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Question for "recovered" binge-eaters :)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 12, 2013 at 5:21 AM

Hey everyone, I'm a bit of a newbie here, but I have been lurking 'round for a while and reading heaps of questions etc and I have come to see that quite a few people have gone paleo to help them recover from binge-eating disorder... That is why I am asking this question in this forum as I want to ask people who believe they have overcome binge eating.

My question is: Has anyone that has recovered from binge-eating disorder (even self-diagnosed) for longer than 6 months been able to lose weight/achieve a healthy weight (somewhere in the healthy BMI range) through eating paleo?

I am asking because since discovering the paleo diet about 8 months ago, my binge eating episodes have reduced greatly and the quantity I am binging on seems to have reduced and I am feeling a-lot better in other ways from eating paleo, but in my first 8 months of paleo living I have still managed to put on over 10lbs through my binge eating (I am currently about 30lbs over a healthy bmi). I am a little worried about my weight, but I cannot seem to lose any, no matter what method I try (even intuitive eating!!). In the end SOMETHING (usually something different every time from being hungry/low blood-sugar/trigger food at a party etc etc) seem to trigger a binge. I have decided right now, that I am going to accept my weight and just try to maintain it. I have never tried this before, so it makes me a little uncomfy, but it cannot be worse than putting on any more!!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 17, 2013
at 04:17 AM

Speaking only for myself, eating processed foods makes my reward centers light up like a Christmas tree. It's addictive to me and I lose all connection between appetite and eating. As paleo is a whole-foods regimen, it gives you a safe corner at least for a while. To complete your recovery, though, I feel you have to be able to handle being around processed stuff--and other people eating it--without losing your mental balance. That's the hard part. I've finally gotten so I can even have an occasional sugary treat or soda with a meal without losing it, but that's the point on the pyramid.

Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on April 17, 2013
at 03:03 AM

Fish oil helped me stop bingeing on nuts. I think it has to do with the Omega 3's

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 17, 2013
at 01:30 AM

YES! Pay attention to your hunger cues and get to know what triggers your binges. I am the opposite of Nance - I need to eat more frequently, because intense hunger is my binge trigger. If I'd eat at the onset of hunger, I could eat a satisfying meal and stop. If I would let my hunger go too far, I'd eat and eat and keep eating because I wouldn't recognize any satiation. It's like I'd panic. Eating more fat and protein helps me with the urge to binge - especially oily fish

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 16, 2013
at 08:32 PM

Yeah, I am in the same kinda boat. Although I do not binge anymore I still over-eat and am finding it tough to lose weight. I wish more people will respond to this question as it would be great to see what others have to say.

5d9cee8f208e8825cde0b74adc5bf31b

on April 12, 2013
at 06:44 PM

Thanks for your reply! Were you ever over weight as a binge eater? and then managed to lose it when you recovered? Sometimes I feel like I will never lose weight, but I'm guessing I should stop worrying about it and be patient? :)

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7 Answers

1
618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 17, 2013
at 01:20 AM

Try fish oils - they really help diminish the urge to binge. Even eating more oily fish like sardines has helped me, and I was a long term binge eater - more than 25 yrs

Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on April 17, 2013
at 03:03 AM

Fish oil helped me stop bingeing on nuts. I think it has to do with the Omega 3's

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 17, 2013
at 01:04 AM

I need to start by pointing out that "paleo" is a term that means different things to different people, but most agree the intent is to support health and activity. It is a lifestyle, not a weight loss technique or disordered eating recovery regimen.

That said, I have 50 years experience with binge eating which I define as: eating when you aren't hungry and don't want to eat but you can't stop even though you hate what you're doing. On many occasions, I ate until I couldn't swallow because my esophagus was full of food (which probably explains my hiatal hernia.)

I highly recommend a shift toward whole foods avoidance, as much as possible, of processed foods and beverages. The longer you do that, the better you'll feel. By itself, though, paleo isn't likely to "cure" any eating disorder you have. That will require dedication, experimentation at the very least and any support you can get from family, friends or professionals will be important as well.

In my case, I was great for a year using a lot of willpower, then I relapsed off and on for a second year. I'm not eating whole foods and avoiding most processed foods and beverages because "that's how I eat." I no longer have cravings--at least, not for over 2 months--and I can focus most of my attention and energy on things other than food. I eat one well-balanced meal per day, once in a while a second small meal, and the only firm rule I try to follow is not to eat unless I'm actively hungry with pangs in my stomach rather than cravings in my head.

It's not easy, it doesn't happen overnight, but you can do it. Good luck!

Edit: One more thing. For now, if I were you I'd focus on paying attention to your body's signals and defer any intense focus on weight loss. Make sure you pay attention to what stomach-based hunger feels like vs. brain-driven cravings. Do your best to convince yourself that nothing bad will happen if you are busy and don't immediately eat every time you feel either type of hunger. Try it and see what happens. One trick that may or may not help you is to start your meals with those foods that seem to make you want to eat more and finish your meals with those foods that tend to shut down your appetite. For example, I eat my fruit at the beginning of meals; I finish my meals with either dense meat or hard cheese. Fruit is wonderful and leaves me eager for more (which I ignore) and dense meat/hard cheese tend to shut down my appetite which is a great way to end a meal.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 17, 2013
at 01:30 AM

YES! Pay attention to your hunger cues and get to know what triggers your binges. I am the opposite of Nance - I need to eat more frequently, because intense hunger is my binge trigger. If I'd eat at the onset of hunger, I could eat a satisfying meal and stop. If I would let my hunger go too far, I'd eat and eat and keep eating because I wouldn't recognize any satiation. It's like I'd panic. Eating more fat and protein helps me with the urge to binge - especially oily fish

1
Fb2da7937d7040a99c34fc62b448aa49

on April 16, 2013
at 03:42 PM

Paleo Girl, i'm actually glad you asked this question because i am in the same boat. I've been suffering fro binge eating disorder since i was 14 years old! I'm 20 years old now. When i did not know how to handle it, my binges were horrible. I'd binge every other day on enormous quanities and consumed up to 5,000 calories or more. I've always just wanted to lose fat. As i started developing better eating choices and habits and learned how to eat clean it actually helped. I stopped going on fad diets and just started eating healthy. That actually limited my binges to once a week, each binge would get up to like 3,000 calories. I just started eating paleo 7 weeks ago. The first 30 days i did not binge! It was the longest i've ever gone without binging in the past 7 years! I did not lose weight, but i looked a little more toner. I felt great and was performing better in cross fit. I have had a couple slip ups recently but never exceeding a crazy amount of calories, my highest binge while being on paleo was 2,200 calories. that is so much progress compared to 5,000 + binges. It helps because eating paleo takes a lot of cravings away. I can relate with you with not losing weight. but it takes time for this to work. it've realized eating paleo is a life style, the weight loss will come. I am just focusing on not binging or at least stopping it when it happens. hope this helps :]

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 16, 2013
at 08:32 PM

Yeah, I am in the same kinda boat. Although I do not binge anymore I still over-eat and am finding it tough to lose weight. I wish more people will respond to this question as it would be great to see what others have to say.

1
142d7e06e608cff536ab78e6ca78ce38

on April 12, 2013
at 05:28 AM

Hi, I am at a healthy weight and eat Paelo. I like to think of myself as a recovered binge eater (or as recovered as we can ever be). For me though I have to commit each day to what I am eating. I eat 2 - 3 meals a day and no snacking in between, this is really important for me. I find with Paelo I am more satisfied. I can't eat nuts though because I will binge on them. I know people on here might say not to count calories etc.... but for binge eaters intuitively eating is very difficult at first. Hope this helps and fire away more questions,

5d9cee8f208e8825cde0b74adc5bf31b

on April 12, 2013
at 06:44 PM

Thanks for your reply! Were you ever over weight as a binge eater? and then managed to lose it when you recovered? Sometimes I feel like I will never lose weight, but I'm guessing I should stop worrying about it and be patient? :)

0
142d7e06e608cff536ab78e6ca78ce38

on April 17, 2013
at 03:26 AM

For me I think it is having food which is satisfying and just feeling much better. Also I think gluten is addictive.

0
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on April 17, 2013
at 03:18 AM

I don't have experience with eating disorders but I am very curious : how do you think Paleo helps you not to binge? Because your blood sugar is normalized so you have more regular eating schedule? Help/support from the community? Or something else? I'm asking because I hear about a new benefit from Paleo just about every day, its pretty awesome but I didn't expect it to be a cure for eating disorders too. I just believed that was more of a mental/emotional health thing.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 17, 2013
at 04:17 AM

Speaking only for myself, eating processed foods makes my reward centers light up like a Christmas tree. It's addictive to me and I lose all connection between appetite and eating. As paleo is a whole-foods regimen, it gives you a safe corner at least for a while. To complete your recovery, though, I feel you have to be able to handle being around processed stuff--and other people eating it--without losing your mental balance. That's the hard part. I've finally gotten so I can even have an occasional sugary treat or soda with a meal without losing it, but that's the point on the pyramid.

0
142d7e06e608cff536ab78e6ca78ce38

on April 17, 2013
at 02:51 AM

I like to think of myself as a recovered binge eater. Someone made a really good point, committing to what you are going to eat each day. I still can not eat intuitively, I seem to have lost the ability to know when i am full. I eat 2 - 3 meals a day and no snacking in between meals, this is the key for me. Paelo helped me with my binge eating because I am now eating foods which satisfy me and I know if I eat once piece of bread the flood gates would open and also make me very sick. Knowing you are eating proper foods helps.

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