How To Stop Binge Eating

Tips to stop overeating, stop emotional eating, stop eating fast food, stop eating junk food

It Stops Here

This topic contains 50 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  megu 3 years, 7 months ago.

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    I’ve been binging since childhood, and thought I got a grip on it last year. I hadn’t, but was just in a particularly successful weight loss phase.

    Today I saw a woman I hadn’t seen since last July, and I’ve gained 17 lbs since then. The look on her face when she saw me made me want to crawl into bed and never come out. Indeed, I snuck out of the party I was at and drove home filled with shame and anger, cursing myself for the bad ‘choices I’ve made’ that have caused my weight gain.

    On the verge of tears, I called my dad (who struggles with similar issues) and lamented my inability to GET OVER this problem. I have tried so many things to knock it off, but continue to find myself standing in the kitchen past my bedtime with a sticky jar in my hand. I wake up the next morning, filled with self-loathing and hung over from the food.

    This is no way to live. And there is NOTHING that will stop me from conquering this forever. I am going to read this book everyone talks about, work hard with determination, and stop letting the binges rule my life.

    Binging is NOT who I am. It is something that with the right tools, I can and will put a stop to.

    ALSO I need to let go of the shame. It serves no good.

    I am a beautiful, capable, ridiculously strong woman and I have nothing to be ashamed of. In letting go of the shame, I must also let go of the lies. No more lying about food. When my room mate gets home, I am going to tell her exactly what happened to her almond butter and apologize. I will have no more secrets about what I eat. Food should be celebrated and respected as much as the air I breathe.



    Hey, first of all I’d like you to understand that I know where you’re comming from. I feel ashamed, and insecure when I’m around people, especially eating around people. Take a few deep breaths, and think. Tomorrow is a new day; a fresh start. You’re right. Get yourself in the right mindset. You CAN do this. I’m still struggling, it’s not something that just goes away overnight. It does take work, and effort, but it’s worth it. Constantly think of where you want to be. Do you want the body you’ve always dreamed of? Or would you rather let food control you? Food is the only thing in your life that you can control. Savor your food, give yourself a little at a time so you don’t go crazy, and just eat healthily and excersize daily. Also drink at least 3 liters of water a day, the wight will come rot off. Glad I could help. Hopefully you can give me some advise too. (:



    i love that you can acknowledge the good qualities in yourself, often this is hard to do, particular for us binge eaters. but we are all amazing people, we are just blinded sometimes.

    good luck x



    Thank you to both of you for your support. I recognize that I am going to have some hard moments in dealing with this problem, but I am so determined that this will no longer be something that rules me.

    In all other areas of my life, I am a force to be reckoned with when I want something. Binge eating has been the one thing that I just can’t shake. But I think I am now accepting it for what it is– a habit over which I have total authority. I AM THE BOSS, not this ridiculous thing I tend to do.

    There is nobody holding a gun to my head, forcing me to binge eat. There is no brick precipice standing in my way. Just me. And my actions.

    That gives ME the decision rights. I get to decide this. Not my biology, not my pancreas, ME.

    I think being a part of this forum is going to help me a lot.



    Hi yogaG! I can really relate to your last post on here – in all aspects of my life I am such a determined, competitive person, and people always comment on it. Yet binge eating is the one area in which I felt I lost all control, will-power and determination.

    Two things that helped me…a) joining this forum! Before my binge eating was a secret, but now that I have people to confess to and tell when I’ve binged has strengthened my determination when I’m binge eating, as I just think of everybody here when I get the urge! So in a way this forum helped my competitive character to finally compete with my binge eating.

    Secondly, I see the ‘binge’ as a monster which I’m fighting – something external. Before, I just felt that I was fighting myself, but now that I feel that I’m fighting something external to me, that is not me, once again my competitive side rears into action, and I find myself more able to fight an urge to binge.

    Anyway, I love your post, and the realisation that you have complete control over this, although at the time of a binge it feels so automatic and almost unstoppable.

    Determination can go a long way, and you can do it. Good luck!!



    Yoga, this site has been a GOD sent for 2weeks now I’ve not binged eaten. In fact, ice cream has been in the freezer for 3 days now, a miracle!

    My 50 years of trying to diet and exercise only to binge and undo all I had accomplished, was not working.

    Like you, I’m strong, efficient, well liked and sensitive. No one knew what was going on in the inside. Thanks to this site, I have hope but the key is to plan only what I want to eat and I’m finding I am eating in normal portions. It seems scary at first to give yourself permission to eat what you want. You think you’ll go hog wild and gain that weight again. It hasn’t happened. Last night I went to a dinner dance and didn’t even want the cake! My other promise is to get rid of the scales. My well being cannot be about numbers anymore. I wish you sane days



    Eemslo— congratulations! That is such a wonderful accomplishment- it takes a lot of courage to do the work you are doing, and you seem to be going strong. You are an inspiration.

    I’m not ready to give up the scale, but I’m making a decision that it will not be an object of fixation and obsession for me any more, simply a tool to track my progress towards my health goals.

    Priority #1 remains though: NO MORE BINGING. PERIOD. Every other goal for my weight an fitness is secondary to never EVER binging again. EVER. EVER!!!

    Thank you so much for your good wishes, and I return the same to you!


    I find it so fascinating how many similarities of experience I find in the pages of this forum. Sometimes I really think that all I need is to talk it out HONESTLY and have a group of people who aren’t going to react with disgust, disappointment, or pity (my mom always gave me the disappointment and frustration, my dad, commiseration and frustration, when I told them about my binges).

    I try to hide this problem from everybody because it’s embarrassing, when I think all I need is to get it out there and have a sense of humor about it: this DUMB ASS thing I do is totally absurd and I AM GOING TO KNOCK IT OFF!!!!

    I like your monster analogy… I think for me too, it is an external force. But I think of it more as a petulant child– one that will holler incessantly, whine, scream, kick… It’s my job to teach it some manners and ignore it when it misbehaves. I guess I have a little compassion for it, that poor baby that wants to get it’s way, and this compassion allows me to laugh a little, ruffle it’s hair, and say “nuh-uh, you aren’t getting the better of me today”.

    I look forward to being shoulder to shoulder in battle with you ;)

    and thanks so much for the kind words!



    Ok, so I’m officially calling it. 2 days binge free! Totally!

    What usually gets me is the sampling and snacking while I am preparing my food, or when I’m putting away leftovers and cleaning up. I’ll stick stuff in my mouth without even thinking, and then BAM! Binge baby starts to scream. Lol.

    No such opportunity tonight. In the span of a split second, I caught that little bugger thinking, “mmmm I’ll just sample a little of this, no biggie” and I said ABSOLUTELY NOT. You are going to sit down and enjoy this lovely meal, because that is whatgrownups do.

    So I did!

    I feel so good, and I’m sending out good wishes and positive vibes to all of you tonight!


    I like your monster analogy… I think for me too, it is an external force. But I think of it more as a petulant child– one that will holler incessantly, whine, scream, kick… It’s my job to teach it some manners and ignore it when it misbehaves. I guess I have a little compassion for it, that poor baby that wants to get it’s way, and this compassion allows me to laugh a little, ruffle it’s hair, and say “nuh-uh, you aren’t getting the better of me today”.

    :D i have a little kid too, her name is annie :) (short for “animal brain” – which you will read about in the book) well done on 2 days :) xxx



    Another amazing day so far– I woke up at 5, did 15 minutes of yoga (like every day, get the blood flowing) and went for a quick jog. Felt great, it’s so beautiful outside.

    Brain Over binge is exactly what I needed to read.

    Here’s my interpretation of the steps toward kicking my bingeing habit:

    This book has totally put in perspective what is happening in my brain when I get the urge to binge eat. Reframing the problem in these terms has made this a battle that I can win. Holy. Crap.

    I’ve been using the steps she outlines for 2.5 days… Granted I know I can’t say I am officially free of this habit (gotta have the data to back it up) but I truly feel as though I have been struck with an epiphany, and I’m never going to binge eat again.

    Step 1: view urges to binge as neurological junk. Any thoughts in my head starting to justify bingeing behavior (like, say, the urge to peel a chunk of skin off of a chicken I just cooked and stuffing it greedily in my mouth, or the little voice telling me that I haven’t eaten enough today, trying to justify eating 8 large carrots) are my reptilian brain trying to get me to eat. I’ve wired it to do that to me because I’ve engaged in that neurologically rewarding behavior for so, so long, it’s ingrained. But it doesnt know better than me. I know what’s up, and I know that if I’ve given myself the proper nutrition for the day, I’m covered. I also no that my next meal is only a few hours away, so the urge to binge is totally irrational, spam from my reptile brain.

    Step 2: separate my higher brain from these urges. Once I realized that there are two different mechanisms at play here, it separated me from the problem. Now, experiencing the urge to binge is like watching a child having a temper tantrum in a sound-proof room. I observe it happening, and where I used to get all wrapped up and start fearing that the kid wouldn’t be ok and needed comfort, I now sit comfortably on the other side of some 2 way glass and let it play out. I feel totally uninvolved and sort of amused by the little thoughts my brain sends to try to get me to binge. Like “you’ve never been able to stop this before, what makes you can do it now?” lol, that urge is crafty– trying to logic it’s way in to giving my doubts about my own control. Total BS, the jig is up. Anything telling me I should engage in binging behavior is a trick from my reptile brain. That knowledge gives me SO much power over it.

    This is akin to the idea of mindfulness, or the impartial observation of one’s thoughts, except I think that this concept is more empowering for me because I know that there is actually mechanistic combat that can take place in my own head, and my RATIONAL self is the one in control over weather my hand reaches for the fridge handle or not, giving it the final say in what goes down.

    Step 3: don’t get emotionally involved. In the last 48 hours I have caught several urges to perform binging behavior. In the past, these urges would surface in very rational ways that would arouse all kinds of emotions– fear, nostalgia, guilt, shame, excitement– you name it. These emotions in turn would make me so fixated on the thought of putting food in my mouth, I would turn into an emotional accomplice to my reptile urges, almost like a mob mentality. Now that I have separated ME (the real me) from the urges, I don’t have to get involved. I can see the inciting thoughts for what they are, and let them go (laughing at them, actually).

    Step 4: Stop acting on urges to binge. While this task would be totally impossible before, I now have the knowledge I need to do this. And I’m going strong. The best part? The longer I keep this up, the less strong the physical neural pathway that is my hard-wired binging habit. The brain prunes pathways that aren’t in use to direct energy towards ones that are. This means that I continue to not binge for a month or so, it’s all over. And if any rogue urges come up, I know what to do.

    Step 5: get excited. Feeling the emotional reward of doing something right (not binging) has an effect on the physical structures in the brain responsible for creating new habits. That means that all of this elation I am feeling right now at NOT bingeing is further solidifying the processes in my brain that make me a person who doesn’t binge. Awesome.

    So, there it is. It’s over. I’ve binged my last binge (btw, as I wrote that, the reptile said “yeah right. Good luck with that” and I said– “buddy, i know what you’re playing at, and it’s over”.


    Also, in looking at Kathryn’s website, I saw that she went Paleo during recovery!!! Holy cow!! I’ve been Paleo for 2 years, and while my health improved immensely when I cut out grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, I was still bingeing on Paleo foods like fruit and nuts (and admittedly, semi permitted sweeteners like honey and agave). So neat to read that!

    Check out is post from the author about how she incorporated Paleo nutrition principles into her life during recovery.



    YogaG….by George, you’ve got it!!! I had exactly the same reaction when I read the book. Holy. Crap. From that day on I knew my recovery was a certainty. I knew I had to do my part…but it is a fact of wiring issue that is resolvable. I know the journey is different for everyone, but it took me 6 weeks to get it almost completely under control. The urges got quieter, and it was up to me to choose not to act…that is vital in erasing the habit portion. 20 years of torment were under control in about 6 weeks.

    About the Paleo part. I strongly suggest you shelve that till after recovery. Any restriction at this time, will inhibit your progress to recovery. IF, I mean IF your body is requesting carbs, give it what it wants. It is testing you to see if you are restricting. Kathryn adopted that menu plan AFTER her recovery, when making healthy choices can be managed without lower brain throwing a bitch-fit. It is my opinion that this is a poor choice to do while you are trying to re-wire.

    Wishing you the best. You have the tools you need. Go make it happen!!!!



    Divine– I am SO excited!!

    On the Paleo thing– I recognize the reasons behind not restricting food– I should not deny myself anything in order to make a full recovery. Denial of my body’s needs leads to risky circumstances for my health.

    However, since I started eating paleo 2 years ago, my health and my mental wellbeing has improved tremendously… I LOVE it!! Before I went paleo, my binges were terrible, my body and mind were clouded all of the time. I would binge in the early afternoon on cereal, ice cream, fruit, nut butters, cookies, yogurt and honey and then fall asleep at 4:30 pm and sleep for 14 hours. Every single day.

    Then, I cut the grains, sugar, etc.. and I felt incredible. SO energized, my binges became less severe and less painful. Furthermore, every time I ate something off diet, it made me ill. The stuff left out of the paleo diet no longer holds appeal for me… I don’t like baked goods/pasta and dairy gives me indigestion :(

    In my head, no food is forbidden. I just eat what I want to eat, and that has evolved into a totally paleo diet.

    Anyway… thank you so much for your good wishes!

    I am so, so excited for tomorrow and every day after!




    Reading through posts of people desperate and in pain brings back memories of some of the worst moments of my life.

    Moments where I was so strung out on sugar and my belly was so tight that I couldn’t move. Weeks upon weeks of just laying there, hating myself, looking in the mirror and just totally hating myself. And then going to the pantry and eating an entire box of cereal, ice cream, whatever i could find.

    Life outside of my binges stopped– I had no friends, no job, and my fit family had no way of helping me. My petite mom would try to talk to me about my secret eating, or tell me not to pick at food while I was cooking, and I would become enraged, storming out and screaming that I hated her. I think back on those moments with sorrow, and compassion for my younger self, who was unaware of what was happening to her, and thus totally incapable of stopping.

    I always framed my problem in terms of ‘eating too much”, and I couldn’t explain why I did it. I’d be hating myself for bingeing, but then wake up the next day and do it again. I would get angry at myself, pity myself, or pretend like there was no problem. I was all over the place all of the time.

    Then, after about 3 months of continuous bingeing, I heard about it the Paleo diet and wanted to try it. It intuitively felt like exactly what I needed. I still hadn’t recognized my behavior as bingeing, and thought I was just eating too much of the wrong things. So, I went Paleo and within less than a year, had dropped 50 lbs.

    I remember the first few weeks of going Paleo very clearly. For about a week, I’d get carb withdrawal headaches, but I started to feel a clarity of mind I had never felt before. I felt strong and energized. That was only half the story though, as I was still bingeing. I was food obsessed and got almost manic about sticking to a Paleo diet. While I am confident now that the Paleo approach is very well suited to my physiology, my adoption of the diet did not come from a healthy place. As I started grad school I still hadn’t lost any weight on the Paleo diet, which I had started in march of that year, I was hell bent on the idea that I would be a normal weight by the time I went home after my first semester. So, starting out at 191 lbs in late July of that year, I had dropped to 173 by the beginning of november, and was 160 by new years.

    Howwww did I get there? I stopped bingeing and starved myself (1000 cal per day, chewing gum and drinking tea at all hours) and grueling cardio and weight training. But fuck, I was determined.

    I had this sick sense of superiority, and felt loathing for my fat self, determined I would never go back.

    Then, around Christmas I started having problems. I was dating somebody at the time, and unhealthily obsessed with being ‘hot’ to keep him around (stupid) and so when the urge to binge crept back, I would give in and chew the food, but then spit it out. After I went back to school, I started bingeing on Healy foods like vegetables and lean meats, thinking my body must need it. My body did need it, but not in the form of a binge. My chewing and spitting habit continued. I would drive to the store every day and by $20-30 of cookies, cakes, icings, ice creams, chocolate chips., candy bars. ANything with a nice texture, then I’d frantically stuff them into my mouth, chew them til they were liquid, then spit them out. This suppressed some of the binges some times, but often I would continue to binge on healthier foods.

    Then, summer came, and a sense of renewal. I was 167 lbs, not too far up from where I had started, and still working out every day. I started dating someone (again) and again felt an obsession with lowering my weight as low as I could. I felt so powerful with a low weight, and went back to chewing gum and eating 800 cal per day.

    Got down to 155 in 3 weeks.

    Then, visited home and had a total breakdown, bingeing on desserts and nuts… And when I returned to my job, I felt those urges getting stronger. Then, went to Europe and all hell broke loose. Was bingeing on chocolates and heavy foods 3x per day for 2 weeks. Was beside myself, and my weight went up to 172 by the time I got home.

    I’ve been bingeing ever since, mostly on fruits and vegetables, but sometimes on nut butters. doing yoga every day helped a lot, but I couldn’t stop the bingeing a few times per week.

    That’s my story.

    And I can say with the deepest confidence I have ever had in my entire life about anything that I will never ever ever eve evere do it again. And that’s incredible, it almost brings me to tears at how amazing that is.



    A fourth day, glorious and binge free!

    Talked to my mom today and told her about my lightening epiphany. She was so interested– she coaches a lot of people who are working on rewiring the patterns in their brain, and def. wants to read the book.

    When I was explaining how odd the feeling of observing binge urges as a spectator was, I said it felt kindof like I was acquiring muscle memory. In yoga, some of the most challenging postures can seem absolutely impossible, inconceivable. And then one day, all the parts are aligned, and by some miracle, you get yourself into it. All of a sudden, you realize what muscles you need to use to do it, and where the balance is, and if you practice it, it will become as easy as anything.

    This is how it felt using Kathryn’s tactics for the first time.

    Now, about today. Funny, my urges were more insistent today, but didn’t come in the form of catching me off guard and sticking food in my mouth, unable to resist.

    Instead, I found myself planning what I was going to eat when I got home after I went to the grocery store. I was hungry, and definitely needed a snack (I get cranky and shaky when my blood sugar is low), but I know that when I start planning out the things I am going to eat and obsessing, that is my reptile brain getting ready to pounce.

    But as I walked in the door, my heart racing, my mind fixated on the delicious greek yogurt in the shopping bag, I said

    “No, I know what you’re doing and it will not work. I’m done, it’s over. I’ve told you that already and I’m going to keep saying it until you cut it out.” (out loud, my neighbors must think I’m crazy :) )

    So, I calmly put all of my groceries away and made myself a delicate snack of raw carrots and sardines.

    Then, I rode my bike to class, and now I’m ready for bed.

    Problem solved.

    So, the interesting thing about all of this is how different my urges felt today– I anticipate they will get even craftier, but I am STILL the boss and I know exactly what I want. And pretty soon, that neural pathway will be pruned right away.

    Night All!



    Feeling good today, minimal urges to binge. But I’ve been getting hungry!

    I’m really not used to the feeling of hunger– I always had a moderately full belly because my binges were about 2-3 days apart usually, which kept me well stocked in surplus calories. Now on day 5 of my binge-free existence, I find i need to pay close attention to my hunger and make sure I have a small snack on hand.

    I just read a post about telling the difference between the actually need to eat and the urge to binge. I think that 5 days ago, I would have said, “yes, I can always tell when it’s a binge urge vs. hunger.” But now that I’m experiencing little hunger, I’m skeptical weather it’s real or weather it’s an urge from my reptile brain, disguised as me being hungry.

    Kathryn has some interesting insights into this– she says that hunger comes on slowly, whereas the panicked frenzy of IM STARVING I NEED FOOD NOW is definitely reptile brain talking.

    I think I also get cranky when I’m hungry, but can still stay relatively focused, but my binges are characterized by obsessive thoughts about what I am going to eat.

    Anybody else have ideas/ information about this? I guess I need to get in touch with my hunger!


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