Tips to stop binge eating, stop overeating, stop emotional eating, stop eating fast food, stop eating junk food
April 14, 2012 at 9:49 am #4929
today is april the 14th, 6 months to the day since my last binge. i know in my heart of hearts that i will never binge again. i consider myself cured, free. i want to share my story with you all, partly to give hope to those still plagued by this, and partly to share what worked for me.
this turned out a little long, apologies. i didn’t really have a plan when i started typing and it all sorta came out at once! there’s a “too long didn’t read” bit (called ‘my message to you’) at the end if you’re not up to reading a novel
well, it’s the same old story with me. i had put on quite a lot of weight when i gave up some other terrible habits (actually that part is probably not like everyone else!), managing to pack on about 20kgs (~44lbs) in just over 3 years. i know! i joined the gym and lost 7kgs (~15lbs) in 6 months on my own, but this was not fast enough and i hired a personal trainer in january 2010.
she taught me about calories, nutrition and training, however i took my newfound knowledge to the extreme and created a magic calorie spreadsheet in which i tracked my daily calories in and out which i used to track my progress. my spreadsheet was pretty awesome. i plotted graphs of my intake and output, and had a weight loss predictor table which would tell me how much i could expect to lose each week. i allowed myself 1250 calories a day to eat (i am 5’11″). if my total calories stayed under 1250, the text was green. if i ate more, it turned bold red. i worked to a calorie deficit of 500 a day, but 1000 a day was even better. bold green for 1000, green for 500, red for no deficit.
well, you can imagine what this led to. not only would i do *anything* not to let that text turn red, i also could no longer eat anything where i didn’t know the calories, because it would mess up my graphs. not only that, i used to work out at night – so if i happened to overeat during the day, i would have to spend hours and hours on the treadmill to burn enough calories to make the deficit.
quite obviously this was not a sustainable dieting strategy. when i started binging, i trained harder and restricted even more because i also had to make up for the binge, on top of getting my deficit… well! long story short, i got myself into a huge big mess, i started getting injured, drained, tired, i didn’t want to go out and see my friends because i would stress about food. you know the drill. i was binging about once every 2 weeks, but this were mega binges, about 4-5000 calories a day for 2-3 days in a row. i remember thinking during one of my first binges what a huge relief it was NOT to eat according to my spreadsheet, screw the diet for a day, let my hair down! the “all or nothing” mentality that most of us know so well. but even then, i didn’t want to mess up my graphs, so would have to pick through the empty packages to get the nutrition values of everything i just ate.
by august 2010 things had gotten out of hand. i managed to hold it together for 1 month before a holiday with my family, and got to within 1.1kgs of my goal weight. i hadn’t seen them in almost a year, before i started losing weight, and wanted to look my best. my mom still refers to the day i stepped off the eurostar, how that is the best i have ever looked. unfortunately during our 3 week trip, i was not using my spreadsheet… and i went a little crazy. a lot crazy. by the end of the 3 weeks, i had put on just over 5kgs (~11lbs). back home from my holiday, i lost it. i was back using my spreadsheet, however the binging had become ingrained on my trip, and i could not find the motivation to diet i’d had before i went away. nevertheless i tried, and started by planning all my food (all meals, all snacks) for 2 weeks in advance. i thought i was being so good and efficient – but about 2 hours later i cracked and binged. it was a big one… i knew then that something was terribly wrong and started googling – and found this forum.
i don’t need to tell you guys what a relief it was to find this forum and all of you lovely people. i didn’t know that binge eating was a ‘thing’. all this time, i thought i was weak, greedy. i simply thought my diet strategy had been wrong, and this was the cause of the binging. why could other people diet so easily and not me? why didn’t i have any willpower? was it the food i was eating? maybe i needed more carbs, less carbs, more protein, more leafy vegetables? did i need to drink more water? was i eating at the wrong time of day? what was it? i had no idea. starting to read the stories and journals opened my eyes. *dieting* was the problem. i read andrew’s e-book and couldn’t believe what a familiar story it was. i was reeling from day 1, in a complete spin. however, even though i now understood that dieting was causing my binges, but i still wanted to lose weight. i had been so close before. surely i could get there again.
but i missed a trick. i understood that dieting made me hungry – for sure. however, i still believed that emotions caused me to eat, that dieting just weakened my resolve. if only i were mentally tougher, i could get to my goal weight. so long as i knew how to fix things like stress, fatigue, anger, sadness etc, without food, i could carry on with my regime.
so i continued to diet and train excessively, while tackling all these other emotional problems using suggestions i found on the forum. at night i was permanently latched to the treadmill, and often the last person in the gym. i was training up to 3 hours a day after work, and longer at weekends. i had very little time for anything else. i stopped seeing my friends and doing other things i really enjoyed. if something meant i couldn’t get to gym, i would FREAK. OUT. it always led to a binge. my body was so desperate for food, it would start to find any excuse to get me to eat. my binges became worse and worse – longer and longer, lasting 3 or 4 days at a time, well over 7000 calories a day. my graphs looked awful!
i knew i had to change something. my weight was the same, month after month. i knew the spreadsheet was the problem, or at least part of it. i tried unsuccessfully to give it up, twice. it was during these periods of trying to give up the food diary that i managed at least to legalise all food. during my heavy dieting days, there were huge parts of the supermarket that i felt i couldn’t walk down. when i lifted all my rules and restrictions, it was as if the darkness had been lifted on those aisles – it was amazing! suddenly i could eat bread! pasta! chocolate! of course i went a bit crazy on these previously restricted foods – even though they were not the types of foods i would have eaten before i dieted. i was so terrified by how much i ate and the weight i gained, i went back to to my tracking. it was safer. i knew numbers, they were comforting. even if something went wrong, i could look at my numbers and fix it. i was adamant that i could lose weight, and ranted and raved at anyone who tried to talk me out of it. i could now eat whatever i wanted, but only if it fit into my calorie budget for the day.
one day i looked at my weight and compared it to the year before. it was the same. all that effort in the gym, all those days feeling hungry while restricting, all those hours crying because i was so full and sick of food. all that parping on the treadmill, all those godawful sulphur burps the day after a binge because the food hadn’t digested properly… and for what. absolutely nothing! zilch, nada. no change on the scale. a year!!! i was so angry.
it was around that time that someone on the forum – dan i think – mentioned a book they had read. you all know the one i mean! brain over binge by kathryn hansen. i had a holiday coming up, and luckily the book arrived just before i flew. i couldn’t track my food while i was away (no laptop) and decided to make a clean break from the tracking. i ate a hotel buffet for a week and read most of the book lying on the beach. by the time i came back i was a changed person. i won’t go into the book again, but the gist of it is the explanation that:
- binging is a habit formed over time for a number of reasons
- the habit exists in the lower cortex of the brain
- you are in charge of the upper cortex, and the upper cortex has power over the lower cortex
- stopping the binge urge stops the binge, and the power is there for the taking
by complete coincidence, i also started with a new personal trainer when i got back from my trip. i am sorry to say that i had one more “last hurrah” binge marathon before my first training session, which ended on october 14th 2011. however i was armed with my knowledge and mental tricks to stop urges from the book, and the techniques were becoming easier to implement. i put this into practise for a few weeks while getting to know my new trainer, who helped me in 2 very important ways:
1. he taught me how eat to keep my blood sugar stable
2. he banned me from doing any of my beloved cardio
as soon as i started doing these 2 things, the insane hunger evaporated. i didn’t feel drained all the time. i had bags of energy! my sleep improved. i felt like a new person. i was eating to satiety for the first time in almost 2 years, and it felt GREAT.
i was still able to work toward a goal for my physique, but this time i aimed for body recomposition rather than pure weight loss. i knew what types of things i could eat at what times of the day to help my body thrive. i started to view food in a new light. i was now eating FOR my body, rather than viewing every calorie coming in as a calorie that had to be burned off. i started googling again, and renewed my passion for nutrition and training. my eyes had been opened once again, and there was a whole world out there that i knew nothing about. i started speaking to people in the weight training game, and was blown away by their positivity, their knowledge, their LOVE for food and how they ate to help their bodies grow. i started on my new training and nutrition plan, and did not look back.
in the 6 months since i last binged, i have lost just over 4kgs (~9lbs), without even thinking about it. i have also dropped my body fat percentage from 23.5% to 18.4%. i spend just over an hour in the gym, but only 4 days a week. sometimes i go for walks along the river. it’s nice. there are ducks. i see my friends a lot now, and i have time to do other things. i’m a lot more relaxed, and i don’t panic when i don’t have control over my food. i simply make good choices for my body from what’s available. i treat myself often. i have full fat everything! i’m happy. i’m free. and i can honestly say i will never binge again.
my message to you
if you are caught up in the binge cycle and are looking for ideas, here is what worked for me:
1. i stopped dieting, counting calories and tracking everything i ate
2. i legalised all food
3. i stopped doing endless cardio, and cut my gym hours right down
4. i started weight training and high intensity interval training – not imperative for stopping binging, but it gave me something to do in the gym besides cardio
5. i started eating to keep my blood sugar stable, to help my sleep, and to regulate my hormones
6. i read a book called ‘brain over binge’ by kathryn hansen
as you can see, it’s a multi-pronged approach. you need to attack this from all sides. do everything you can not to put yourself in the path of a binge, but if you find yourself there, know how to deal with it.
these may or may not work for you, and of course everyone is different. but if you have tried other things and you are still binging, it may be worth giving the above a go. as they say, if you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. you have nothing to lose by trying.
i cannot stress enough how important this forum has been in helping me break free. journalling gave me an outlet for all those thoughts and feelings i felt i couldn’t share with my family and friends. the support i received was overwhelming, and i am so grateful for that. when i started to feel ready to help others, that helped me tremendously too – i felt like i was talking to myself at times!
it is so important that you persist in your battle. don’t succumb to those post-binge depressions. you know the ones. those dark, suicidal moments that you KNOW are not you. they are aftereffects of the binge – really. remember it is ok to have these thoughts. i took to emailing the samaritans during my darker times – they couldn’t assist, but they do listen, and it felt good to let it all out. otherwise the forum will always be here for you, always listening and understanding. keep coming back, and never, ever give up. it may not be easy, and it may take some time, but if you persevere you WILL succeed.
ok, i think that is quite enough out of me! sorry it wasn’t as inspirational as sarah or charlie’s posts, but there you have it to your success! xxxxApril 14, 2012 at 10:56 am #93000
thankyou for taking the time to share your story. You have helped SO many people on here. I cannot thankyou enough, you haven’t only supported me but truly helped and guided me.
I can tell you have recovered because you can actually read everyones depressing posts without letting them get to you (for example for me, when i start reading posts about people bingeing it takes me to a dark/scary place where i feel i may binge too) i’m not ready yet, but you sure are.
thankyou thankyou thankyou beautiful
xoxoxoxoxoApril 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm #93001
ToBe…what a wonderful gift this morning. I hadn’t seen you post much lately and was fearful that you were moving on. You are such an inspiration and success story so many of us needs to hear everyday on OUR road to recovery.
I thank-you for every post and words of encouragement. You are priceless.April 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm #93002
ToBe – I agree with the previous posts. You truly are an inspiration to us. Thank you for telling your story and helping us get there too. It is only Day 3 for me on this Forum and I feel different already.April 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm #93003
awww shucks you guys.. haha i’m a bit embarrassed now!
@lina, thanks i never even thought of that! i guess i see a lot of myself in other people’s posts and want to help and that overrides any sad feelings. now that i know there is an end to the madness, i don’t get so depressed!
@eemslo, thank you so much, what an amazing compliment. i had a crazy week at work last week and the next few weeks will be busy too so not much time to post. i am only sorry that i don’t get to everyone each time i am online. wish there was more time in the day. i am looking forward to reading your success story one day – i think you have the fastest turnaround time i have ever seen! joined the forum and 5 minutes later you had sussed it – binge free ever since. we can all take lessons from you!
@nanny, this forum is just brilliant, a real gem. if not for you guys & andrew, i don’t know where i would be. i’m glad you found it.
xxxApril 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm #93004
tobe, can I call you tobe? TOBE, my pal, my confidante, my comrade
thank you. don’t go anywhere. you’re changing people’s lives.
must feel pretty good, huh?
RandApril 15, 2012 at 5:52 am #93005
Hi tobe – you are inspirational You are helping so many others – including me. Hearing your positive outlook helps keep me moving in the right direction too.
Hugs Charlie xxApril 15, 2012 at 11:05 am #93006
@rand – tobe or not tobe… that is the question! hahahha. *sigh* yes of course you can, call me whatever you want! and thank you, but it’s not just me – we are all helping each other, all changing each others’ lives. this is a great forum
@charlie – wow thanks, coming from you that’s awesome. you’re like my unofficial mentor, considering yours was the first journal i read when i got here! so you helped me first – right back atchaApril 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm #93007
Tobee’s backkk!! .
I just read that huge post and trust me it took me a while to read it haha!.
There is actually things on there that i didnt know about you. Your obsession with food was quite intence. I remember you telling me about all those charts and i remember seeing them as a good thing but i see that they wern’t. Using them was getting you more obsessed with your diet and exercise. It was a trophey for you to see the chart looking great. I’m so gald your away from that.
If i can make myself anywhere near as happy as you are right now, well i’d be the happiest girl in the world. People are right when they say your an insperation. Your like my big sister and i have to look upto you. So make sure you kick me in to touch!
All you need now is a lucky fella for those cold nights were hugs are needed
Love you lots xxApril 16, 2012 at 7:27 am #93008
hah, sorry, i started typing and it all came out at once.. should have edited it a bit maybe. too late now! yeah the charts started off as a good thing and they definitely helped me to lose weight in the beginning when i had no idea about nutrition. but when i started have to rearrange my food plan so i could factor in a 6 calorie sweet someone was offering me.. well. that should have set the alarm bells ringing but unfortunately it didn’t.
and thank you but getting divorced at an early age has made me all jaded & cynical on the man front it would have to be someone mighty special – dr christian, if you ever change sides let me know
love you too custy! i can’t tell you how happy i am to talk to you again your posts always brighten my day xoxoxoxApril 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm #93009
Ello lovely .
We all do things and learn from them and lucky enough for you, you’ve managed to change things for the better.
I did not know Dr Christian was gay! but he’s so masculine and well manny! (sorry i can’t think of any words for him). That sucks!. I’ll sort him out and i’ll get back to you haha!
I on the other hand have the hots for jim parsons (sheldon – the big bang theory) oh i love him very much. I actually think by boyfriend has a man crush on him aswell but he’s gay. so i think my fella has more of a chance than me !
Im glad i can brighten up your day. I have to be honest yesterday and today i’ve felt the need to come back on this forum just to catch up with you and lauzy. Your both keeping me on track so thank you xxApril 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm #93010
OMG, I’ve so always wondered about your story and here it is.. wow, well you already know I call you my binge angel, and I am like everyone else, so very very grateful to have found you!!
xxxApril 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm #93011
i just wanted to post and say that i’m watching Dr Christian!! haha!
I also wanted to add something that i forgot to add earlier..
You said that you got divorced at a young age. Well i just want to add that any guy who lost you is very stupid to have given you up. Your a very special person with a huge heart. Your dream hulky Dr will be along one day and you can cuddle up with the hulk every night . xxApril 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm #93012
mmmm dr christian. i always thought he was cute but then he was torso of the week in heat recently and it just pushed me over the edge lol.. sheldon from big bang theory?! hahahahahaha that’s a new one he might be a contender for the weird crush, haha.
and custy, thank you, that’s an amazing compliment and yes he was stupid!! but yeah, don’t worry about me and my non-dr-filled bed. i’m ok with it xx
also thank you cmez! that’s such a sweet thing to call me, and quite undeserved! but thank you xApril 19, 2012 at 2:11 am #93013
Hi Tobe, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s just what I needed to read today, to be reminded that this can be overcome. You’re an inspiration to us all!
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