Any recovered binge-eaters on here? I need help.

(36 Posts)
BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 12:15:42

I'm finally admitting to myself that I have a real problem with food. Although my actual meals are perfectly normal and healthy, I also eat in secret most of the day. No-one knows this. Sometimes I make myself sick. Not often, but occasionally.

When I've had a particularly bad few days, I cut down on food completely. The prevalence of the fast diet has been a godsend to me as I pretend to people that I'm on it to explain why I'm not eating.

I really, really don't want to go to the doctor. I know that's possibly very stupid, but I just don't. I do need help though, especially as I have a dd and I want to set a good example to her. Mostly though, I just don't want to do this any more. I want to be normal.

So, I just wondered if anyone has any advice? Any books I could read, organisations I could contact?

Thank you.

BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 12:50:34

Bumping, because I'm a bit needy like that.

stowsettler Tue 02-Jul-13 13:11:14

I'm no GP or psychologist but it sounds more like a mental health issue than an overeating one at the crux of the matter. Could you try Overeaters Anonymous?
If your GP is worth his salt they will hone in on the fact that your problem is probably psychological, so TBH they really should be your first port of call.
Good luck - I have my own issues with food, and I know how tough it is to beat them x

TippiShagpile Tue 02-Jul-13 13:16:48

If you're not sure about your GP would you consider self help books? There are loads out there - I did have a list somewhere sad

Interesting point about the fasting diets. These are a nightmare for me because they trigger my old habits (ie basically starving myself) and make it so easy to hide when I'm having a "tricky episode".

aliperi Tue 02-Jul-13 13:44:09

I just read the Hardcombe Diet book and think it would help you. It helps you understand food cravings and why we put on weight. It has helped me realize that is the way I eat that's causing the problem, not my lack of self-discipline or lack of will power as I always thought. I think this book educates you and takes the blame away from you, so you don't punish yourself for over-eating and then starve, entering that awful vicious circle.
Also it is a really healthy way of eating and very effective weight loss plan that works and is sustainable.
Best of luck!

TantrumsandBananas Tue 02-Jul-13 13:55:52

Watching with interest, I could haven written your post OP. You are not alone.

The only thing I got from the Doctors was a prescription for Orlistat. Which I haven't and won't try.

I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired - have checked out OA but am abit scared. Which accordingly probably means I'm "not ready".

Therefore will be interested to see what others come back to you with.

TheLightPassenger Tue 02-Jul-13 15:52:41

, I mostly got on top of binge eating by having a v strict meal and snack schedule, so that at trigger points i had something sensible in mind to eat already. It can help to meal plan as well or eat samey food as it reduces headspace you are giving. I havent fully looked into this, but there is a mindfulness book geared towards healthy eating

NutellaNutter Tue 02-Jul-13 16:23:38

I have had a terrible time over the last three years. I put on several stone while pregnant with ds, and have been through hell trying to get it off. Had bulimia for most of the three years. Also tried hypnosis, diet coach and even a gastric balloon - which I discovered I could still binge and vomit with sad

The thing that has really helped me sort my head out and get back to normal eating is the book Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. She also has a very insightful and helpful blog. She is in the US and you might need to buy the book from the Amazon US site, but it is really, really worth it. She knows exactly what is going through a binge eater's mind, and she has quite literally saved my life. Also helpful is Taming the Feast Beast. Good luck. If I can do it anyone can!

BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 17:08:12

Thank you so much, everyone. I will definitely get hold of the recommended books.

Tippi, yes, the Fast Diet, although not a trigger for me, has definitely appealed to my binge or starve mentality. For a while, I even tried to convince myself that I was on it, but what I'm doing is far from healthy.

I appreciate all your replies. I really do. I hope this doesn't sound rude, but it's kind of comforting that I'm not the only one. I'm 35 now and this is not something that I could discuss with my friends. Even dh doesn't know. It's my shameful secret.

BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 19:51:52

I've just ordered the Hansen and Hardcombe books. I've also downloaded a free book by Kat Lorenzo. It's a start. I actually feel quite disgusted with myself, but I know that won't help with getting better.

Thanks again.

I have been there too, I am not sure if it ever goes completely though. sad

Binging due to self loathing and homesickness saw me put on 4 stone in two years. I am getting there right now using a very low calorie diet that excludes 'real' food completely. I have found that to help.

Those books sound really interesting, I am going to order them too.

CinnamonAddict Tue 02-Jul-13 20:05:27

I think reading a book won't help you.
Please talk to your GP and get a therapy sorted. Your eating habits are just symptoms of underlying issues, some of them could be very well buried. You need professional help, please don't suffer in silence and secrecy.

BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 20:14:19

Hi CinnammonAddict, I appreciate your response, I really do. However, I don't think I do have any underlying issues. It's just that I have had this terrible relationship with food since my teens and I've never tried to overcome it before now.

I do see that it's developed into an illness now, but I'd at least like to try and help myself before getting medical involvement. If I thought therapy would help, I would go, I promise. But for me, this is all about the food.

I hope I don't appear ungrateful.

Do you find certain foods triggering or is it your mood that creates the need to binge?

Btw, I was extremely bulimic 15 years ago. I had some counselling and what I now realise was CBT or NLP. It must have worked, I cannot make myself sick anymore (and at my worst I have tried and tried and tried).

Sadly I moved before we got to the binging, I often think that I should try again and see if I can overcome it completely.

BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 20:28:04

It's foods that trigger me, really. Biscuits, especially, and bread. My binges and 'fast' days don't seem to be related to my moods at all. I kept a diary for a month to check this and couldn't see any real correlation except for just before my period. Then, I was miserable and ravenous!

Oh, that's interesting about CBT, because actually that probably would be helpful to me. It offers more practical solutions if I understand it properly?

Good luck to you Scone, in recovering. Good luck to all of us, actually.

The sad thing is I hardly remember it. I was in such a bad place, I remember going to the sessions but not what we talked about specifically.

I know that I have triggers. Marzipan for instance. I love it but eating three whole blocks in twenty minutes is not normal, so I don't buy it anymore or anything almond flavoured.

It might be the sugar for you if biscuits set you off. Have you had a look at the low carb threads on here? I did low carb for four years and it really did destroy my sweet tooth, sugar is an addictive bastard.

CinnamonAddict Tue 02-Jul-13 20:42:42

You don't sound ungrateful smile
You have had a terrible relationship with food since you were a teen. You are 35 now.
You don't have to believe that therapy helps you, just give it a try wink

Ipp3 Tue 02-Jul-13 20:43:59

I was a binge eater for many years, made myself puke regularly and was generally a mess. I read the books but the only thing that really helped me was slowly changing my behaviour around food and keeping going no matter how many times I fell off the wagon. Like thelightpassenger, I decided what I was going to eat each day, set meals and kept to it, or tried to ! I didn't diet or exclude foods, but did eat off smaller plates to avoid overeating. I tried to eat well and to eat filling things like protein. I reminded myself that nothing bad would happen if I didn't eat that cake/ choc. Slowly, slowly it got easier to resist. I think the thought that got me through was realising that I could spend the rest of my life like this or get better. I got better.

Willdoitinaminute Tue 02-Jul-13 20:53:43

Bitofa you have made the first step by admitting you have an eating problem/disorder.
I had intermittent bulimia/binging in my teens and 20s. I had self esteem issues as my confidence grew in adult life I learned to cope with them. I still have issues with my weight but have a much healthier approach now to controlling it.
I would agree that therapy is not the solution for everyone but talking to other sufferers can help.
As I said you have made the first step perhaps the next one is to see your GP and ask for advice.

BitOfAFatCowReally Tue 02-Jul-13 20:56:35

Thanks again, to all of you. Thank you for the advice and for sharing your stories. It's interesting as I have never spoken about this in real life and now I'm wondering how prevalent this is.

I am determined to beat it. I like the idea of having an eating schedule; it appeals to the control-freak side of me smile. Perhaps I'll reconsider therapy.

BitOfAFatCowReally Wed 03-Jul-13 09:18:04

One day at a time...

ADifferentKindOfMum Wed 03-Jul-13 21:55:26

Hi bit...just wanted to say hallo as i am two days in to scheduled planned eating myself. Not a purger but a binger still and I can't keep gaining weight without people asking "how?" as i eat sooo healthily on the face of it. They don't see the stuffing standing at fridge and cupboards. I feel unhappy in my own skin so am doing something about it. For me, if i even have the slightest bit of sugar that is it. I will locate and eat everything sweet in the house.
Hope today was ok for you.

BitOfAFatCowReally Fri 05-Jul-13 10:43:40

Hello Different, how are you finding it? I've started to do scheduled eating too. So far, so good. Although, I've found I'm still thinking about food all the time. Trying to keep busy though, which helps. And I'm trying to be mindful of what I do actually eat, so I am eating my food slowly, sitting at the table, even if it's just a snack.

Good for you for taking steps towards getting better. Let me know how you get on.

BitOfAFatCowReally Sun 28-Jul-13 19:22:36

OK, I'm a liar. I have been thinking about things and yes, I have massive psychological problems. I was lying to myself and you and I'm sorry. I don't know what to do. This isn't a weight issue, it's a mind issue. I'm so ashamed at my age.

Hello Bit

Just wanted to say that I went through a very stressful time recently (about 2-3 months ago) and my way of dealing with this was to inhale eat everything in sight. I live alone with my children so there was not even the need to do it in secret. In 5 weeks I piled on 21lbs and I was disgusted with myself but still couldn't stop. I finally went to the doctor regarding the stress issue and he prescribed me sertraline as he felt I was also a little depressed which looking back I realise I was. Whilst Googling my new meds I was surprised to learn that mine and a lot of other AD's are used to treat binge eating. I certainly found after a couple of weeks that my appetite was nowhere near what it was and that "need" to binge just evaporated. It is now about 6 weeks since I started taking them and I have lost about 14 of the 21lbs I put on smile although I have also recently discovered a new love for exercise (thank you Jillian Michaels! ).

It is certainly something worth considering, especially ifyou feel that you have other issues.

Good luck with it.

I realise that this is a thread from a few weeks ago, but if you're reluctant to go to the GP (and don't rule out that idea for the future - i have done so recently for my anorexia/bulimia behaviours and they have taken me very seriously - it was bloody hard to do though) there is a range of books available in libraries which doctors can 'prescribe' (though anyone can get them out)

one is 'overcoming binge eating' by christopher fairburn - it has a CBT approach i think - it might be worth a try?

ah, sorry, just seen the OP posted yesterday

btw, after going to my gp and through a triage process (has taken over six months) i have just started cognitive analytic therapy. it is early days but i am pleased i am doing something about it. going to the gp was very very hard though, i wasn't sure how to get the words out to describe my problems

PaulSmenis Mon 29-Jul-13 10:09:24

I had issues with bulimia when I was younger. I have generally recovered from the binge eating.

Yesterday was pretty bad though. I ended up having the mother of all binges:

4 doughnuts
6 cereal bars
1 tub of Ben & Jerrys
1 Danish swirl
200g bag of cashew nuts

I eat healthily most of the time and I'm a size 10. Sometimes I just get a real hunger on. I think the binge was triggered by the fact that MIL is visiting soon.

BitOfAFatCowReally Mon 29-Jul-13 10:39:29

Thank you to everyone who responded to this thread. (And sorry for the dramatic post last night, it was embarassing and attention-seeking. I blame the beer wink.)

I haven't been to a library in years! But will definitely go and see if I can find that book.

And, yes, I will go and see my GP. I think I've been avoiding it out of shame, but actually I'd be more ashamed to recognise I have a problem and not get help. What example is that to set the dcs?

Thank you all again and, for those facing similar issues, I wish you the best of luck with your own recoveries.

TwasBrillig Mon 29-Jul-13 10:47:30

Drs will vary widely as to their suggestions (weight watchers and an exercise prescription being a favourite) however its usually linked to behaviour or thought patterns learnt in childhood and the underlying issues need tackling as well. People too often see it as a self control issue which it really isn't.

I go to a group for eating disorders and finding it helpful. I'm realising there's no quick fix. Its helpful to hear from those who've recovered.

A book I've had recommend there, and looks a similar pattern to some of the work we do, is called 'getting better bite by bite' a survival kit for sufferers of bulimia nervousa and binge eating disorders. Its not cheap on amazon -16 pounds at the moment, but is the best one I've found so far. Concise, explains well, possible to work through. However I'm coming at it with a good understanding of eating disorders now having been in recovery for a while.

Good luck with it.

TwasBrillig Mon 29-Jul-13 10:49:05

And yes fasting diets are not a good plan for those with eating disorders. Its good to set yourselm small goals each week, and aiming towards 3 meals eaten routinely each day with a healthy snack mid morning and afternoon.

i'm afraid i have to hide the 5:2 threads on here as they trigger things for me

Potteresque97 Tue 30-Jul-13 19:20:37

Glad to have found this. 34 and today tried unsuccessfully to break a 3 day long binge cycle triggered by too much family visiting. Eating in secret (mostly), past history of bulimia, check. Interesting thought about it being linked to depression, good luck with the dr 'bit'. I should go, I just can't stand the shame of it...

CVSFootPowder Wed 31-Jul-13 10:35:32

I'm still struggling with this, 34 years on after my first binge.

Some books have helped. Therapy and trying to uncover my psychological issues did not. I tried Overeaters Anonymous several times, no help at all for me.

The only conclusion that therapy reached was that my binge eating started a couple of months after I first dieted. So dieting was my trigger, not underlying issues. This is very common.

I highly recommend the Christopher Fairburn's 'Overcoming Overeating'. He is a globally respected expert on binge eating and bulimia, and research has shown that his method is the most succesful in dealing with this. The book is a mix of CBT and - the biggest help for many - a scheduled eating plan. 3 meals and 2/3 snacks a day at times you set in advance. I notice other posts have mentioned that organising meal times like this has been helpful and it is the single thing that's helped me the most. Although as I said, I am still not cured.

Other books I recommend, already mentioned, Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen and Getting Better Bite By Bite.

I've marked the thread and will follow with interest.

Tabby1963 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:36:36

Totally impressed Ipp3 with what you did to succeed with getting a better relationship with food. I have a thread which talks about method which sounds a bit like what you did. The fact that you have succeeded gives me hope that I might too.

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