Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Body › Weight loss › Binge Eating Disorder Group
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16 Jan 17
I would like to start a support group for those of us wanting to lose weight with the 5:2 diet but who also suffer from Binge Eating Disorder.
I figured that in this group, we could post our weigh-ins (whether they be daily, weekly, or monthly) and also progress pictures.
I figure we can also help support each other along this journey, those with binge eating disorder know how difficult it can be to lose weight because we are constantly fighting our own disorder.
Anyway, if you’re interested perhaps post below your name, age, starting weight, current weight, and goal weight.
Also give a little background about yourself.
I figured the first “weigh in” could be Tuesday (1/17)
18 Jan 17
I am interested and also brand new. Doing first fast day tomorrow
Hi I started on the 1st January.
I also have issues with binge eating – it was my biggest concern about whether 5:2 would work as I thought I’d just overeat on the non fast days (NFD) and cancel out any loss from the FDs.
Since starting 5:2 I have had 2 binge days of around 7500-8000 kilojoules (1800-1900 calories). For many people this calorie level would be a normal TDEE, but as I am older, female, short and only mildly active my TDEE is 1400 calories on an inactive day and 1500 if I do at least an hour of exercise.
However I have definitely lost weight as I’m fitting into clothes that wouldn’t do up after Christmas. I intend to weigh monthly on the 1st day of every month, so I don’t know actual weight loss yet.
On 1st of January I weighed in at 87.6kg (13 stone 10 lbs). I am in my mid 50s, 161cm (5’3″), I live in Adelaide, Australia.
I have been overweight or obese for most of my life. From 2013-2015 I lost 52 kg (I went from 127kg to 75kg). I lost some of this by making small dietary changed that had a big impact on calories. I also lost the last 30kg by doing a VLCD (very low calorie meal replacement diet of 800 calories per day). I needed to get my BMI under 35 for surgery, so I needed the rapid weight loss that this method gave me. The big drawback is that cutting back calories so drastically seems to have a permanent effect on my TDEE. After many weeks of tracking kilojoules and weight and working with a dietitian we worked out that even though the TDEE calculators say I should be able to eat around 1700 calories per day, if I do I gain weight and need to stay in the 1400s unless I have an active day. Being this restricted makes me feel like I’m on a diet every day, just trying to consume what my body needs.
My original goal weight was 78kg (which is a BMI of 30 for me) and I managed to keep my weight at or under that weight for 18 months. I chose 30 as my BMI target as it got me out of all of those weight categories that classify me as “obese”. Having a BMI in the 25-30 range meant just being “overweight”, I decided that would be an achievable goal until I figured out whether it was enough to achieve the health improvements I was looking for.
Although I lost the weight without a dietitian, I have had occasional appointments with a dietitian to help me maintain weight loss and to help me move my attitude to food an eating to a more normal place. The dietitian I’ve been working with has been trying to get me to be less obsessed and controlling with counting calories, weighing etc and it’s been a bumpy ride. From October-December my weight went up to almost 10kg above my 78kg goal. In the long term, I need a method of eating that feels comfortable, will allow the occasional day of excess without causing permanent weight increase and will fit easily into my lifestyle. I think intermittent fasting may help me do this as even on maintenance I can still use fasting days to counteract the effect of any binges or overindulgence. I will keep seeing the dietitian, probably every 2-3 months this year.
I am still initially aiming for a goal of 78kg, however if this program works well for me I think I will continue and get my weight into the low 70s, which will give me a bit of a buffer. My lowest weight while maintaining previous weight loss was 73kg, but generally it oscillated between 74-77kg. (My symptoms from chronic health conditions seem to be OK if I keep my weight in the 70s, but flare up if my weight goes into the 80s, so I’ve taken that as a guide to what is a sensible goal for me). I have no desire to aim for a BMI in the low 20s (which would mean a weight in the 50s for me – I don’t think I’ve had a weight that low since primary school. With a TDEE as restricted as mine I couldn’t maintain it. My health is good if I’m in the 70s so I’m OK with that and my GP concurs.
I’d be happy hear your stories too and to help each other with this journey.
19 Jan 17
Hi! I think this thread is a great idea! I’ve always thought that we binge eaters can support each other through our healing process and work our way through.
I’ve binge eaten most of my life. I’m 60 years old, live in Australia, though I’m originally from California. Even though I binge eat, I was able to maintain my weight in a healthy range through exercise until I developed ‘adrenal insufficiency’ related to the Hashimoto’s thyroiditis autoimmune condition that I’m challenged with. The adrenal condition in particular means I am not able to exert myself as I once did and exercise often leaves me with a ‘hangover’ effect. Since I developed the adrenal condition, I’ve gained weight and the one tool I used to maintain was taken away from me.
In 2015 I already shed some kilograms through a program called the ‘Adrenal Reset Diet’. I began that program weighing 70 kg. and was able to drop down to 62 kg. but when I hit that number it was as if a hunger dragon ignited in me and I felt suddenly starving and binged my way to a heavier weight and was never again able to follow the ‘Adrenal Reset’ program again and when I attempted, I’d just binge to make up for any losses!
When I started 5:2 in July 2016 I weighed 65 kg. I found the 5:2 principles ‘doable’ and I reached ‘goal’ weight of 57 kg in September 2016 and found that I didn’t binge the whole time I was in 5:2 weight loss phase. However not long after reaching 5:2 maintenance my bingeing habits kicked in due to a number of factors including stress (I’m a student and I find assignment deadlines stressful and I’m an emotional eater often in response to anxiety).
I thought I’d move to 6:1 when I reached 5:2 maintenance, however because I do tend to binge, I’ve continued with 5:2 for the most part. Along the way though, since I’ve continued with 5:2 through maintenance, I’ve dropped another couple kilograms and after my last FD my weight was 55.6 kg. I’m 170 cm or 5’7″ and though that may sound slim, I wear a size 12. I’m happily continuing on with 5:2, happy with my current weight and also relaxed and allowing myself to drop to lower numbers if that feels right. Mimi Spencer who is my height of 170 cm and maintains at 54 kg so I figure it isn’t too light or too skinny. So far I only barely see my hip bones at 55.6 kg anyway!
I had a similar experience with exercise. It was my key tool for keeping my weight somewhat controlled while still indulging my love of food. It all fell in a heap when I developed rheumatoid arthritis at 38. I went from doing 4-8 hour bushwalks to barely coping with the easiest 1 hour trail and I could no longer lift any of the weights at the gym of do any high impact aerobic exercise. I gained over 30kg in 2 years and then it gradually got worse year after year. I think chronic health issues can have an insidious effect on our general wellbeing. They effect mood, sense of self and even hopefulness about the future and these are all triggers for a binge eater.
I find it interesting that you’ve stayed on 5:2 for maintenance. I was thinking I might need to do that too, otherwise I can see myself having to monitor calories every day, not just on fast days and I’m hoping that maintenance will mean only counting calories on fast days.
PS, the trick with hip bones is to feel them when lying down. They pop up rather reassuringly, in all their bony glory when you are lying flat on your back, but disappear all too quickly when standing – well on me they do!.
20 Jan 17
Hi LJ, Yes, I so resonate with your post!! I especially relate to your point about health issues exacerbating or leading to lower mood and the tendency to binge or eat emotionally as a result. I find myself frustrated and hopeless at times. I still mourn the fact that I can’t just jump on the bicycle and ride 100 km at whim! I used to love the freedom of pedaling under my own power, wandering along exploring out and about for the day. Your bush walks sound similarly liberating!
I trust that one day I’ll be able to add in some 6:1 maintenance weeks. Like you though I can’t be bothered counting calories on NFDs. I’m diligent about eating 500 calories or less on FDs and I’m happy with that as my discipline.
Yes, since practicing 5:2 I also now observe my hip bones when lying down. When I think of this I’m reminded of the ‘cardboard test’ which helps one calculate percentage of visceral fat by measuring the distance of the cardboard from wall when placed between hip bones as compared to when lying down. It was Thin, over in the Hemispherite’s thread that put me onto that test!
I also want to add for those who might feel that they’ve got a much longer way to go than I did when I started 5:2 and might feel disheartened. I was at my highest weight in my early twenties and that’s when I binged the most. I was one of those who had to make secret midnight drives to 24 hour Winchell’s doughnuts to buy a box to eat while driving back home in the car. I knew a couple of other women who did similarly who were bulimic so they were always slim. I somehow never went down that track and simply gained weight. Exercise and also slowly making healthier choices even when bingeing helped a lot and now at 60 years of age, what I write that I binge on could possibly be mistaken for eating healthy. I have to chuckle, whenever I confide to a non-binger that I have a history of bingeing one of the first questions they ask is ‘Well what do you binge on?!’ So the other day I was asked this and when I told this friend that I binged on ‘kale salad’ she replied, ‘But that’s healthy! That’s not bingeing!’ I replied, ‘Not when it’s a whole bowl meant for 4-5 people and I couldn’t stop eating until I’d finished the whole bowl and my stomach hurt.’ Little by little I’ve endeavored to make healthier and gentler choices when I binge and I’ve even become a bit choosy which has helped as I continue to work on healing all the various underlying reasons I binge in the first place.
22 Jan 17
The wheels well and truly fell off today. I managed to consume about 11,000 kilojoules (that’s nearly twice my TDEE). The problem was an unexpected change of plans – and I never do well when my careful planning gets thrown into disarray.
The community nurse was due to come late morning to give me my medication for rheumatoid arthritis (which is administered intravenously via a drip). Treatment day is the only day of the month when I eat breakfast, as I feel better eating a small amount of food before the infusion. So I made a bowl of quinoa and oat porridge with skim milk. Then the nurse called – she has a head cold and can’t treat me when she might be infectious. So my treatment is postponed.
The reason I don’t usually eat breakfast is that it kick starts my appetite, so I usually don’t start eating until the afternoon. On treatment day I get around this effect by being hooked up to a drip line for a couple of hours shortly after eating breakfast – it tethers me to the sofa and keeps away from the kitchen. Well today I didn’t get this circuit breaker and I just ate all day, with the worst of it happening in the evening after dinner – I just seemed completely unable to stop myself. I haven’t felt so completely out of control for a while.
I need to find a way to deal with unexpected changes of plans better than this.
I feel pretty awful at the moment. I had planned to do a normal 5:2 week, but I guess I need to do a 4:3 to make up for today’s excesses. Hopefully I can put this behind me and have a relatively normal week.
23 Jan 17
Hi LJ, I can relate to everything you wrote above about having a routine changed unexpectedly and this leading to relentless hunger. I too use 16:8 a fair bit to help me with my cravings and to help tame my hunger dragon, so I completely understand.
Interestingly enough, what I’ve found since starting this WOL is that sometimes an odd big binge doesn’t actually end up turning into fat, like it used to prior to starting 5:2. …Or if it does, it has often been very temporary and is taken care of by my next fasting day without needing to add in an extra one. There is a post somewhere else on this forum that explains why this is, and at the moment, I’m not able to recall all the science behind it! It could be that our body has a lower ‘set point’ and our bodies are more apt to turn up our ‘heat’ and burn off those extra calories perhaps? Anyway, an extra FD sounds like a good plan.
I’m not sure if this could work, though if in the case the nurse isn’t able to attend in the future, would it be possible to have an alternative plan in the offing, such as to go see a movie at the cinema? Sometimes I go to our local library for a couple of hours and hang out! We can’t eat in our library, so that has helped me! I sit and read a book or peruse the magazine rack, all in comfortable in air conditioning which is a luxury since we don’t have air/con at home. I would suggest a long walk, though with the RA, maybe not possible? Is there a pool nearby, since I find floating around relaxing (of course not so much when is roped off in lanes and everyone is swimming furiously around me!). Anyway, just some thoughts.
Thankyou so much for the ideas. I try to keep busy through the day, which always helps. I think that’s why the truly out of control eating happened after dinner.
Something I noticed is that bingeing seems to develop its own momentum – like an out of control freight train. I get to a point where the behaviour has developed so much momentum that it becomes unstoppable – it’s like control of my body is no longer mine.
All I can say is thank goodness for my 9pm cut-off for food. Without that I’d just keep eating until bedtime. I am wondering whether I should try to wind the 9pm back to an earlier time. I initially set 9pm, as even dinner out can be eaten by then and I didn’t want to keep adjusting the time for social engagements as flexibility with these things is usually my enemy. I might see if I can stick to a new rule that sets the end of dinner as the deadline, with 9pm as my absolute end point. If I could do this it would stop most of the unhealthy uncontrolled eating which takes place after dinner. I’ll set myself the target of doing this every day this week and see how it goes before I decide on a permanent commitment.
24 Jan 17
Your 9 pm cut off time has really inspired me! I’m aiming to implement that and using teeth brushing as part of the technique to support the effort. One thing that pushes my later eating is that we always eat dinner at 7 pm. I’ve tried earlier, but just the way my partner’s and my days go. Dinner just seems to get pushed to that time or sometimes later. My partner is also a night owl which sees him eating late night snacks that make me hungry just observing him as he sits snacking on biscuits with his tea or a dish of ice cream! I invariably find myself wanting a snack too! So, for starters, I’ll give the 9 pm cut off with teeth brushing a ‘go’ and see how I fare! Maybe feeling my clean teeth and breath will allow me to feel free from snacking influence!
Good on you for experimenting with moving your cut off time sooner! …Okay, it is way beyond 9 pm so now to go brush teeth!
P.S. After reading your most recent post now realize I misunderstood your other post where you explained about the nurse having to call off her appointment with you. I realize now why the going for a movie or to the library wouldn’t really help if the cravings are later in the evenings!
I hope the food “curfew” works for you. I think it’s important to choose a time that you would almost never need to adjust. When I first started I set 8pm and was OK with breaking it when social occasions arose that involved supper. Now as I have the temperament of a binge eater I need hard and fast rules – give me a little flexibility and I’ll manage to wriggle my way through the loopholes frequently. The more often I broke the rule the harder it was to stick to it even when I had no excuse not to. (The voice in my head tempting me to eat in the evening just wouldn’t shut up.)
So in the end I repositioned my curfew to 9pm and made it absolute. No excuses, ever. (My rule does only apply to food, not low calorie drinks.) If I’m out in the evening I’ll have something to drink but I won’t eat.
Over time I found the temptation to break curfew became weaker and weaker. However it did take several months of sticking absolutely to the rule before I got to that point. I feel a sense of relief when I notice it’s 9pm as I know I don’t have to worry about being tempted by food until tomorrow and I can relax.
I am actually trialling a new version of curfew this week to see if I think it will work for me. My trial rule is: “eating ends when dinner ends, or 9pm, whichever comes first”
As it would be really rare for me to eat dinner close to 9pm this means most nights I will stop eating by 7:30. I’m only 2 days in, but it’s ok so far – I just say to myself “dinner’s over” once I’ve finished eating. I get the same feeling that I usually have at 9pm.
You have a harder task as you have temptation sitting next to you, nibbling snack foods through the evening – I live alone, so I don’t have to deal with that. I hope this works for you, I think teeth brushing is a good idea, most things taste odd when you’ve just brushed your teeth and I always hate spoiling that “just cleaned” feeling.
26 Jan 17
I’ve been doing this long enough now to notice a pattern. I do better on FDs, which I find relatively easy (unless I do a lot of activity, which seems to stimulate my appetite). It’s the NFDs that are harder for me, as I have a lot more choices but still need to stay within my TDEE, I find it more difficult to show enough restraint to manage this some days.
I have mixed the timing of FDs up a bit and I’ve worked out that 2 NFD between each FD is the ideal pattern for me. Having 1 NFD or 3+ NFD between FDs doesn’t work as well. I think the single NFD is a problem because a single opportunity to eat more between 2 FD really feeds into my tendency to overeat while I can. With 3 or more NFD in a row, I just relax a bit too much with what and how much I eat.
So I’m going to stick with that 2+1 pattern as far as possible, which means that every 3rd week I’ll have an extra FD.
Hope everyone else is going well.
28 Jan 17
I did a FD yesterday, which makes 3 for this week. From now on I intend to stick to the 2NFD+1FD pattern that I discussed previously, so next FD is Monday.
I’m looking forward to Wednesday – 1st of the month is weigh-in day for me as I only weigh monthly. I started intermittent fasting on 2nd January (at 87.6kg), so I get to see just what this month has done to my weight. I know my clothes fit better and I’ve lost some cms. Hopefully the scales will have dropped as well – I’m hoping for something close to 80kg, but that might be a bit ambitious for 1 month.
I’ve now done my new eating-window curfew for a week. Instead of stopping all food at 9pm I’ve been trialing a new rule: “eating ends when dinner ends, or 9pm, whichever comes first”. It’s been really easy and I’m not sure why it’s been easy. Tonight was the first night where I really wanted to keep snacking, but once I’d organised my dessert and eaten and then found myself peering in the fridge again I remembered I have a new rule, so it was “dinner’s done” and close the fridge and amazingly I haven’t wanted to keep snacking since. How/why does that work? No idea, but I guess I just need to be grateful that it does. I went about 1500kj above TDEE today (most of which was planned), but without the early curfew this would almost certainly have turned into 3-4000kj excess of kjs. So I will definitely be keeping my new curfew, so far I can’t see any downsides.
Hope you are all having a good weekend.
29 Jan 17
Thank you for this organizing this group. I realize that I am bit late from the starting date but I hope that I can still join. I have been trying to stay consistent with my FD. I am going to start 5:2 with one meal a day on my NFD. I find that once I start eating, it’s difficult for me to stop. I have been following the low carb and it has been really good with curbing my hunger but then I have not been able to get over the hump of my body rebelling and craving carbs. The longest I have gone with low carb, one meal a day has been 10 days and I am hoping that this group can help me to stay accountable.
I am 45
weight is around 62kg
goal weight: 47kg
I have never had such a intense binging issue until couple of years ago. I believe it started with dieting to lose weight and getting older and probably having some kind of adrenal fatigue. I am not sure. I find that I have developed a bad coping mechanism of eating to alleviate stress and emotional support through food. I feel so out of control at times and so defeated. When I don’t eat I do well but sometimes, i dread eating because I am afraid of binging. I think the things that stress me is having the uncontrollable hunger and preoccupation with food when I am not eating and then when I think about eating, I get anxious about the binge that will follow.
I also have had issue with slipping when I allow myself to be soft on my stopping times.
LJoyce – I think you are right, having a really hard rule about the eating window is the best route. Not wavering for anything and sticking to it no matter what. As soon as I slip on my timing the next time, it gets harder and harder to stick to my eating window.
do you guys keep a journal? I think keeping a journal would help me see my pattern better, it is just that It has been difficult to write down when I have failed.
ADF12kgLess – I don’t think there is any such thing as coming too late to this party. This topic is for those of us who have an ongoing issue with binging as part of how we handle food, so of course you are welcome. Hopefully we can all support each other.
I think a journal or some other method of self reflection is a great idea. I keep a food diary and add comments that help me understand what else is happening that is effecting my food choices. Over the last decade I have understood a great deal more about what lies underneath my eating behaviours. Understanding what underlies our behaviour doesn’t eliminate the behaviour, but it is the first step to finding tools that help me to make changes. This can be a really long process.
I work on issues as I slowly become aware of what’s really driving a behaviour (I just keep adding notes and comments until I work out how that thought pattern is effecting my behaviour and what the main triggers are that make it worse or better.) Writing it down and being brutally honest about those thought patterns helps me – it stops me hiding from the truth and I can change nothing until I do that.
I think some of the things you figure out this way are extremely personal and confronting and everyone will be comfortable sharing varying amounts of this. I’m happy to share one of the issues I’m working through at the moment. I’m sure this works a little differently for each of us, but I thought I’d put my own conclusions out there in case they help someone else.
There is something at play that I’m aware of but still figuring out how to address. I recognise that I’m using weight as “the fall guy”. Everything that’s wrong with my life that I don’t know how to fix – being overweight is the reason – if I was thin these problems would be solved. Because on some level I know this is ridiculous I think that sabotaging by binging keeps me from the “thin goal” because I know that if I was thin, my problems wouldn’t actually be solved and I might have to actually face up to and address the real reasons for these problems. If my subconscious is not ready to face and deal with these issues then it’s going to sabotage my efforts to lower my weight so it can continue to use being overweight as it’s “fall guy”.
For example I know that I have used weight as a way of keeping people at a distance – it’s essentially a protective mechanism. I can’t solve this by losing weight, that just triggers fears and binging to maintain my tool for keeping others at a distance. I can only solve it by facing up to why I feel a need to protect myself by keeping others at a distance and trying to resolve that – only then do I stop needing food and weight to protect me. This also leads to a dilemma – Do I want to solve the real issue, am I ready to deal with the fall-out from that and give up the protective mechanism that I’ve chosen to rely on so I didn’t have to face and solve the real issue.
Many of the belief/thought patterns that are the hardest to face and change developed in childhood and became entrenched over time. For decades I was not even aware of this, it was completely buried in my subconscious. I think I only get to see these long buried beliefs when my conscious mind thinks I’m strong enough to handle these confronting and uncomfortable revelations.
These are unconscious beliefs/thoughts that can drive my behaviour, they are not logical or rational, they are coping mechanisms. I think the fact that none of this is rational is what makes it so hard to change. My conscious mind can recognise that my thinking pattern is completely ridiculous and irrational, but that doesn’t make it any less real or any less powerful. The fact that many of these underlying beliefs and thought patterns have been with me for many decades means that they are completely interwoven into other thought and behaviour patterns and trying to change some things can cause subconscious rebellion.
My dietitian (who I see approx every 10 weeks) specialises in eating disorders and works with psychologists so that both sides of the problem can be tackled. She has suggested that I do a group counselling series on either Self-Acceptance or Mindfulness this year. I’ve decided this is a good idea and I think I’ll do the Self-Acceptance sessions first.
If I learn anything useful, I’m happy to share it.
I have always had the problem that once I have eaten I want more. As soon as I tried to eat less I couldn’t think about anything else and actually ate more. What I have found is that this time with the fasting I have been able to channel this constant thought about food into planning what to cook and how to best arrange the way I fast. I don’t think I could have done this if I hadn’t first broken the sugar craving cycle by not eating anything sweet for a while. I find it takes a few weeks but the cravings do go away.
I thought about just having one meal on non fast days but it would be difficult to get enough nutrients that way and if you eat too little all the time your metabolic rate can fall and make things worse. So I am trying a window of just eating between noon and 6pm too see how that suits me, which means two meals. Last night I had a few nuts afterwards as I offered them to our visitors but I was able to stop myself at just one handful rather than then poliing off the whole bag which is really good for me. We have to take our successes where we can.
LJoyce – very interesting thought about using weight to keep people at bay. Perhaps I have done that too. I’ll have a think about that. And using it as a rebellion. That fits too. Certainly losing weight in order to look better and be more attractive never worked as a motivation for me to lose weight. This time I am very motivated but in order to feel better not look better, and because I really really don’t like the direction my increasing weight was taking me, which was towards needing more help from people to get things done. I would always prefer not to ask for help.
I have been thinking about my binging (I also purge) and the times I had this flair up in my life. I have always had a BIG appetite but not to the point of binging out right and I have not had issue with binging constantly through out my life. it seems that certain things that is going on with my life in terms of relationships is what triggers my binging pattern. There have been years where I have not binged nor purged at all. I think I need to go through do some exercise of circumstances that I can remember that have put me in this vicious cycle.
I have been trying to attack my binging .. well I don’t think my problem is binging but binging is symptom of underlying emotional/mental conflict. I have been trying to implement some kind of tool from all levels to this problem. Looking at cognitive behavior now, understanding how to implement habits, brain and brain chemistry and how that affects current behaviors , addressing childhood traumas…
As you mention so eloquently LJoyce, I know there is this powerful subconscious undercurrent that overrides my logical and rational side. I have looked into hyptnotist and listen to guided meditation. Not specifically about food, binging or anything like that but about self acceptance, and self love. Have you ever listen to Louise Hay?
I can be quite conscious and almost watch myself when I am binging and see, understand and experience there are elements of biological functions, like the fact even while I am in the act, I can tell myself I should and can stop but something more powerful is driving my behavior. I see that habits and certain triggers puts me in the “circuit loop” to start and then once I am in , no matter how much I understand what is happening, I can’t seem to stop the steaming train.
I have noticed that I am getting better. I have been able to be more mindful and lean into my hunger and am able to ride it out in the morning to make it to afternoon on my NFD. Or when I am in the throws of my binge, I can hear my own voice being gentle and reminding me that I have a choice to stop. I may not stop but just being able to hear my own voice be gentle and remind me that I have a choice is a big step.
It may seem trivial or the improvements are so small to the “naked eye” no one outside of me would notice but I take comfort and should celebrate these small victories and try to capitalize on these cue’s to develop now circuit in my brain for something healthier and more loving.
My motto I have adopted is consistency, CONSISTENCY. Just small consistent change can be so helpful. I am working hard towards that. There is a part of me that wants this quick fix, like wanting to lose this weight fast but i know it will take time. It will take time to make change and make new neuropathways and this is done through consistent actions over and over. I just have to keep at it.
One thing also, I have decided to do one FD a week to start with 1 meal a day for NFD. I don’t shy away from fats and this really helps with the satiety. I have been drinking this wonderful green juice concoction with 2-3 TBLSP of Pysllium Husk before I eat my big salad with lot of healthy fats. This is very satisfying and I am able to get my TDEE calories. The green juice has an awful taste but I find that soon after I drink it I feel so much better! and I have been able to stop core sore coming on with this drink. I feel so good drinking it even though it taste so awful. I know I am doing my body good.
I just have to tweak my carb intake, as I think this is my down fall. I don’t know why but I find that carbs help me sleep better.
Thank you for sharing your tip on the food journal. I am going to start my own and be totally brutally honest. That has been my problem in the past. I found that one of my patterns is to write down things when I am “being good” and not want to write things down as soon as I go off the rails. I guess I saw it as more judgmental thing against myself but I think I have a new perspective on it. All of this is a good investigation into learning more about who I am and understanding myself. To treat the journal as a tool to be more curious about myself instead of something to flog myself with.
Being more curious with myself. I notice I have such a nasty voice in my head. I am learning to not judge my thoughts (even the nasty, mean ones) but to notice them.
31 Jan 17
Hi ADF12kgLess Thanks for sharing your story.
I too was bulimic for a couple of years in my 20s, but thankfully not since – I got out of the friendship that I felt was triggering this behaviour – it was competitive and pressed all of the wrong buttons with my perfectionist side – which I became aware was connected to the bulimia. I am so sorry you are still dealing with this. For me the binging behaviour remains.
Fasting can be a double-edged sword when you are a binge eater as food deprivation is often a trigger for a binge. I see this reflected in the way I eat on a 5:2 program. I have no trouble sticking to 500 calories on a fast day, but I really struggle with staying under my TDEE on the NFDs.
I hope you find the food journal useful. (I’m a retired statistician, so my answer to many problems is usually – collect more data and try to find the patterns and causal links – for me it’s an instinctive response to a problem.) I find that having to write down what I eat and try to identify the circumstances or emotion can sometimes short-circuit the process of overeating. If I have to write things down that I know I shouldn’t eat – I am less likely to eat them. It can also be really useful to identify circumstances or times of day which are high risk. From my own food diary I identified evenings as my highest risk time for binging, so I imposed an eating curfew which over time has become absolute and really helps me limit the amount of damage that my tendency to overeat actually has.
Something else I’ve been thinking about in the last few days is why these behaviours develop in childhood – what beliefs/patterns were they trying to fix? I think at its core it is a protective mechanism, our subconscious mind identifies risks and prompts us to modify our behaviour so that we feel as safe/loved/cared for as we can manage. I think the fact that these started as protective mechanisms, is why our subconscious will fight so hard to keep them – when we are trying to change, on some level we feel our safety or well-being is threatened. The other problem in trying to change, is that none of these things exist in isolation. Over the years different beliefs and behaviour patterns become interwoven and then we complicate things even further by attracting/seeking friends and partners who reinforce our pathology. Trying to untangle all these threads is incredibly difficult – worth persevering with but never easy or quick.
I think your comments about consistent change are very true. We can learn new behaviours but we need the consistent practice for them to become a natural way that we respond. In time the voice in our head that resist this change gets weaker and weaker. I also identify with your “steaming train” analogy – I too think of binging as an out of control freight train heading down hill – it picks up speed until it gets to the point where no breaks in the world are going to stop it.
The nasty voice is cruel and subversive, but it is also often a really good indicator of what that core belief is that our behaviour has been trying to compensate for. I found that looking at the messages that appear in my mind helped me identify what it was that was hidden under all these behaviour paterns. To put it bluntly, one of my core beliefs is that I am unlovable and love and affection is conditional on me remolding myself into what I think others want me to be. I’m in no doubt that this stems from my relationship with my mother, (her behaviour wasn’t deliberate or malicious, it was a result of her own upbringing and her own demons). It actually became clear to me about 3 years before my mother died. She spent several days in intensive care, with us not knowing if she would wake up or survive. I remember sitting by her bedside when I realised I was 35 and I’d never had an honest relationship with her, never felt free to just be me – to be imperfect – I felt like I’d been play-acting the role of “perfect daughter” all my life. I made a commitment to myself that if she survived that would change. It was a very rocky journey, but we got through it and by the time she died 3 years later, we had an honest relationship for the first time in our lives – it was worth the trauma and fear and my memories of her are not tinged with regret.
I haven’t come across Louise Hay. I have just put my name down for a 10 week group counselling course on Self-Acceptance which also includes learning mindfulness meditation techniques. (Still waiting for a start date.) My dietitian specialises in eating disorders and she recommended this to me.
I hope you are having a good week.
Hi LJ, ADF,rabbit, losing and julem,
Wonderful reading your insightful posts! I’m also very aware of the emotional/psychological component of my bingeing as I may have mentioned.
LJ, the mindfulness and Self-Acceptance groups sound really good. Also, I definitely relate to the concept of weight keeping others away and also the blaming of my problems on my weight. Now that I’m at goal weight, I find I’m often feel things more sensitively than I might have when I was larger. In other words, there have been both confidence boosters since reaching goal (feeling a sense of equilibrium and relaxation in my body now that I’m this size) and at the same time, feeling sometimes more vulnerable and sensitive to quips, criticisms and others’ emotions around me.
ADF, I’m happy to read that you too, find that your patterns are getting better. I regard my bingeing as a long journey of self discovery on so many levels. I have to chuckle about the fact that I’m now 60 years old and when I was bingeing at my worst in my early twenties, I really thought that this was something I’d be ‘over’ by the time I’m 60! Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since my midnight runs to the doughnut shop!
rabbit, I really like what you said about channeling your craving or hunger into planning future meals. It reminded me that when I’ve struggled with bingeing the most has been when I haven’t planned any meals and instead simply eaten out of sudden hunger and whim.
On another binge note… Something happened yesterday for me that has happened so many times previously and it usually triggers a binge for me. Simply put, it is the eating of something out of politeness I really don’t want or particularly like, and to which I’ve previously been addicted (so is like an alcohol taking a drink when they are attempting to maintain sobriety and have seemingly lost their taste for alcohol). I’m wondering if any of you can relate to this and what you might do in such a situation…
I arrive at a friend’s home for ‘morning tea’. I’ve explained to the friend on at least two occasions that I don’t eat refined sugar and a bit about why. In light of this, I bring cheese, crackers and fruit to share and my friend brings out gluten free chocolate dipped mint and ‘Tim Tam’ style biscuits/cookies that she said she bought specially for me because she knows I’m gluten free. I really didn’t want to eat any of these cookies though felt I’d be mean by passing on them and only eating what I brought along. I don’t feel my friend is out to sabotage me. I just don’t think she ‘gets’ it or understands on some very basic level. in other words she lives in a completely different food paradigm to me! She isn’t overweight and doesn’t binge. I felt awkward and so ate one biscuit/cookie of each of the two varieties she served, just to be polite. Later, as we were leaving, she wanted me to take the remainder of the left over gluten free cookies home, since she’d expressly bought them for me! I made excuses as to why I didn’t really want to do that (such as that it was hot, they’d melt in the car) so she countered that with bringing out these cooler packs and proceeded to fill a bag with ice and then handed me the parcel!
Whew! I’m patting myself on the back for having not eaten any more of those cookies/biscuits! I actually put them in the boot/trunk of my car where I couldn’t reach over and grab one while driving. At my next stop (afternoon tea with another friend), I immediately put the bag with biscuits in this friend’s fridge as she asked what they were! I replied ‘…Gluten free Choc Mint Slice cookies and a gluten free Tim Tam type. I’ve had plenty. Do you by chance want them?’ She looked elated and said ‘Sure’! I was so glad to have passed them onto someone who wholeheartedly wanted them! Lol! More sharks in the water… This friend proceeded to serve me a gluten free cheese cake she’d made, which did taste good and it thankfully wasn’t too sweet and it was home made and by then my sugar cravings had started so the piece I ate actually fed them.
On my way home I was aware of feeling angry and at the same time I felt this dark hole in my belly that craved to be filled! I always feel this jaded anger when I feel I’ve eaten something I really didn’t want, simply out of politeness. I’ve heard it called ‘hanger’ and all I wanted to do was find something to binge on, so I stopped at a supermarket on the way home and bought a lot of carb snacks which I continued to eat through the evening.
In the past I have ‘gotten away with’ eating something sweet that I really didn’t want without resorting to hangrily bingeing. However, most of the time I tend to respond with a hangry binge.
I know there are lots of things I could have done, such as simply refused the biscuits, or say I have a stomach ache and didn’t feel up to eating them (I’ve already used this with the friend in the past). I guess I am afraid of offending and therein lies my wrinkle, maybe my lack of self worth or not wanting to be confrontational or make my friend ‘wrong’ for buying me something I really don’t want? I have one friend who knew of me before we’d met. She’d heard I was ‘fanatical’ about food and obsessed about eating ‘clean’ and only ‘health’ foods which she said prejudiced her against me! Maybe I’m best off being a hermit!?
Thankfully my fast day was scheduled for today! I’m finding solace in my fast days that cut/stops short bingeing steam trains.
Lael, I absolutely understand that drive to eat to be polite, to be a good guest, to not offend or upset, to make someone happy. It’s an issue for me too.
The women in my family are mostly over-feeders. Feeding others is their way of showing their love and they can be really hurt when you refuse – essentially you are rejecting their love. The emotional blackmail then starts – but I made it specially for you, just one slice won’t hurt, you’re not fat…… and so it goes on. I have one aunt who sees it as her mission in life to make the perfect food to tempt people to break their diet – it reinforces her sense of self as the best cook in the family. This is their issue not ours, but causing pain is not easy. I’ve had to get very specific (ahead of time, and repeatedly) with some people about what I will and won’t eat and if people deliberately try to push those boundaries when I’ve been very specific then I have less compunction about pushing back. In the end, it’s not my job to make them happy. Sometimes it really is OK to put your needs first.
I have to admit though, that I am one of those who sends food home with others – but I only do it to those who are very willing to accept them They all have children or husbands at home with hollow legs and are usually grateful for any contributions – particularly when I’ve been baking as none of my friends bake at home.
Ah, Thank you LJ! It is so refreshing reading your response! I feel you really hit the nail on the head so to speak on so many points, especially those who concoct treats to tempt others to go off their diet as a type of trophy prize! I hadn’t thought of that before and it makes so much sense and I can relate it to one of my own family members!
I appreciate the tip about being specific and consistent as a way forward. Eating out of politeness one time and not another only confuses and leads others to conclude that we aren’t really serious.
After writing my post, I again discussed what took place yesterday, with my partner who is so supportive of me and he reminded me that one thing most people accept and understand is when we simply tell them that eating such and such ‘makes me sick’. There is a member of another thread who truly does get sick when eating sweets and maybe this is something I can consider as my consistent platform on sweets. I’m heading that way anyway, with recently finding I’m even better passing on eating much or any fruit.
As far as the even sweeter foods that I ate yesterday, I regard my current my blood sugar reading as a sickness. Here it is 20 hours since I last ate anything and still my blood sugar has not dropped to a healthy fasting state. In that sense those sweets truly did make me sick! …I’ll still need to be consistently remind others, which is okay, though phrasing it more in ‘baby talk’ is more likely to get through to them! Unfortunately, when I’ve attempted to technically explain my blood sugar issues with others, seems to go in one ear and out the other.
1 Feb 17
Lol! When I visited Ireland last year, I attended a wedding. I’m not a drinker and never have been (I always had my hands full enough with one addiction without testing the waters with a possible second since a couple of my siblings have struggled with alcoholism). Anyway, I was in Ireland and everyone was happily gulping the alcohol around me and many were acting quite silly. One man in particular was making a spectacle of himself.
The next day I mentioned the man who made the spectacle and then was told that he wasn’t drunk and asked ‘Didn’t you see his pin? He’s a Pioneer!’ I felt and must have looked puzzled because someone explained (in a tone that echoed deep respect for this life of the party guy), that being a ‘Pioneer’ means taking a pledge of sobriety to God and Queen and wear a pin to display this. I marveled that this guy acted so free and easy at the wedding reception, so uninhibited without needing alcohol to loosen him up! Others then chimed in earnestly to say that he’s always the life of the party, that’s just how he is, even though he never touches a drop! My regard for him rose instantly!
Tonight I was reflecting on that pin he wore (which I didn’t actually see at the time though great everyone else knows and respects what it means!) and wished there were a pin like that I could wear which shows that I am part of a very widely accepted and respected organization or group that chooses sobriety with regard to sugar consumption! How strong I would feel wearing such a pin knowing there are many others out there who’ve also taken the same pledge and are standing with me in spirit! Even contemplating this possibility engendered a feeling of confidence in me along with a sense of support and ‘ground’ underneath my feet in my effort to live a sugar free life.
What moved me most in my reflection of this conversation of the ‘Pioneer’ way of Irish life was that deep honoring I felt the others had for that ‘Pioneer’ gentleman. From what I understand, the Irish Pioneers are not out to convert anyone else to their ways or to stop others from drinking (as in the Australian Women’s Temperance Association once was!). Instead being a ‘Pioneer’ is seen as a result of a deep and religious personal calling. I wish I could join such a movement and wear a sugar fee sobriety pin!
2 Feb 17
Lael, I think being in good health because of a healthy diet provides an example to others, even without a pin. When people see how healthy someone looks compared to how they used to, they often ask why – what are you doing? Although unfortunately this doesn’t necessarily stop you being offered food that contains sugar.
Not sure what it’s like where you live, but I’ve noticed a lot more cafes devoting space on their menu for foods that have no gluten, no cane sugar and a lot more vegetarian and vegan options. Most of this is a good thing – a lot more choices that I like. One thing that does bother me though is the proliferation of desserts that are packed with sweet alternatives to sugar. Just because the sweetness comes from a fructose source rather than sucrose doesn’t mean it’s good for us to eat it every day (particularly when it’s packed with dried fruit rather than fresh and so high in calories) – I think this can lull people into a false sense of security about their diet if they buy these things every day thinking it’s fine because it’s not sucrose. I also wonder whether it’s part of a modern phenomenon – we want to be healthier, but we don’t want to give up any of the things we like to obtain it, so we replace one type of of sugar with another and think we can still eat a rich high calories dessert every day. I’m trying to get to a point where I don’t eat these things at home. They are occasional foods that I’ll eat out once or twice a month and I try to keep the portion small (which I don’t always succeed at at). My binges look pretty weird, because the type of things I would once have scoffed down during a binge just aren’t in my cupboards – I usually end up taking to the jar of nut butter with a spoon!
I personally think that all simple carbohydrates (sucrose, fructose and glucose) are problematic in anything but modest quantities, with more detriments than benefits. The exception I make is fresh fruit – I try to eat 2 pieces every day – these have become my daily sweet treat to take the place of the biscuits and cake I used to go looking for between meals. The fresh fruit has the added advantage of fibre, which I really need to keep at a fairly high level (I need 40-45g per day – much higher than an average diet).
Complex carbohydrates are a different story as the majority of the calories in vegetables, legumes and grains are complex carbohydrates. I believe these are the healthy sub-group of carbohydrates, providing they are whole and unprocessed/unrefined and high in fibre. I don’t regularly use any grains that don’t have at least 10% fibre dry weight. The high fibre content means that some of the carbohydrate (and calories) can’t be digested and just provides bulk for my intestines.
I know people with insulin resistance or diabetes who have to be very careful with all carbs, even complex carbs, but I’ve always had normal blood sugar, even when I was morbidly obese, so restricting simple carbs but eating a range of unrefined complex carbs works well for me. I guess the right dietary answer is going to be a little different for everyone.
I keep a food diary spreadsheet where I plan my main meals for the week (so I know what to buy) and I keep weight records etc. I used to monitor every kilojoule, but I only work it out approximately on NFDs now. I just put the January figures in and it tells me that my average daily calorie intake for January was 1150 calories. This is the average between 500 calorie FDs (most weeks I did 3 rather than 2), some NFDs where I managed to stay under my TDEE and at least one NFD where I went way over my TDEE. I actually find this reassuring. This is much easier than a 1200 calorie per day diet, but it’s actually achieving the same thing as far as average food intake goes. I think this means that adding in an extra FD in a week where I have had a significant binge is a good tool for me in getting my diet balance back on track.
This is really different to the experience I had on alternate day fasting that I tried a couple of years ago. That’s the model that allows you to eat as much as you like on the NFD (which they called “feed” days – and it lived up to that name for me). I binged badly on most NFDs and lost no weight because I averaged my TDEE (and sometimes more) over the week.
I think what the 5:2 model offers me in addition to the intermittent fasting concept, is it also makes me focus on eating healthier on NFDs – if I want to stay under my TDEE I have to make mostly good food choices (at least with a TDEE as low as mine I do). Long term this is a really good thing for me. It took me a long time to get past the resistance to giving things up that I liked and wanted and was used to eating regularly. I’m slowly managing to see some foods for what they are – unhealthy as part of an everyday diet but they won’t kill me if they are rare occasional foods. In fact my dietitian says that if binge eaters are really seeking a “treat” food we are better learning to eat it occasionally in small portions rather than trying to ban it completely as the denial can trigger a binge episode.
I have noticed this with evening eating – I want a sweet treat to end the meal (because it’s what I was used to – as soon as the savoury was finished I went looking for the sweet). Mostly I’m fine with a bowl of strawberries or a peach etc, but sometimes I want something with sugar. If I don’t get it I can easily find myself consuming anywhere from 300-1000 calories on nuts, nut butter, cheese, and basically anything else I can get my hands on easily. I’ve dealt with this as an evening behaviour by setting an evening curfew that helps me manage this. I allow myself the occasional treat but it’s almost always a lunch or afternoon tea (this works for me as my family tends to get together for lunch or brunch or afternoon tea and rarely for dinner).
7 Feb 17
I had a minor victory this week. I managed to stop a binge where I could feel that “out of control” momentum building.
Yesterday was cold and wet in Adelaide and my appetite is always much stronger when we have an unexpected cold day. By mid afternoon I’d been heading to the kitchen every 20 minutes or so since lunch looking for more food. This was a problem as I had only planned for one piece of fruit mid-afternoon as that was all I had needed on previous days. While I was feeling dismay over how I was behaving I also thought – “I don’t have to do this”. So I set myself a target of staying out of the kitchen for an hour and reading the next 6 chapters of my current book (a walk would have been a better distraction, but as it was raining an indoor distraction was necessary). It was long enough to break the cycle and allowed me to get though to dinner preparation without more food (just one more pot of tea which was a good compromise). I ended up consuming 1550 calories for the day (my TDEE is 1400 calories and this was a NFD, so that’s 150 over my ideal level). I’m actually quite happy with that as there is usually no such thing as just a little over for me – I either do it perfectly (which means staying on or under my TDEE on a NFD), or it becomes a binge, the “middle ground” doesn’t feature much in my behaviour. I’m usually someone who thinks “well that’s today ruined, there’s no point fighting it anymore, I’ll start again tomorrow”.
Today was also fairly cold so I planned better. Today was also a NFD so I planned to split my lunch calories better between a small meal at 12:30 and a larger hot filling meal at 2:45. This helped as it gave me filling hot food which seemed to get me through to dinner more easily. I’ve just finished dinner and worked out that today was only 1250 calories, so 150 under my TDEE. That means that today effectively cancels out yesterday’s 150 over. That isn’t something I usually manage to do so I’m really pleased.
Amazing how good it feels to do something that feels “normal”. Usually I’m the observer watching others model normal behaviour and never quite figuring out how to replicate it myself. I need to spend some more time thinking through the triggers and thoughts from these two days so I can learn useful things for the future. I have so little success in apply the brakes to a day when eating feels out of control and really want to be able to apply those brakes at will.
25 Feb 17
I’ve been off the rails for a couple weeks now due to a plethora of stress factors which have brought up a lot of old stuff that I feel consumed by. All the while I haven’t been able to fast either, which feels scary. Reading your most recent post LJ has been like balm to my enervated spirit. Reading how you were able to stop an impending binge in its tracks is something I have difficulty fathoming so I’m going to read your experience a few times to let it sink in. I sure relate what your wrote about the ‘perfect’ or ‘complete blow out’ extremes. I’ve been struggling with ‘blow out’ for a couple weeks and know I’m able to do ‘perfect’ just not at this time! I’d love to find the middle ground and rest in that.
Sorry to hear you have been having a difficult time.
I’m still not sure what it was that let me believe I could stop on the day I averted a binge. Often I just can’t find a way to stop. I think the drive to do things perfectly (not just food but other things in life) is a fairly common trait in people with eating disorders. Perhaps looking at the drive to be perfect generally – and why we feel we won’t be acceptable unless we are perfect – can help with many areas of our lives.
The things that have had the most ongoing benefit for me in recent weeks are:
– Setting a new evening curfew for eating. For some time I had been practicing a 9pm curfew and after many months this had become entrenched and quite easy to adhere to – basically the longer I did it, the less my mind tried to talk me out of it. I wanted to stop eating earlier than 9pm as evening snacking was still a problem even with a 9pm stopping point. I decided to end eating either with dinner or 9pm if I didn’t want dinner. I started saying “dinner’s done” when I finished dinner each evening and so far I haven’t eaten anything beyond that point each evening. I’ve been really surprised by how easily this change slipped into place.
– This week I decided not to start eating each day until I was hungry. Basically this meant I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch on any day. Some days my first food was dinner and some days I had a small fruit or dairy snack late afternoon. Each day I experienced mild hunger – something I have little familiarity with normally. The other thing I did which also helped was to only eat things that I felt like – each evening meal was a joy to eat – I don’t usually feel like that. I actually feel like I know my body just a little better than I did before, and have found some things that it would be worth continuing with.
I hope you have a better time in the coming week.
27 Feb 17
Hiya, newbie here and have always struggled with binge eating. You sound such a great and supportive group i couldnt help but posting, i hope that is alright.
Today is a FD day and doing well so far, but i am approaching the dangerous evening hours – this is when i tend to eat mindlessly and have no control whatsoever over it. I become the cookie monster lol!
I have a small meal prepared (that will take me to the 500cals i need) and have a friend visiting at 9pm so hopefully i will be distracted enough and not be hungry. I *think* i can do it, fingers crossed!
Hello, I’m new to the site, and just came across this thread. I’ve struggled with binge eating throughout my life, but I feel like it’s become even harder to manage lately. Last year I lost about 20 lbs with alternate day fasting, but then regained 10 pounds after falling off the maintenance plan. I’d like to get back to where I was last year, but have a very hard time eating at or under my calorie goal on non-fast days. Already seeing some good systems that I will try to put into place for myself (like the nighttime curfew for food–that’s definitely the hardest time for me with post dinner snacking that turns into binging). Glad to have this community of support, and looking forward to supporting each other on this sometimes very challenging journey.
28 Feb 17
Hi Georgia83 & Cleo120, welcome.
You are not alone. As you can see, a number of us have a binge eating disorder, some of us have been struggling with this for many decades. Mine started as a child and I have come to accept that it will never be completely gone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed.
This forum thread is not as active as some others, and I am a member of another country-specific thread that has a lot of daily activity. But this “Binge Eating Disorder Group” forum is helpful for asking questions and sharing what you’ve tried that’s worked (or not) to help with bingeing. I come back here regularly to see if anyone has posted or if I have something new to say. I would suggest that you join a really active forum as well, this will give you the best daily support, and I have found that is really helpful. Some options are:
If you find weight challenges helpful, the March challenge group has just opened to new members:
There are also country specific groups for UK, US and AUS+NZ that tend to be very active and supportive.
I too have had serious trouble with overeating between dinner and sleep. I seem to have no control left by then and once I start I can’t seem to stop. I could eat my calories for the day by the end of dinner, and then eat another day’s calories though the evening. The more trouble I had sleeping the more often I got up and ate. I did some research on eating windows for a different purpose (I was trying to deal with the side effect of immune suppressant treatment and had heard that an eating window could help). I found that not only did it help with these side effects, it also helped my menopause symptoms and my evening binge eating, so I was really encouraged to persevere with it. I ended up setting an eating window from noon-9pm. I never feel like breakfast, so a late start to eating works for me. I found with my evening curfew that I had to be rigid and have no exceptions ever. You know the voice in your head that tempts you to break your rules and eat – well I found if I gave in they got stronger next time and if I stuck to the curfew the voice got weaker and weaker over time. I found the opposite was true for my noon start time – I could eat earlier occasionally and not be tempted to repeat this everyday – probably because I naturally have no appetite in the morning. (This doesn’t work for everyone, most people who use eating windows seem to have earlier start and finish times.) I’ve been doing this eating window for over a year now and I think it’s the single most important change I’ve made to limit the damage that bingeing does. It doesn’t stop the desire to binge, but it does impose a stopping point that reduces the number of calories I would otherwise have consumed on a binge day.
I think the reason that it works is that it’s an all-or-nothing rule, and those of us with a binge eating disorder tend to do better with those. I find extreme restriction easier to adhere to (for a time) than moderate restriction, so having an absolute rule about no eating after a certain time seems to fit with the way my brain works.
Cleo, I also tried alternate day fasting but it wasn’t a good fit for me – I found it encouraged me to binge on the “feed days” and I lost little weight. When I started intermittent fasting in January I experimented with 5:2 with the FDs together or apart then I tried 4:3, I tried eating my calories at various times of the day. It took me a month to figure out the best fit for me. I found that a 2:1 cycle was the perfect fit (2 NFDs then 1FD) – this means most weeks I do 2 FDs and occasionally a 3rd. I will move a FD it it falls on a day when fasting isn’t an option, but I try to change this pattern as little as possible. I also found that if I allocate 1/4 of my calories to milk I can manage very well with just 1 evening meal of mainly vegetables on FDs. The milk allows me to have several pots of tea throughout the day and I can drink the tea as milkly as I like. I can abstain from food fairly easily, as long as I can have a pot of tea instead. Again, you have to find your own pattern – most people seem to think allocating calories to drinks like I do is a waste of calories, but I find this works better for me than trying to either cut out tea or drinking it black (which I don’t enjoy).
Georgia – having something to do as a distraction (like a friend visiting) is a really good idea. I find that sometimes I have to get out of the house, or do something that really absorbs my concentration so that I’m distracted from food. I find that if I can break the need to eat constantly by not eating for about 90 minutes, it seems to put my control back in place and I can wait longer before I eat.
If you have the time, I would recommend reading through the older posts on this forum as several people have shared their experiences and there may be ideas that you find helpful.
Good luck, I hope this weight loss journey goes well for you both.
2 Mar 17
Hi LJoyce, thanks for the welcome. Your advice is appreciated, and it’s amazing how nice it is just to share openly about a pattern of behavior that I feel such a need to keep private from friends and family. I agree that ADF may have triggered binges for me, since I would feel compelled to eat as much as possible knowing that I wouldn’t be able to on the following day. 5:2 hasn’t produced that same urge for me so far.
Again, thanks for your kind welcome and thoughtful response. I’ll definitely read through this thread for shared wisdom, and may seek out another community for ongoing support.
All the best to you!
3 Mar 17
Hi Cleo, Georgia and LJ,
Great reading everyone’s posts.
I’m also going to incorporate that dinner or 9 pm eating ‘curfew’. I’ve decided to clean my teeth at that time since that is an impetus for me to want to take in only water after that point.
I’m doing much better. As happens for me sometimes, when I resolve an emotional issue by taking action or speaking up about something I’m frightened to say, the anxiety hunger I felt up until that point evaporates almost immediately! In fact this past week it was almost like turning off the tap of my hunger when I made what I’d regarded as a frightening phone call that made me feel like I was walking to the guillotine instead of the phone! The fact that the call went amazingly well helped the hunger abate too! So, I’m doing okay at the moment!
…Also, when I did binge for the couple weeks, my desire was for natural foods so for example, when I really wanted to ‘chew’ something out of my ‘hunxiety’ I happened to see a bag of ‘Carob Kibble’ which is basically pieces of dried carob pod which resembled a bag of tree bark! It was the perfect thing to munch and I felt no guilt as the bag sat on my desk in class as I picked piece after piece and chewed while listening to the teacher lecture! Since each small piece was very fibrous and long lasting and I didn’t feel any binge hangover in the aftermath either! …I know I could chew gum when having cravings to chew, though gum feels meaningless and tends to make me hungrier when I’ve experimented has prompted me to crave to eat real food even more, rather than pretend!
4 Mar 17
Cleo – I agree being able to be honest about what we think, feel and do is so helpful, especially when it relates to a behaviour that is associated with shame for most of us.
Minka – glad the curfew is working for you. You are not the first person I know of who has used teeth brushing after dinner to help them with this. I really hope you have success with it.
I wanted to share an experience I had yesterday as a few things became clearer for me about the way I handle food generally, but specifically how I handle “treat” foods.
Last night I went to a dessert and chocolate supper – there’s a chocolatier & cafe near where I live that opens Friday & Saturday nights just to serve desserts & chocolates and I went there with family to celebrate a birthday. I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit shocked about how the night went. I went into it having given myself permission to enjoy myself and eat what I wanted without guilt. I managed to get through yesterday, including the desserts & chocolate and still stay under my TDEE. I did eat very little during the day – I ate just one small meal late afternoon so that I would go into the evening with my hunger blunted.
I had planned to have the dessert platter – these platters have 1 whole dessert, a small taste of 4-5 other desserts, 2 macaroons & 6 truffles. However I didn’t like the idea that the staff choose what goes onto the platter, these are high calorie items and I wanted them to be only things I knew I’d love. I wanted to choose my own tastes, so instead of the platter, I decided to choose 2 desserts that appealed to me the most (a raspberry blondie and a pistachio cheesecake). I had one bite of the blondie, decided it wasn’t worth the calories and then offered it around for everyone to taste. The pistachio cheesecake was absolutely amazing. As I savoured each mouthful I found that the first 3 spoonfuls were absolutely incredible, but that sensation faded with each spoonful. So I ate 2/3 then handed it around for others to taste. I also had a spoonful of several desserts that others had ordered. My old habits would have had me eating everything on my plate, regardless of whether I was enjoying it or not – in fact I probably wouldn’t have even been aware of whether I was really enjoying it or not I just would have been eating it all without thinking.
I hadn’t noticed before how quickly the taste sensation changes from “absolutely wonderful” to “just another mouthful”. I thought – “I don’t think I want any more of this” and then tried to make sense of a thought that felt quite foreign to me. I handed the remaining dessert around before I could change my mind.
This experience has reinforced how I need to be more mindful about the process of food selection and eating every day. It’s important for me to eat slowly, to take the time to taste every mouthful, to make my own choices and not be dictated to by old habits. This increased awareness gives me a lot to start practicing now. (I have a high tea to go to tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll get more practice then).
I hope you are all going well and are also finding some ideas that help you.
Hi, what a really good idea. I want to add some encouragement to other binge eaters. I have lost over 20kg (3 stone) since December on Michael Moseley’s 8 week Blood Sugar Diet and am now on the 5:2 diet. But the great news is that by really cutting down my carbs I have stopped the cravings and bingeing. Yipee! I still look longingly at cakes and chocolate and crisps etc but am able to resist. I am buying nice new clothes as treats and comforts instead of food. At 63 and being a binge eater most of my adult life I despaired that I would ever be able to get it under control. I have dieted so many times, lost some weight and then put it back on, plus some more due to bingeing. This time is different though as it feels so good not to be out of control that I just don’t want to go back to that, so resisting is easier. I find fast days to be quite liberating and intend to keep it as part of my life even when I have reached my target weight.
Hi LJoyce, I agree with you about the tea drinking! I still have several cups of tea, with semi skimmed milk, even on fast days as I find it makes it easier not to eat. I don’t like coffee and low calorie diet drinks are not good for insulin resistance. It works for me but I do count the milk as part of my 500 calories.
5 Mar 17
Hi janb2885, glad you hear you’ve had good success with the BSD. I hope it’s also helped with your diabetes and insulin levels.
I’m in the lucky position of never having had elevated blood sugar levels or insulin resistance regardless of what I’ve weighed (I have been morbidly obese). It means that I don’t have the same effect from carbohydrates that those with insulin resistance seem to. In fact many of the foods that I tend to binge on aren’t carbs – my 2 highest risk foods are cheese and nuts – if I start I can’t stop with these. I guess it just means that we all have problem foods and problem situations but they differ for each of us.
Hope everyone is having a good weekend.
9 Mar 17
I’ve been continuing with my eating when hungry approach. I find myself questioning:
Am I hungry? – If not then I don’t eat regardless of whether its a “meal tine” or not)
What do I want to eat? – There is rarely just one thing that appeals so I make a choice from what I have in the house.
I have feared in the past that an approach like this would have me eating all the wrong things throughout the day. This hasn’t happened as I’m getting quite good at recognising genuine hunger – what’s interesting is that it only occurs twice most days. I also find that if I what what appeals I am satisfied by what I’ve eaten and don’t follow up a meal by looking for the things I really wanted.
I did learn a good lesson tonight. I had a busy afternoon and had planned a meal that needed little work, just 35 minutes in the airfryer. My mistake was in not starting to cook the meal until I was hungry. After 15 minutes of cooking time I ended up snacking on a couple of things as my hunger was demanding attention. Then I reverted to my old habit of eating everything on my plate – the quantity I’d cooked would have been right without the snacks, with them it was too much. I need to plan better in future.
I hope you all all handling the food challenges you face.
12 Mar 17
I love reading everyones posts . I am a binge eater. in america we have oa tried it. I lost 20 pounds ive gained it back . I am doing 5:2 now i am short and in my fiftys so my nonfasting day calorie limit is 1700. my problem foods are nuts cheese and chocolate. I binged on nuts saterday and my weight is up today . I cant wait for monday my fast day so I dont need to deal with food . I am just feeling very discouraged today. I need a pep talk and some encouragement . Thanks
14 Mar 17
I too am short and in my 50s, due to chronic illness I have a fairly sedentary lifestyle so my TDEE is only 1400 calories, a bit of a challenge for me to stick to. Like you I also have issues with cheese and nuts.
We all have bad days where we eat more than our TDEE, this is normal eating behaviour for most people – they eat less some days and more on others. However the uncontrolled binge that sees us eating twice our TDEE in calories is an issue for binge eaters that most others don’t understand. I think that because we don’t recognise variation in daily food intake as normal, it makes the issue worse for us.
The only way to deal with a binge is to forgive yourself and start today anew. You can’t undo it so put it behind you.
You may find, as I did, that the FD are easy but the NFD are not. It’s because people with this disorder are good at all or nothing, but not so good at moderation.
There are a few bits of “self talk” that I find helpful:
– You don’t have to be perfect.
– You cannot change the past. Beating yourself up over past behaviour changes nothing other than making you feel worse about yourself.
– Forgiveness is a good thing. Punishment and regret feeds the binge cycle.
– Start each day with hope not regret.
I found there were things I learned about intermittent fasting that I needed to be mindful of. Fasting can trigger a binge, so when you have a binge eating disorder you need to be careful with how you approach it. This I realised were:
– I needed tools such as an eating window (see my earlier post for a detailed description) to help me on my NFD.
– I found that the number of FD per week had an effect on my likelihood to binge. If I only have 1 NFD between 2 FDs I am more likely to binge on the NF days.
– When I allowed myself to get in touch with my hunger my tendency to binge reduced. This was a process of understanding what hunger felt like and learning to make choices about what to eat that were based on what I actually wanted. Oddly enough, what I wanted was rarely junk food or sugar – this was a long-standing fear that had held me back for decades in listening to my body.
– Eat slowly and appreciate each mouthful. I find my body lets me know when I’ve had enough if I’m mindful of what I’m eating.
– My mind & body are learning that if they indicate hunger and a preference then the right food will be forthcoming. It seems to diminish that drive to eat uncontrollably.
– I have found it helpful to vary my FDs. Some days I’m not hungry, so it seems odd to be eating just because it’s a NFD, so I will choose to do a FD.
I hope some of this helps.
16 Mar 17
I have joined today , tearful as really cannot cope with my binge eating . Pls need help
17 Mar 17
Hi Amfm welcome.
Remember you aren’t alone. Those of us who battle with this disorder have all gotten to the end of our endurance with it.
Have a read back through the advice that others have written on this site and see if there are ideas that you think might work for you.
It’s also important to take one day at a time with this. Some days things will go badly, it happens. The only way to go on is to put it behind you and start the next day with the hope of a better day.
Thanks !!!! Yes I am going thru the previous post . I feel
discussing your problem and sharing each other’s experiences helps a lot .
Something that I’ve noticed about everyone with this type of eating disorder is that we all have a lot of negative self-talk and it usually stems of childhood/adolescent issues or traumas that we tried to mask with food. Trying to “unpack” and deal with that is a long slow traumatic process. You are right, talking helps. I find every time I come to some realisation and post my thoughts someone else’s response will trigger a new awareness I didn’t have before. I have also noticed that I will only become aware of things that effect my eating when I’m ready to deal with – I think our subconscious tried to protect us from facing traumas until we are ready.
A few years ago before attempting to lose the bulk of my weight I went to a psychologist for some counseling to deal with the issues I knew would arise if I tried to lose weight. It really did help as I identified many of the bingeing triggers that I knew would arise. The process of thinking through what all of my eating triggers were, the type situation and how I normally react helped me identify how that behaviour pattern usually unrolls – I looked at events, situations and self-talk. Once you have that recorded it’s easier to think of ways you could change your standard response to those triggers – it’s a really useful exercise if you can set some time aside to work through this. I found I had to put it down and come back to it a few times as things tend to mill around in your brain for a while and ideas will emerge. The thing that’s really useful about this process is that it’s tailored to each of us as individuals so it’s more useful than any book or list of tips is ever going to be.
Thanks LJoyce for all your posts. I am finding it really helpful to read them. I totally agree about the childhood issues and the ‘all or nothing’ mindset. I now understand why I find fast days easier than NFD. I had my first 3 month blood tests this week and despite losing 3 stone my fasting sugars and cholesterol are still too high so the dr moaned at me again. My HbA1c has come down to 38 but she still says I am diabetic. I have been so upset at the result and her criticism that I have binged for the first time in 3 months. (Baileys ice cream) But I can now see that my own negative self talk and need for approval has compounded the issue. Feel awful today but trying to stay focused. I find all the tv ads for high carb foods soul destroying so either record and fast forward or watch BBC!!
Thanks for taking out time and writing in detail , it’s really
motivating to c that one is not alone . I am 51 now ,guess
its the effect of menopause as well that depression causes binge eating . Cannot take HRT as family h/o Breast Ca .
Hi AmFm. Yes struggled with depression and anxiety most of my adult life. Menopause def made things worse and like you have family history of breast cancer so no Hrt! Have given up on antidepressants though as they definitely contributed to weight gain.
18 Mar 17
I saw the dietitian this morning. I managed to get some insight into the eating blow-out I had in December that actually caused the weight gain that I’m currently trying to rectify (My weight went up by 10kg last December).
I have been reading a book that she recommended by Rick Kausman called “If Not Dieting Then What”. He covers things that are helpful for someone with a binge eating disorder like me. His approach attempts to help people develop a better self image and self awareness and a more natural eating pattern and an approach to food that helps us not use it as a mask for other things. His advice on understanding your appetite; choosing the food you want when you actually want it; eating mindfully and appreciating every mouthful – these have had real impact on my tendency to overeat. What I have found quite puzzling is that the idea of “choosing the food you want when you actually want it” really sounds counter-intuitive for a binge eater, but weirdly it does help. I think it’s because eating the meal you actually want is satiating on a deeper level than just appetite and actually does reduce the risk of me snacking after a meal. What is also surprising is that when I follow this advice most of what I’m choosing is healthy and my calories for the week are quite modest. It’s the opposite of the way I’ve always tried to stay in control of my eating. My dietitian reminded me that humans really don’t deal well with restriction and denial as there is an underlying instinct to rebel. I certainly notice that with my own behaviour – the tighter I try to control things the bigger the binge break-outs.
I need to keep processing this morning’s discussion and keep working through the exercises in Rick Kausman’s book as there’s still a lot of half-thought out ideas running around my head. However, I do feel closer to a normal approach to food than I have been before – and that’s a good thing.
27 Mar 17
I had a smorgasbord restaurant lunch to attend yesterday for my nephew’s 21st birthday. I decided to continue with the approaches that have been working for me lately. I chose each thing on my pate carefully – only things I thought I’d really like. I chose tiny portions (about 3-4 mouthfuls max) as I could always go back for more if I really wanted to, and I didn’t want to trigger that message that tells me I have to finish everything on my plate. If the first bite wasn’t lovely I didn’t eat any more of that item. I had plenty to eat, but not too much, and I enjoyed it all. I took a break between savory and dessert to decide whether I really had enough appetite left for it. I ended up just having a tiny portion of one dessert. I came home feeling just comfortably full, which is a novel experience for me after a smorgasbord. I’m pretty happy with that effort.
I stated March being quite worried because I had so many social events revolving around food that I knew I’d have to face (lots of family birthdays in March). In the end it’s actually been a valuable learning experience. I think I’ve learned things about recognising my appetite, not eating things just because they are on my plate, and being mindful about what I actually feel like eating and whether each mouthful is a pleasure or just another mouthful. It’s made me aware of how often I used to just shovel in everything that was on my plate, with barely an awareness of what I was eating.
10 Apr 17
On Saturday I was reminded of how easily binge triggers can come back to bite me.
I have been feeling good since I worked out that a 2NFD+1FD schedule worked really well for me and seemed to help me keep my binge tendency at bay – having only 1NFD between FDs is a much higher risk for bingeing. Last week I took some risks because I was trying to move my 2NFD+1FD schedule so that I could have easter Sun&Mon as NFDs. It meant doing FDs on Sun, Tues & Fri to shift the pattern so that it would fork out over easter. I got through those days but struggled with the lack of NFDs.
On Saturday I found out that there was a 30th birthday dinner planned that I’m meant to go to Monday night – my next planned FD. I dithered about how to rearrange things and decided to do a FD Sunday instead on Monday. Well that decision seemed to trigger a binge which lasted all Saturday afternoon. I ate my way through a muesli bar, 1 1/2 muffins, 2 handfuls of almonds, 2 handfuls of crackers and 2 slices of cheese. To top it all off I then raided my easter purchases and ate some of the easter chocolates I had bought to give to someone else for easter (they had sat in a bag in my kitchen for 3 weeks untouched). This was all in addition to lunch and dinner. I felt physically ill by the end of all that and a bit shocked – I hadn’t had any binge episodes since starting the new routine of 2NFD between FDs so this lapse was unexpected. I guess I should have realised that having my plans changed unexpectedly is always a risk for me – it can trigger binge behaviour. I then compounded the problem by moving a FD forward, adding another binge trigger.
With hindsight it’s easy to see how stupid this decision was. I think the better solution would have been to just skip the planned FD on Monday (which I did consider but was too scared to choose) – it probably would have amounted to less calories in the long run. So my promise to myself is no more FDs with only one NFD separation, it’s just not worth the fallout, better to have a 3NFD break than just one. I had already gotten to a point where I had accepted my weight loss moving forward would be slow, so why was I scared to drop a FD? Am I telling myself that slow weight loss is OK but on some level what I really want are fast results? I think this is definitely possible.
On Sunday I went as far as logging onto this site to ask for help. I stared at the blank screen for a few minutes not knowing what to write so I logged out again and walked away. It has left me with some uncomfortable realisations:
– Perhaps I actually didn’t want to be helped.
– I’ve always been better at giving help than accepting help (this fits with my role in my family – make everyone else happy and don’t be needy), so maybe on some level I think I’m either not entitled to support or not allowed to want it.
So moving forward I need to make some promises to myself:
– No more FDs with just 1 NFD between them. Learn to accept that slow weight loss is OK and is actually preferable if it helps me manage bingeing behaviour.
– Next time I feel overpowered by the need to binge ask for help.
Hi LJoyce, like you I experience bingeing from time to time and I beat myself up after a binge. I did it yesterday. Coached rugby to my under 16s group on an unusually hot April day. Big sausage buttie for lunch, home, had dinner but come the evening….. Lager, sandwiches, 3 slices of white bread and butter, crisps and chocolate. I actually craved it all and there was no way to avoid those cravings, I had to succumb.
Today, Monday is another fast day which will include a week of healthy eating, I hope so hopefully avoid the binging triggers.
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