100 lb. Club - Binge eating: help for a friend

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01-15-2010, 10:45 AM
I have never been a binge eater, so I don't understand it. But I know many, many people struggle with it so I thought perhaps we could talk about it here. Perhaps someone else is in the same position as my friend.

I have a friend who is a binge eater and she wants very much to lose weight. She has tried for the past week to get on plan. She does well during the day but then goes home and binges. She says she'll eat a whole bag of potato chips hating herself the whole time even if she is not hungry.

I keep telling her she needs to eat more during the day at regular intervals so that she is not starving when she gets home. Is this good advice? She wonders if she needs to seek psychiatric help.

What does one do about binge eating?

01-15-2010, 11:17 AM
I've found for myself (personally) even if I eat during the day (good, healthy, frequent meals) I still am likely to binge at night. For me, it's an addiction. It's an emotional thing. It's a lack of will power.

I have been avoiding it in 2 ways.

#1: I took up crochet. I can't eat while I'm stitching, and I set myself a nightly goal that I MUST meet.

#2: I exercise. I went out and bought a treadmill, it sits in my livingroom and I get my cardio in that way. By exercising while I watch TV. (After dinner, the TV can't be on unless I am either crocheting or exercising.)

Honestly? The binge eating (for me at least) is a horrible thing to beat, and it's taken a lot of will power and desire. And I still slip up frequently.

01-15-2010, 11:19 AM
I'm a binge eater, and I don't really have any good advice for you...I don't know that there's anything that you can say to her that will help her stop, she just needs to figure out what works for her.

I go to the Chicks in Control part of this forum a lot, and I participate in the binge-free challenge every week--right now I'm on 68 days binge-free, which is insane for me. I struggle with it every day, some days are worse than other days. I still haven't learned out to self-sooth without food.

Recommend that she check out the forum. I think what helped me a lot was to learn that there are other bingers out there with the same weirdo behavoir that I used to engage in. I thought I was all alone. It was nice to be able to discuss it with others who struggle with the same issue.

Good luck!

01-15-2010, 11:21 AM
Been there, done that. First, I would reccomend that she sees a therapist.

A lot of times, people look at the binging as the problem. But binging is just one piece of the cycle. When someone binges, it is usually the result of denying themsevles food and comfort throughout the day/period. The denial of food is a "punishment" for binging the previous time and an attempt to balance the binge. Eventually, the person will binge. Binging is the mind and body's way of saying, "Stop the punishment." It's an attempt to comfort oneself. During the binge, life is good. Everything is A-OK. That feeling of satiety, and ultimately bloating is actually quite comforting. Then, the cycle turns itself and the person feels very guilty for having eaten that way, and it results in punishment and withdrawal of food and comfort. The whole cycle is a problem - not just the binging. This is an eating disorder. I would recommend, again, therapy for it. Right now is probably not the time to lose weight, but to learn to love oneself again and find healthier ways for comfort. I also reccomend the books, Overcoming Overeating and When Women Stop Hating Thier Bodies. These aren't diet books. They are eating disorder books. In the short run, during recovery she may gain weight. But she won't be able to successfully lose weight and keep it off until she learns how to beat this eating disorder and love herself again. Then, she will have the tools to do this once and for all.

The idea of spreading meals out is certainly a good one and would work for someone that does not have an eating disorder. The problem for that person is that she can't spread things out because she's locked into the cycle above. I hope that I have misunderstood the situation and that simple suggestions will help her, but the subject of binging is close to my heart, so I wanted to put my 2 cents in.

01-15-2010, 11:23 AM
Been there, done that...

First off, she needs to get the junk food out of her house. She can't binge on chips if they are not there. For me though, even if the chips weren't there I would find something else in the house to binge on.

She should definately make sure she is eating enough calories...

But really, I think most binge eating is an emotional thing. At least it was for me... you aren't eating because you are hungry, you are eating to feed an emotional void. Does that make sense?

It's a mental thing. She needs to clean the junk out of her system because the detox will help some of the cravings go away, or reduce in size. The rest is mental... she needs to find a way to meet her emotional needs without resorting to food for comfort.

01-15-2010, 11:24 AM
Beachbreeze, that sounds like it might be spot on. I don't know for sure, but I have tears in my eyes thinking about it. From other things I know about her I think you've hit the nail on the head.

Might it also go along with perfectionism and compulsive hoarding tendencies?

01-15-2010, 11:28 AM
Beachbreeze, that sounds like it might be spot on. I don't know for sure, but I have tears in my eyes thinking about it. From other things I know about her I think you've hit the nail on the head.

Might it also go along with perfectionism and compulsive hoarding tendencies?

It can definitely include perfectionism and other compulsive disorders. I am praying that she finds the peace to beat this. Without going into too much detail, a lot of times these behaviors are symptoms of a larger problem and not the problem themselves. I would encourage her to confront those other problems as well. *Sending hugs!*

Just like weight loss, it is very possible! It took me almost a year but here I am now doing this and it's not triggering me anymore.

01-15-2010, 11:28 AM
I think it's wonderful your friend can talk to you about her binge eating! That, by itself, has to be a big help to her. So often we binge eaters (I am one) have the added element of shame and isolation. That your friend shares her stuggles with you says a lot about the kind of person you are :hug:

The ideas already given are good ones. Also, maybe she could call you or another friend when she feels a binge taking over.

01-15-2010, 11:32 AM
Might it also go along with perfectionism and compulsive hoarding tendencies?

Goodness, yes. We do all these behaviors (binging, hoarding, etc.) to stuff down feelings we don't know how to cope with. I'm not a regular binger, but the times I do find myself binging it's because of some emotional trigger that I just can't face. Stuffing yourself until you're sick is a GREAT way to avoid having to think about how you're feeling emotionally. Unfortunately, the calories still count.

I hope your friend seeks some professional help, as well as checking out the Chicks In Control forum for some day-to-day support. If she's got hoarding tendencies as well a therapist could help with that too.

01-15-2010, 11:48 AM
I have been a binge eater in the past and the thing that has worked for me is to STAY AWAY from my trigger foods all together! For example, the foods that I can't have “just a little of” are snack foods like trail mix and chips. It was really difficult at first to say no to those types of foods, but once I realized that my binging habit was triggered EVERY TIME I ate those types of foods, I had to make the decision that they weren't for me!

01-15-2010, 04:33 PM
I do not binge regularly but have definitely had some difficulties in the past. I know I have mentioned this book on other threads but "Weight Loss Diaries" by Courtney Rubin may be a helpful book for her to read. Courtney was a compulsive binger and just reading about how another person has behaved in those "embarrasing, emotional, and out-of-control ways (in my head)" made me feel better and realize that we are never alone in this batter...NO MATTER WHAT! That realization of not being alone has really made a difference so far in getting back on track. It just helps to know there are others out there who know what I'm going through, as paris81 mentioned.

01-15-2010, 04:53 PM
[I meant "battle" NOT "batter"..hehe. Although weight loss does kind of feel like being stuck in batter and not being able to get it off...].

01-15-2010, 11:34 PM
I am a former binger also, and I agree that therapy is the best bet, even though I never did it myself. Now, I'm old enough to have a lot more insight into myself, but when I was younger, I seemed incapable of tackling it on my own.

When I was a young woman, I KNEW something was totally wrong and out of whack about the way I ate, and I felt like I must have an eating disorder, but they hadn't even defined binge eating yet.

I thought that on top of everything else, I had failed at having a "real" eating disorder, like anorexia where everybody could "see" what was wrong, and as an added bonus you got to be skinny... pretty twisted.

I wish that I could go back and fix the problem when I was young, because I suffered a lot of years because I had not idea that I wasn't completely alone.

01-16-2010, 10:39 PM
I have been a really severe binge eater at times. I'd eat 10,000 calories in a day. I gained 40 pounds in 3 months, then another time gained 80 pounds in less than a year. It is a definite compulsion, that's for sure.

I have a lot to say about it... in fact I am pretty emotional about the whole binge eating thing as I hate to see anyone suffering that way. It is horrible to feel SO out of control that you are shoveling food into your mouth at the same tim you are wondering, "Am I going to die from eating all this junk? Am I going to have a heart attack?"

I write my blog not only to chronicle my journey, but also in hopes it will help others who suffer with binge eating problems. Anyway, my link is in my siggy, and if you think it might help her maybe you can share it. I do hope she can overcome it. It is a sad state to be in.