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LisaWisaAnn

Binge eating - how do I break this nasty cycle?

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Hi everyone,

I've finished my Whole 30, and I've been staying mostly compliant as far as which foods to eat with the exception of a few glasses of wine. However, I'm having trouble with quantity and I've come to the realization that I'm a true binge-eater. I hide my binging. I eat fast and although I'm consciously choosing to eat these foods, I feel like I need help.

I've been over consuming Whole30 "compliant" foods like dates, larabars, and tons of nuts. Technically, are these foods non-compliant for me? They definitely cause an unhealthy psychological response. I eat well all day, and at 9pm I seek out and eat like 20 dates/figs and 2 cups of macadamia nuts. Then I feel guilty, get my ish together for a few days, sometimes almost a week, then the cycle repeats. I used to do the same thing with sour patch kids, M&M's, etc pre-Paleo/Whole 30.

Does anyone have advice on how to break this vicious cycle? If I eat right, no binge eating for a certain amount of time, will these urges/compulsions to overeat ever go away? Or should I see a shrink? Any advice greatly appreciated!

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I am not a doctor so you can take this with a grain of salt. I find that if I eat enough during the day I don't need to snack at night. This includes eating enough at breakfast. Also you may be one of those people that needs to eat a snack. Try your best to include protein, fats and veggies in your snack. You may want to remove dates, figs and nuts from your pantry. Dates are sugar bombs and can definitely awaken your sugar dragon. Since you aren't on a whole30 you can eat what you want and if eating a few dates at night gives you some enjoyment than do it. Life is too short. I think it is a better choice than cookies or cake. I don't have any eating issues but I can overeat nuts and dried fruits. I try not to beat myself up about it. If I eat them I enjoy them and move on. Good Luck!

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If you truly are struggling with binge eating (I'm not sure you are based on what you described) I would check out Kathryn Hansen's Brain Over Binge.  

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Hi everyone,

I've finished my Whole 30, and I've been staying mostly compliant as far as which foods to eat with the exception of a few glasses of wine. However, I'm having trouble with quantity and I've come to the realization that I'm a true binge-eater. I hide my binging. I eat fast and although I'm consciously choosing to eat these foods, I feel like I need help.

I've been over consuming Whole30 "compliant" foods like dates, larabars, and tons of nuts. Technically, are these foods non-compliant for me? They definitely cause an unhealthy psychological response. I eat well all day, and at 9pm I seek out and eat like 20 dates/figs and 2 cups of macadamia nuts. Then I feel guilty, get my ish together for a few days, sometimes almost a week, then the cycle repeats. I used to do the same thing with sour patch kids, M&M's, etc pre-Paleo/Whole 30.

Does anyone have advice on how to break this vicious cycle? If I eat right, no binge eating for a certain amount of time, will these urges/compulsions to overeat ever go away? Or should I see a shrink? Any advice greatly appreciated!

 

While dates, larabars, and nuts are all "compliant" foods they certainly are foods with no brakes for most people. Personally dates/figs and nuts are generally for meal preparation only. Larabars are something I keep around for real emergencies (like driving home from somewhere and I just MUST eat something NOW emergencies).

 

Here are some questions for you:

What are you feeling/needing when you reach for these foods? Are you hungry? Are you bored? Are you craving them?  

How often do you eat starchy vegetables during the week?

How active are you?

Are you getting adequate sleep?

 

I ask these questions because for me personally whole30/paleo style eating has mostly broken the terrible binge eating cycle I was on previous to finding this way of eating. However when I do have the need to "eat all the things" it is usually because I'm not dealing with something emotional, have not had adequate carbs to support my activity, or have not slept enough recently. I can almost always pin it back to one of those 3 things.

 

So pinpoint what it is for you when you reach for these things and than formulate a plan to deal with it in a healthier way. 

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nothing useful to add from a fellow binge-eater, but hang in there! x

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Hi everyone,

I've finished my Whole 30, and I've been staying mostly compliant as far as which foods to eat with the exception of a few glasses of wine. However, I'm having trouble with quantity and I've come to the realization that I'm a true binge-eater. I hide my binging. I eat fast and although I'm consciously choosing to eat these foods, I feel like I need help.

I've been over consuming Whole30 "compliant" foods like dates, larabars, and tons of nuts. Technically, are these foods non-compliant for me? They definitely cause an unhealthy psychological response. I eat well all day, and at 9pm I seek out and eat like 20 dates/figs and 2 cups of macadamia nuts. Then I feel guilty, get my ish together for a few days, sometimes almost a week, then the cycle repeats. I used to do the same thing with sour patch kids, M&M's, etc pre-Paleo/Whole 30.

Does anyone have advice on how to break this vicious cycle? If I eat right, no binge eating for a certain amount of time, will these urges/compulsions to overeat ever go away? Or should I see a shrink? Any advice greatly appreciated!

There with you.  I am seeing somebody for issues unrelated, but probably very related, to food!

 

Being tired is a really big trigger.

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Some tough love for you: Binge eating itself is non-compliant, whether you do it with "on-plan" foods or "off-plan" foods.  If you're chasing the sugar dragon, you're deviating from the Whole30.  Time to put "eating in response to binge urges" into the same mental category as grains and dairy: not an option.

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 I'm having trouble with quantity and I've come to the realization that I'm a true binge-eater. I hide my binging. I eat fast and although I'm consciously choosing to eat these foods, I feel like I need help.

I've been over consuming Whole30 "compliant" foods like dates, larabars, and tons of nuts. Technically, are these foods non-compliant for me? They definitely cause an unhealthy psychological response. I eat well all day, and at 9pm I seek out and eat like 20 dates/figs and 2 cups of macadamia nuts. Then I feel guilty, get my ish together for a few days, sometimes almost a week, then the cycle repeats. I used to do the same thing with sour patch kids, M&M's, etc pre-Paleo/Whole 30.

Does anyone have advice on how to break this vicious cycle? If I eat right, no binge eating for a certain amount of time, will these urges/compulsions to overeat ever go away? Or should I see a shrink? Any advice greatly appreciated!

I'd recommend visiting a local Overeaters Anonymous chapter in your area, and see if such a group could be of help to you.

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I hear you re the tiredness, I am ill at the moment (glandular fever), and feel like continuing my whole30 is not quite what I need to put my body through right now until I feel better.

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I hear you re the tiredness, I am ill at the moment (glandular fever), and feel like continuing my whole30 is not quite what I need to put my body through right now until I feel better.

Is that mono?  The fatigue is unreal.  I had it in college.  All of my roommates lost their appetite and lost tons of weight (they needed to) while I never lost mine and gained 10lbs (I needed to) from the inactivity.  Such is my life.   ;)

 

The fatigue lasted 4 weeks.  I wasn't even ill until the last week, but it took me down hard for those 7 days with the worst neck ache ever.  I'm thinking the virus sits dormant in nerve endings like Herpes simplex (fever blisters, anyone?) because every few years I get that same type of neck ache when I get ill but to a lesser degree.

 

If you can get your hands on Thieves oil, I would do it.  Young Living essential oil that you can find on Amazon.com but use a reputable vendor.  

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Is that mono?  The fatigue is unreal.  I had it in college.  All of my roommates lost their appetite and lost tons of weight (they needed to) while I never lost mine and gained 10lbs (I needed to) from the inactivity.  Such is my life.   ;)

 

The fatigue lasted 4 weeks.  I wasn't even ill until the last week, but it took me down hard for those 7 days with the worst neck ache ever.  I'm thinking the virus sits dormant in nerve endings like Herpes simplex (fever blisters, anyone?) because every few years I get that same type of neck ache when I get ill but to a lesser degree.

 

If you can get your hands on Thieves oil, I would do it.  Young Living essential oil that you can find on Amazon.com but use a reputable vendor.  

 

yep, mono :( had it in March last year, ohmygod I have never felt so ill!! 

 

That's interesting about thieves oil, what does it do? :)

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http://www.natural-aromatherapy-benefits.com/thievesoilrecipe.html

 

I could post multiple links to information but this one kind of covered it all briefly.  Some essential oils have great anti fungal, antibiotic, and/or antiviral properties.  Thieves is a brand name for a blend of protective oils but there are also other brands that make a similar blend that they sometimes call "Medieval".  I just trust the quality of Young Living.

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@foursimplewords get better! But why not continue W30? I've found it to be the most supportive thing I can do for my body when my immune system is under attack. Just a thought.

 

@OP I struggled in the same ways during my first W30 (a W47 one year ago), so in my second (now on Day 54), I did what others here have suggested: I banned nuts and dried fruit unless as a small part of larger compliant recipe. The only dried fruit I keep in my house is raisins, for that purpose, and all the nuts are banished to the freezer. It's made a WORLD of difference to my success on this W30 and in eliminating the urge to binge. I also second the book Brain Over Binge that someone else suggested. Best of luck to you and keep searching. You're on the right path, and if you keep going, you'll find what works for you and you will not have to live this way. It starts with food and getting the proper nourishment, followed by impulse control and perhaps some psychological and spiritual attention. You'll get there!

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What I found that really helped with curbing the binge eating was to find out why I was doing it in the first place.  Reading both Breaking Free from Emotional Eating and When Food is Love by Geneen Roth really helped me. 

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Some tough love for you: Binge eating itself is non-compliant, whether you do it with "on-plan" foods or "off-plan" foods.  If you're chasing the sugar dragon, you're deviating from the Whole30.  Time to put "eating in response to binge urges" into the same mental category as grains and dairy: not an option.

 

I love the thought behind this, but for folks with eating disorders things just aren't that simple.  As detrimental to overall results as it might be, as long as the food being consumed is"on-plan" then the person is remaining compliant. 

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I second (third?) the suggestion of Geneen Roth's books.

Re: bingeing at night. I was able to break that cycle by a.) realizing it was a bad habit that I wasn't always engaging in consciously, which helped me become more conscious of it (i.e. no longer finding myself standing in front of the pantry with a jar of almond butter); and b.) really committing to eating enough during the day. For me, this means a MASSIVE breakfast.

Hang in there.

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well, I ordered Brain Over Binge today.  

 

I will let you all know what I think!  The second half of my life needs to be free from the roller coaster of binge eating.

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read an excerpt of when food is love all i can say is WOW

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My ugly epiphany regarding binge eating (having done my whole 30 over a year ago and weave it into my current diet) is rooted in one of the first comments in the book IASWF; it typically has to do with emotional eating, and IMHO, and what worked for me is getting at the root of the emotional issue and dealing with that, when that is addressed, my eating falls into place naturally.

 

Re binge eating, I have never arrived, it is an ongoing struggle, but awareness and managing "emotional" issues seems to have been an excellent start for me. On top of that, by following the eating template, hunger should be satiated without feeling hungry or cranky when you have gone more than 3-4 hours without eating. So when emotionally I am healthy, and eating well, there is not need to go into the fridge or cupboards.

 

Take what you can from my post, and others and arrive at your own conclusion about what might work best for you!

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read an excerpt of when food is love all i can say is WOW

 

Yeah, that was one of the first books I ever read on this subject and it was a big eye opener.

 

I do still occasionally have a binge but I've learned to recognize it and acknowledge it while in the process and that usually helps stop it.  Then I take that and work out the "why" to find out what I'm really looking for.  I have found though that there is some food that invokes a binge type eating reaction in me just because of what it is so I have found that for me it isn't always emotions.

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I have a different perspective on all this. I think we're actually designed to binge eat, because for much of our evolutionary history, food was feast or famine for us. Think about it: If your clan kills a mammoth, you're going to stuff yourselves with mammoth meat as long and as hard as you can before it spoils. Because there will be times when mammoth are scarce and you're nibbling on bugs. You should read accounts of feasts or potlatches among tribal cultures, where they literally ate themselves into unconsciousness. So everyone who has a "problem" with binge eating, give yourself a little bit of a break. You're not defective. You're following the urgent dictates of millennia of evolutionary adaptation.

 

In fact, my radical suggestion is that if you feel the compulsion to binge eat, I say go for it. The old axiom holds: that which you resist becomes stronger, and the more you fight it, the more strongly it will overwhelm you in the end. So just roll with it. But when you do go for it, don't go for the junk. Do it compliant and balanced. That is, the same proportions of protein, veggies, and fats as the template suggests -- just big, even huge portions. Whole30 meals writ large. If you eat clean, there will be a natural stopping point, because as someone once wrote (sorry, I forget who), you can put away endless slices of pizza, but you're never going to eat more than two or three times the amount of meat you normally do.

 

I'm a small, lean guy, and I normally eat like a sparrow, but even I have on rare occasions started eating at one end of the table and finished at the other. At those times, everyone would be asking where the heck I was putting it away. As long as the food was not pure crap, I would feel really gorged, but not necessarily sick, and by the next day I would be fine. And you know what? I would hardly eat the next few days, so my food intake during that time span would average out.

 

Take this thought with all the necessary caution. There will be people for whom this is the worst possible idea. But really, you're going to binge eat anyway at some point, right? We all do, because we're devouring human animals. We just might as well do it smart.

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I do certainly agree that there's wisdom to giving oneself permission. Takes the power right out of the binge.

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Completing the whole 30 has helped me so much in my attempts to stop binging.  I think part of the reason is that it has changed the way I think about food, from negative (thing that makes me fat) to positive (thing that nourishes and sustains me).  

 

I agree with the previous posts that it is so important to try to connect your binging with triggering physical and/or emotional experiences.  For instance, someone previously mentioned being tired as a trigger, which I know is so true for me.  I realized this during my whole30 ... the first time I overate a bunch of dried apricots and macadamia nuts was in the middle of a busy workday when I'd had little sleep the night before.  I guess eating more is my body's way of powering through? Emotional eating is something that I have improved on a lot, but I'm definitely still working on it.  It happens less often now, but when I've had a stressful day and I'm feeling sad or anxious, that's when I get the desire to eat and eat and eat (not to mention drink a few glasses of wine!).  

 

Another important thing that others have already mentioned is that overly restrictive eating can lead to eventual binging.  I know this used to be a problem for me before paleo as I would try to eat low-fat/sugar-free/low calorie all day and then binge at night.  Make sure that throughout the day you are eating enough fat, protein and healthy carbs, and that you are not waiting to eat until you feel totally famished.   It is so hard to break away from the conventional wisdom, I know there have been times when I've tried to do "low fat paleo"  aka poultry and veggies, and it left me feeling completely unsatisfied and craving a binge.

 

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It is so reassuring to read that I am not the only one going through this. I've fixed so many of my poor eating habits since completing Whole30. I used to binge all the time on crunchy things, i.e. chips, crackers, etc. That has stopped but as soon as PMS hits, I am going crazy for that crunch! My family is not Whole30 so all those old foods are still in the house and I'm cool with resisting them but the nuts...I'm having serving after serving. I think if I kept track I would be terrified by how many nuts I have in a day. I'm thinking of keeping them out of the house once they're gone but I know I'll need that crunch satisfaction. Looks like I still have some work to do on myself. I'm definitely picking up the Brain Over Binge book. 

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My Brain over Binge book arrived yesterday.  Now wondering if I should read it secretly or freak out my husband?   :blink:

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