disarray - will only become lighter and more resistant by me, i think.
good luck! ~ lauren
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