8

votes

What's your story on becoming Paleo & dealing with unhealthy relationship with food?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 16, 2010 at 8:41 PM

After looking through the amazing before & after photos http://paleohacks.com/questions/7058#axzz18CESLYSj (good job to everyone!), I wanted to hear a little more about everyone's story.

This question goes out to those who had an unhealthy relationship with food. Or I should say these questions, because it is a two-parter.

1) What was it that made you change? What was it that finally got you to say, I can't eat like this anymore, I need to transform my eating habits and put my health as a priority?

2) And for those of you who eat to deal with emotional issues (binge eaters, emotional eaters, etc), how has this changed since going paleo? Do you still binge when in emotional distress, just on paleo foods? Or do you break down and go non-paleo? Or do you find you don't have the urges anymore? Did you transmute it into something else, like exercising? Or did you find a magical way to help you deal with your emotions in a healthy way?

I ask, because after losing 30 pounds going Paleo, I'm at a bit of a roadblock (still have about 30-40 left to lose). I use food & television to help me escape from stress/bad emotions/etc, and I haven't been as Paleo as I would like to be. So I'm trying to get healthy now and learn and change and grow. I would really appreciate ideas & inspiration! And I figure it would be helpful inspiration to a lot of others out there...

Thanks!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:34 PM

Jessica, I don't know how long you've been on ancestral eating, but if you're relatively know that my crisis hit at about 4 months. When I gave in, then got so sick, that was the cure. I'm at 7 months now and no binge urge at all.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:32 PM

I don't think you're just exhausted, although you may be. :-)) My binge eating took a while to die but it really seems to be gone finally. It took making myself downright sick a few times to really prove I couldn't safely go back to beinge-ing on neolithic foods. Now I see them and they don't register at all. Even my (past) binges on fruit seem pretty dead. I like to eat my normal variety of helpings and then I'm good. As much as I love my whole foods, they don't trigger the binge reflex.

5e6a6f5c0fd3ab048f81c0a500206f41

(956)

on September 03, 2011
at 02:23 AM

I'm one of those people who also has to eat every 3/4 hours or else i become ravenous when i have food again. I'm jealous of all those people who say to just IF when paleo/primal food isn't available (ex. traveling, conferences, parties, etc.) but if i did that, i would literally go crazy when i could finally get my hands on some primal food!

2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

(1648)

on December 17, 2010
at 11:40 PM

What a touching story, jpet, and I'm sure that you're friend is proud that you are honoring him for affirming life! Thank you SO much for sharing this.

2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

(1648)

on December 17, 2010
at 09:44 PM

Thanks sherpamelissa. I really relate to your story. For me too, a big impetus has been looking at my parents (diabetes, heart failure, heart attack, heart surgery, etc) and realize that I was on the same path, and needed to change. Somehow between there and here, I've gotten a bit lost, but am once again looking for those breadcrumbs to find my way home (or should I say jerky snacks?). I also have finally learned not to beat myself up when I eat non-paleo foods. That is the only way I've been able to come as far as I have! Just not giving up on myself! Thanks for your inspiration!!!

5c14d1ca9a7f98d0be7c5a828410d146

(307)

on December 17, 2010
at 03:45 PM

For me it was downing about a pound of bacon in one sitting. I have recently come to the realization that if I want to meet my fat loss goals, perhaps it would help to cut that back to 1/2 a pound in the future. Heh. I'm not sure I ever really binge for emotional reasons anymore. Bacon is just that good.

5c14d1ca9a7f98d0be7c5a828410d146

(307)

on December 17, 2010
at 03:41 PM

It's funny how that kind of stuff can alter your perception permanently, huh? I've learned a ton since reading PB for the first time but I keep going back to that one. I like the comprehensive nature of all the Blueprint Laws.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:05 PM

Awesome story THATgirl, congratulations!

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on December 17, 2010
at 05:04 AM

That is a very good question.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on December 17, 2010
at 01:39 AM

Plus one on the challenge of mothering daughters with sane attitudes toward food.

10034c23f65addc5735eb02a32448223

(361)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:33 AM

I can totally relate to you, though I never succeeded as a bodybuilder. I was desperate to put on muscle and would always think about food and what to eat next, or would be cooking etc. In the end it was all adding up as stress and due to other reasons, i was just putting on more fat than muscle and would lose muscle easily if i went on a trip somewhere. Now I think a lot less about food but I would still love to be independent. I want to eat to live and not live to eat.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:13 AM

I've often said that my dad's death really helped me learn to live. That is a wonderful story. I think Primal Blueprint is a really easy to read book that is perfect for beginners. I'm glad you found it!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:11 AM

MINDFULNESS PRACTICE, wow. That's what I do, but I never knew it had such a cool name! Overcoming eating issues really takes a lot of self awareness, which can really be hard sometimes.

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:08 AM

Thank you guys! I know this question/post really hit home with me! I can def. laugh at the ripping of the dress story now - plus the pictures of me from last year. such a relief! and Hemanvt - totally agree. I don't think people realize how debilitating IBS can be!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:08 AM

Ugh. Mom issues here too. I am desperately trying to make sure I don't do that to my daughter!

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:47 AM

IBS can certainly kick you into gear to change. It is such a frustrating and debilitating condition. Good for you!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:45 AM

It'll happen if you keep working at it! I have learned to thrift store shop and love it!

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:45 AM

And I have been dealing with them since I was 12 when my mom used to tell me I was chubby and needed to go on a diet. I am 31 now and it's a daily battle.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:39 AM

I love the journal idea THATgirl! The wedding dress story is great. That would be an absolute motivation to start fixing yourself. I wish I had a Crossfit near me, but I don't. I really like the idea of the group atmosphere. It awesome that you and your husband are doing this together! Well done!

9b1da5c61c41bb93afb668f9ab3bc76a

(422)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:38 AM

Melissa- Oh man I will have to watch my wallet if that happens, there is a TON of stuff I've always wanted to wear! Bikini time? XD

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:24 AM

PS - I am NO longer on ANY medication for my IBS and my knees no longer hurt. I've noticed when I fall off the Paleo wagon I have aches and pains that I can't explain plus my knees hurt. But like Sherpamelissa said - if I do slip I don't let that "ruin" my entire day just take a deep breath and get back to it! Take care of yourself!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:13 AM

Body image issues are amazingly persistent. Even when you fix a lot of other things, that's a toughie.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:10 AM

I never thought I would go so long without a binge. It's been over a year now. I still catch myself planning them in my head when I'm overstressed, but I am a lot better at stopping them in that stage. It's not a magical way of learning to deal with my emotions, but recognizing the behavior and finding a way to deal with it before I start shoving food in my mouth. I found exercise really helped, but also just having a list of things to do, like projects around the house and stuff, that I would make myself do instead of eating.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:07 AM

You can get there, Sigil! I remember the first time I didn't have to shop in the plus section. It was overwhelming walking around the store and realizing I could basically fit in ANYTHING I wanted instead of buying something just because it fit my body. I binged on clothes for awhile because it was so exciting! Good luck!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:05 AM

Yes! When my daughter was 8 months old, I couldn't carry her up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing! Now I can carry her up all three flights of stairs and shes 8 years old and 80+lbs!

9b1da5c61c41bb93afb668f9ab3bc76a

(422)

on December 16, 2010
at 11:06 PM

Derp, I didn't really answer the part about FOOD! Food's always been a reward for me. Good grades, get some ice cream. Do bad, no dessert! It helps a lot for me to just say "I can't eat ____" and leave it at that. I can't drink soda any more. I've tried a few sips and it's just nasty to me now. I think I'd feel the same way if I tried to eat a snickers bar too! It might be because I have soooo much I want to lose, that eating something like that isn't worth setting back my progress however many days. I've still got another 80 lbs to go at least, so that's what I think about.

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15 Answers

7
21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:18 AM

1) My downhill slide was slow at first and then all of a sudden I was 50+lbs overweight. I started suffereing from IBS in 2003 and took 3 types of prescription drugs to combat it plus OTC fibers and pills. I played volleyball 5 times a week (at a very competitive level) and I slowly went down to playing 3 times a week because of my work schedule. then I injured my knee. Then it hurt to play, it hurt to do anything. So I became a couch deweller and Pizza Hut became my best friend...what made me change were multiple reasons: I was a former college athlete and all of a sudden I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air. I felt miserable, I was sick, depressed, sad, none of my clothes fit, I hated going shopping (which was something I used to LOVE to do) because I was beginning not to be able to fit in "normal" sizes, I was embarrassed to see old friends. I used to LOVE my body (seriously! I did) and now I was hearing myself actually say horrible mean things about my body not only in my head but outloud! :( I would eat a large meal be STUFFED and 20 to 30 minutes later feel like I was STARVING! But what REALLY made me change was my IBS was out of control, I was in serious pain, my decline in health was scaring me but even more than that...my wedding! (ahh vanity) I didn't want to be a fat bride! And when I went dress shopping with my mom and I successfully ripped a sample dress with my a$$ - that's when I knew it had to stop. (we laughed at the time, but when I got home I cried myself to sleep that night)

2) I no longer binge. Once I got off the sugar (I used to eat and eat and eat!) I found it was easy to say "no" to food AND/OR not be tempted like I used to be. I've noticed that when I'm tired I now crave cupcakes. So instead I go get a glass of water and make a mental note to go to bed earlier or take a nap if I can (SLEEP can help you cope! seriously, get that rest!!!). If times get tough and I'm stressed, angry, sad, upset - I go workout. Even if its just a walk around the block I feel better! I do have to say that CrossFit saved my life (and my husband's too) We found CrossFit and CrossFit taught us about Paleo and in turn I've lost 30 lbs, my husband has lost 52 lbs. and we started doing both in May) Also, at night I journal. I write down all my ideas and thoughts and emotions and just get them out of my head. that way I won't toss and turn all night and I get all the emotional stuff OUT. I highly recommend it. don't worry about spelling or even if its legible - just write it down. I buy notebooks/journals from the dollar store. Sometimes I keep them but normally I just throw them out. If I had an outdoor firepit I think I'd take great joy in using them as kindling! ;)

I hope that helps!!!! Keep up the great work! You should be really proud of your progress! :)

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:08 AM

Thank you guys! I know this question/post really hit home with me! I can def. laugh at the ripping of the dress story now - plus the pictures of me from last year. such a relief! and Hemanvt - totally agree. I don't think people realize how debilitating IBS can be!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:39 AM

I love the journal idea THATgirl! The wedding dress story is great. That would be an absolute motivation to start fixing yourself. I wish I had a Crossfit near me, but I don't. I really like the idea of the group atmosphere. It awesome that you and your husband are doing this together! Well done!

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:24 AM

PS - I am NO longer on ANY medication for my IBS and my knees no longer hurt. I've noticed when I fall off the Paleo wagon I have aches and pains that I can't explain plus my knees hurt. But like Sherpamelissa said - if I do slip I don't let that "ruin" my entire day just take a deep breath and get back to it! Take care of yourself!

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:47 AM

IBS can certainly kick you into gear to change. It is such a frustrating and debilitating condition. Good for you!

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:05 PM

Awesome story THATgirl, congratulations!

6
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on December 17, 2010
at 12:04 AM

1) Well, for me, I didn't start as Paleo. What made me decide to lose weight was an epiphany I had while visiting my dad in the hospital in July 2004. He had cancer and the chemo had damaged his heart and I had just watched them shock him back after his heart stopped. I was outside in the Florida heat, 250lbs, smoking, sweating and just feeling awful. I realized that I was going to end up like my dad, but not because of cancer, but from laziness and not caring about myself. Here my dad was fighting for his life and I was wasting mine. He was only 56 when he died. I didn't want my daughter going through that because her mom didn't care enough to fix it. I went home from that trip and signed up for Fitday and Bally's - it was like a switch just clicked for me. I had tried before, but none felt quite like this.

2) Getting over my binge eating and emotional eating was the hardest part of the weight loss. I had to fight the mental battle with myself. When I would binge, I had to learn to stop and acknowledge it. Sometimes I sent a text to my trainer or my sister or another friend, sometimes it was enough to acknowledge it just to myself. Then I had to learn to STOP eating and figure out what had triggered it. It's always something stressful for me. It sucks having to deal with the feelings rather than eating them (or shopping, which is what happened next), but I am so much stronger now.

One thing I learned to do to help with the unnecessary eating was to eat every 2/3 hours. I know its very non-Paleo, but if I get over hungry I make bad decisions. I can go longer now and I even fast occasionally, but initially it was extremely important not to let myself get into extreme hunger where I would just shove random food down my piehole.

Another very important point from an emotional/binge eating standpoint is that when you make a mistake and eat something you didn't plan on eating or that isn't in your food plan you cannot use it as an excuse to continue to eat badly. THE DAY IS NOT "RUINED". You do not have permission to now eat like crap for the rest of the day. STOP the behavior, forgive yourself and move on to the next meal and make it a healthy one. You cannot let one "mistake" turn into a bad day or weekend or week or month.

I came to Paleo after losing about 100lbs looking to get over the last plateau and lose some bodyfat. It's worked for me really well. I love to research things and have jumped into this with both feet. I felt kind of "non-Paleo" with my food logging and calorie counting and extra meals, but I have to accept that this is what works for me. Coming from a formerly obese person, with food issues, I have to learn to except that I need boundries. Maybe someday I'll relearn how to eat to satiety, in the meantime, I am happy understanding what my brain needs to keep me on the right path.

Goodness, if you made it this far, I'm impressed. I do love to talk about this stuff. :) Good luck!

2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

(1648)

on December 17, 2010
at 09:44 PM

Thanks sherpamelissa. I really relate to your story. For me too, a big impetus has been looking at my parents (diabetes, heart failure, heart attack, heart surgery, etc) and realize that I was on the same path, and needed to change. Somehow between there and here, I've gotten a bit lost, but am once again looking for those breadcrumbs to find my way home (or should I say jerky snacks?). I also have finally learned not to beat myself up when I eat non-paleo foods. That is the only way I've been able to come as far as I have! Just not giving up on myself! Thanks for your inspiration!!!

5e6a6f5c0fd3ab048f81c0a500206f41

(956)

on September 03, 2011
at 02:23 AM

I'm one of those people who also has to eat every 3/4 hours or else i become ravenous when i have food again. I'm jealous of all those people who say to just IF when paleo/primal food isn't available (ex. traveling, conferences, parties, etc.) but if i did that, i would literally go crazy when i could finally get my hands on some primal food!

5
5c14d1ca9a7f98d0be7c5a828410d146

(307)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:02 AM

I embarked on my first diet when I was six years old (trying to emulate my older sisters whom I adored!) and have always battled with weight problems, in spite of being relatively active and tried to eat well. Now of course I have a good idea why I have always had weight issues! I have been a vegetarian (5 years) vegan (2 years) did Body-for-Life, South Beach, Abs Diet, P90X, Weight Watchers, etc. etc. I always felt like I was fighting my body and I hated the feeling of deprivation that seemed to go hand-in-hand with "doing the right thing" for my health and fitness. About three years ago I dropped everything and resigned myself to the fact that I was doomed to be frumpy. Eventually I became well-adjusted to my frumpiness though never entirely happy with myself. I certainly felt like it wasn't fair that this was my lot in life but it was what I had to go with.

Fast forward to the beginning of last March. A very close friend of mine, a young man of considerable maturity and talent, took his own life. Needless to say, his death devastated me and everyone around him. In the weeks that followed, wading through the heartache he left behind and trying to make sense of the mess, my own health took a turn for the worse. Migraines, IBS, debilitating fatigue and a mess of other symptoms were all worsened by the simple fact that I just stopped taking care of myself - I was so depressed I couldn't be bothered to eat well. Seriously for something over the course of three weeks I'll bet I didn't ingest more than 50 grams of protein. Easy, carby, greasy food was what I ate - if I could remember to eat at all. And forget about exercise or playing or even moving around any. My weight crept up to 170 and my husband was really worried about me. I looked terrible and felt even worse. And my crappy health was NOT helping me deal emotionally with the loss of my friend.

At the end of March I got this random email from Tony Horton (P90X) announcing Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Book. I certainly wasn't looking for yet another diet to plunge into but everything I read on Mark's Daily Apple and the book made sense. I downloaded it onto my Kindle and read the entire thing that day! More than that, I was excited about the prospect of having great health and fitness AND enjoying my life. At the same time, even! The idea that the human organism tends towards excellent health if we only treat our bodies the way they expect to be treated really appealed to me.

What's more, my husband was completely onboard with the plan. I realize how lucky I am that he was actively involved with this from the beginning. We eased into it over the course of a month, cleaning our our pantry and fridge, joining some friends on a cowpooling adventure, and trying out new recipes. Going on more walks together and playing more.

I think it was my friend's death that was ultimately the catalyst. Not only in the sense of me realizing how precious life is, but as sort of a defiant act. If you've ever lost a loved one to suicide (and I'm hoping if you haven't, you never ever will) you know all about the period of intense anger you go through during the grieving process. The feeling was, I'll never know why he chose to end his life but I choose to live. And in retrospect, Paleo is THE most life-affirming way to live of anything I've ever tried. What can be more life affirming than a way of life that nurtured and allowed our ancestors to thrive for millions of years? I feel more alive, more healthy, more hopeful and positive than I have ever felt before. I'm down only about 10 pounds since March (but two pant sizes!) I am doing CrossFit now (as of July) and my strength is amazing to me. No more migraines or IBS. I haven't yet met my weight goals but I'm well on my way and you know what? I really am not worried about how long it takes me to get there. My well-being is light-years from where I was when I started paleo and I'm enjoying every second of it.

5c14d1ca9a7f98d0be7c5a828410d146

(307)

on December 17, 2010
at 03:41 PM

It's funny how that kind of stuff can alter your perception permanently, huh? I've learned a ton since reading PB for the first time but I keep going back to that one. I like the comprehensive nature of all the Blueprint Laws.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:13 AM

I've often said that my dad's death really helped me learn to live. That is a wonderful story. I think Primal Blueprint is a really easy to read book that is perfect for beginners. I'm glad you found it!

2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

(1648)

on December 17, 2010
at 11:40 PM

What a touching story, jpet, and I'm sure that you're friend is proud that you are honoring him for affirming life! Thank you SO much for sharing this.

5
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 16, 2010
at 09:35 PM

I was a competitive bodybuilder for 11 years and it was killing my health and the food obsession was killing all of my relationships. I was unhappy and unhealthly doing something I always thought was healthy.

I had to come to terms with what I was chasing with bodybuilding, working out 1.5 a day, 7 days a week and eating 7-8 meals a day. I developed IBS, malabsorbtion and adrenal fatigue. Something needed to change.

I did a 2.5 day fast and meditated like crazy and began the Paleo Diet after the fast. Since Sept I am IBS symptom free and my adrenal fatigue is 95% gone. I am happier and healthier than ever before.

The one issue I have now is some of my mental issues with food obsession and body image issues I developed from bodybuilding are starting to creep back with this diet. Thankfully I have found this site and most of you say it like it is and have helped me to relax a bit.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:08 AM

Ugh. Mom issues here too. I am desperately trying to make sure I don't do that to my daughter!

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:45 AM

And I have been dealing with them since I was 12 when my mom used to tell me I was chubby and needed to go on a diet. I am 31 now and it's a daily battle.

10034c23f65addc5735eb02a32448223

(361)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:33 AM

I can totally relate to you, though I never succeeded as a bodybuilder. I was desperate to put on muscle and would always think about food and what to eat next, or would be cooking etc. In the end it was all adding up as stress and due to other reasons, i was just putting on more fat than muscle and would lose muscle easily if i went on a trip somewhere. Now I think a lot less about food but I would still love to be independent. I want to eat to live and not live to eat.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on December 17, 2010
at 01:39 AM

Plus one on the challenge of mothering daughters with sane attitudes toward food.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:13 AM

Body image issues are amazingly persistent. Even when you fix a lot of other things, that's a toughie.

4
6b6fd8871edb729c22e3e8a44e17ec0f

(260)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:59 AM

For me, paleo didn't magically "fix" anything, but it basically made me realize I had a problem. The reason that happened was because paleo asked me to really examine everything I was eating. Incredibly, though, I've been working through my issues with compulsive/binge eating since going paleo - they're nowhere near being gone, but I am on my way! Here's what helped me:

-loosening up on paleo rules. I noticed, for example, that when I REALLY craved bread or a bowl of cereal or something, I would tend to binge on replacement foods (nuts, dried fruit, paleo baked goods) or the actual non-paleo food itself. By letting myself eat a bowl of rice instead, I've found that my desire for that particular food is much more abated. (And a bowl of rice is much much better than a binge, even if it is technically "paleo.") I don't, however, let myself eat just anything that I crave... there's still a certain amount of effort involved to steer myself in the right direction. This effort is not to be confused with willpower though!! If you feel like you are exerting extreme force and willpower to keep yourself from bingeing or eating compulsively, I'd say what your approach is not healthy or skillful (and will probably fail).

-Acknowledging, and paying attention to, how terrible it feels to eat horrible foods. Rather than viewing paleo as a bunch of rules and restrictions, I've actually internalized the knowledge of how unhealthy some food is and now I don't even really want it anymore.

-MINDFULNESS PRACTICE. If you aren't familiar with mindfulness or Buddhist practice, I REALLY recommend it. Here's what it means: noticing the emotions when you binge, what conditions or intentions or desires or feelings accompany or prompt compulsive eating; bringing awareness to how you feel after eating compulsively; noticing what desires or needs eating does or doesn't fill; accepting yourself; and letting go of certain ideas or self-images.

-For me, it also helps to ask myself these questions before I eat (or when I have the desire to eat): Am I physically hungry? If the answer is yes, I ALWAYS allow myself to eat. Not letting myself eat when I am actually hungry always leads to problems. If I'm not, I ask: What is the emotional/social/psychological reason for my desire to eat? Will eating fulfill that desire? Sometimes, the answer is yes to that too; if I'm at a nice dinner party, for example, or if I want a warming, soothing bowl of soup when I'm feeling very sad. I also ask: will eating now cause me more suffering in the long run, or less suffering in the long run? After asking myself these things, I am more guided to make the right decision.

-Simply getting distance between myself and the act of eating. Going outside, calling a friend, even just putting the fork down for a minute. Usually I regain my sense of self and remember what I really want.

Getting over compulsive eating is one of the hardest things I have done in my entire life. But I'm finding that when it is lifted I feel joy and energy - I'm not dulling my senses or emotions, I'm dealing with things instead. I'm actually encountering the real world, not escaping from it with food. And encountering the real world, and encountering my own problems and emotions, can be beautiful!

As for those questions you asked - here are my answers/approaches to them:

Do you still binge when in emotional distress, just on paleo foods?

For me, that's not good enough - it's not fixing the root of the problem. Like I said before, I think that eating a bowl of rice is better than a binge.

Or do you break down and go non-paleo?

To me, paleo/nonpaleo is less important than compulsive/intentional.

Or do you find you don't have the urges anymore?

I still have the urges - the task is to become aware of them, and understand them for what they are.

Did you transmute it into something else, like exercising?

Again, that doesn't really solve anything - that's just trading in one addictive behavior for another.

Or did you find a magical way to help you deal with your emotions in a healthy way?

For me, that's what mindfulness practice, meditation, and Buddhism has been.

One last thing: I really recommend any of Geneen Roth's books, Women, Food, and God or Overcoming Emotional Eating. And if you're at all interested in mindfulness or Buddhism, I'd recommend the (free!) podcast Audio Dharma, any of the talks by Gil Fronsdal.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:11 AM

MINDFULNESS PRACTICE, wow. That's what I do, but I never knew it had such a cool name! Overcoming eating issues really takes a lot of self awareness, which can really be hard sometimes.

3
9b1da5c61c41bb93afb668f9ab3bc76a

(422)

on December 16, 2010
at 10:58 PM

I've only been on this for about 3 weeks, lost 8-12 lbs already! (My highest weight was 320lbs, I'm down to 304 with my winter clothes on!) I originally saw John Durant on the Colbert Report and something about it stuck with me. Fast forward to 2 months ago and I started reading blogs voraciously and it all started to click. My digestion problems, my addiction to sugar, my constant fatigue, my asthma.

I'd tried changing my diet before, but I always fell back into the "just one time" eating fast food, and it'd all go downhill. If I STUCK with the Paleo, I couldn't say that. I couldn't say "oh I'll just work out more tomorrow" or any of that B.S. I told myself.

So I decided that I'd start the diet the day after Thanksgiving. Get one more "good" meal in before I started hating food...right? My husband agreed to do it with me, and while he "cheats" more than I do, he's noticing the difference too. He's fresh out of the military, used to running 2-5 miles a day, so all this relaxation has put 30 lbs on him fast. He's down 6-8 lbs in 3 weeks too.

But anyway, my goal...I want to go hiking. I want to shop in the normal section of stores. (That last one might be reaching it...I can't fathom being smaller than a size 16 at my height...) I do a lot of travel for my work, and I hate being so tired from just walking around a conference center! So I guess it's because I want to live, and experience all these things that other people do, but I've just been too fat or scared to try!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:07 AM

You can get there, Sigil! I remember the first time I didn't have to shop in the plus section. It was overwhelming walking around the store and realizing I could basically fit in ANYTHING I wanted instead of buying something just because it fit my body. I binged on clothes for awhile because it was so exciting! Good luck!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:45 AM

It'll happen if you keep working at it! I have learned to thrift store shop and love it!

9b1da5c61c41bb93afb668f9ab3bc76a

(422)

on December 16, 2010
at 11:06 PM

Derp, I didn't really answer the part about FOOD! Food's always been a reward for me. Good grades, get some ice cream. Do bad, no dessert! It helps a lot for me to just say "I can't eat ____" and leave it at that. I can't drink soda any more. I've tried a few sips and it's just nasty to me now. I think I'd feel the same way if I tried to eat a snickers bar too! It might be because I have soooo much I want to lose, that eating something like that isn't worth setting back my progress however many days. I've still got another 80 lbs to go at least, so that's what I think about.

9b1da5c61c41bb93afb668f9ab3bc76a

(422)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:38 AM

Melissa- Oh man I will have to watch my wallet if that happens, there is a TON of stuff I've always wanted to wear! Bikini time? XD

3
531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

on December 16, 2010
at 09:30 PM

In response to #1, part of my motivation came from looking at pictures of me with my daughter. Apart from looking like Hell, I found that many pictures showed me with my eyes closed, sitting down, or lying down. It took seeing this to make the connection that I was essentially a mouth-breathing, ambulatory coma patient.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 17, 2010
at 12:05 AM

Yes! When my daughter was 8 months old, I couldn't carry her up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing! Now I can carry her up all three flights of stairs and shes 8 years old and 80+lbs!

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on December 17, 2010
at 02:57 PM

1) I've always struggled with weight and tried a number of ideas. Paleo was the solution that showed results relatively quickly with little effort. Plus the reasoning behind it was scientifically sound, meaning, it's not a trend or snake oil.

2) I did binge on occasion for emotional reasons, but I also binged just because. The closest thing I've done to binging on paleo was downing a whole chicken in one sitting, so at least I stay on track.

5c14d1ca9a7f98d0be7c5a828410d146

(307)

on December 17, 2010
at 03:45 PM

For me it was downing about a pound of bacon in one sitting. I have recently come to the realization that if I want to meet my fat loss goals, perhaps it would help to cut that back to 1/2 a pound in the future. Heh. I'm not sure I ever really binge for emotional reasons anymore. Bacon is just that good.

0
8c98172e3f8e78eaca36ef7b80cb6899

on January 05, 2014
at 10:39 PM

I started Paleo/primal this past summer. I took a flight to Denver and barely fit in the seat and could barely get the seat belt on. During the flight it hit me, it's time to change. I'm 35, fat, and if I kept going the way I was going major health issues would follow soon.

I began my journey in July, now I've lost over 80 pounds and feel better than I have in a very long time. I still have 50 pounds to go but I know I will get there.

I did binge eat, particularly at night. After going Paleo that disappeared as I realized my binging had to do with carbs/sugar and not any underlying emotional issues. But if you do have underlying food issues counseling would be a great idea.

0
1f1eb79c58f7b992f55210f643aa3eff

on January 05, 2014
at 09:57 PM

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0
1f1eb79c58f7b992f55210f643aa3eff

on January 05, 2014
at 09:57 PM

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0
1f1eb79c58f7b992f55210f643aa3eff

on January 05, 2014
at 09:56 PM

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0
2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

on December 07, 2011
at 11:18 PM

honestly i can binge on anything...cabbage and butter, frozen peas and lima beans, pumpkin seeds along with more meat then i really want to throw down. i just get anxious and lonely and depressed to break out of the only way of feeling i have ever known, which is honestly anxious, lonely, guilty and depressed........seriously i have a very long and perhaps inborn history of these emotions, and a child and young adult hood traumatic enough to only encourage them..... paleo has helped a bit, at times i can control it for days and when i am super occupied i do fine, but when i am left to my own and cant figure out how else and how in a better manner to take care of myself i lose all motivation for anything but to sit on my ass and fill my face with all manners of food i would like to think that paleo has helped to calm the highs and lows of histeria and anxiety and crippling gripping sadness and depression, i am sure they have but it may also be the case that i am just totally exhausted...........

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:32 PM

I don't think you're just exhausted, although you may be. :-)) My binge eating took a while to die but it really seems to be gone finally. It took making myself downright sick a few times to really prove I couldn't safely go back to beinge-ing on neolithic foods. Now I see them and they don't register at all. Even my (past) binges on fruit seem pretty dead. I like to eat my normal variety of helpings and then I'm good. As much as I love my whole foods, they don't trigger the binge reflex.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:34 PM

Jessica, I don't know how long you've been on ancestral eating, but if you're relatively know that my crisis hit at about 4 months. When I gave in, then got so sick, that was the cure. I'm at 7 months now and no binge urge at all.

0
E9959727c25c191ea9c4b614c012325d

on September 09, 2011
at 09:54 AM

I was once 125kg, now mid 90's, lowest 88. my advice to those suffering would be to go and see a psychologist and deal with the the underlying causes of the binge/emotional eating rather than the symptoms (namely the binging itself). I wish I had have realised this soon. Paleo is amazing for me for the health benefits and feeling of well-being when eating this way, but by going and starting to see someone qualified with the mental side of it, it makes the benefits of paleo eating so much more rewarding, and by stopping the bingeing then im getting results and not continually taking 2 steps forward and then 2 steps back.

0
7255a87872b75e6f691d84dca769b87e

on September 03, 2011
at 12:00 AM

I've always had anxiety issues and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Before I went paleo, I calorie counted to the last bite - I literally wouldn't take another forkful if it would put me over my daily limit. I believed I had to have 5 perfectly portioned meals a day, and as an growing athlete with a wicked appetite, five hundred calorie meals didn't cut it. However, if nutritionists recommend it, it must be effective, right? Feeling hungry again an hour after eating is normal, right? Eventually, I stumbled upon Mark's Daily Apple, and balked - what he said made sense! I cut grains. A few months later, I cut potatoes. I now eat slabs of meat with pounds of vegetables, usually in one to two meals a day. I eat as I am hungry. Conventional Wisdom can suck my 1000+ calorie dinners that sate my carnivorous belly at -gasp- 8 or 9 at night. The best part of this is I have lost all vestige of food anxiety. The food I'm eating is no longer "five hundred calories of beef". It is a steak. The paleo diet has improved my brain function to the point where I am calm and happy.

I still overeat on occasion - pistachios and cheese are too easy to snack on. However, I no longer WORRY about it anymore. I enjoy the taste even if they are more calories than I need, and try to eat mindfully the rest of the time.

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