I don't know if anyone has an answer for this, but it's a topic that amazes me every time I read about it.
I have never been a binge eater. Sure, I've eaten past the point of full, but I've always sat down to a meal or snack with a limit. For instance, two pieces of pizza was my norm, sometimes I'd have three, but past three felt wrong so I never did it.
Now, I know how I got to be as heavy as I was. For me it was about portions and lack of activity. But what I do not understand is how someone's high weight was only in the 180's yet binged on whole pizzas, whole cakes, whole containers of ice cream in one sitting, etc. How does that person get up to "only" the 180's while I soared up to 235?
I've seen that several times here. It seems that whether we binge or we don't, it doesn't matter. The weight of some who binge reaches the same highs as those who do not. There are smaller bingers and there are heavier bingers, just like those who do not.
But if it's as simple as calories in vs. calories out, it just makes my head spin. :dizzy: How can we all be that different? I guess I feel like I never ate "that much", ya know?
02-03-2011, 12:16 PM
I think sometimes binge eaters don't eat much of anything except their binges. They might be eating at literally anorexic levels some days, and then making up for it and more during their binges. In the end, it can end up being less calories overall, or at least equal calories, to someone who is just eating a little too much at every meal, you know? Part of the pattern of binging is the guilt that comes along with it - sometimes that results in "punishing" yourself by tightly restricting calories.
02-03-2011, 12:17 PM
Ah, I never thought of that! On the message boards it reads as if people are eating this way routinely, but I bet you're right. I only see the "worst meals" for instance, but those aren't necessarily every meal.
02-03-2011, 12:33 PM
I don't see how to be a binge eater and keep your weight at 180 either. I was a binge eater and that definitely contributed to me bumping up against 300 pounds. My binges were high calorie stuff, like an entire bag of candy.
Sometimes I wonder if I still have a binge mentality but with healthier stuff. Yesterday afternoon I ate 6 clementines. Is that a binge? Calorie-wise it wasn't bad because they have 35 calories each.
I see how easy it is to take in too many calories while eating healthy food. I really have to watch the fruit.
02-03-2011, 12:44 PM
I've wondered that myself sometimes, but I think eclipse has it right, we don't really know what some ones eating habits are if they are a binger when they arent binging . . . if that makes sense.
I have a friend who binges weekly, but I have never met a more active person in my life.
Funny how different bodies work different ways.
02-03-2011, 01:18 PM
Everyone is different- some are just "luckier" than others when it comes to weight.
But if a person is 180 lbs it's safe to say on average they were consuming around 1800ish calories a day. Like for me- at my heighest I was 235 and when I just tracked my eating without dieting for a few days I found that on average I was consuming 2300-2400 calories a day.
02-03-2011, 01:41 PM
I'm a binge eater and my weight has fluctuated between 220-270 since I started college. Some people on the chicks in control thread are actually quite thin and bingeing, but I think a lot of bingers can't eat after a binge. If they have one huge 2000 calorie binge and that's it, their weight won't get to 270. I, on the other hand, try and eat healthfully all day at about 1500 cals and THEN give in and have a huge binge. I have gained 50 pounds since I started bingeing/purging, so the purging might have something to do with it since it is a very unreliable way of getting rid of calories. After awhile, it becomes more of a compulsion. It really depends on the binger...
02-03-2011, 01:43 PM
Time is also a factor. You didn't start at 235, you inched your way up there. Someone may have only been binging a few years. A LOT of binge eating starts in high school. If you are 1) growing 2) playing sports 2 hours a day 3) not eating breakfast (because you oversleep) or lunch (because you want to save your lunch money), you can binge a lot and stay thin.
Binge eating--true binging, not just habitual overeating--is an eating disorder, and often accompanied by other disorders--the most obvious is purging, but crash starvation diets are also a way to keep weight somewhat in check (binge eat up 30 lbs, starve off twenty, repeat).
02-03-2011, 01:51 PM
I'm glad I asked because each of of you has written a little something I didn't know before.
I can see where eating a typical daily diet of 1200 calories and then eating a sudden 2000-3000 calories in one meal or in one day could keep someone's weight in check whereas I added an additional 600-1000 calories over budget every single day, not in binges but in grazing. If I added up all my grazing from the week, it would be one heck of a solid binge.
Makes me wonder if they're not as dis-similar as I thought.
Though my way of eating I don't feel was disordered, more habitual and craving centered. I feel like I have control over what I put in my mouth and feel very fortunate to not have fears about that.
02-03-2011, 02:02 PM
When I was in diet mode my last go round, about 8 years ago, I was doing low carb and have no idea the calories I was eating. After gaining up to one of my famous set points, and deciding to diet again by counting calories, I had a harsh reality to face. Writing down everything I ate for a full week BEFORE restricting so I could see a starting point really shocked me. I was maintaining within 5 pounds of 245 for about 2 years eating over 5000 calories a day. :o
It's possible that the lower weight bingers are able to eat way more than daily average 1500 or so and still maintain a lower body weight. It's more probable that they are over-restricting during non-binge times, but it's hard to say.
02-03-2011, 02:05 PM
I always assumed it was a frequency thing. Someone who gorges once a week is likely still not consuming the same number of calories as a chronic overeater, who consumes a thousand calories too much or more, every day (it's hard to pack 7000 calories into one meal, even a binge).
I am not a binger, except very infrequently with some stressful situations, but I do fight the desire to overeat every single meal. I am unsurprised my weight got into the 260's that way.
02-03-2011, 02:22 PM
I've always thought this was weird, too. I have a friend of mine who binge eats (like a whole cake in one sitting) but when she's NOT binging she barely eats at all, and she's about 150 pounds, and has been for years! I was never a binger, but i'd eat WAY too much and ALL the time and NEVER moved!!
I think it's cool that not all fat people are bingers, and not all bingers are fat!
02-03-2011, 03:10 PM
I am also not a binger, and I never ate fast food or drank 600-calorie sugary coffee drinks or swigged buckets of coke or many of the other behaviors people here have to wean themselves off of. But -- I was such a habitual over-eater that even so it's not really a mystery to me where the 275 pounds came from.
I love to eat - love it, the sensual pleasure of it, the experience of it. I have an enormous appetite and can just pack it away - if something is good, I'll just keep eating it until it's gone. It's not a binge - it's not mindless or out of control - it's more like hedonism. And I wanted every eating event to be that kind of joyous experience - something special, in large quantities, for every meal. So yeah, it's not hard to see how I got to 275 pounds with those behaviors.
02-03-2011, 05:29 PM
I think it could also have to do with what you binge on. Clearly, if you're binging on cheesecake, you most likely eat way more calories than if you eat an entire box of Mac and cheese. If you eat a whole medium pizza with pepperoni, you might consume more calories than if you ate pizza with just cheese.
It could also have to do with frequency of binging. I'll be fine for month....but get me too stressed out, and I'll eat three lbs of M&Ms in an hour.
02-03-2011, 06:05 PM
I would think eating large portions on a everyday basis could be worse for weight wise than a occasional binge. Just makes sense to me.
I too know my weight got to be out of control due to portion size, and fried foods and carbs along with little activity. I have never been a binge eater just focused my life around food. I celebrated with food, mourned with fun, used food for entertainment, thought about food all the time.
02-03-2011, 06:08 PM
Let's see if our definitions of "binge" are the same.
When I binged, I was absolutely fixated on the act of eating, and eating as much as possible, to the point of making myself ill. It was a compulsive action, and felt unstoppable, so much so that I felt possessed, or as if I were having an out-of-body experience. I was sometimes able to watch myself from outside myself, and feel alarmed by what I was doing; still, I felt impelled to do it.
What I mean is, it's not overeating. You go to a mental place, too. You probably know that already, but I can kind of see the difference blurring in some of the posts here.
My binges happened most frequently after severe restriction. Which may answer your question about intake. I was underconsuming for long periods of time. That set me up for a binge. When I had great anxiety or felt upset, my psyche seemed to seize upon food as a method of self-expression, because I'd been placing so much importance on staying away from it. (My body said: "You're not paying attention to the signals I'm giving you about your stress level & depression, so I'm going to get your attention by seizing control & making you do the VERY THING YOU MOST FEAR DOING.")
After causing chaos in my food intake, like the Mayhem guy in the insurance commercials, the binge would then recede. And I would "repair" the damage by drinking lots & lots of water, exercising for three hours straight, sometimes crying while I was speed-walking & then running or while on the machines. Beating myself up with exercise, is how I'd describe it now. ("You idiot! How could you do that? Here, take this. You deserve it. You deserve to sweat. And then to eat nothing for dinner but an apple.")
Maybe also there's a medical reason for weight evening out, with the human body having evolved to handle famines & feasts. I don't know about that part. I just know the routine of my own unhappy cycle.
Anyway, the result of my bingeing years ago was NOT my weight holding steady. That would depend on a perfect balance of the restriction-binge-purge-cycle. In my experience, when you start to get better, parts of the cycle stop while others might continue. There was a gradual regain. I just got too exhausted by the purging part. I couldn't keep it up. I couldn't exercise all the time. I had a job & etc. & was trying to get a bigger life going, one that took me outside my compulsions. The weight came back even more rapidly after I stopped overrestricting.
Therapy, my dear. Sessions & sessions & sessions of therapy.
(Unfortunately, while that bout of therapy fixed the overrestrictive eating & the binging & purging, it never fixed the plain old overeating, the kind everyone is subject to, and my liking for sweetness. I guess because my therapist & I were doing triage at the time. So we had to leave the more usual stuff for me to come back around to, years later.)
02-03-2011, 06:22 PM
I can answer this one as I was that person (and worse am fighting to not become that person again). Terrible binger up to age 30 while I fought my body that wanted to weigh 160-170 while I yearned for 135. I'd eat lightly at meals and then go nuts with "forbidden" foods. So I'd try to burn them off with extra exercise and eating lightly again, leading to another binge cycle.. (repeat as NOT needed for nearly 20 years)
When I was 30 I took a job that required travel and suddenly 5 days a week every meal was fast food or restaurant. I was getting so many calories in those meals that my binging habit virtually disappeared. Regrettably though that calorie load resulted in 100 lbs gained in a little over a year. Did I mention little time for exercise while I had that job?
Sadly, eating more like a normal person did result in more extra calories banked then my formally disordered eating.
Something that is worrying me right now is since reaching my initial goal of 100 lbs lost but wanting to push my body below that 160 mark is making those old cycles from 20+ years ago reappear. I have now maintained the same weight for the last 5 months but know I'm eating in a non-healthy way again. Most of my calories today have come from an entire bag of Sun Chips instead of my every 2 hours eating of 2-300 calories of healthy small meals and snacks that resulted in the 100 lb loss.
And if I do the math on these bingy days I can see why I'm not gaining, but I know dang well 1800 cals of balanced eating is so much better for my health than the 1800 cals I've eaten today.
02-03-2011, 07:58 PM
Saef, Your post really spoke to me. That is how it is for me too. Its not just over eating. I go somewhere mental...almost like a cocoon. And I long for that feeling...I know I need counseling, and I am working on it. But I have realized over the last 6 months or so, I am a binger. I feel like you said posessed during a binge. I can't stop it, at least that's how it feels. Sometimes I can go for MONTHS not having a binge, but then it leads to an even longer binge after "depriving" myself. You really hit the nail on the head for me.
For me I am back in my bad state. I have been for about 4 months...I am hoping that I am coming out of it, but its hard to know...
02-03-2011, 08:19 PM
I have been a binge eater since I was 16-17 years old, my highest weight was somewhere between 133-135 pounds. Iíve binged on whole cakes, whole pizzas, dozens of cookies, bags of candy and gallons of ice cream. On my worst binges Iíve probably consumed 10,000 Ė 12,000 calories. I think the only reason Iíve never been that big is because I could never eat like that every day. Yes, I might binge once or twice every 2-3 weeks (sometimes more), but the rest of the days I eat between 800-2500 calories, plus exercise (10-15 hrs a week). This usually allows me to maintain my weight, sometimes even lose. As long as I have more healthy days than binge days, I donít gain. Lately, Iíve been having more binge days than healthy days, which is causing me to gain.
Iím sure if I constantly ate a very high amount of calories every day, I would be pretty big. Also, if you think about it, my normal binge is 5,000 Ė 8,000 calories; can my body really process all that food. Does it really absorb every single calorie? :/
02-04-2011, 03:33 AM
I know I have a serious binge problem. Even though I have stopped the insane amounts and frequency that got me to 278 pounds, I still WANT to do that. I can't, anymore, because my stomach is smaller and I feel so horrible compared to my new normal if I binge. But still, part of me reads this thread and goes, "oh my gosh, I want fast food for every meal and a box of mac and cheese and 3 pounds of M&M's!" I have spent quite a bit of time, actually, trying to figure out a way to binge and not be obese and yet not hurt myself, and unfortunately there seems to be no way to do that. Yet I want to binge. But I don't do it.
02-04-2011, 06:28 AM
saef- you totally hit the nail on the head- it is going into this mental place, complusive, reactive, numbing, almost out of body type thing...also took me a million sessions of therapy. actually, i'm still in therapy...lol.
for me, i always had a problem with portions. so i always took in more calories than my body needed, and my activity level was not up to par. and my binging cycles...varied. sometimes i would binge a couple of times a week. sometimes a would binge everyday of the week...sometimes it would be a three times in a month. there was never a consistent pattern.
02-04-2011, 10:07 AM
I don't binge eat, but my highest weight was 250. I contribute the weight gain to lack of exercise and large portions. There are probably some binge eaters who weigh less then I did because they moved more, and ate less at other times.
I am still a little surprised whenever I see someone who weighs less then I did, but could consume a whole pizza in one sitting. I always got stuffed after two pieces. At my highest weight I couldn't sit down and eat a whole pizza, but I did eat a lot of fried foods, especially potatoes.
I guess the problem on forums is if someone talks about a binge that's the only part of their eating habits you see. You do not see the times they eat regular amounts of food. So, it can be surprising if they are able to weigh less.