Chicks in Control Overeating? Binging? Share uplifting support and gain control!

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Old 08-30-2014, 10:19 PM   #1  
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Default Trigger Foods

Hey everyone!

I just had two pretty bad food days and I'm pretty sure that it had to do with eating a "trigger food". What I mean by that thing that makes you want to eat the whole universe. For me, it's most definitely milk chocolate (can be cheap chocolate bars or expensive Swiss/Belgian chocolate). Even if I have the tiniest amount, there's almost no way that I can get away with just that. Unless I'm chained to a tree. And even then I'm sure Hulk and I could battle it out.

A lot of things can trigger a bad food day or a binge episode (emotions, social events, whatever) but an innocent tiny little piece of milk chocolate can send me down the drain in minutes.

Do you guys have trigger foods and what have you done to reverse the effect? I'm considering avoiding milk chocolate all together, even though I seriously love it. I'm afraid that I'll have intense cravings for it but I hope that I'll learn to enjoy it in small doses, if I can ever reach that point.

Please do share

Take care everyone!
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:32 AM   #2  
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There are two extreme schools of thought on this idea of trigger foods. One is that certain foods have addictive properties and should be avoided. The other is that food is just food and binging episodes are triggered by emotional or anxiety distress.

There are many people here who believe that food is addictive and address it with abstinence. There is a very beneficial thread called Food Addicts Support that you may want to check out if you think that you may have food addictions.

For me though, food is just food. Chocolate doesn't call to me anymore than broccoli does. I used to believe that food was addictive but I came to realize that it was my emotional state of distress that habitually turned to food for comfort. And since certain foods such as bread, sugar, pasta and potatoes have the capacity to make us feel very full and comforted I tended to turn to those the most. While many might think of this as an addiction to the food itself to me I was addicted to making myself feel better emotionally by eating too much and becoming numb. Only by learning how to truly care for my emotional needs (because let's face it, eating mashed potatoes might make me feel zonked out and numb but it doesn't actually address the emotional needs) was I able to start seeing foods more objectively.

It's not for everyone I guess, but IE really helped me understand why and how I was turning to food to cope with emotions and stress. It taught me how to approach food without guilt or judgement. It taught me how to accept and love my body for what it is unconditionally. It taught me to listen to ALL of my body's needs including hunger, fullness, sleep, rest, laughter, movement, intimacy, connection. It taught me that by depriving myself I set myself up to wanting those foods more (like chocolate!) and eventually binging on them. It taught me that by listening and responding to my body rather than constantly stuffing it or depriving it of food that most of the time my body is self regulating and doesn't actually want to eat junk food all the time.

So no, I don't think there is any food that is addictive. I used to not trust myself around chocolate, chips, pasta, fast food, french fries, pizza, you name it! But last night I opened up my pantry, took out one square of chocolate, sat down and ate it and enjoyed it fully and was completely satisfied with it. No inclination at all to dig into the rest of it. This one bar of chocolate will last me 2 weeks.

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Old 08-31-2014, 12:29 PM   #3  
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Wannabeskinny what an amazing reply, thank you! What you described makes complete sense to me and maybe, when I'm having those "triggered" episodes, I'm not dealing with some emotional stress I'm having. I think part of it was that if I'm putting chocolate, or any other type of trigger food, as the culprit, it'll stay that way. But I have to admit that once I have it, my appetite instantly grows and grows. Maybe it's the fact that I'm allowing myself to indulge and my body is reacting to that? I'm not too sure.

I'll have a look at the IE forums and see how that can help me. Oh how I'd love to have a bar of chocolate sitting in the pantry for two weeks!

Thanks again
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:28 AM   #4  
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Wannabeskinny what an amazing reply, thank you! What you described makes complete sense to me and maybe, when I'm having those "triggered" episodes, I'm not dealing with some emotional stress I'm having. I think part of it was that if I'm putting chocolate, or any other type of trigger food, as the culprit, it'll stay that way. But I have to admit that once I have it, my appetite instantly grows and grows. Maybe it's the fact that I'm allowing myself to indulge and my body is reacting to that? I'm not too sure.

I'll have a look at the IE forums and see how that can help me. Oh how I'd love to have a bar of chocolate sitting in the pantry for two weeks!

Thanks again
There are arguments that can be made in both cases. In my case, I went the addict way and it never helped me because of what you said - food is the culprit and I stayed that way. I was a perpetual victim. By seeing that my triggers were actually emotional rather than a response to the food itself I was able to take some control in my life. The upside to dealing with emotional triggers is that I do NOT have to maintain abstinence. I did not want to contemplate a future that did not include chocolate or pasta or bread or dessert. With IE I get to have my cake and eat it too.

"Maybe it's the fact that I'm allowing myself to indulge and my body is reacting to that? I'm not too sure." I would explain this another way. Your body is reacting to restriction. You may think you're not restricting yourself but as long as you are feeling guilt about eating something it's a form of restriction. You're telling yourself that you've been bad and you keep yourself down. And then you restrict yourself more which causes this inner rebellion to swell up inside of you. That's why you can eat like an angel for 10 days and on the eleventh day you "fall off the wagon" and binge.

Restriction and Binging is a type of disordered eating that is exacerbated by dieting. This is the sort of stuff you will delve into with IE. With IE you can neutralizing your relationship to food so that your "trigger foods" don't have any pull over you because you've desensitized yourself to the moral attributes that diets place on foods. In IE there is no such thing as good food versus bad food.
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:55 PM   #5  
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Thank you so much, Wannabeskinny, I will most definitely be looking into IE. One of my goals is to be able to find balance and not feel deprived or restricted in any way. I do feel it's possible for me to reach that point because I've been able to do it before and I hope to reach that place again!
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Old 09-02-2014, 03:41 PM   #6  
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wannabeskinny I just want to chime in to say how incredibly insightful I find your posts, and how helpful. I don't want to highjack the thread, but I think my own experience might be helpful on this matter.

Back in 2009-2010, I lost 110 lbs, dropping from a size 26 to a size 10. I also took up running and I was really fit. It was one of the proudest achievements of my life. I maintained the loss for over a year, and I really thought I had it figured out. During the losing phase, I avoided all white carbs, sweets, sugary foods, chips, baked goods. I pretty much ate lean proteins and veggies, with some fruit and dairy. It worked like a charm. I didn't even think it was that hard. I stuck with the plan without ever going off it for almost 3 straight years. And I wasn't a complete nut about it-- I occasionally ate something, like a slice of cake a party, or a cocktail when I was out to dinner, or a couple of french fries off of someone's plate. I thought I had the whole thing figured out. I thought that I had learned to "just say no" to the foods that triggered me to binge. I considered myself a binge eater in remission. And I could even indulge in "trigger foods" in very limited amounts without going into a tailspin.

But here's the thing. It worked for 3 years, and then all of a sudden it didn't. I hit a period of extreme life stress where I had more than one highly stressful situations to negotiate at the same time. When I snapped, I snapped big time. And frankly, I'm not that surprised. I had been using bingeing as a coping mechanism since I was about 15 years old. How likely that I would suddenly just gain this foolproof ability never to binge again?

When I did start bingeing again, it was as if I was on a mission to eat every single food I had ever denied myself. In 6 months, I regained 70 lbs. Then, I spent 2 years trying to get my groove back, and I couldn't do it. While I was following the "krytonite perfect eating plan" it didn't seem that hard, but when I tried to return to it, all I remembered was how hard it was, and all the times I had deprived myself.

Believe me. I liked being fit and slim WAY better than I liked weighing 295 lbs. I had bought an entire new wardrobe and given away all of my fat clothes. I had moved after I lost the weight, so no one in my new life had ever seen me fat, they all thought I was a fitness buff who ate super healthy. I have no idea what they thought when they saw me balloon up 70 lbs almost overnight.

Now, I'm working on releasing the weight that I regained. I'm down 31 lbs, but I still have quite a way to go. But this time, I'm taking a different approach, and I'm simply not going to cut out whole categories of food. A couple of weeks ago, I was on vacation, and I wanted to eat fudge-- now, there is no reason for that except that ever since I was a little girl, I've associated it with vacation and summer. But I have a LONG HISTORY of eating fudge while feeling horribly guilty about it, and pretty soon, there I was bingeing on fudge. I ate almost a whole pound of it. YIKES! But, instead of letting it derail me, I just returned to my regular eating. That was about 2 weeks ago, and I'm down 5 lbs since then.

Long ago, I incorporated a view that there were "good foods" and "bad foods" and that "bad foods" were dangerous and I might not be able to control myself around them.I now believe that it is this exact thought that has caused me a lot of grief in my life. The truth of the matter is that it is possible to eat an entire box of fudge now and again and still, maintain a healthy weight, and let's face it, fudge is sickly sweet and gets old after a few bites-- it's only this deep-seated feeling I get which says "you know you're not allowed to eat fudge, but you really like it, so you better eat as much as you can RIGHT NOW or you may never get any again..."

One thing I've learned is that people become overweight for all kinds of reasons, and because of that, different strategies work for different people. But my own case connects very closely with what wannabeskinny is saying.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:06 PM   #7  
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When I did start bingeing again, it was as if I was on a mission to eat every single food I had ever denied myself.
What an amazing post, thank you for sharing that. This sentence in particular resonated with me, as you can see by my signature below
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:11 PM   #8  
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ubergirl wannabeskinny just...amazing. Thanks so much for sharing, ubergirl, I really understood where you were coming from and both of you have inspired me to take a new approach towards how I view food.
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:48 AM   #9  
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Muguet Glad you found something useful in my story.

wannabeskinny Glad you can relate. I feel as if I relate to pretty much everything you post!
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:08 PM   #10  
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Great post, Ubergirl. Your current approach reflects my own, and I've successfully maintained a 50-pound weight loss for almost 3 years -- for the first time in my life, at age 57.

Many people on this board restrict wheat, carbs, dairy, meat, whatever. If it works for them, great. It wouldn't work for me. I don't deprive myself of any food or food group. The only thing I do is maintain a loose awareness of calories and eat fairly small suppers (because I much prefer breakfast and lunch).

I eat healthy foods for the most part, but on occasion I break all the rules. One time last month, for example, I had nothing but tortilla chips for breakfast. Another time I had crepes with Nutella for dinner. I firmly believe these occasional indulgences prevent me from going crazy with the binging. (And I have a huge capacity to binge -- I can eat 4,000 cals in one sitting without feeling any discomfort, and have done so numerous times in my youth.)

While I don't practice IE, my approach to eating aligns quite well with it. Like Wannabeskinny, I don't want to remove the pleasure of eating from my life. On the contrary, I want to enhance it!

F.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:42 PM   #11  
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i don't practice IE either because i simply KNOW it wouldn't work for me, my particular personality needs boundaries and guidelines so what has worked is a loose awareness of calories like arcticmama has said and i allow myself one day a week where it's a free for all and i mean that in every sense of the word. Some might call it a binge

But my rule is get back on the horse the next day with portion control AND healthy eating and i do... and i love both and it has worked for me (KNOCK ON WOOD)
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:57 PM   #12  
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Wow! I can so relate like the same story just different time lines! I am so glad I found this site and excited to look into more of the IE books. I totally love your quote wannabe, it's so true. It's so hard to get out of the crazy diet cycle and be aware about why am I eating this if I am not hungry?
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:33 AM   #13  
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i don't practice IE either because i simply KNOW it wouldn't work for me, my particular personality needs boundaries and guidelines so what has worked is a loose awareness of calories like arcticmama has said and i allow myself one day a week where it's a free for all and i mean that in every sense of the word. Some might call it a binge

But my rule is get back on the horse the next day with portion control AND healthy eating and i do... and i love both and it has worked for me (KNOCK ON WOOD)
Just for the record, there are boundaries and guidelines in IE.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #14  
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Great post, Ubergirl. Your current approach reflects my own, and I've successfully maintained a 50-pound weight loss for almost 3 years -- for the first time in my life, at age 57.

Many people on this board restrict wheat, carbs, dairy, meat, whatever. If it works for them, great. It wouldn't work for me. I don't deprive myself of any food or food group. The only thing I do is maintain a loose awareness of calories and eat fairly small suppers (because I much prefer breakfast and lunch).

I eat healthy foods for the most part, but on occasion I break all the rules. One time last month, for example, I had nothing but tortilla chips for breakfast. Another time I had crepes with Nutella for dinner. I firmly believe these occasional indulgences prevent me from going crazy with the binging. (And I have a huge capacity to binge -- I can eat 4,000 cals in one sitting without feeling any discomfort, and have done so numerous times in my youth.)

While I don't practice IE, my approach to eating aligns quite well with it. Like Wannabeskinny, I don't want to remove the pleasure of eating from my life. On the contrary, I want to enhance it!

F.
I can't tell you how many people say they don't practice IE but actually do. You may even be past IE at this point. IE is a transitional state of eating. It's about learning how to become aware of your body's needs, which is something that is crippled by years of over eating. IE is a tool to getting acquainted with what your body is truly asking for. Once you've let go of the shame and guilt of dieting/restricting/binging you're free to feel other things. IE is just a process that we use to get a to a good normal place with food. And you're already there.

Once food becomes just food (rather than a way to cope) it's easy as pie to say no to pie.
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:58 AM   #15  
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I think I may need to try IE, I don't know anymore. Or maybe a mixture with 12 step support.
I was doing OA and had some success but have fallen off and can't stick consistently. I truly feel that some foods for me need to abstained from because I always stuff my face with them. At the same time lately especially I have been reaching for food and binging directly to deal with my depressed mood trying to get momentary relief and there are definitely certain foods I reach for in that state, so I probably should stay away from them...but addressing the mental state is probably the priority. I;m so tired of trying & consistently failing at dealing with my eating problem. I;ve had this turning to food problem since childhood and it is looking less and less likely I will ever overcome it.

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