8

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Food addiction: how has Paleo helped you?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 23, 2011 at 4:41 PM

I suffer from binge eating disorder. Paleo has helped me a lot but I am a work in progress. Are there any other sufferers out there? How has Paleo helped you? What do you do specifically to get better?

A45af9ea1230310248b6976f5a8bedba

(40)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:53 PM

Can definitely relate with the Weight Watchers & skinny cow treats!

A45af9ea1230310248b6976f5a8bedba

(40)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:52 PM

I agree... one day at a time!!!

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on July 23, 2011
at 09:27 PM

I agree that you need to get 'under the hood' of binges. Pre paleo I tried to use will power but that was always a fail. A bit like hanging off a ledge, eventually you fall. Paleo made me physically start to feel better and then I worked on emotionally and spiritually using meditation and nlp. There has been some ups and downs but paleo has really helped and I have been able to move past my binges. Fore ever!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on July 23, 2011
at 08:03 PM

Oh, I should add that I started testing my glucose and I'm handling the fruit fine.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on July 23, 2011
at 08:01 PM

I am a highly skilled food addict (45 yrs experience) and primal/paleo has helped greatly for almost 5 months. My first "binge" was just extra fruit; my second was ice cream and it made me very sick so I've stuck to fruit since. The advantages are many, but the bottom line is that I'm gradually losing weight and feeling the best I have since my addiction first struck in my teens.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on July 23, 2011
at 07:26 PM

Takes courage to write this question. I have no experience that will be of use to you, but nonetheless, welcome to the community and good luck!

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8 Answers

8
1dcfcebc5f36408d121f124a78292d42

on July 23, 2011
at 07:22 PM

I used to binge on a lot of sugary foods in high school, when I was at my heaviest. I've found that doing LC paleo has really helped keep my blood sugar levels under control, and I'm less likely to binge that way. It's a lot harder to binge on meat and veggies than it is on oreos and cheese-itz.

That being said, I do sometimes eat beyond the point of satiety, and sometimes it is definitely a soothing mechanism. However, on a paleo diet, I find it a lot easier to figure out what emotions were driving the over-eating. I experience a lot more emotional clarity, and am less likely to let feelings of guilt, hopelessness, self-hatred, etc. cloud my thinking.

Plus, a paleo diet with lots of sunshine, exercise, and sleep just makes me happier and less anxious in general, so I don't feel a need to medicate with food as much!

I guess the take-home message is this: keep eating paleo, and when you do binge, try to stick to paleo approved foods that won't send your emotions into a downward spiral. I don't think overeating regularly, even on paleo foods, is a good idea, but at least it will be easier to see the forest through the trees.

5
Medium avatar

(19469)

on July 23, 2011
at 07:33 PM

I think that the trick is to work on both ends (mental/emotional/spiritual and physical). I speak from personal experience as I suffered with it on and off since early childhood.

There is definitely a chemical component involved in binge eating. Carbohydrate foods, even "healthy" ones, are obvious triggers because of what they do to insulin, blood glucose, and the brain (rats treat sugar solution just like cocaine). Going low-carb paleo/primal has made a HUGE difference and for the first time I feel like my body isn't careening out of control with regards to food.

Additionally, I've done a lot of work with yoga, tai chi, meditation, and self-help books. Realizing that I simply reached out to food to provide myself with a sense of comfort, safety, and control helped me to find other outlets (like exercise) and to also become more introspective (finding out why I may have felt unsafe, do I need to be "in control", and what might be more comforting than food, like friends, healthy relationships, etc.)

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on July 23, 2011
at 09:27 PM

I agree that you need to get 'under the hood' of binges. Pre paleo I tried to use will power but that was always a fail. A bit like hanging off a ledge, eventually you fall. Paleo made me physically start to feel better and then I worked on emotionally and spiritually using meditation and nlp. There has been some ups and downs but paleo has really helped and I have been able to move past my binges. Fore ever!

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 25, 2011
at 08:22 PM

hi, i had a bing disorder. actually i had bulimia. How paleo helped me. I think i take much more care on me. I m the first time of grains and that helped a lot. I notice grains are one thing which make me throw up also this masses of lentils and mixed foods. Now i eat mostly plain vegetables and fruits. This i eat raw.

I add to this some good orgaic diary. raw or good treated.

and i eat sometimes some meat. And i eat often raw eggs. I feel much more nourished and my body feel calm. i also tried a lot herbs and superfoods and im in herbalism since a lot years. Some days i have a vegetarian day or some days vegetarian than i eat some meat. or i also try to eat no diary a while, what is hard for me. And also i try to be only on plant foods for a while. im very cautious on tubers and things what need cooking like potatos yam and sweetpotatos. ialso tried this in small amount.

i think binging isnt that bad. its only has do be on good foods. I think we need our calories and we have do something with the energy we have. there is a lot techniques with helps. i remember when iovereat with pasta or rice i felt very horible. overeat with fruit or something different what is also good it feel more good.

sometimes i would like to bit more cautious on some foods like cream or faty diary like butter. there i still bing. and i fel tension. There are herbs like dandilion or greens which helps to balnce. Its important to balnce. If you binge on nuts or honey. Two binges i know. For nuts i just have a nearly no nuts time. And i feel good with it. i have sometimes sesamseed which are sprouting. Usually sesamseed is pasturized what means its dead and not sprouting.

i buy raw organic nuts so when i bing i eat good quality and it feels good. And i also buy raw honey there the same when i bing its ok. then its ok. it try to life with it. binging on nuts. try to eat something different like salad or go for good ripe organic fruits. Normal shop fruit are to sweet and so breed they dont taste good. Good ripe organic fruits taste and satisfy. And then add some good organic cream you feel satisfy. i feel like it.

Its a lot on balance and keep your diet clean from strange stuff which to much pains your body. So one thing eat enough good feel food. and also keep out the bad nasty stuff.

2
Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

on July 25, 2011
at 07:11 PM

I think a lot of people develop non-ideal relationships with food in the US. I remember starting to eat anytime I was bored and at home when I was young, which was actually fairly often. Since then I've been rather overweight. I've been "struggling with my weight" ever since, and now I find that paleo has helped me a lot in many ways.

One thing that I now think, is that I'm different from everyone else, and being different, I don't need to do/eat what everyone else does. I guess I've incorporated a little bit of elitism, that paleo is better than eating cake with everyone else, but I don't think it's that bad.

Slowly I find that my relationship to food is changing over time. I used to eat a lot of things for the "flavor", being that certain foods had pleasant tastes and textures, and I was eating to experience them, instead of eating to feel full. I still have troubles really knowing when I am hungry, versus when I'm just bored and want to eat something that tastes good.

All in all, I think that the relationship with food that American culture instills in us is fairly flawed, and not particularly ideal. The sooner we/you/I can realize what's actually bad about it, and change it in ourselves, the better.

At least that's my take on it.

A45af9ea1230310248b6976f5a8bedba

(40)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:52 PM

I agree... one day at a time!!!

2
Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

on July 23, 2011
at 09:24 PM

I'm an addict. What has broken me in the past is my mind telling me I need to have that piece of "fill-in-the-blank." It was and can still be overwhelming. Sweet and salty would throw me over the edge.

The one thing that would get me? Those damn coffee drinks at the coffee drive-thru. I was addicted to those things something fierce. Getting away from them probably made me look like quite the junkie, haha. I laugh but I'm also partially serious. The mind can really mess with your intentions.

Hang in there. Take it one day at a time. The benefits are there and they are amazing. Plus I'm learning so much about myself and my body. My body has been screaming at me for years, but my cravings thumbed the nose at it.

I'm enjoying lots of tasty seasonal berries and their sweetness can curbed my addiction.

2
1b322bcee2a4ca5488629a66b3fd3c22

(110)

on July 23, 2011
at 08:57 PM

paleo to me cures my food addiction. I used to go on fast food binges like you read about... Once i cheated at say Wendy's, I would want to have every other fast food I'd been avoiding "while I'm at it" over the course of a few days thinking I would satisfy the craving and go back to normal. Well, momentum takes over and it's dangerous... fast food is joined by tons of other junk from the store or wherever.

Going Paleo for me means that I have no desire for that... such a clear mind and no reason for emotional eating. Momentum works in that direction too. The more you stick to it the easier it will be.

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 25, 2011
at 07:32 PM

I don't have an eating disorder, but had somewhat unhealthy eating behaviors before going paleo. When I was overweight, my girlfriends and I would cook dinner together once or twice a week, and I would really overstuff myself- it was usually chicken & dumplings, spaghetti with garlic bread, or fried chicken. When I ate stuff like that, I had a hard time stopping myself and would end up feeling miserable.

When I did Weight Watchers, I finally lost weight, but obsessed over points and was constantly trying to tweak things so I could eat more tiny Weight Watchers cakes, Skinny Cow ice creams, & other unsatisfying treats.

Now that I'm eating more nutritionally dense foods, my appetite has become self-regulating, and I rarely feel like I'm starving or uncomfortably full. It's so great to not have to deal with that any more!

A45af9ea1230310248b6976f5a8bedba

(40)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:53 PM

Can definitely relate with the Weight Watchers & skinny cow treats!

1
91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

on July 25, 2011
at 06:29 PM

I'm totally a binge eater as well, and have noticed I do better on Paleo.

  1. I've also done better keeping an excel spreadsheet showing what I've eaten each day, the approximate macronutrients and total calories for each item, and the totals for the day in terms of percentage, calories, and grams. That's not for everyone, but for a data-head who works in spreadsheets all day long anyway it's second nature to me. I treat this data (for now, at least) as a "baseline" -- without really beating myself up for exceeding certain goals for each data point, I've improved by just becoming aware of what I'm putting in my body. (This is similar to what happens when large corporations start estimating and reporting their carbon footprints.)

  2. In addition, I've done better choosing particular foods I'm going to give myself permission to binge on when I need to. Foods that are going to "do my body good" rather than bad. It has been changing from week to week, obviously you get sick of something and need to move on (or rotate). At first it was celery and almond butter, trying each night to use a little less almond butter and a little more celery. Now it's coconut butter. There's only so much coconut butter you can eat before you feel like you don't need anything else.

  3. Finally, I gave this answer to a somewhat related question posed by hemanvt a couple weeks ago, tied to being a woman and dealing with an out-of-control appetite that emerges on a cyclical basis. It turns out, awkwardly, that hemanvt is not a woman so it didn't apply, and you don't say your gender so this might be the same thing here, but if you are of the female persuasion maybe it will apply to you in this instance: http://paleohacks.com/questions/51289/how-do-you-deal-with-an-unpredictable-appetite#axzz1T8ls0ybe

P.S. Sorry hemanvt! (I guess the name should have been a dead giveaway, I didn't read it correctly. I took ample references to children and family to mean womanly -- my serious bad.) And sorry to Cat if I'm making the wrong assumption yet again. I respectfully wish people would specify their gender in their profiles or questions so it doesn't take a bunch of research to figure it out. I for one believe that there are particular challenges and solutions that are gender-specific, not sure if that is controversial or stating the obvious.

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