Weight Loss Support - Binge-free? Forever?

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07-02-2010, 02:44 PM
I am a substituter.

I don't use that word lightly, but here's what I mean. My parents, and their parents before them are alcoholics, binge eaters (possibly food addicts-- but thats personal and I am not trying to label here), and smokers. ALL.

My main focus as a teen was to NOT become an alcoholic. So I smoked. When my mom began to die from cancer, I quit smoking and 'rewarded' my efforts each Friday with a VERY large Strawberry Milkshake. I was already very overweight... but that little practice there gained me about 30 more pounds.

So, now I am trying to control my eating. My rule is simple (but not EASY by any means...).

1. No substituting.

Meaning I can not NOT eat by smoking or drinking the urge away. I have more than two years smokefree... and alcoholism is NOT in the books for me.

So here's my question to you all. Anyone who has a similiar behavior pattern (substituting) have you ever been 'binge free' or in control?

Because even if I get weeks and weeks... I am never truly free. Something happens and thats what I do. Binge.


motivated chickie
07-02-2010, 03:05 PM
I have a tendency toward addictive behavior, so I have done substituting a lot. I have smoked not to eat. I have eaten not too smoke. Etc.

I cannot overemphasize how hard it is to abstain from binge eating. Slips and lapses are going to happen. That's part of the process. I don't think of myself as "in control." I think of myself as recovering and it is a process. When I binge, I learn from it and move on.

Hopefully, you will learn the triggers that lead you to a binge. For me, I had to take drastic action to deal with my binge eating disorder. I sought professional eating disorder treatment. I removed all trigger foods from my house. I established a "no snacking rule," in which I only eat at meals and not at any other time.

Not only did I have to change the way I ate, but the way I lived. I had to become happier in my life. I had to cut out people who made me unhappy. I changed jobs. I moved from the suburbs where I was lonely and into the city near my friends.

This is definitely a lot of work and struggle, but in the end I have a healthier body, but a happier way of life. My life is completely different than it was 2 years ago. And in the process I lost 50 pounds.

Welcome and you are not alone.

07-02-2010, 03:10 PM
That makes me feel alot better.

I just feel so bereft that I may never 'get this' like you do when quitting smoking or drinking. Its so final. But nothing about this food journey is.


07-02-2010, 03:12 PM
I used to have feelings of eating too much/out of control but that doesn't happen to me anymore. I credit this to 2 things:

1. I think part of my overeating was my body restlessly looking for nutrition. I used to go to the kitchen, open the pantries and try to find something to eat. Open the frig, rummage around. Kind of an aimless munching. I think my body WANTED something and was trying to find it. Now that I eat so well, my body has all the nutrition it needs and the restless/aimless/munch munch is gone. I NEVER do this anymore.

2. There are certain foods that are hard for me to stop eating. A Wheat Thin is an egregious example. If I eat a Wheat Thin (or an Oreo or pretzels or chips or cold cereal), I want more and more and more and more. I want to stuff more in my mouth while I'm still chewing. If I have to stop, I will think longingly for more. It might set me off for the rest of the day - a raw, aching hunger that is odd and not like regular hunger, it feels painful. If I eat (even something healthy) I feel like the hole in my belly can't be filled.

So, I try to limit those foods that cause that reaction.

With the one-two punch of this combo, my food cravings/bingy episodes are gone. It's a minor miracle for me.

07-02-2010, 03:21 PM
With the one-two punch of this combo, my food cravings/bingy episodes are gone. It's a minor miracle for me.

I wish I could find MY combo! :) Perhaps I will work on that, instead. Because it would truly be a miracle to have some sort of 'control' if not actually BE in total control. To have steps to take would absolutely be great.

motivated chickie
07-02-2010, 03:36 PM
Here are some suggestions...

One way to be "in control" is to plan what you eat ahead of time. For me, I roughly plan my meal times & what foods I will eat.

Another way to be "in control" is to NOT eat foods that lead you to more food. My rule is if I eat the entire package in one sitting, it is not safe for me to keep in the house. I do bring home single servings of some foods to eat with dinner.

Weighing and measuring your food is an option to have control. That way you know you aren't overeating a specific food.

And I strongly suggest DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF. A lot of binge eaters also severely restrict their calories. Starving feeds the binge cycle.

Hope this helps :)

07-02-2010, 04:10 PM
Parkedout, I once heard that the reason it can be so hard to control eating is that you cannot completely abstain. We can avoid cigarettes and alcohol, but we have to eat. That makes it so much harder.

I tend to binge on shopping. Not completely destructively and horribly (I've heard of people who go to the mall determined to buy something in each and every store, or who spend themselves into 5 or 6-figures worth of debt), but I will go shopping, buy and buy and buy in an almost frantic accumulation, and feel this incredible sense of relief when I'm done... until the guilt sets in. Then I return stuff - usually not everything. Thankfully, this type of purge is not physically damaging. :) I am not at all in debt, so it really isn't damaging at this point, though I know my husband would like me to trim my spending. In that way it is an issue.

Anyway, more to the point... in May I started counting calories. I stayed really on-plan in May and most of June. But I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. It actually felt a little out of control. I think I have it in check now, but it was not a good feeling for a while there.

So yeah, I know what you mean about substituting. Thank you for starting this thread. It has made me realize I need to address my shopping the way I've begun to address my eating.


07-02-2010, 04:46 PM
I'm glad I am not the only one dealing with this.

motivated: thanks for the tips. Just having somewhere to start is a huge help.

07-02-2010, 05:12 PM
My mother also has a very addictive personality. I struggled my whole life with her alcholism and smoking. I vowed that i would never let that happen to me but in a way i had. I remember the day a light bulb went over my head and i realized food was my alcohol. It had taken over my life. My mother used it to cope with her traumatic child hood and now i was too. Moving out on my own changed everything. Its still a daily struggle but i'm in control of my own life.

07-02-2010, 10:41 PM
first, congratulations on quitting smoking 2 years ago. that such an important accomplishment. seriously.

as for the substituting, interesting quesiton. i have noticed similar things with myself as well. in the past when i have tried to eat better i sometimes end up drinking or doing other things to take the place of the junk food. i think it may have something to do with the brain and the centers that are receptors for things like food/drugs/alcohol/cigs etc. i think all of those things register in the same area of the brain, and for some people this area is more active/sensitive and it can play into the potential to have more issues with addiction.

i am glad that this time around, so far, i have not been trying to replace the food with anything, but it's something i am keeping an eye on. i think this time i just really want to be more conscious, and i really want to be healthy, for so many reasons. so i try to relax and just think about how i feel and what i want and how i would feel if i did something that i really don't want to do. so far that is helping.

but you are definitely not alone. :)

07-03-2010, 02:05 PM
I've found that I can sometimes put a positive spin on my substituting behavior. Substituting exercise works great (although there is a kind of anorexia that's basically an addiction to exercise, so I do make sure not to go overboard). I have found that I can exercise away a craving or just that desire to overat.

Also, I've started prioritizing my vices. I'm going to accept that sometimes I spend more time than I'd like playing computer games when doing that keeps me away from food. If I were a fully evolved person, maybe I wouldn't need that substitute, but for now I do. Getting a Wii helped me out here, because now I can play computer games and exercise at the same time!