Not eating enough leading to binges?


Lmnop4462

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I have always eaten low carb and did strict atkins for a while. While I was on atkins, I was a size 0 and ate a large amount of cheese/nuts so my daily calories were definitely very high but I never counted, and only paid attention to carbs. I worked out pretty intensely almost everyday also (I did insanity workout videos daily and ran a lot). After the summer, I was very stressed out for awhile and gained weight back. I am currently around a size 4 and want to get back to where I was last summer. I have attempted the whole30 a few times and end up dropping noticeable weight within the first 2 weeks and then end up having an all out binge weekend because my cravings are so bad to the point where all I think about is food (mostly dessers,cookies,sweets). During these "binges" I can't even think and feel like I have no control. I eat one cookie and next thing I know I've finished 2 sleeves of Oreos, a bowl of fruit loops, huge bowl of icecream, etc. After this, I basically feel like I'm hungover for 3 days. I never had cravings this intense while doing atkins- so I was wondering if it is because I'm not eating enough. I basically eat the same now as I did on atkins but without all the dairy, low carb dessert bars and artificial sweeteners. I also still workout a decent amount (run 3 miles a few days a week, bootcamp, spin classes, and am on my feet a lot at work)

My breakfast: 2 eggs (spinach and mushrooms sometimes) with coconut oil OR egg whites with half of an avocado.

Lunch: 2 pieces grilled chicken breast or turkey burger with salad (tomatoes, peppers) and bag of almonds

Dinner: some kind of meat (usually never red meat) and big portion of broccoli and salad

Sometimes after dinner I drink some unsweetened almond milk and have some cacao nibs

I never ever counted calories on atkins and would eat pretty big meals so my calories are definitely WAY lower now and my carb intake is still very low. Should I be eating more?!? If I eat more will it stop my cravings and binge sessions? I also noticed if I stop working out for a few days I am not as hungry but I definitely don't want to stop working out. I am 100% dedicated to making this work, any advice is appreciated. Thanks so much!

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Yes, you should be eating more.  Check out the meal template, and try to make your meals match that guideline, and when you work out, you should also have a pre- and post-workout meal. A serving of eggs is as many whole eggs as you can hold in your hand -- for most people that's at least three. And most of the nutrients in eggs is in the yolks, so you can go ahead and eat the whole egg. In addition to protein and fat, you should be getting at least 2-3 cups of vegetables with every meal. Most people find they benefit from having at least one serving of starchy vegetable every day. 

 

When you have salad as a vegetable, you'll probably find that you stay satiated longer if you also include some cooked, dense vegetable. If you think about what happens to leafy green stuff when you cook it down, it's really not as much food as it looks like.

 

If you're hungry between meals, you should try to have a mini meal of protein, fat, and vegetables, rather than snacky stuff. 

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I'd agree you're not eating enough. For best results, every meal should have 1-2 palms of protein, 1-3 cups of veggies, and compliant fat.

When eggs are your protein, the serving size is the number of whole eggs you can hold in one hand. For most folks, that's 3-4 eggs. Eat the whole egg: not just the whites.

Consider getting carb-dense vegetables in your daily vegetable rotation.

Also, with your more intense workouts, it may help you to have pre and/or post workout fuel. Pre wo is protein and fat. Post wo is protein and carb.

Almond milk shouldn't be used on its own as a beverage. It's more intended for things like adding to coffee on a Whole30. (Make sure the one you use is free from carrageenan.) Better yet, when you want almonds, eat whole almonds.

While 100% cacao is allowed, it's more intended to be used as a spice in cooking vs on its own as a snack.

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I agree that you definitely need to eat more at each meal as well as add pre and post workout food. And I don't know all your specific circumstances, but this scenario, to me, suggests disordered eating. Is that something you've considered?

 

When people starve themselves, their bodies eventually rebel. It's well documented that an anorexic who denies herself food altogether will often develop binge eating disorder because her body is screaming for nutrients. It very well could be the case that that's what your body is doing for all the nutrients you denied yourself during Atkins.

 

Are you still afraid of carbs? Would you be willing to add in starchy vegetables with at least two of your meals?

 

And do you actually need to lose the weight or are you already in a healthy range? The necessity of going from a size 4 to a size 0 seems very unlikely for health reasons. Can you accept yourself where you are right now, focus on nourishing yourself and getting as healthy and strong as possible, and let go of the measurements and scale?

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Thanks for your responses. I am definitely going to start eating more. I ate a much bigger breakfast today and feel a lot better, usually at work I am starving by this time.

LadyM- I have definitely considered disordered eating :/ I'm definitely not anorexic but my binges are out of control. I'm not sure if it's some emotional issue i am having or if it's because im eating too little (combination of both?) Can this be solved on my own by eating more? Or should I take more drastic measures like seeing a therapist (would rather not)... I'm scared I'm not going to be able to break the cycle that I started.

Thanks everyone.

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A good therapist can be hugely important; and I believe eating issues also have physiological roots. I've done plenty of big emotional, spiritual, psychological, and behavioral work around mine over the years, and all of it helped; but I was missing the nutritional and physiological piece. W30 has given me that and so much more.

I also highly recommend the book Brain Over Binge. She's not a licensed expert or a great writer, but it's full of insights based on her experience. It helps a lot of folks, including me.

You can do this, and you need and deserve support.

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Lmnop4462,

 

This sounds exactly like my first few attempts at Whole30s.  I could go for a week, 10 days, or even two weeks, but would then binge for a week or two.  The cravings were so bad that at few points, I just wanted to give up on life.  The only thing that really worked for me was to eat more.  I now eat probably double what I ate when I first started attempting Whole30s, and have lost weight because of it.  I also have a job where I'm on my feet a lot and do CrossFit.  I found that fueling my body properly was the only way I was going to lose weight and stay on track.   ;)

 

I hope you can figure out what works best for you.   :D

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When people starve themselves, their bodies eventually rebel. It's well documented that an anorexic who denies herself food altogether will often develop binge eating disorder because her body is screaming for nutrients.

What??  Reactive eating (out-of-control eating because you've been starving) and extreme hunger (periods of huge appetite during refeeding) are not the same thing as BED.  They're not even disorders, they're necessary biological processes. 

 

Binge eating disorder is an disorder on its own.  It's not just a reaction to another eating disorder. 

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What??  Reactive eating (out-of-control eating because you've been starving) and extreme hunger (periods of huge appetite during refeeding) are not the same thing as BED.  They're not even disorders, they're necessary biological processes. 

 

Binge eating disorder is an disorder on its own.  It's not just a reaction to another eating disorder. 

 

It may or may not be appropriate to call it binge eating disorder, and we certainly aren't qualified to diagnose anyone, but many times people self-diagnose "binge eating disorder" when they are actually refeeding after a period of deprivation. It happens enough that I think it is a valid possibility to consider. Necessary biological processes and psychology are not always to easy to separate and isolate.

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I apologize if I misused terminology. I probably should have used "binge eat" instead of "binge eating disorder" which is, as you point out, a diagnosis on its own.

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It may or may not be appropriate to call it binge eating disorder, and we certainly aren't qualified to diagnose anyone, but many times people self-diagnose "binge eating disorder" when they are actually refeeding after a period of deprivation. It happens enough that I think it is a valid possibility to consider. Necessary biological processes and psychology are not always to easy to separate and isolate.

The problem is that people with restrictive eating disorders tend to use fear of BED as an excuse not to recover.  Binge eating is by definition unhealthy.  Reactive eating is necessary.  It's common for people with restrictive eating disorders to think they're developing binge eating disorder even just for eating normally... not an idea you want to encourage.  Scares me just seeing it. 

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Update: I know it's only been a few days but I have been eating alottt more at meals and I feel 100% better. Not hungry in between meals, so much more energy and haven't been craving sugar! Hopefully I've found the solution to my binges. So thanks for the advice everyone!! now I just need to make sure I can control myself on Easter :(

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