Okay, before any of you say anything, please read this thoroughly. I'm a 17 year old female, 5'4 about 140 pounds. I've battled with my appearance throughout my whole life and since that has gotten better, it's been my weight for the past 2 years. I LOVE exercising and do it probably 4 or more days a week, but its not helping me lose weight because I'm constantly binging and being depressed about it. This week I haven't worked out once, because of feeling depressed and eating so much bad stuff. I want to drop about 20 pounds back to the weight I had before I began eating gross, binging, feeling disgusted with myself. I've read some stories about girls that actually gain weight instead of lose, and I really do not want that. I'll do anything to lose the weight at this point. I'd even be willing to cut out all fruit / nuts from my diet. Help please!
I have also struggled with binge eating in the past. While a paleo lifestyle may address the bulk of the biological binge triggers (blood sugar irregularity, carbohydrate addiction, depression/anxiety), it cannot always heal the psychological issues that are driving you to overeat.
I recommend checking out some of Geneen Roth's books. While I don't always agree with everything she says, she has an amazing understanding of binge eating disorder and the guilt/self-hatred cycle it perpetuates. "Women, Food, and God" is particularly amazing, but she has many publications that might suit your needs.
Doing this sort of psychological work is indeed much more challenging that just changing your diet, but you will find it significantly more rewarding. Binging is a symptom of a bigger problem. Don't just put a bandaid on your wound. Heal it.
I'm assuming you still live at home. How much control do you have of what food is available for your meals? Will there be challenges if you are wanting to eat lots of meat and eggs?
Just changing to paleo won't automatically be the solution for stopping your binging. That must be said. If you are using food as the turn-to comfort resource when you are upset/bored/depressed, then you will still find yourself doing that.
Whether you carry through with paleo/ancestral eating or not, you need to find other comfort mechanisms and reduce the importance of food to more like fuel and casual recreation. Does that make sense?
If you want to test paleo, that's a great idea. Buy or ask your parents to buy whole meat and lots of produce and give it a test drive. You may then have other questions or concerns and we'd love to hear from you again. But, again, think about what food means to you in general and don't let it be all-important. Being well-rested and having methods to deal with strong emotions are just as important as food--perhaps even more so.
i would just caution you about starting paleo with the sole goal of losing weight. i know it's tempting, when there are so many positive reports of weight loss as a pleasant effect of an overall much healthier lifestyle, however, there are some (like me) who do not lose simply by going paleo. i still stick with this lifestyle because of the overall positive benefits to health and my mindset. for a long time, i had a very unhealthy, guilt-ridden relationship with food and this has gotten infinitely better with paleo. if you don't lose, will you get endlessly frustrated and dive into destructive eating patterns and will you dump paleo? are you willing to experiment to figure out what's optimal FOR YOU? no doubt, this will make your body much much happier, but be sure to consider that you'll need to work on issues of the mind probably more than on diet.
Disordered eating and body image problems are complex issues that are seriously unlikely to resolve solely due to a change in diet. I am not saying it is impossible, but it is seriously unlikely. The human mind is extremely complex and needs to be tackled from multiple angles.
People on this board think that the paleo diet will cure anything. I've had severe mental illness for most of my life, and eating paleo has done little if anything to help with it.
I am not trying to discourage you. It could be possible that eating paleo could exert its effect on a longer term basis, but that remains to be seen for me at least. I am trying to encourage you to try different avenues in addition to eating paleo. Have you thought about seeing a psychotherapist about binge eating and body image issues? Everyone deserves the peace of mind that comes from self acceptance and freedom from the binge eating demon.
So I have severe depression and I've struggled with my weight pretty much since I was a kid. Over time, I figured out that eating wheat makes me feel bad (sad, sluggish, bloated) and that various processed foods do much the same thing. Totally eliminating carbs in my diet, however, definitely makes my depression worse. Paleo offers me a way to balance meeting my caloric and carb needs without triggering that awful cycle of "feel bad -- eat sugar/wheat -- feel okay -- feel REALLY bad" etc.
I know that there are folks who will not agree with me on this, but my experience has been that some of us do better (feel better, perform better, lose weight) on a diet that emphasizes meat, veggies, and fruit while deemphasizing grains and rice. I think I'm one of those people. I suspect that a lot of us who struggle with binge eating and with our weight on 'conventional' eating plans might also have trouble with grains/rice. (The disagreement is that I've met folks who think EVERYONE should do paleo. I don't think that. I think it helps me. I don't know if it will help you.)
I'd suggest that trying it for a couple of weeks won't seriously impact your weight or cause you any long-term harm. I'd really encourage you to try to get help for the body image/binging issue if you can. I benefited tremendously from cognitive therapy. It helped me realize how harshly I was judging myself, especially compared to how compassionate I was towards others. I don't 'love' myself now, but I got out of the cycle of self-hatred that was making me pretty miserable. I wish I'd done before I reached age 30!
My guess is that if you start eating paleo you will likely start feeling better because your gut will appreciate the nutrients you are feeding it. And at least for me, if I'm feeling good (ie- not bloated, no aches/pains, full of energy, etc) I am much less likely to binge than if I'm feeling bloated or tired.
I also think that your weight will take care of itself over time. It probably sounds cliche, but if you are feeding your body what it wants/needs, it's going to do what it is meant to do.
I wish you the best of luck and hope that you find what you are looking for! :)
Hack my symptoms please? :) 2 Answers
Am I developing an eating disorder? 7 Answers