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Health & Support
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Advice to Bingers #2

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Hey all! In keeping with my promise to write out how I've overcome binge eating, here's number two in my mini-series.

The second piece of advice is something you would think would be obvious, but it really isn't quite as easy as it seems.

The advice is: eat enough.

What is enough?

For most of us, enough is *MORE* than 1200 calories! I know a lot of us probably have read the above line and thought about all those who post about eating 800-900 calories a day, but it's not just them! A great deal of us are desperately trying to stick to 1200 calories a day because that's what we've been told is the minimum, and we're thinking 'what the hell is wrong with me than I can't just eat 1200 cals a day like a 'normal' person???'

If you're like me, we do real well for 3, maybe 4 days tops, then we lose control and go crazy!

When I was binging the most in my life, my daily goal was 1200 calories, and my philosophy was that food and eating were my triggers and my enemy, therefore I should try and prolong eating as long as possible. When I look back, I see that this is one of the many things that actually *caused* me to binge!

We all have psychological reasons for binging...the trick is to eliminate the biological reasons for binging first. This can be done by eating a 'gray area' amount of calories.

I'll get more into 'black and white thinking' in another post, but let's look at it this way: most of us suffer from thinking in terms of 'black' and 'white;' in other words, we are either 'on a diet' or 'off of the diet,' or we are 'doing well' or 'doing bad.' We are starving ourselves (and telling ourselves we aren't because it's 1200 calories), or we are binging like crazy.

This is a good exercise to try: Eat 'in the gray area'. Eat halfway between your weight loss caloric number and maintnance. If you suffer from black and white thinking, this will agitate the HELL out of you. I tried eating 1800 calories a day and I was ready to chew my fingers I was, not eating for weight loss, yet not binging, either...I didn't know what to do with myself!

It really shed a lot of light on my issues, though, and helped me come to terms with some of them.

Let's keep in mind that ending binging is a long, involved and personalized process. I'd love to offer help to those who want it, in whatever way I can, but let's keep in mind that unless you email me and tell me your personal story, my posts might not always 'hit the spot' exactly with you. We are complex animals, and we respond well to persistance and positive reinforcement.

Good luck, everyone! And I'm always open to emails if anyone has any other questions or concerns!

Edited Mar 24 2007 23:40 by united2gether
Reason: moved to Health & Support forum
6 Replies (last)
imo, binging is not about whether or not you ate enough or not and rarely does that help. 

Bingeing is usally emotional, self-hate, and is mostly (i believe) a psychological disorder.  People don't realize this.  People think that when they have an extra piece of cheesecake at dinner or accidentally eating a bag of chips while watching football.  An extra 1200 calories?  That's not a binge.  It's overindulging yourself.

Binges are truly bad.  I've calculated a few of my own.  It adds up to 4 and eve 5 thousand calories.  Not that I'm proud of that, but I know I have a problem, and I face it, and it sometimes upsets me when people say "oh i binged, i had another piece of pie! oh em gee."

The worse thing?  people say to me "just don't do it.  just put down the fork." god, if only it were that simple. 
I'm not quite sure what you're getting at in your post, but I am by no means trying to say that binging is strictly biological in origin. Rather, we must work to eliminate possible biological origins so that we may get to the emotional issues. A lot of us have translated our issues into 'food language,' so of course eating 5,000 calories is an emotional thing. If it were simply biological, as you said, one would likely stop before reaching that point.

The issue is, we get caught in a cycle of binging. There are a lot of reasons this happens, and one of them is in fact biological. There aren't in my opinion many biological reasons; most of them are psychological, but the biological ones are worth a look.

If you read 'Advice to Bingers' #1, you will see the first step I posted was about how to trully identify a binge. A binge is not a simple overindulgance. A binge IS for emotional reasons.

In a roundabout way, the kind of binging in this particular post that is biological IS psychological in origin, i.e. it is caused by restricting which at its base is caused by a certain set of emotions.

So folks, in conclusion, even when it's biological it ain't biological.
Shakti I think its wonderful that you are doing this posting.  You have come such a long way Girl....   It takes guts and honesty to look at some of these issues...  and you are helping.

PS..  I looked at your recent pictures... you are looking wonderful.. healthy and happy..  a truly beautiful woman.
Shakti, I ALSO think this is wonderful.  Thank you! 

I have binges here and there, but they used to be almost every day.  It would either be 1st thing in the morning or last thing before bed.  But my binges weren't 4000-5000 cals.  They were anywhere from 500-2000 cals.  And it might have been a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, a couple peices of bread, and a bowl of macaroni.  But it would be after I'd already eaten plenty for the day.  They would have been much worse but I often tried, in the middle of my binges, to put the food away in the back of the fridge or cabinet.  Then I'd turn around and pull it out again for "just a couple bites" which often led to the whole thing.

Part of what I've found to be the cause recently is biological, like you said.  I'd just be thirsty, or didn't eat enough earlier, and I ate so fast that I couldn't tell when I was full.  And I know that I'm binging while I'm binging, but that doesn't stop me usually.

I also know that it's psychological for the most part.  I hold a lot back and take everything on myself.  I hate asking for help and almost never do.  It makes everything on my shoulders heavier and then when I fail it feels 100 times worse because I know it's always all my fault.  And everything that's bad I try to forget in many ways, including binging at times.  There are many reasons...

But I think knowing biological triggers is a GREAT way to help stop yourself because it's a good, smaller step to take than diving right into the psychological ones, and can help clear your mind to help you work on the deeper causes.

All in all, I think your posts about binging are fantastic and no matter what type of binger you are, what your causes/triggers are, where you are in life, it is good advice.  And for those who don't binge, maybe it will help them know that may one appear at some time in their life journey, they'll know much better how to deal...and hopefully how to avoid it in the first place.  So basically, thanks. 

And yeah, you look great!!  Best of luck on your own journey!  And happy holidays...
Hey, thank YOU!

I love hearing other people's really helps me to see the universal threads of similarity running through people's lives. It's a reaffirmation that we're all in this together...and hopefully, we can help each other out of this, too.

Personally, I think a binge can even be 200 calories, if you really want to get down to it. When I was in Italy, I totally binged on apricots till I couldn't stay awake anymore...and apricots are like 13 calories each!

Or when I was in Overeater's Anonymous, a member (who shall go un-named~) said that for her, binges weren't so much about amounts of food so much as the way that food was eaten. She 'binged' on a can of peaches before...which to a lot of us, isn't indulgent or excessive at all...but to her, she was eating them fast and in a binging-type way, and there was an emotional component, of course.

Basically I suppose if you're going to say that binging is all psychological, then you can't really assign a physical amount to what defines a binge. The binge should therefore have a psychological definition, instead.

Please do tell your stories! You don't have to be recovered! I think they all help people!
I binge eat.  I stay on a good eating plan for a week maybe two and then something happens in my life that stresses me out, makes me anger, sad, mad, etc. and I turn to food/booze as a release.

It has taken me almost a year to work through my life issues and come to a place that I am starting to believe I am strong enough to change my habits.

How did I get to this way of thinking?  Try, try, and try again.  Don't give up.  Concentrate on putting a little more distance between binges.  Yes, I marked mine on my calender.  I also journal when I eat how I feel.  Helps me understand what/who triggers emotional eating.

Good things take time.  Don't look at the big picture look at success by day/meal.

6 Replies