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Old 06-03-2013, 11:35 AM   #1
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Still Having Problems with Emotional Eating/Binging

Despite having finally gotten into the 160s (hopefully soon to be the 150s), I still struggle with binging, even when I can't discern a specific emotional reason for why I'm doing it. I often feel pretty stressed out, but even when I'm feeling well, the stress seems to be lurking under the surface. Lately I've had several instances in which my mind was saying "don't eat that," and my hands were shoving food into my mouth as fast as I could.

To compensate for this I have sometimes fasted the day after or go on an egg/meat fast for a few days. The scale yo yos up and down. I know the weight is water, because it wouldn't fall off after a day or so of fasting if it weren't. But that isn't the point: going up and down like that can't be a good thing. Worse, I have "purged" a few times after binging, which scares me. It grosses me out so much that I don't want to tell anyone. I know that this kind of eating is unhealthy. I can't decide if I need to just NEVER eat sugar, like some people avoid alcohol, or if small amounts, in the proper setting, are ok. For instance, it often seems like eating a small amount of sugar or starch at a special occasion doesn't trigger a binge, but eating sugar or starch just to eat it (to reward myself, soothe myself, or just to satiate a craving) does trigger binging.

I know that I should go talk to a therapist about this, but I'm in between therapists right now. Another problem is that I have trouble keeping track of appointments and when I miss them, the therapist charges me for the session. Usually Medicare/caid pays the therapist fee, but not missed appointment fees. Since I'm on disability, this creates additional stress. Also, there's just a shame/fear factor involved, as in, "I've had anorexia, compulsive overeating, and now I might be headed toward bulimia? Am I going to have an eating disorder for the rest of my life?"

Anyway, if anyone has some tips on how they avoid binging, how they cope with feelings of shame, or how they get back on track after going through that, I'd appreciate it. I also wanted to thank everyone on LCF for the support I've gotten here. It has bee invaluable to me and really helped me to lose 87 pounds.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:01 PM   #2
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Have you read Brain Over Binge? It helped me immensely.

Also, I understand that you're having emotional struggles, but have you considered that its possible that your emotional issues and your eating issues may not be related? I absolutely have all kinds of messed up emotional stuff, but now that I've been working so hard on my food addiction, I believe that the lion's share of the problem was chemical and neurological. I do think I take care of myself better when I'm in a good place emotionally, so I might be more likely to address my issues w food. But I don't think my food issues were/are caused by depression or anxiety.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:41 PM   #3
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Maybe you're just bored?
Try to find something to do with your hands. Play a video game, do a crossword puzzle, knit, whatever.
Really a major "trick" is to get your mind on something else that requires some concentration.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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Eating disorders are very serious and not to be lightly discounted. Usually they require the help of a trained therapist. Is there a reason why you miss your sessions? Is it just forgetting or you can't get there or ??

Whatever the thing is that is impeding you from getting to a therapist, it has to be addressed. As a disabled person I think you can arrange for transportation.

It sounds like you haven't been able to get to the source of your eating disorder... the psychological reasons behind it. Until that is uncovered and dealt with, the symptoms will remain.

Best of luck to you!!
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #5
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I hope you didn't think I was dismissing or discounting it, Sadiejack. I do think an eating disorder absolutely needs to be addressed and resolved. I have years of very damaging disordered eating under my belt. I only disagree that it is necessarily a psychological problem.

I do think that therapy is a great support for someone w an ED bc I think that anxiety and depression can make it so much harder to tackle such an overwhelming problem. Also a therapist may make help you identify helpful strategies and such.

I have also had the problem of having to pay for missed appointments out of pocket. I rarely missed but my therapist's policy was to charge unless you gave him 24 hrs notice. I didn't always know by 9 am Sunday that my kid was gonna suddenly have a fever in the early morning hours on Monday. Sigh... I'm not working either and it's a pretty bitter pill to have to she'll out 180 dollars in that situation.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post
Have you read Brain Over Binge? It helped me immensely.
I was going to say the same thing. Read this book, it makes so much sense and has helped me. I do find that the urge to binge comes up more frequently when I am stressed or emotional about something, but this is not the reason for my bingeing. I take time to look at the reasons for my stress or emotional state so I can work through the issue and become calmer. Doing this and being mindful really helps me be able to focus on not listening to the voice in my head that tells me to binge.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post
I hope you didn't think I was dismissing or discounting it, Sadiejack. I do think an eating disorder absolutely needs to be addressed and resolved. I have years of very damaging disordered eating under my belt. I only disagree that it is necessarily a psychological problem.

I do think that therapy is a great support for someone w an ED bc I think that anxiety and depression can make it so much harder to tackle such an overwhelming problem. Also a therapist may make help you identify helpful strategies and such.

I have also had the problem of having to pay for missed appointments out of pocket. I rarely missed but my therapist's policy was to charge unless you gave him 24 hrs notice. I didn't always know by 9 am Sunday that my kid was gonna suddenly have a fever in the early morning hours on Monday. Sigh... I'm not working either and it's a pretty bitter pill to have to she'll out 180 dollars in that situation.
Nope...wasn't referring to you. I was addressing the original poster.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
Despite having finally gotten into the 160s (hopefully soon to be the 150s), I still struggle with binging, even when I can't discern a specific emotional reason for why I'm doing it. I often feel pretty stressed out, but even when I'm feeling well, the stress seems to be lurking under the surface. Lately I've had several instances in which my mind was saying "don't eat that," and my hands were shoving food into my mouth as fast as I could.

To compensate for this I have sometimes fasted the day after or go on an egg/meat fast for a few days. The scale yo yos up and down. I know the weight is water, because it wouldn't fall off after a day or so of fasting if it weren't. But that isn't the point: going up and down like that can't be a good thing. Worse, I have "purged" a few times after binging, which scares me. It grosses me out so much that I don't want to tell anyone. I know that this kind of eating is unhealthy. I can't decide if I need to just NEVER eat sugar, like some people avoid alcohol, or if small amounts, in the proper setting, are ok. For instance, it often seems like eating a small amount of sugar or starch at a special occasion doesn't trigger a binge, but eating sugar or starch just to eat it (to reward myself, soothe myself, or just to satiate a craving) does trigger binging.

I know that I should go talk to a therapist about this, but I'm in between therapists right now. Another problem is that I have trouble keeping track of appointments and when I miss them, the therapist charges me for the session. Usually Medicare/caid pays the therapist fee, but not missed appointment fees. Since I'm on disability, this creates additional stress. Also, there's just a shame/fear factor involved, as in, "I've had anorexia, compulsive overeating, and now I might be headed toward bulimia? Am I going to have an eating disorder for the rest of my life?"

Anyway, if anyone has some tips on how they avoid binging, how they cope with feelings of shame, or how they get back on track after going through that, I'd appreciate it. I also wanted to thank everyone on LCF for the support I've gotten here. It has bee invaluable to me and really helped me to lose 87 pounds.
I do this all to easily! Mine tends to more along the lines of starches, mac n cheese, lasagna, etc. If feels like a nightmare when I am stuck in the middle of a long binge, so I feel for you!

I have read two books that have had impact for me, "If I am so smart, why can't I lose weight" and "The Beck diet solution"

Sometimes to help myself stop, I have to go into "extreme" self care mode! I take hot baths, with music and candles. I take naps, I listen to lots of music, I eat on plan healthy and tasty foods. I drink lots of water. I work on giving myself permission to forgive myself. I think about letting the shame and guilt go and what it will feel like for it to be okay that I was bingeing. I find other ways to comfort myself, beyond food, and then go overboard doing those things for a few days.

Something I have learned is that a binge isn't always related to what is going on right now. I've also learned that I can't always "logic" myself out of an emotional binge. Sometimes I have to let it be okay to just FEEL what I am feeling. Cry, be angry, go full on worse case scenario with my stress, and then laugh at the likelihood of that. Talk to a friend, or loved one about how mixed up/stressed out I feel.

as for avoiding binges, it is sort of like am muscle, the more times you exercise the "no i'm not eating that" muscle, the easier it becomes. It took some work for me to 'catch' myself though. Then I check in with me, how am I really doing? based on my best guess, why I am reacting and wanting to binge? Sometime if it isn't obvious why I am bingeing or feeling that way, the 'best guess' game helps (and is often pretty spot on).

And finally I am not perfect. I still binge. As soon as I can, I forgive myself, and allow it to be okay, acceptable even that I binged. I talk about it. I am a bigtime food hider. I'll binge, hide the evidence and never tell a soul. To break the cycle, I tell people.

I have also seen a therapist, and it helps a lot! Maybe you could figure out a way to remind yourself of your appointment?
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:22 PM   #9
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I'm not a binge eater, but I'm sorry you are dealing with this. If you haven't read Geneen Roth, may I suggest her books. Your library should have them or can get them for you. I'm not suggesting her books would take the place of therapy, but they are full of insights concerning eating disorders.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:17 AM   #10
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Another GREAT book is Shrink Yourself by Roger Gould. It is helping me overcome this AS I read it! I sure hope you are a reader! There is so much out there to give you knowledge and power over this.

Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:36 PM   #11
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Fasting of any kind is known to make me binge. I actually just started binging and I say it came from doing JUDDD where I ate 700 calories one day and 1800 the next. On the larger calories days I ate and ate, binging all day because I was so afraid of being hungry on my low calorie days.

Will be 18 months and I've gained all my weight back I lost on JUDDD, plus some and now can't ever do any kind of restrictive WOE at all because it causes me to start to binge again!

I, too can not find a reason for my binging that is emotional at all. It just stinks!!
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:48 PM   #12
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Brain Over Binge

Take a look at this thread about "Brain Over Binge"
Brain Over Binge

It was after reading this, I got the book, and the book and concepts therein gave me the confidence I needed to stay on plan and push past a 10 year plateau. I think you'll find it very interesting.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
Fasting of any kind is known to make me binge. I actually just started binging and I say it came from doing JUDDD where I ate 700 calories one day and 1800 the next. On the larger calories days I ate and ate, binging all day because I was so afraid of being hungry on my low calorie days.

Will be 18 months and I've gained all my weight back I lost on JUDDD, plus some and now can't ever do any kind of restrictive WOE at all because it causes me to start to binge again!

I, too can not find a reason for my binging that is emotional at all. It just stinks!!
Hi Beeb, from what I have learned this could be an effect of chronic dieting. The all or nothing mentality. I know I have that and will have to work on that to be able to maintain any weight loss I accomplish.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:06 AM   #14
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I say first of all that I have no experience of binge eating so what I say may come across as the lovely advice all of us were given at one time to eat less and then we would lose weight. It is not meant like that.

It might have value in the sense that I see it as a physiological problem primarily that ends up a vicious cycle..
What would happen if you adopted an LC WOE like Atkins and surround yourself with legal treats,ie there is always a reward in the fridge. By my reasoning you would also get the benefit of appetite reduction and feeling full without you feeling deprived of cheesecakes etc,in other words let the WOE take part of the strain. I would abstain from the Paleo WOE as it is very restrictive in an emotional sense ( the treats do not look like everyone else´s treats,most things are off the menu etc). Allowing fruits may also be a trigger to binge on the stuff you really want as they are sweet, seem like a treat but finally they don't make it in the soothing babyfood texture stakes.

Last but not least try your luck with taking a magnesium supplement. If you are purging occasionally you might be low in your intake of minerals and magneium is chronically difficult on an LC diet anyway. Anecdotal evidence has it that it lifts moods and might make you feel more ready to take on whatever is lying behind the binge behaviour.

This is very likely not a solution but maybe it could just bring you some clarity.
Good luck and baby steps !

Edit : I think fasting is a no no as it sets up the emotional deprivation cycle all over again .
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleina View Post
I say first of all that I have no experience of binge eating so what I say may come across as the lovely advice all of us were given at one time to eat less and then we would lose weight. It is not meant like that.

It might have value in the sense that I see it as a physiological problem primarily that ends up a vicious cycle..
What would happen if you adopted an LC WOE like Atkins and surround yourself with legal treats,ie there is always a reward in the fridge. By my reasoning you would also get the benefit of appetite reduction and feeling full without you feeling deprived of cheesecakes etc,in other words let the WOE take part of the strain. I would abstain from the Paleo WOE as it is very restrictive in an emotional sense ( the treats do not look like everyone else´s treats,most things are off the menu etc). Allowing fruits may also be a trigger to binge on the stuff you really want as they are sweet, seem like a treat but finally they don't make it in the soothing babyfood texture stakes.

Last but not least try your luck with taking a magnesium supplement. If you are purging occasionally you might be low in your intake of minerals and magneium is chronically difficult on an LC diet anyway. Anecdotal evidence has it that it lifts moods and might make you feel more ready to take on whatever is lying behind the binge behaviour.

This is very likely not a solution but maybe it could just bring you some clarity.
Good luck and baby steps !

Edit : I think fasting is a no no as it sets up the emotional deprivation cycle all over again .
It's not the "type" of food I eat. All foods are binge foods. I just don't stop once I get going. Any binger will tell you this; it's just the process of eating and not what we are eating at the time. If I do LC I binge on LC foods, count calories I binge on low calorie foods, etc and on and on! BTW...LC foods make me hungry. The more protein and fat I eat the more I eat, thus the reason I don't do LC anymore. I don't do high carb, junk food either but just eating fat and protein is a set up for me to fail and over eat. <<<<THIS I have proven time and again to myself so LC and hungry suppression doesn't work for everyone!

Last edited by Beeb; 06-05-2013 at 06:46 AM..
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
It's not the "type" of food I eat. All foods are binge foods. I just don't stop once I get going. Any binger will tell you this; it's just the process of eating and not what we are eating at the time. If I do LC I binge on LC foods, count calories I binge on low calorie foods, etc and on and on! BTW...LC foods make me hungry. The more protein and fat I eat the more I eat, thus the reason I don't do LC anymore. I don't do high carb, junk food either but just eating fat and protein is a set up for me to fail and over eat. <<<<THIS I have proven time and again to myself so LC and hungry suppression doesn't work for everyone!
I'm not a binger but that doesn't mean I wouldn't occasionally like to crawl into a loaf of French Bread and live there. Real hunger and mind hunger are two entirely different things. LC appetite suppression can't work if your brain and emotions are foiling it.

Any feeling of deprivation is a red flag for me, so I don't call off plan eating cheating, I plan for it, tell myself I can have a treat if I need one. The more I give myself permission, the less I take it. Any every pound that drops makes me less likely to need a treat, as the "treat" is feeling better and lighter.

That said, LC eating is not for everyone, like any woe is not for everyone. And I would say that for those who have deprivation issues JUDD is not the way to go, as you have found.

I hope you find your way to a good woe for you, Beeb. Perhaps it's just eating better, or as best you can every day, one day at a time. The lift on restrictions and the relief from self imposed rigidity might be a different way to work this.
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:03 AM   #17
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1) Brain Over Binge is a great book to start with. I think it really lays out the issues well.

2) Binging is an effect of two things (in my experience): emotional soothing and chronic dieting. I've worked really hard to find new coping mechanisms for my emotions. It has been difficult because even though I am a highly sensitive and feeling person, I could not identify what feelings I was having and why I was having them. I've been working on breaking this cycle of "stress or anger or sadness" ---> "binge on oreos" for over a year. Change does not happen overnight, but it has been happening.

3) A book called the Younger (Thinner) You Diet has been a great read as well. Don't focus on the name - it is a book on how to balance your brain chemicals with foods sources written by an MD. I found this book while researching binging and wanted to find a way to increase serotonin naturally. I think it's a great book and recommend it. He has these little quizzes on certain personality traits that show you might be deficient in serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, or GABA. Come to find out I'm deficient in all 4, but mostly dopamine. It was at my local library.

This takes work and discipline to get over. I know, I'm going through it. Part of this is not denying yourself the foods you want to eat. I have had to try to stop putting labels on food as good or bad...because if something was "bad", I'd crave it, I'd obsess about it, and I'd binge on it.

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:30 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
Fasting of any kind is known to make me binge. I actually just started binging and I say it came from doing JUDDD where I ate 700 calories one day and 1800 the next. On the larger calories days I ate and ate, binging all day because I was so afraid of being hungry on my low calorie days.

Will be 18 months and I've gained all my weight back I lost on JUDDD, plus some and now can't ever do any kind of restrictive WOE at all because it causes me to start to binge again!

I, too can not find a reason for my binging that is emotional at all. It just stinks!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD80 View Post
1) Brain Over Binge is a great book to start with. I think it really lays out the issues well.

2) Binging is an effect of two things (in my experience): emotional soothing and chronic dieting. I've worked really hard to find new coping mechanisms for my emotions. It has been difficult because even though I am a highly sensitive and feeling person, I could not identify what feelings I was having and why I was having them. I've been working on breaking this cycle of "stress or anger or sadness" ---> "binge on oreos" for over a year. Change does not happen overnight, but it has been happening.

3) A book called the Younger (Thinner) You Diet has been a great read as well. Don't focus on the name - it is a book on how to balance your brain chemicals with foods sources written by an MD. I found this book while researching binging and wanted to find a way to increase serotonin naturally. I think it's a great book and recommend it. He has these little quizzes on certain personality traits that show you might be deficient in serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, or GABA. Come to find out I'm deficient in all 4, but mostly dopamine. It was at my local library.

This takes work and discipline to get over. I know, I'm going through it. Part of this is not denying yourself the foods you want to eat. I have had to try to stop putting labels on food as good or bad...because if something was "bad", I'd crave it, I'd obsess about it, and I'd binge on it.

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleina View Post
Edit : I think fasting is a no no as it sets up the emotional deprivation cycle all over again .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeb View Post
It's not the "type" of food I eat. All foods are binge foods. I just don't stop once I get going. Any binger will tell you this; it's just the process of eating and not what we are eating at the time. If I do LC I binge on LC foods, count calories I binge on low calorie foods, etc and on and on! BTW...LC foods make me hungry. The more protein and fat I eat the more I eat, thus the reason I don't do LC anymore. I don't do high carb, junk food either but just eating fat and protein is a set up for me to fail and over eat. <<<<THIS I have proven time and again to myself so LC and hungry suppression doesn't work for everyone!
I think there may be more than one route to binge behavior. For me, I really think it has a lot to do with the chemistry of carbohydrate metabolism and is a true addiction. As an addiction, like cigarettes or alcohol, there's (at least for me) a habit/behavioral component and a chemical dependency component. LC goes a long way (maybe all the way?) towards fixing/resetting the chemical issue.

And for me fasting has been a huge help in breaking the habit and changing my behaviors. It is so freeing for me to not have to think about food for almost the whole day. I take that even further by eating almost the same thing every day, so I don't have to put any thought into even my one (sometimes two) meals. I don't really have to worry about tracking, either, bc it's always the same. And fasting breaks the habit of constantly reaching for food. I have been doing this for a while now, and there are days that the very idea of food doesn't even cross my mind until sometime in the afternoon. I have other days where I do think about food and days where I want to eat or have the munchies or whatever, but it is amazing to me that there are days that it really doesn't cross my mind and days that it feels very natural and comfortable to get up at 7 am, work all day, do a strenuous workout, and eat my evening meal between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. A couple of years ago I woulda thought that was a ludicrous idea.

I think beeb and I must have really different underlying problems as it seems like the stuff that works for me has possibly caused her problem. Hugs, beeb!
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:11 AM   #20
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Last night was a nightmare!! The binging started in the afternoon and continued until I found myself so stuffed I wanted to just cry!

This is when I got up, went to the pantry and fridge and THREW OUT EVERYTHING THAT I KNOW I WOULD BINGE ON! Pretzels, peanuts, cookies, etc......all in the trash!! Box after box after box....GONE!!

I am better than this binging!! I deserve to be in control!!

Today is the start of a new day!! And one day at a time...with NO MORE BINGE FOOD brought into this house!!
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:32 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post
I think there may be more than one route to binge behavior. For me, I really think it has a lot to do with the chemistry of carbohydrate metabolism and is a true addiction. As an addiction, like cigarettes or alcohol, there's (at least for me) a habit/behavioral component and a chemical dependency component. LC goes a long way (maybe all the way?) towards fixing/resetting the chemical issue.

And for me fasting has been a huge help in breaking the habit and changing my behaviors. It is so freeing for me to not have to think about food for almost the whole day. I take that even further by eating almost the same thing every day, so I don't have to put any thought into even my one (sometimes two) meals. I don't really have to worry about tracking, either, bc it's always the same. And fasting breaks the habit of constantly reaching for food. I have been doing this for a while now, and there are days that the very idea of food doesn't even cross my mind until sometime in the afternoon. I have other days where I do think about food and days where I want to eat or have the munchies or whatever, but it is amazing to me that there are days that it really doesn't cross my mind and days that it feels very natural and comfortable to get up at 7 am, work all day, do a strenuous workout, and eat my evening meal between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. A couple of years ago I woulda thought that was a ludicrous idea.

I think beeb and I must have really different underlying problems as it seems like the stuff that works for me has possibly caused her problem. Hugs, beeb!
I think you are right - it is an addiction to carbs/sugar/fat. The brain is affected by sugar in a very similar way as by heroin or alcohol or nicotine.

How do you break an addiction to something that is not only legal, but availabe everywhere you turn - heck, people even will force it on you ("Why aren't you eating the brownies?").

Answer: it's not easy - and different things may work for different people...just like drug addiction. Some people need to quit cold turkey, some can wean off (like cigarettes), some find replacements (e-cig).

However, I think there is an emotional component to addiction that is in everyone, some people just might not be aware. Some of us know that when our boyfriend dumps us, we dive straight into a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I've met people who seem to think they love food so they eat it - lots of it. I think we eat certain foods that make us feel "better," even temporarily, because our brains are craving that feeling - that rush of dopamine.

As I mentioned before, I also think that chronic dieting is also a factor. In my experience and reading, many anorexics end up as bulimics later on or through "recovery." I think this is because your body can only fight off the need for nourishment for so long. I know that when I've deprived myself for long period of time, I usually gained the weight back quickly because the hunger is overwhelming and unbearable.

Anyway, just a few musings. No matter what caused it, I hope everyone here can find their way through it. It is not easy.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:07 PM   #22
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I have found that keeping snack foods out of the house and if possible freezing any leftovers to advoid the urge to eat when unnecassary.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:57 PM   #23
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I had a very bad mother growing up and she stole my childhood.Thats why i got fat in the first place.I know what that feels like.I know first hand about water weight and going up and down .good luck
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