Belle: Hi! I'm another lifelong binger. I've been engaging in it since I was 8 or 10. I'm now 40 and just now getting professional help for it because I don't want to regain the 100 pounds I've lost. I still need to lose another 20. But I've been stuck for several months and finally come to the conclusion that I am just going to try to maintain for now and work on my emotional life and coping skills.
I am just finally being honest with MYSELF about this behavior and trying to learn ways to cope with stress, anxiety, boredom and depression besides eating. The last few weeks my therapist has had me journal my binges. I jot in a little notebook where I'm at and what I'm thinking about when I begin to feel the urge to binge gathering strength inside me. Sometimes it has helped me avert binges just by writing these really brief notes. Other times, I've binged then written the notes afterward--trying not to beat myself up about having done it but just trying to examine my triggers in the "post mortem."
To be honest, sometimes I don't WANT to stop myself from binge-ing because I want to escape into it so badly. My accomplishments with losing 100 pounds, my good feelings about my appearance and all that stuff just seem to fade away so far I can barely see or feel them when I feel the binge monster building steam. And all I can think about is stuffing food down my throat to sedate the rampaging monster within.
I thoroughly understand what you mean when you talk about going into the "binge zone" -- where your mind just goes numb as long as you're grabbing, chewing and swallowing (then when you quit eating all the bad feelings hit like a ton of bricks).
Just know you're not alone. I've read research that says 1/3 of the clients in organized weight loss programs like WWs are binge eaters.
I've been struggling with binge eating for 3 decades, so it seems really odd to me that only recently has the medical/psychiatric community begun to recognize binge eating as an actual eating disorder!