I have posted on here a few times and really appreciate the support. I've been following Paleo since August. I never used to be a 'sweets' person or an overeater, and have always been able to eat whatever I want and stay thin.
In January, after a hospitalization due to digestive issues, I did the 21-day sugar detox. Suddenly I was binge eating, and have since put on 20lbs. Which might as well be 50 to an average person! I finally ruled it to overeating, but cannot seem to find my 'full' button. I crave sweets, constantly. I will feel like I ate enough, and 10 minutes later find myself standing in the kitchen looking for my next victim. I tried to cut out salty things, and especially cut out nuts (they are SOOO addictive). I have tried IF, which helped a lot but again, my control seems to get away from me. Maybe more mental than physical, as I find myself obsessing over food. I am so out of my element here!
Anyone have any tips, tricks or serious guidance on how to overcome this? I feel like my food willpower has escaped me. One day I am dead set on getting back on track, and 2 days later find myself coveting an entire bag of trail mix. Help!!!
As always, please dont respond with 'me too' stories unless there is advice involved. (Not to be a snob) TIA!!!
asked byKari_1 (50)
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on March 18, 2012
at 10:09 PM
Purge your kitchen/pantry of all snack foods. Make it hard for yourself: only have meats/veggies around that require cooking so you won't just "snack"-- you'll have to COOK, and perhaps that'll keep you from wanting to eat (if it's just a mental thing). People usually snack on convenient things (i.e. nuts, a handful of berries, etc.), so this could possibly help. Good luck!
on March 19, 2012
at 12:01 AM
To drift from binge eating to controlled eating I used 2 techniques: the IF eating window and a "standard formula" main meal.
IF eating window. This is normally 4-8 hours and you can set it as you wish. Your job is to eat so much healthy, nutrient-dense food you won't be hungry for a long time. At first, DON'T WORRY if you get hungry and aren't able to fast until the next day's eating window--it's a goal. If you do get hungry, restrict yourself to fatty meat. If you're dying for something, but don't want the fatty meat, it's a brain-driven craving rather than gut-driven hunger. Go for a walk or take a soak bath. Or scrub a floor. If you ARE hungry enough to eat the meat, then go ahead.
Standard Formula Meal. You should experiment and settle into whatever works for you. In my case, I found I need enough food volume for my stomach to be distended AND I need complete nutrition so I will reject anything but junk food (which I won't eat.) For reference only, here is my formula: 1) high-volume, low-fructose fruit--usually a peeled whole grapefruit; 2) high-volume, low-density leafy salad--usually at least 4 cups, frequently 5-6, with EVOO and vinegar; 3) unlimited cooked vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, yellow summer squash, etc., PLUS a moderate serving of a starchy vegetable such as 1/3 c. sweet potato; 4) unlimited serving of FATTY beef or other dense meat. If the meat is chicken or fish, add lots of butter or coconut oil.
The problem I can have with the above formula is that I am too full to feel like eating much beef/meat. If I am having binge urges, though, I push myself to eat at least 4-6 ounces, even if I have to wait an hour, as it's the meat that will complete the satiation process and prevent me from getting hungry until tomorrow's eating window.
So, now I am STUFFED and well nourished. Yes, my brain may still fire up "eat junk food" impulses but I am easily able to ignore them. Since the fruit and salad are low-density, the stuffed feeling passes fairly quickly but by then satiation has set in and the danger of eating junk is over.
By practicing this approach, I got used to ignoring binge impulses and I was able to eat normal, vs. huge, meals without giving in to the binge impulses. You just need to eat good food and wait for satiation to take effect.
on March 18, 2012
at 10:07 PM
I too have binge eating issues. However, as long as I am occupied I don't do it. You need to divert your compulsion elsewhere such as a hobby. You may always be trading one addiction for another so make sure its a healthy one and one you can afford.
on March 20, 2012
at 02:32 PM
Think of what are your triggers are. Emotions? You want a reward? Do you crave comfort? Try to find a non-food answer to your cravings.
on March 19, 2012
at 01:59 AM
Binge eating can often be caused by an underlying issue. Not always, but worth taking a look at. Are you happy with your job/school, your friends, your family, your general outlook on life? Any past traumas that might be surfacing or were recently triggered? Speaking with a therapist or counsellor who specializes in disordered eating could help you work through it, if your binge eating is a result of an underlying issue.
That said, distraction can be very helpful to break the compulsion. When you find yourself wanting to binge, make a point of doing something else that has nothing to do with food or eating. Go for a walk, call a friend and go to a movie, reorganize that closet you've been meaning to. Anything that will take your mind off of food; I find it's best to get out of the house.
Best of luck in dealing with this; hopefully some of this information will help. Stay strong!
on March 18, 2012
at 11:30 PM
The only thing that worked for me was giving up everything except for meat and fat for a good, long while. I found that when I went low carb, and then Paleo, I was still prone to binging. But the moment I went VLC/ZC (very low carb/zero carb), my cravings just completely and utterly ended. I used to have this insatiable hunger - NOTHING and I mean NOTHING would fill me - until I quit eating anything but meat and fat. I know this sounds extreme, but I've been able to add a few other things into my diet after going six months strict meat, fat, and nothin' else other than coffee and tea and water. I believe that it saved my life.
I eat a LOT, too. I am not a super thin gal, I am not a fat gal, and I am not a young gal. I've had a few decades of disordered eating. Not having those binging episodes is an absolute miracle! I only got there through deciding I would eat meat and fat until I couldn't eat any more.
What this looked like during that time was literally 2 pounds of meat (with added fat like butter if the meat wasn't fatty) in the morning. That would tide me over until late afternoon. I'd eat another pound of meat and fat then. I really couldn't think of eating anything else. The meat and fat in those portions kept me full and not wanting any other food. I think that eating until I could eat no more was a big part of the trick.
Now, I eat a pound of meat and fat in the morning, and have a lunch with some low carb veggies and meat and fat, and usually don't eat dinner, maybe a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, maybe a few slices of meat with butter spread on top.
This is what it took for me to give up that ghost. It's kind of extreme, and I'm not saying you should do this, but it sure worked for me. It really and truly was a miracle. For four years, I haven't had the urge to cheat or binge. It makes me cry to think about what my life was like before this.
on March 18, 2012
at 10:31 PM
I bought a book on Self Hypnosis to help me get over my food addiction. If I don't hypnotise myself twice a week I find myself sneaking in all sorts of dodgy foods and my weight loss stalls.
Seems to have helped me...provided I remember to listen to the tape once or twice a week. Some people might think it's a waste of time, or a bit of hocus pocus, but the older I get the less closed my mind seems to be. It worked for me even though I was a bit skeptical at first. My problem was definitely mental...this approach may work for you, or it may not.
I love beer. And with the help of this book/cd I haven't had a drink in 2012.
on March 20, 2012
at 02:06 PM
I could have written your post the last few years, and the problem is that your 20 lbs is my 70 lbs. Between having a baby and dealing with some family issues, my body and willpower have gone downhill so fast. I made a pledge this year to get ahold of it. These are things that I have learned so far (still new to this though):
No substitutions. Don't try to eat junk to try to compensate for your sugar craving. Figure out what it is you really want and let yourself have it very rarely. Do not try to avoid it by having other things, because you won't be satisfied and it triggers a binge.
Don't keep triggers on hand. Get rid of it. If you really want it, make yourself work for it.
I had to accept that if I wasn't willing to eat healthy, I wasn't really hungry. If you won't eat an orange or an apple to satisfy your sweet tooth, then you aren't hungry and walk away.
Find something to do with your hands. Knitting, puzzles, something that keeps you occupied.
You can do it!
on March 20, 2012
at 01:38 PM
This all helps SO much! I am so grateful for the responses. Humbled even. I know, without a doubt, that is is all mental. I know it is a self control issue. I have a very addictive personality, I thrive on routine, and was silly to think this wasnt possible on the Paleo Lifestyle.
I can see now, that just because it is Paleo, does not mean it can be unlimited in quantity or frequency.
I have instituted some controls. No more 16/8 IF, it was wayyy too much to handle, as it upset my daily routine and caused me to eat ravenously during my 8 hour window. I am keeping the random, weekly 24 hr fasts until I am back on track, those are easy and very good mentally for me to realize what full and hungry really feel like. Also, I am back to eating breakfast. The 16/8 IF took me until 1-2pm, so I was missing it. It seems to be important for me to get that fatty, yummy meal first thing before I start my day. If I ever did go back to fasting I would make sure I stopped eating after an early dinner, rather then ending my fast there.
I have also limited my kitchen time. I hated the idea of making food for a week, I loved being in the kitchen cooking every day. But it got expensive, stressful (sooo stressful) and possibly the root of my food obsession. Now I make a few different meals, break them up into small quantities, and so my fridge has go-to meals for the week. This keeps me from eating too-large meals, or going back for more.
I've also tried to grasp the mental side of it. After eating my mind tells me 'that was yummy, eat more' but instead I take the dog for a walk, make a cup of tea, or get busy. If its really hunger, it will break my train of thought or interrupt my task, and I will know I am not sated. But then all I have is veggies, and if I dont crave those, then I am not really hungry. It's funny how full I can feel after a simple cup of tea. For some reason drinking a 16oz glass of water doesnt have the same effect.
Sounds like a lot but I know there are other people out there with this problem. Eating healthy doesnt stop at being strict Paleo, and I never anticipated that. Now that I have seen it, I will be more aware in the future.
I could cry thinking of how bad I got. Thank you all so much for your advice, it means a lot!!
on March 18, 2012
at 11:02 PM
As people above have said, get anything even remotely tempting out of your house. You WILL binge on it, so get rid of it. Right now. Spray it with the most toxic household cleaner you have and throw it in the garbage, and then take out the trash. This is very freeing,in a way, because as long as that food is in your house, it's taking up some of your mental energy to not eat it. It's like the One Ring: you're always feeling it pulling on your willpower and it drains you. Once it's gone, you're free from worrying about it.
It might help you to develop a "replacement habit" (e.g. every time you feel the urge to binge, you cultivate the habit of cleaning the bathroom or something instead). Also, for me it's really useful to ignore the long term and focus on the next five minutes. For five minutes, I will sit on my ass in my bedroom, and not go get food. All I have to do is sit here. For just five minutes. And then I find something to distract myself with, and the worst of the urge passes and then I can deal with it. For me, a lot of binging is triggered by the "OMG I can never have [gluten/sugar/dairy/processed food X] again, I can never eat like a normal person again, I'm going to be this isolated forever" thoughts, so if you're the same this might be particularly helpful to you.
Talk to yourself very affirmatively - "I respect my body too much to binge like this," "I deserve better than this," "I'm stronger than this," etc. Picture someone else saying it to you if you can't imagine saying something that positive to yourself. Conversely, it also helps me to get obnoxiously self-righteous: "I am NOT going to binge on neolithic sugar-laden gut-inflaming crap like these obese idiots who nearly run over me as I bike to work because they're too busy stuffing their faces with cheeseburgers and Coke in their planet-destroying SUVs," etc. etc. Just make sure that if you say these things aloud you do it in your own home :P
Not paleo, but gum is also super helpful for me. I go through HUGE amounts of gum. I think it just keeps my mouth busy or something? And you can get kinds that have no sugar but taste sweet. It's a crutch but a really useful one.
on March 18, 2012
at 10:30 PM
I agree, you should purge your place of trigger foods. For me, its anything chocolate. For you, you said its nuts, so don't buy nuts. Another thing is to re-arrange your cabinet and pantry. So where the nuts/chocolate was, put your spices. Your mind is used to reaching in the same place for certain foods, so moving them will snap you out of that state of mind.
You can also keep a log of what is triggering your overeating. Is it loneliness, sadness, bored...
Also, if you are IF, make sure your first meal has enough fat/protein. If it doesn't you might not be full. Give it 20 mins and see if you are still hungry. Take digestive enzymes, it can help digest foods so you know you are getting the nutrients from foods, include fats.