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Anyone successfully overcome binge eating?

(26 Posts)
AnnieLobeseder Sun 20-Feb-11 20:23:05

Title says it all really. I'm a binge eater. I'm talking about packets of biscuits and whole bars of chocolate, at the same time, in one sitting.

My meals are healthy. I exercise - I'm a cross-country runner. I know what I should be doing to eat properly and be healthy.

So why, come around 5pm most nights, do I become possessed by some weird food monster and just rip into the crap? Keeping it out of the house doesn't work - I even go on missions to get that fix.

I'm not hungry, it's not a lack of calories or anything like that. Just a psychological dependence on sugary crap. I'm an addictive personality - I used to struggle with drugs. But drugs you can stay away from, food you can't!!!!

I've tried Paul McKenna, various books on the subject etc etc.

So has anyone ever been in my position, and truly beaten it? If so, how? It's not a weight issue, my weight, while not ideal, is OK. I just want to be in control of what I put into my mouth.

frazzledblob Sun 20-Feb-11 20:30:59

Yes that was me except it was 7pm onwards once kids were in bed, I would end up in the kitchen and the mindless eating would begin even if I knew I was not hungry.

Whats changed? I ditched the carbs. for years what I thought was emotional / boredom eating was actually really bad sugar / carb addiction.

I am low carbing primarily for weight loss, but I also sticking with it as it has changed my whole outlook on food.

If you do not want to low carb (due to the running)then check out zoe harcombe, her plan involves ditching the processed food and sticking with good carbs (but not combining fats and carbs in the same meal)

AnnieLobeseder Sun 20-Feb-11 21:30:03

Thanks Frazzled, I'll look that up... low-carb is a little tricky for me though since I'm vegetarian.

frazzledblob Sun 20-Feb-11 22:21:22

snap. Im vegetarian aswell smile

rose elliot does a low carb veggie book here

she also has a cook book, have a nose in your local library as its best to try before you buy.

another good read is india and neris' pig to twig book. I may not be following their diet but it helped me to look at my eating habbits.

if i can help with anything further let me know as I can honestly say that this way of eating has been a revelation to me.

rightpissedoff Sun 20-Feb-11 22:23:09

If you'rea cross country runner you have a great deal of self control.

Exercise it?

Tortington Sun 20-Feb-11 22:28:47

yip its the sugar, i wouldn't have believed it until i experienced it

low carbing really helps, but as a cross country runner, i would hesitate to put forward this diet for you because i think you need carbs - maybe you could look at what we call on the lc thread 'slackins' a slacker version of atkins, so monitor your carb intake - maybe give yourself more than what i would for instance - maybe start at 40 carbs and see how that helps.

sometimes it is just giving your eating habits a framework that helps you to look at what your doing

after all thats what all eating plans are isn't it? its just a lot of differnt types of frameworks that help us to look more deeply at what we are eating and to assess what we are doing.

anyway, we do have veggies on the thread and you are most welcome!

Tortington Sun 20-Feb-11 22:29:36

not helpful rpo really is it. if only it were that simple the diet industry would be out of billions

rightpissedoff Sun 20-Feb-11 22:33:48

I do realise it's a statement of the bleeding obvious. But when looking for reasons, or techniques, for some strange reason the bleeding obvious often escapes people.

eden263 Sun 20-Feb-11 22:44:38

OMG, I do that. I thought it was just me. 'Mindless eating' is exactly what it is. I just plough through stuff, it's like a compulsion. I'm often not hungry, I don't even want what I'm eating, and I don't enjoy it, but I can't seem to stop. I thought I was just a bit mad. Is this a common thing?

I'd love to know how to stop, too.

I'm vegan so low carb is tricky for me as well.

Custardo, it's more than willpower. It's like something takes me over and I have no control.

bibbitybobbityhat Sun 20-Feb-11 22:48:58

Yes, when I became truly interested in something else and had a properly busy life outside of my house I lost the urge to comfort eat/compulsively eat. And have never gone back to it, thank God!

Tortington Sun 20-Feb-11 22:51:20

yes yes i agree, i think asking for willpower is over simplifying things somewhat.

my eating day used to go like this

breakfast - nothing

dinner - nothing

3pm starving go to shop get crisps or something not so good for me not one bag of crisps obviously, 2 or 3

then get home

make tea

eat tea

go kitchen
eat eat eat eat until bedtime

it was truly disgusting

frazzledblob Sun 20-Feb-11 22:57:11

eden rose elliot often gives vegan options in her book

willpower, for me, only comes into it once the addiction is under more control.

I had all the willpower in the world not to eat fatty food when doing slimming world but it did'nt stop the evening carb craving and inevitable binging (not just sugery food but any 'free' food I could add sweetner to).

frazzledblob Sun 20-Feb-11 23:02:58

that was my eating pattern most days aswell.

preschooler plus baby plus work equalled no breakfast, no lunch, snacks in the afternoon as starving, then pasta for tea.

kids upto bed and I would find myself drawn to the kitchen. If on SW it would be low fat binging, if not anything and everything would be consumed.

I can recall not tasting very much and searching out the next item to stuff in before i had even finished what i had

Tortington Sun 20-Feb-11 23:07:05

its not that i ate shit all the time either - not what i considered shit anyway - i ate lots of bread, butties, toast, i consumed a full packet of cream crackers easily, french bread - i ate that on the way to the car fro teh supermarket.

eden263 Mon 21-Feb-11 02:11:13

Frazzled, me too, I'll be eating something but thinking about what I can eat next. I don't even want to eat more stuff, I feel bad and guilty, and I know I'll put on more weight when what I really want is to lose it, but still do it confused

And yes, much much worse at night, though I've been known to eat compulsively whilst cooking tea, which makes absolutely no sense at all as I know I'll very shortly be eating a proper meal. But it doesn't seem to be anything to do with hunger.

Sometimes I'm fine and have no desire to do it at all, but other times I just can't stop eating. If I could understand why, maybe I could work out how to stop/ignore it.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 21-Feb-11 22:11:28

'Tis a bugger, innit! Eden, I do that too, scoffing a bag of Mini Eggs while I cook dinner.

I'll look into Rose Elliot.

I've been successful with dieting in the past, it all depends on where my head is, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to my being in 'binge mode' or 'healthy eating mode'. Sometimes I stay in one mode or the other for days or weeks at a time, other times it switches daily! Really annoying.

There is a certain something to what rpo says. I find it constantly perplexing that I can get myself out of the door for a run in the dark and rain/snow at 5am in the dead of winter, no problem. But I can't seem to stop eating crap! Logically, it should be easier to just not do something!

nicole333 Thu 24-Feb-11 18:55:04

I also suffered and can confirm ditching the carbs helped me too. One of the biggest things that makes you binge in the evening is not eating properly during the day. If you skip a meal, you'll bet you'll know about it later unless you go to bed at 8pm nearly crying with hunger.

So, my experience is three proper meals a day, leaving out the nasty, no good for you type carbs. Also eat snacks in between that don't spike your sugar levels. Plenty of water, which I guess you do anyway if you're exercising. Fill up on decaf drinks too.

Don't let yourself get hungry and plan your meals, making sure you have what you need and no crap in the house.

Lampblack Tue 24-Jul-12 23:30:48

It is easy to not really have enough protein if you are a vegetarian.
You need 60g per day. Cravings for sugar and high carbohydrates can be caused by not having enough protein and fibre. As a vegetarian you might
have had, say, an egg for breakfast (6g of protein), a quorn filet with some vegetables for lunch (14g roughly) and something similar for dinner (14g). Yet even so, with such apparently good eating, you might have only had about 30g - only half the necessary amount. So you have to try really hard to get the right amount. One word of warning is that it might not be wise to eat too much textured vegetable protein such as soy mince, although it is high in protein, or too much cheese as it has a lot of fat (a little is good though). Tofu, quorn, pulses, cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, hemp or pumpkin protein powder put in a drink are good sources of protein. Vegetables also have some protein, though to lesser extent, as do brown bread, brown rice, brown pasta, oat bran and vegetables - which also have a high fibre content.

Avoid getting hungry as it might trigger cravings. Never skip meals. Do not watch television and eat; eat while walking etc because you might not notice yourself getting full. Never ever skip breakfast. People who eat breakfast eat less sugary/high carbohydrate food later on. Have a small healthy snack mid-morning such as an oat cake with some cottage cheese or eight almonds and an apple and something similar mid afternoon.

Get enough water to drink. Do not have too much caffeine. Watch out for the massive drinks and snacks at coffee bars which will cause cravings and stress.
No Italian or French person had these originally. Watch out too for drinking wine to try to relax at the end of the day when you are tired. It is just a sugar fix. Rather, have a real meal to eat, with a little glass (3oz) of wine to go with it if you want, and a rest.

Get enough sleep but do not over sleep. Sleeping too long and long afternoon sleeps can cause sugar cravings, Sleeping to little can lead to sugar cravings.
Stress can too.

The more sugar/white bread/pasta /cake etc you eat, the more a cycle is created whereby there is a peak in blood sugar followed by a fall as insulin rushes in to take the sugar away and store it. Trying to overcome hunger or tiredness with these foods as snacks tends to promote a vicious circle.
On the other hand, a little sweet food as a small part of a good meal should be all right as the rest of the meal gives the long lasting energy that prevents a crash in sugar levels which might cause a craving though something like strawberries and a little cream would be better than a big piece of pie.

However, if you get a strong sugar craving, even after having eaten the food your body is really craving, try a "better than" bit of sugar. For example, a tangerine and a glass of water or about six grapes. However, watch out for a lot of "good" sugar: orange juice, smoothies etc. A large glass of orange juice contains a large amount of sugar. Diet coke/pop, and sports drinks too, are often the drinks of cravers and overweight people. Look at labels for added sugar which is in many foods. Interestingly, high fructose corn syrup has been promoted by the food industry as an additive precisely at the same time that diabetes and obesity has become an epidemic.

If you have a real secret binge eating habit, possibly accompanied by purging through vomiting or massive bouts of exercise, and guilt and depression to go with this, you may have a psychological problem. This might mean you need help to find what emptiness/anger etc you are trying to quell with food. There are many books about it. A famous one is by Fairburn who stresses three meals a day and two snacks as well as keeping a food diary. One I have not read but which looks promising is "Brain Over Binge" whose author I cannot remember, but who, from what I can make out, thinks that although the habit of binging can take hold of one part of the brain, and the condition is caused by this rather than depression etc, the higher part of the brain can over come it. It makes sense as in, for instance, anger management where a person might be taught to count to ten to take the mind from the automatic, (as in flight or fight) response to a considered one. I overcame a nicotine habit (also linked to sugar levels interestingly) by self-help with Emotional Freedom Technique which may work similarly, by stalling an automatic response, and might well work also with binge eating impulses.
I apologise for the length of this and hope it helps.

MiffMuff Wed 25-Jul-12 08:41:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lampblack Wed 25-Jul-12 23:03:07

MiffMuff is right: sufferers can be perfectionists who might have shown extraordinary control in their lives before the onset of the disordered/binge eating. They may also have had to control their emotions to a great extent.

When looking for help however, be aware that some GPs do not know about this disorder or know that some of the NICE guidelines for this illness, which include advice to take Prozac type medication, are out of date (it stops binging in the short term but does not solve the problem properly). GPs often do not seem to necessarily have much training in nutrition either. See . This site has some advice that could be helpful as a next step, even if you would just like to be informed before consulting a GP.

Hope4thebest Fri 27-Jul-12 16:00:01

This is a problem for me too. I am a perfectionist and my striving for the impossible (ie perfect) is partly why I compulsively overeat - it is a release from the highly controlled nature of the rest of my life.

It is definately a head issue, however, I am starting to think that actually it is also physical and unrefined carbs are doing me no favours as they are addictive etc. So am trying to cut them out to see if that helps. Nothing else has so far...

It is such a struggle.

higgle Tue 31-Jul-12 16:00:30

I was like this too - I really think it was the stress of work and how I felt when I got home that sent me on a daily eating spress at 6pm. I used to eat Quorn and mayo sandwiches, peanut butter from the jar, cook some oven chips, finish off all the biscuits and any crisps in the house and slices of cheese too. I used to feel so full I didn't really want my dinner later on.

I do a very stressful job that involves coping with other people's problems and feelings in a highly regulated sector - so I have to be very controlled at work.

I've been dieting using Myfitnesspal for about 8 weeks now and things have improved, but I still feel myself getting carried away every now and again.
What helps for me is cooking the evening meal immediately I get home and looking back at the bad days on my calorie chart and reflecting on the folly of my actions - 8 slices of Leerdammer? exactly why?

I think I remain very suceptible to relapse, I'm just thinking hard about being size 10, hopefully, by Valentine's day next year.

Auxey Tue 31-Jul-12 17:23:27

Lampblack thanks for your earlier post. You mentioned the Fairburn book which I've got, must dig it out and actually read it properly. I've been thinking about dieting again but dieting seems to make the binge eating even worse blush. I do need to lose quite a bit of weight though. It's a horrid dilemma...

WillowFae Wed 01-Aug-12 13:32:09

Have you looked into Overeaters Anonymous? Has changed my life.

Choosmum Thu 02-Aug-12 11:39:21

Thanks for this post. I'm in same position as a lot of you and it's actually quite reassuring to know other people struggle with this and it's not just me being weird and hiding in the bedroom eating chocolate so DS and DH don't see me on my third bar of the day.

I've struggled trying to work out what to do to sort this out and where to get help/support. I think PP hits it on the head re psychological vs sugar addiction. I don't know whether I just need to go sugar-free and break the addiction or look into why I'm doing it in the first place as I think there could be some truth to what other posters say about allowing yourself to lose control over something as everything else is so controlled. I am a bit of a control freak so will think about this.

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