How To Stop Binge Eating

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

Trying to get out of my rut

This topic contains 14 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Liz_M 2 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #5239

    Liz_M
    Participant

    I want nothing more right now than to have a healthy relationship with food and to learn to love and treat my body properly…

    … this idea seems to be creeping further and further from my reach with every passing day of my life, with every binge.

    Almost 2 years ago I was fit as a fiddle. I worked out pretty much every single day; I was really great with my diet (alright that’s definitely a lie, I restricted ALL the time) and weighed about 30 pounds less than I do now. People used to always comment about how great I looked and how disciplined I was.

    One night when I was alone in my dorm, though, I got a bit stressed out. Instead of hitting the gym like I usually would, for some reason I looked to my pantry and decided to indulge in a little peanut butter. It tasted so good that I decided to get just a bit more. Well “just a bit” ended up turning into 4 spoonfuls, 2 granola bars, a honey bun from the vending machine in the lobby, and a bowl of cereal. By the end of it all my stomach was aching and I was almost positive that I was going to hurl. I remember feeling so miserable, guilty and sick that I promised myself that I would never let myself loose control like that again. Despite how terrible I had felt that night, I did it again and again and again. I went from once a week went to twice a week and then around four to five times a week. As I continued to binge, my stomach stretched. I was able to keep my weight in check my continuing to exercise but one morning after going for a jog, I developed a nasty case of tendonitis in my patellar tendon and had to let it rest for a couple months.

    Unable to exercise, my bingeing got worse and the pounds began to pile on. Here I am almost two years later and I’m completely miserable. My knee has healed and I’ve begun to exercise again but now I feel like a fat cow. I feel huge next to all the stick thin girls that work out in the gym and I can’t help but find myself googling fad diets to try and find some “miracle” diet that can make all this bad weight go away. I can have days where I’m “good” with my eating but it only lasts for about 3 days and then images of oatmeal cookies, lemon poppy seed muffins, cinnamon rolls, and an assortment of cakes pop into my head and next thing I know, I’m coming up with random concoctions in my kitchen just trying to satisfy that sweet craving (one that can’t ever really be tamed).

    Right now I’m sitting on my couch, typing this post, wallowing in my self-hated. After work I ate the other half of my lunch from earlier in the day and I treated myself to a 100 calorie serving of kettle corn. I was still hungry an hour later so I decided to grab a flat bread, toast it, and drizzle a bit of honey on it. After that I used another flat bread to make myself some mini pizzas. Then I decided to have a Lean Cuisine, a few more flat breads, two Cliff bars, and after that I said, “screw it,” and used a muffin mix to make myself wayyy more pancakes than I should have ever eaten.

    I don’t even see how my stomach can accommodate that much food. After each binge I tell myself that engorging myself is pointless because it just makes me feel shittier than I did beforehand, but no matter what, it always seems to happen again. It’s like a switch goes off in my brain and I’m stuffing food into my mouth without really registering what I’m doing at the time. I feel like a piece of shit because I should be able to control myself. I should be able to be happy and healthy but it’s almost like I’m starting to believe that I don’t deserve to be happy anymore. Every time I binge I feel like I’m just reinforcing that behavior and falling deeper into a pit that’s getting to be impossible to pull myself out of.

    I try to eat five small meals throughout the day, I try to “treat” myself, but it doesn’t work. I can’t seem to “treat” myself without a binge.

    I’m going to try to blog about my struggle and communicate with you guys. I’m hoping that I can find help here and that I can come to help others. I’m hoping that sharing my urges and issues with others will help me to eventually find a bit of sanity and start down the road to recovery.

    Thanks for reading guys,

    I actually feel a bit better just being able to be honest about my issue with food for once. I feel like my friends with their “normal” eating habits wouldn’t get where I’m coming from and would look down on me for being such a disgusting pig. It makes me feel quite lonely to be honest.

    #95257

    SunGirl
    Participant

    Hey! I can totally relate to everything you said–I’m a Liz, in college, and about two years ago I went on a health kick and got in amazing shape. Then about a year ago the binges started and I now weigh 25-30 lbs more than my happy/healthy weight. For me, the worst thing is the stretched out stomach…I haven’t been able to wear my favorite shirts in months :( But enough wallowing on my end, some of the best advice can be found on this site! Something that works for me and that I *try* to make myself do before eating ANYTHING (even during a binge) is asking, “How will eating this make me feel?” When it’s a healthy yet delicious meal, like a fabulous fresh salad, the answer is usually “Light and happy!” And when I’m bingeing I literally make myself answer this question still, and unfortunately it’s something like “Miserable, bloated, and disgusted”…but at least I’m being honest with myself. This is hard, but it’s natural to want to ignore exactly what you’re doing to yourself during a binge. And it’s easy to want to try to fulfill your sweet tooth like you said, but try to really ask yourself exactly what you want to eat that will fulfill it, and have that. And if you find that nothing that you could possibly eat will fill that void, then find something else to do! I know it’s easier said than done, but this is just a habit and you have to break it sometime! For me just recognizing that I have an urge and replacing a binge with something else, even if it’s a lazy thing like web surfing rather than a walk, is so much better than perpetuating the habit. I wish you the best of luck in this process, take it one day at a time! You absolutely have it in you, just stay focused and aware of what you truly want to do! :)

    #95258

    aliceautumn
    Participant

    Hi Liz_M, thank you for sharing. I have a lot of complicated feelings like yours. I have never been stick thin, or “fit as a fiddle” but I have also never really been overweight either. I might be at the north end of a healthy BMI though and that drives me insane. My obsessions with food and weight separate me from people and situations. This makes me sad a lot of the time.

    One thing in particular that you wrote spoke to me: “I keep telling myself afterwards that binging is pointless because it just makes me feel shittier than I did beforehand but it always seems to happen again.” I always try to use this tactic to avoid binging. I know what it feels like to hate myself. I also know what it feels like during the urgency of a binge. Sometimes I am able to do less damage by having that guilt float over me. On fewer occasions, I am strong enough to just not eat any more at all, no overeating, no binge.

    Lately, if I have eaten more than I had wanted to, I get the same guilty feelings I get as I had just binged. I am apparently never happy with myself. That is sort of depressing, isn’t it? Here is a link to my journal if you need someone to relate to or vent at: http://howtostopeating.com/binge-eating-forum/topic/alice-down-the-rabbit-hole/page/4#post-131684 My post that I just wrote tonight talks about that stupid guilt. It is also incredibly long, so if you are looking for a read that’s the place to go. :)

    Good luck with what you are going through, I encourage you to keep on writing.

    -Alice

    #95259

    Liz_M
    Participant

    Hey SunGirl, it’s funny to see that we have so much in common.

    I definitely hate my stretched out stomach. I have so many cute clothes in my closet that I can’t even bring myself to try on because I know it would just depress me. I’ve also come to hate things about myself that I never thought I would come to dislike, such as my arms, thighs and the little bit of weight on my face. After being so thin, seeing myself at this weight is just.. terrible. I think everything is so much more amplified and my vision of myself is more dysmorphic than it was to begin with! I look at my stomach and hips that now poke out over my jeans and it’s like the world just exploded or something.

    I am going to try to use this website as my distraction. I think my biggest thing right now is that I always feel alone. I feel like nobody that I know understands or could come to understand the thoughts that torment me with my binge eating. That idea seems to do a good job of isolating me from others (in my mind) and reinforce bingeing. I actually just did a review of a psychology journal that talked about the belongingness effect that comfort foods can have on the human mind. The researchers observed that comfort foods were usually consumed in life with someone that the consumer cared about (such as birthday cake with mom and dad or pumpkin pie with grandma) and how over time, the brain associates these foods with human interaction, and thus when we eat these foods, our brain can give us a fleeting sense of companionship. I think a lot more goes into binge eating episodes but I thought that was kinda cool idea to think about.

    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement! They give me a bit of encouragement for tomorrow morning. Instead of just telling myself that tomorrow is going to be better, I actually want tomorrow to be better and I’m determined to try to make it so!

    #95260

    Liz_M
    Participant

    I always love the morning after a binge. It’s so much easier to ask youself, “did I actually need to eat all of that food last night.” I’m always in a completely different mindset in the morning than I am at night.

    I actually didn’t feel as bloated and disgusting as I half expected myself to feel today. I got up and had some Go Lean Crunch honey and maple oatmeal with a thing of greek yogurt and a cup of coffee. I always find that either oatmeal and yogurt or an egg-white scramble are the most effective foods in keeping me satisfied until lunch time. If I eat cereal I usually end up with a bowl of it that’s way larger than a serving size and I’ll find myself craving more food in just a couple hours time.

    I’m going to try to have a healthy but nonrestrictive day with my eating. I have work in a couple hours so I’ll be busy enough today to hopefully keep my mind off of food for a bit.

    Good luck to everyone today!

    ~Liz

    #95261

    Liz_M
    Participant

    Well my “healthy nonrestrictive plan” just went to shit. I definitely just binged..

    I was doing great for a while there. I had my oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast and then I went to work. I worked from 12 to 7 and while I was at work I treated myself to a white chocolate cookie and I had a fruit smoothie for lunch that I made out of soy milk, 1/2 c strawberries, 1/2 c mango, and 1/4 c banana. I had a really great day at work helping out customers and I felt really happy and positive all day long.

    When I got home I made myself a turkey sandwich and accompanied it with a sliced up apple. Then I decided to have a 100 calorie bag of kettle corn. I planned on stopping at that. I was going to watch a little tv and go to bed. Instead I kept on thinking about the kettle corn. I popped myself another bag. Then I had some cinnamon toast, then I toasted some bread and made a mini pizza…. next think I knew, I had eaten half a loaf of bread. Then I decided to walk to a nearby store and get two vegan everything cookies and a cinnamon walnut muffin. I ended up finishing off the rest of the loaf of bread.

    God, what the hell is wrong with me?! Why can’t I just be normal. Why do I have to engorge myself all the time. I feel like a part of me isn’t completely ready to stop stuffing my face. It’s almost like it has become my comfort blanket.

    I feel like a part of me is afraid to go back to normal eating. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to be successful so I don’t even try to be. I’m afraid that the weight won’t drop off like I want it to so I’ll get discouraged and give up.. I guess I’m afraid of being a failure. That doesn’t make too much sense to me though since I’m being a failure by bingeing all the time :(

    … hopefully tomorrow will be better. I know that I’m the only one who really has the power to make that a reality. I need to look towards getting over this. I’m only 21 and I feel like I’m ruining the rest of my life. I’m setting the stage to be nothing but miserable. I don’t want to still be bingeing 10 years from now…

    #95262

    Lauzy
    Participant

    Hi, we’ve all been there- i know how you feel; eating til you feel sick and bloated and you feel like you’ve messed up again. it does ruin yourlife and it does start to feel like you’ll never just eat normally again.

    i kinda wonder if i know normal anymore or if my image or normal eating is distorted. i watch and listen to friends and work people and i imagine their life to be so healthy…then i hear them talk of cake or take away and then i think; hmmm…maybe no one is really normal and perfect and therefore i set too high expectations on myself and that does not help…it leads to failure!

    Anyway, dunno if that is relevent to you, or just me! But i just think it is easy to forget that no one is perfect, everyone has bad days and next dat you just gotta pick yourself up and keep on trying.

    love xxx

    #95263

    Liz_M
    Participant

    Yeah, I definitely don’t think that there is a standard of “normal.” I wish that I could indulge in chocolate or cake like my friends do. For some reason it causes me SO much anxiety to even eat these foods casually around my friends. If I grab a cookie or anything unhealthy, I’ll consume it in the bathroom or the privacy of my room. I actually sorta broke out of my comfort zone yesterday and ate a cookie around my coworkers at work. I felt slightly anxious when I did it but I definitely enjoyed that cookie a lot more than I would have if I had shoved it down my throat in the bathroom. I’ll eat so quickly without even tasting any of the yummy things I’m consuming. It’s like I think that the quicker the “dirty deed” is done, the faster I can get over it. Really I’m just let with bloating and feelings of shame.

    The thing that sets me apart from my friends is that I can’t just eat “one too many cookies” when I indulge. Instead I’ll eat a whole box and then go out and get another. I’ve reenforced this bad habit too many times.

    I’m going to try to break this habit though. I’ve purchased a book, “Food: the good girls drug” and I’m going to read some of the articles in Brain over binge. I’m hoping that I can use some of these ideas and exercises to help me get down to the core of my issue and break this lifestyle!

    #95264

    Liz_M
    Participant

    Today was a very lazy day for me. I woke up feeling very down in the dumps so I decided to give myself a very relaxing day. Today was supposed to be the day that I knocked out my school assignments but instead I spent most of the day listening to music and watching TV.

    I did spend about 2 hours cleaning my apartment though.

    I’m struggling to get rid of a fruit fly problem that I’m having in my kitchen. The damn things are multiplying and seem to be getting bigger… disgusting. I’ve noticed them around my garbage can, in my sink, and on my “clean” dishes. One of my roommates hasn’t been doing a very adequate job of cleaning her dishes. I’ll notice that when she cleans her dishes that there will still be remnants of cheese and other things on them. She’ll also leave a bunch of dishes in the sink and I’ve noticed the flies hovering around them. She’s out of town for a week so I’m hoping to eliminate the fruit fly problem in that time. I’ve re-cleaned the dishes and I’ve completely scrubbed the sink. I’ve cleaned all of our countertops and I’ve covered our trash can. I’m hoping that this will make the flies go away. It’s so disgusting having them in the kitchen. I can’t prepare any meals without them hovering around my food. They make the apartment feel really unclean.

    Although I’ve been feeling pretty down in the dumps today, I actually haven’t binged at all. This comes as a shock to me considering the fact that I usually do when I’m in bad spirits.

    Today I’ve had…

    Breakfast: A packet of Go Lean oatmeal and a thing of strawberry greek yogurt

    Lunch: A grapefruit and a thing of tuna. I mixed the tuna with a couple tablespoons of regular greek yogurt and a few spices for flavor.

    Snack: A 100 calorie bag of kettle corn and 14 almonds

    Dinner: A Lean Cuisine (because I didn’t feel like fixing anything). It was a spinach, chicken and mushroom panini and I also had a Diet Dr. Pepper

    I haven’t counted up any of the calories from these meals. When I count up my total calorie consumption I either get upset from eating way too much or I think, oh wow, I could still eat 300 more calories, and even though I’m not hungry, I might indulge in something else which could lead to a binge.

    I feel content so I’m going to be done with food for today. Maybe I’ll even get to bed early to catch up on some z’s. I think I’m way too sleep deprived.

    ~Liz

    #95265

    Angel tris
    Participant

    2 hours of cleaning your apartment sounds pretty productive to me! Maybe doing something different helped. Sounds like you ate pretty well and I hope you got some sleep. I need to go do the same.

    #95266

    Liz_M
    Participant

    I didn’t end up getting hardly any sleep at all. I got something on my mind and I ended up staying up until 2 am. I then had to wake up at 6 am. I ate alright today up until I had to go to work. I didn’t really have a chance to eat for 6 hours so when I got home I just went nuts. When I don’t eat for too long I crave sweets like crazy. I figured I could have 1 cookie without it being too much of a problem but it just sparked a binge and now I feel sick. Oh well, I’ll make tomorrow better.

    #95267

    Liz_M
    Participant

    I somehow ended up on a channel this evening that was doing a program on St. Jude’s Hospital. I don’t know why I stayed on it… cancer is something that’s causing me a lot of anxiety and stress right now in my life. My father was diagnosed with stage IVB colon cancer at the beginning of this year. It’s the worst type of colon cancer that a person can have and most don’t survive more than 2 years after diagnosis. I actually think that this is something that’s always in the back of my mind that sparks my bingeing. Sometimes I forget that my dad has such a terrible illness but then I’ll snap into reality when he totes around his chemo bag and I’ll get incredibly down. I’m not ready to say goodbye to my dad.

    I was watching these little kids on TV that are suffering from cancer. One of the little boys was only 2 years old and had an extremely rare and incurable brain tumor. Despite all of his treatments though, this two year old kid always had a smile on his face. How is it fair that a kid like that can be struck with something so early on in life? Here he is with a smile on his face even though he has cancer and I’m wallowing in my own self pity, not living the life that I’ve been blessed to have.

    Is it going to take hypertension, a heart attack or cancer fifteen years down the road to get me to change my ways? To finally beat my own mind and start living my life?

    No…. I really can control this and I WILL. I have the control over this aspect of my life, no matter how bad my urges get. The hands that cram the food in my mouth belong to me.

    Tomorrow I’m going to start a goal, one that I have every intention of keeping… no more sugar for a month. Well not any sugar at all but I’m going to cut it out from every angle possible, including processed foods, ketchup, salad dressings, cookies, cake, cereal, etc.

    Obviously my self control isn’t too great around pastries or any type of sweet snack so I’m just not going to have them. I know it’s going to be incredibly rough, especially in the first two weeks, but you guys are my witnesses. I will do this. I have to do this!

    ~Liz

    #95268

    Liz_M
    Participant

    Ever have those days when you wake up and really don’t want to talk to or have any type of interaction with any other human being? That’s how I was this morning. Maybe it had something to do with me feeling bloated and nasty from my binge last night but I didn’t want to talk to or even pretend to be polite to anyone. I went to my 8am class without eating breakfast. I usually NEVER skip breakfast but I couldn’t even face food this morning. I told myself that I really needed to burn off some energy so I packed my running shoes and headed to the gym after class. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the elliptical and then 20 minutes on the stationary bike. I had SO much energy. I could have kept going for forever but I also had errands that I had to run.

    I got back to my apartment and I had leftover brown rice which I mixed with 1/3 a can of cream of broccoli soup and I had a veggie corn dog. I said to myself yesterday that I was going to try to cut out processed foods but I was thinking about that statement today and I realized that as a college kid, it’s so nice to have something ready made for crazy evenings so I’m aiming to only eat stuff with a minimal amount of added sugars in it. Most of my veggie stuff seems alright.

    After lunch I took a quick shower and rode a local bus to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. One of my purchases was a single serve blender. I started making smoothies for myself at work and I find myself craving them, so I treated myself and bought a blender. When I got home I made myself a banana, peach, mango and strawberry smoothie and I had a slice of whole wheat toast with a bit of cream cheese.

    I just had dinner which was tuna salad (made with tuna, a couple spoonfuls of regular greek yogurt and some spices for flavoring), a pear, and two more slices of toast with a bit more cream cheese.

    I’m stuffed and content with today. I’m also exhausted. I’m hoping that the effort I put in at the gym will help me to sleep well tonight. Have a lovely evening everyone!

    ~Liz

    #95269

    aliceautumn
    Participant

    Liz your food diary sounds really good today! Aside from skipping breakfast, (I totally understand why) you ate really healthy all day! Not all processed foods are evil. I agree that being a student means you don’t have all day to cook. Frozen fruit and veggies are really helpful, and you don’t have to feel forced to eat them before they go bad!

    Have you ever read the book “Eat This Not That?” It is sold in Barnes and Noble, online, and I believe even in select grocery stores. The book points out the healthiest picks so even when I am eating conveniently, I can still feel good about what I am eating. It also has some cooking guides and fast food survival guides.

    I know what you mean about not wanting to talk to people. When I am about to eat, especially, I am like, “Leave me alone, must eat!” And afterwards, I hide from my roommates like the plague. I get nervous that someone will see me carry plates and plates of food downstairs to my room. I know that they have to hear me moving around in the kitchen late at night. I pretend I am just up to something else. I don’t like to come clean about eating. My poor boyfriend is conflicted as well. He likes to try to give advice for losing weight. I try to explain that I know what I have to do and it is just hard.

    Good luck with tomorrow. I hope you have another good day.

    -Alice

    #95270

    Liz_M
    Participant

    So I’ve got to admit it, I ended up getting stressed out and bingeing a bit last night. What I was really proud of though was the fact that I actually STOPPED my binge. That usually never happens. I was about to eat a cookie though and I was like… this isn’t going to make me feel better and I put the damn thing back!

    Today has been great! I went to class and then hit the gym again.

    After the gym I made myself a fruit smoothie and a side salad for lunch and then I went to my university’s library in order to knock out some assignments for my class. While I was working I got a little hungry so I got some dried raisins from the vending machine. After I completed my stuff I went back to my apartment and had a veggie corn dog and a side of brown rice mixed with a little cream of mushroom soup.

    I did a bit of grocery shopping at the health food store after dinner and I even got myself an orange cranberry oatmeal cookie (my favorite cookie). I ate the cookie and don’t even have a desire to binge!

    I’m in such a positive mood today!

    Alice, I love “Eat This, Not That!” I don’t have the book but I quite frequently read some articles on yahoo that are based on the book. Some of my favorite fast food options have come from suggestions from those articles! :)

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