Binging after years of yo-yo dieting

Asked on June 19, 2015
Created June 19, 2015 at 5:05 PM

I’m struggling with binge eating and I’m wondering if anyone has any advice on how to deal with it.  For background I’m in my late 20s and follow the primal diet, although not always rigidly.  In my past I’ve struggled with eating disorders- anorexia, bulimia and exercise bulimia.  They started when I was 9 and by the time I was in college they were pretty severe.  I started to show signs of heart failure and spent 6 months in a treatment center in my early 20s.  After, I was put on a variety of medications (most successfully Topamax- during my time taking it was the only time in my memory that I felt like I could approach food like a normal person).  Eventually, though, I went off of everything because the side effects made me feel like a sick zombie.  I went to therapy and started regulating my moods with a moderate amount of healthy exercise (I’ve cycled through Crossfit, running, Bar Method, pilates- whatever sounds like fun at the time).   I focus now on trying to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I think I have a reasonable expectation of what my weight should be.  I was a vegetarian for years, vegan at times, but switched to paleo/primal a couple years ago.  

Even though I’ve made tremendous progress, though, I am still binge eating.  If I can, I’ll eat all day long, or if I’m working, etc. I’ll binge in the evenings, always until I’m extremely uncomfortable.  It’s not every day, but it’s often.  I’ve tried cutting out trigger foods and just not having them in the house, but I’ve found that eventually one trigger food is replaced with another.  I have literally stood in the kitchen and shoveled handfuls of dry rolled oats into my mouth.  I’ve binged on purple cabbage.  I’ve tried using a kitchen safe, but same deal.  I also live with my boyfriend who needs to eat a lot of food to maintain even a low weight, so we can’t just take everything away that I may binge on (although he is very supportive and goes to great lengths to keep junk food out of the house).  

I think I understand the emotional issues that have led to my problems with food, but no amount of therapy has changed my behavior.  I’ve tried hypnosis but it wasn’t helpful.  I’ve tried being strict and being moderate, but even if something helps in the short term I have never made it more than a week without a binge, except when I was heavily medicated.   I’m not particularly overweight- I could lose probably 10 pounds to be in really good shape (my weight fluctuates between 150 and 155 and my healthiest/happiest weight seems to be between 140 and 145.  I’m 5’7”).  It feels like this should be pretty easy and natural given my activity level and general diet (sans binge), but my binging keeps me from losing those last few pounds. It’s really wearing me down.  It affects my energy, which affects my workouts, my work, and my general happiness.  I’m feeling exasperated- it’s embarrassing and self-defeating.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living this way, like I’ll never escape being a slave to food. I don’t expect an easy cure for what 10 years of psychiatrists, nutritionists, hypnotists and doctors have not been able to help with, but I would love to know if anyone else has had success in stopping their binging, or has any insight into what might help me. Thank you so much in advance! 


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