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Afraid to stop?

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Old 12-23-2012, 05:30 PM   #1
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Alright, the book Brain Over Binge has really helped me see that I do in fact have control over my binges, when I want to.

The thing is, I've been holding onto the fact that I 'have no control' for the last couple months as I worked through my binging. I think it's a comfort zone for me, telling myself I binge because I can't stop myself and that I have to work through some things before I can start eating better.

I also have been pretty reckless with my eating, just not wanting to think about it. At some meals I'm drinking coconut water and eating strawberries and other meals it's a burger and onion rings.

I want desperately to start counting my calories again, working out and watching the scale go down but with the realization that my weight loss has, this whole time, been hindered by my binge eating I kind of just threw up my hands and said 'well now I have to deal with this before I can lose weight'.

I think I am so afraid that if I try to conquer the binging and start counting calories again that I'm going to fail again and then I will really feel like there's no more hope for me. I love myself, but I really just want to see a number less than 200 on my scale. If I stalled at 199 for the next four years it wouldn't matter because it's still far away from 300.

Anyways, I've had all these worries and feelings. I think, if I tried, I could stop my binges.

I'd like to spend the next month not binging while also working out, but I will continue to eat 'maintenance' which is 2,500 and is usually enough to keep me from getting all bingy but doesn't cause weight loss, except maybe some water weight at first.

What do you guys think? How do you feel about your binges and what if someone told you that you could stop them right this second and it's been in your control all along? What if you felt that was possible? Would you be scared? Excited? Happy? Elated? Disappointed?

I want to hear from you all, because since I discovered that others have these issues I've felt like I could learn so much from others struggling here.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:48 PM   #2
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Okay, I'm a little confused here...is your idea of bingeing just eating a higher calorie meal, while at other times sticking to a low calorie fruit and drink?
Because binge eating to me is sticking to a my diet really well for 3 to 7 days....just getting past the headachs from eating right and then going out and buying $80.00 worth of junk food from the grocery store and sitting down to consume a entire cake, a container of ice cream, candy bars, a whole pizza and what ever else I can find, until I am sick and stumble into the bathroom to explode out of both ends....(sorry for the mental grafics)...and yes, if I thought I could get away with not doing this ever again then I would be overjoyed. I have always blamed it on my moods or how tired I was feeling. Maybe I should get a copy of that book and read it.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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No that's not my idea of binging.

My idea of binging is uncontrollably eating thousands of calories, against what feels like my own will.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
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But yes, you should get a copy of that book. It really has changed my whole perspective on my binge-eating.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:19 PM   #5
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I've read that book too (great book bty!), and I think I know what you mean. On one hand, bingeing involves biological processes (anticipation of eating hedonic food, serotonin being released quickly and easily due to sugar/fat/salt, etc).

On the other hand, there's a psychological dependency that goes far beyond that. Kind of like with smoking... in 3 days you're no longer physically addicted to nicotine, but most people have an extremely hard time quitting.

For me, emotionally, bingeing has played a huge role in my life. It has comforted me, it has helped me get through rough times, and in some way it's kind of a part of my identity. Even though I'm not bingeing now, being a binge eater is who I am. It's just that integral.
And accepting that, accepting that I'm not ever going to 100% "get over it," is what enabled me to stop binge eating! I started out just trying to eat more moderately, pretty large meals (that were overall smaller than my binges, but still more than I needed to lose weight), and slowly worked from there. If I binged, I just accepted that it happened and moved on to the next day. That was the ONLY thing EVER that has reduced the frequency and severity of my binges.

I think knowing the real biological processes that occur before, during and after a binge are a great tool to have. There is so much outside influence that goes into binge eating, with so many hedonic processed foods available everywhere, 24-7. And honestly, you NEED to do everything you can to stack the deck in your favor, because of that.

But I don't think that's enough! Just like with the smoking, knowing isn't enough to end the behavior. I'm a firm believer in making small changes and building on them through repetition.

Perhaps telling yourself you're powerless to stop the binges is your way of not letting go of this aspect of yourself? When I was bingeing, I frequently had the same thoughts.
But in retrospect, I think I saw the binges as a small freedom that I was unwilling to let go of. Working on changing my habits, rather than ending the binges, helped me to change.

Last edited by vabs : 12-23-2012 at 10:28 PM. Reason: spelling mistakes woops!
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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I think that makes sense, because on top of feeling like it's a part of my identity I am constantly upset that it's the one thing standing in the way of weight loss, but I feel like trying to tackle weight loss first isn't in my best interest. Trying to reduce binging frequently to, instead, eating regularly and healthily to a point of satisfaction without really worrying about calories.

My goal is to be binge free this January and that's all I really want to focus on, along with meditation and other healthful habits I'm trying to build, but without worrying so much about the weight loss. Eventually I'll be in a place where weight loss is going to be somewhat easier, or at least it will seem like less of a hurdle.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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great reply vabs, what a great way to think about this and try to work to move on.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:13 AM   #8
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Been through this for years, so I've had the time to explore a lot of aspects of it. But the B-O-B book definitely made a lot of sense for me, because it clicked on many points, and one of those was/is "afraid to stop/it's part of my identity". It's probably harder to understand if one has had only a few episodes of bingeing, but after years of doing it, it does become a whole part of our lives, and thus giving it up is (in my opinion) kind of like leaving a hole opened. The question being: "well what am I going to fill that hole with?!" Which is, in turn, a little frightening.

But I also tell myself, do I want my ID to be "I am a binger"? Wouldn't it be better to be able to say "I'm an artist" or whatever else? I don't want to be defined by my binges. Being partly defined by my Tourette's is already enough crap as it is.

Unfortunately, I don't know what kind of advice I could give you regarding that. My own case was somewhat helped by having to quit cold turkey when I couldn't eat well (teeth/jaw problems), so I had to suck it up and deal with it, look at myself being booted out of that 'comfort zone', and then face the void without any other choice. In retrospect, it was likely a very good thing, since I couldn't bullshit myself into thoughts like "I need it to cope," "I must solve other issues before being able to stop bingeing," and so on. (If solving all the problems in my life had to come first, I'd binge until I after I'm retired.) There was a moment, a couple of years ago, when I had even managed to convince myself that "week end = 2 days's worth of binges", and therefore even trying to stop was useless. Good thing that I managed to rewire myself into realizing what stupid nonsense that was, among other things...

One thing I am sure of, though, is that: if you stop bingeing, you WILL lose weight--without having to even think about calorie counting. It only makes sense, while the contrary happening wouldn't make any. And trying to tackle weight loss first would make things more difficult--restraining, in any way, tends to make human beings in general want precisely what they can't have, right? (Here, clutching to the bingeing habit.)
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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Very insightful post, Vabs.

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Old 12-24-2012, 03:01 PM   #10
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Well so far I've decided to approach my binge eating like I approached my binge drinking.

It's unhealthy. I have to stop doing it and I absolutely have the control to do it. I just have to decide it's worth it. Unfortunately, alcohol had much more immediate drawbacks. Black-outs, drinking and driving, making a fool of myself, losing friends, upsetting my family...the binging causes emotional side effects and, yes, poor health but none of it is immediately destroying the other good parts of my life. When I'm looking at a long weekend it's easy to think 'I have three days to myself, why not binge like crazy tonight?', knowing I'd have plenty of time to recover before the week begins.

I think I was clinging to the idea that I had to cure 1,000 emotional problems, develop coping skills and get into therapy before I could even have an inkling of control but I binge often and for more than sadness or stress. It's a habit that I just didn't want to fight. BOB opened my eyes and said 'look, you might have emotional issues to deal with but the binges can stop now' and I think it scared me. My brain went 'you mean I can stop now?! But...'

I'm also a bit spiritual and I've been reading much about the Buddha's life and it's inspired me where indulgences are concerned. Drinking too much, smoking often, overeating daily, binging...these are things I've struggled with and these are areas that I need to perform moderation for my own mental and physical health. I know you might all be spiritual in a different way, but I think a lot can be gained from viewing indulgences from a faith or spirituality angle. Overindulging often has long been associated with bad things, and I think rightly so. Compulsive disorders cause us suffering.

Anyways, thank you all. Today is going to be binge-free! Hopefully the rest of January will be as well.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:24 AM   #11
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Oh the bliss of success and the torture of failing. It's a lovely cycle, and I'm convinced that it is my punishment for whatever bad things I've done in my past life.

After reading BOB I too realize that it is well within my control to stop my binges. But I also realize what Kery says: I AM my binges. As much as I want to stop I love my bingeing too. It brings me comfort I hate to say it but it does. And now with my mother visiting and driving me slowly insane it's the only thing that's keeping me from throttling everyone around me. It's my way of keeping the peace. It's a poor excuse, I know. But I WILL conquer my bingeing even if I have to fail 3000 times before I succeed.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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