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Old 02-20-2005, 02:37 AM   #1
... trying this again.
 
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Unhappy I can't stop binge eating! What do I do?

I'm back, trying to start over... I was really sick last month and had to go to the doctor. THey weighed me in at 238 when I weighed myself at 215 at home. It really bothered me, I didn't know which to trust. Since then I've gained 15lbs according to my home scale. I'm disgusted. It'll all because I started binge eating out of control since then. It's evry unlike me. I'm usually pretty picky what I eat and really only eat one big meal a day. This week alone I had a whole 14"x6" cheese danish, a dozen chocolate chip cookies, four double chocolate chip cookies, a carton of vanlla ice cream, and I've been eating more than my share for lunch - every day I have 10 chicken nuggets for lunch, lately I've been having 20. I can't stop cramming it all in! I can't help but think it was the trip to the doctor. It just dawned on me I've been binging. I have a big problem knowing when I'm hungry, starving, or binging. I never feel full, always starving. I need some help... what do I do?
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Old 02-20-2005, 03:39 PM   #2
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There are a lot of factors that can go into binge eating. I think the loss of distinction between starving/hungry/satisfied/full is common with people who overeat, whether they binge or not. Actually, I think your habit of eating only one "big meal" per day is part of the problem, and again is common with those of us who are overweight.

Here's the deal: Your body needs fuel, and it prefers to be fed on a regular basis. If you aren't feeding yourself every 3 or 4 hours, your body thinks, "Hmmm, there must be a food shortage. I better slow down to conserve energy, and store whatever I can as fat so I can survive." So, your metabolism slows. And, when you DO eat, your body just screams, "More more more" wanting you to pack in as much as possible because it's not sure if or when there's going to be more food available.

On the other hand, if you eat 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks a day, your body starts to understand that food is readily available and you're not going to go more than a few hours without fuel. This encourages your metabolism to rev up and run at top speed, and your body doesn't worry so much if it has to dip into fat reserves. Because food comes along at regular intervals, your system relaxes and stops demanding that you shovel in huge quantities.

You can imagine that the primitive parts of your brain operates on the same principles. Even though you KNOW intellectually that there's plenty of food, you still listen to those voices that say, "Eat! Eat more!" They are almost irresistable -- it's a survival instinct.

So ... the best thing you can do is to eat regularly. Eat breakfast -- within 2 hours of waking, eat at least a couple hundred calories. Never go more than 3 or 4 hours without eating at least a 100-calorie snack. It will take a while for this new way of eating to have a real effect on your system, but if you stick with it, it will. First of all, your blood sugar levels will stay fairly constant throughout the day rather than going through the huge spikes and troughs it does now. This calms down those "eat" voices, not to mention that it's better for your endocrine system, etc. (Blood sugar spikes over extended periods can be a precursor to diabetes.) Both your body and your mind will stop assuming that life is a starve/feast cycle. You'll start to relearn what it means to need fuel and to be satisfied, and these are much more subtle signals than most of us assume. Again, all of this takes a little time, but consistency and self-observation is the key.

Trust me, I was in the same spot you are. I ate sugary junk for breakfast, frequently had just crackers for lunch, and then I did nothing but eat from the time I got home from work until I went to bed. Luckily the weight loss program I started (Jenny Craig) lays out just the kind of meal-and-snack structure I described, and I learned that "hungry" didn't mean famished, and "satisfied" didn't mean stuff to the gills. After eating according to this pattern for several weeks, I started to feel more satisfied with my small healthy meals, and started to understand my body NEEDED those small snacks, even though I didn't feel "hungry" as I traditionally understood it. Now, 3 years later, the idea of eating the quantities I used to eat or having that so-full-I-can't-move feeling just isn't appealing. While I would still consider myself a compulsive overeater, I have enough tools and practice to avoid the behavior most of the time.

One more thing ... most people who binge eat have other issues going on. The things I described above are mostly "mechanical" and practical. It would really benefit you to journal. You can track exactly what you eat or not, but the point is to start observing yourself in a detailed, nonjudgemental way and write down what's going on when you overeat or want to overeat. The reasons may not be apparent at the start, but after journaling for a while you may start to see patterns -- that you overeat when you are facing an unpleasant task, or are bored, or want some peaceful time to yourself, or have just had a difficult conversation, or ... whatever. I also HIGHLY recommend a couple of books. The Thin Books was written by a member of OA and has a lot of insightful things to say about mindful eating and overcoming compulsive and binge eating. I'd also recommend the Dr. Phil book, even though I'm generally not a huge fan. He has a lot of important info about using food as a coping mechanism and how to find how to "cope" without it.

Good luck, and just keep working on it. These behaviors are deep-seated and take time to overcome, but if you approach the ROOTS from both a practical and mental standpoint, it can be beat.
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Old 02-20-2005, 04:01 PM   #3
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I can vouch for this. I have made several changes to my eating style, the biggest one is eating a big breakfast, usually oatmeal with fruit, as soon as I come downstairs of a morning. After doing this for a month, I wake up hungry! Then I am fine til a mid morning snack at 12 (I have a weird shift pattern at work) and lunch at 3. My metabolism was slow as a wet week before, and now I feel like I am actually using what I'm consuming.

Also, don't get bored with your eating.Make your meals interesting and try things perhaps you have never had before, different fruits and vegetables, whatever. Soon your tastebuds aren't particularly interested in "junk" they get used to flavour and different textures.

The other thing I have done is stopped buying junk, and I don't keep money in the house, as we have lots of shops near by with plenty of temptation (like a bakery, chinese, indian and cornerstore within a 3 minute walking radius - bad news!) If I really want junk, I have to walk to the bank, then to a shop, by which time my junk food craving has normally gone.

If there is more going on in your life than just food issues, and other reasons for eating, you would do well to seek support from a professional. Doctors aren't normally great at weight issues, but they will refer you on, or there are plenty of other sources of support. Don't struggle on alone.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chubbytubby
This week alone I had a whole 14"x6" cheese danish, a dozen chocolate chip cookies, four double chocolate chip cookies, a carton of vanlla ice cream, and I've been eating more than my share for lunch - every day I have 10 chicken nuggets for lunch, lately I've been having 20. I can't stop cramming it all in!
Stop being around cheese danishes, cookies, ice cream and chicken nuggets. Try grilled chicken instead, whole weat bagels, fruit, etc. Even if you do binge, it won't be as hard on your system because you'll at least be eating the right things. Get that other junk out of the house and away from you. Eating 10 nuggets instead of 20 is really not the way to go about it. Cut out the nuggets altogether. Substitute with the veggie nuggets if need be. But nuggets really aren't a healthy food choice, even if you cut them down, they're still junk food.
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Old 02-22-2005, 01:55 PM   #5
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I can sympathize with you, I too am a binge eater, SW: 256lbs and CW: 199 lbs. Even though I've lost, I still fall off track. Something about nighttime, really does it too me. I usualle eat dinner around 6-6:30ish and have a big glass of water or crystal light after to keep me full. But for some reason, whether I am busy or not, I still go to that cupboard looking for something to eat. I too have stopped keeping fatty stuff around, but its like I go on this wicked binge where I can keep eating and eating till no end. Its like this mental issue cause Im not even hungry!!!!
I do really well for 3 or four days, with no snack and then out of nowhere I go right back to it.Somethings that help me, are going to bed early before it hits, staying really busy, like being online or reading a book or picking up the house, sometimes I call a friend and catchup cause it keeps my mind busy!!

Alot of times, I make myself have a hot cocoa with some light whipped cream and tell myself that , that's my treat for the night!!!
Binge eating is very tough, but remember its a mental game, that you have to learn to fight off. If you fight it off long enough, your body will except the change and move on.... I know its tough, I too am in your shoes, but try to stick with it and find something that works for you to fill that void. Sometimes I suck on a lollypop and that helps too!!!!
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:51 AM   #6
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Thanks ya'll... I think I found my cure. If I have a glass of champange and a chocolate chip cookie I'm good for the rest of the day. It's odd, but it works! I'm really trying to cut down on junk food, but at my age/location/job it's hard!
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:01 PM   #7
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Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not possible. If you are making progress that's good, if the alcohol and cookie represent a reduction then ... well ... OK, for now. But, saying giving up junk or whatever is hard often is a way of saying you think it's impossible. It's OK to acknowledge something is difficult, but until you find out WHY you have to have champagne and a cookie every day, until you talk to yourself in a positive, can-do way, you're not making any changes that will last.

So, if you've found a temporary solution to cutting back, that's something. But keep chipping away at the underlying reasons for your overeating, or else that champagne and cookie won't satisfy you for long.
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Old 02-26-2005, 04:48 PM   #8
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I find that I binge eat because I love food, love good food. I have been on ww since july and in that time my obsession with food as not stopped (fell off the wagon and binged the holiday season) at the moment I am trying their new no counting system. Hopefully it will take less of a focus on eating.

I know that even if I hit 145, 140 I will still love chocolate, pizza, and pastas with loads of fatty goodness, I just its just about taking it in small amounts. I cant see myself ordering one slice of pizza at the moment, I need to get the weight down first. The last time I binged I became terribly sick, taught me a bit of a lesson.

Just try to take one day at a time, allow yourself little treats now and again but try to stay within your diet. Holidays and special occasions happen. The big thing for me at the moment is not to go overboard.
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Old 03-01-2005, 12:46 AM   #9
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Hi chubbytubby,

I agree with the first post - the real key is to eat regular meals. It's hard to get used to, but I can guarantee if you don't eat all day, and only have one meal at night, you aren't eating enough, and WILL binge.

The best way of avoiding bingeing, apart from the regular meals, is, if you feel a binge coming on, try and find a way to distract yourself. Go for walk, ring a friend, whatever it takes. If you still can't avoid it after, say, 1/2 hour of waiting, then just try a small portion. I find individually wrapped chocolate frogs are good for that.

Good luck with it all.
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