1

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Question about VLC/cardio/binge eating issues

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

For those of you who are VLC--how much cardio do you do? I would like to lower my carbs in an attempt to deal with my binge eating issues, and I think part of my trouble is my reluctance to give up cardio. I usually do about 30 minutes of combined elliptical/rowing machine in the morning before I have eaten. To me this doesn't seem "excessive" since I am pretty sedentary the rest of the day. I do try to go for a walk (about 3 miles) on most days (probably average 4/7) but other than that, life is pretty sedentary.

I have a problem craving carbs in general--but after my a.m. cardio, I really feel like I need carb...and for me, some carbs ends up being more and more carbs.

My reasons for wanting to drop carbs are to try to manage my binge eating, to lose some weight (about 25 pounds), and to deal with migraines.

Do I just need to drop the cardio to adjust? I have not tried dropping cardio--or tried moving it later in the day because it is so convenient for me to do it first thing in the a.m.

Suggestions? Experience? Any and all thoughts are appreciated!

32be195157f00ad15a933b8bb333dcc4

(379)

on January 14, 2013
at 05:06 AM

Binge eating for me is not hunger, not pleasure. It's like an uncontrollable, automatic grabbing and eating food, like a robot. The worst is realizing its happening and not being able to stop. Still working through my issues :) getting better :)

24868bf5aa2c49e269392765932d9dc4

(510)

on January 30, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Just put the book on hold. thank you.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 30, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Although I had to discover and learn it for myself, it's basically the same as I did and I'm so happy to be a (possibly) former binge eater!

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13 Answers

4
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on January 30, 2012
at 01:42 PM

my gym has lesmills classes and i luv combat. when i first went VLC i found it very difficult to complete the entire hour and was unable to maintain the intensity that i nrmally could. but after a couple of weeks i suppose i must have become adapted to burning fat/ketones for fuel and i was my old self. if you try this, be patient and you might get the same results.

3
D8eb01c4eed9c2fe05b915d1d798d50e

on January 14, 2013
at 01:16 PM

"I would like to lower my carbs in an attempt to deal with my binge eating issues,"

A binge eater by definition is someone with hedonic food issues. This has nothing to do with what's on the plate, and everything to do with what is between your ears. Deal with the food issues.

Also, if you are VLCing, your body may be telling you it needs carbohydrates and you are stuffing them in during periods of unnatural, forced abstinence. Look at both issues.

Good luck.

"I think part of my trouble is my reluctance to give up cardio."

Cardio is good for you. Don't give it up. But maybe you don't really like the kind of cardio you are doing? Think about that.

When we force ourselves to do things we don't like doing, we compensate in other ways, such as binge eating.

The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to reduce caloric intake. Carbs have nothing to do with it.

Regarding your walking - great form of exercise by the way - try mixing it up with intervals. Brisk walking/jogging for 10 seconds, then walking. There is a lot of into on the net about interval training.

3
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on January 30, 2012
at 01:33 PM

I would say it's worth trying to drop the cardio, or make it easier. Your priority at the moment is to try and find a way to control your eating - is the cardio worth getting in the way of that? It doesn't have to be all or nothing, just stick to the walking for a week and if the diet seems to be going ok, slowly add back in more activity at a manageable level.

That said, depending on your diet, you should be able to manage that activity anyway so you may just need to see what you can do to avoid that first bite. There's lots of displacement activities that can get you past that. Personally, I'd look into fasting if only because you may find a lot of advice and confidence there about how easily we can adjust to cope with hunger. Maybe not eating anything after the workout will be easiest mentally to stick to, maybe just some green tea will satisfy the stomach, or maybe you do want a big steak. Don't expect it to be easy every time, but the more often you're able to feel fine after working out and not needing carbs straight away the closer you are to your goals.

2
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 30, 2012
at 06:14 PM

Okay, I have just the answer for your binge eating. I was able to stop my own after five long years. I could not believe it myself!

By the way, for your info, it has nothing to do with carbs or exercise. Veggies is my staple, and I include tubers with every single meal. My fruit cravings have completely stopped, but I still eat fruits.

Step 1. Go to the library and get a book "The Beck's Diet Solution" or "The Beck's Diet Solution for life". I prefer to listen to her book on CDs because it is almost like brainwashing and it gets stuck in your head. Follow all the steps. Don't worry, it is not about food. You can be on Paleo or Primal, and still follow her program. It is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and it changes the way you think.

Step 2. Realize that overeating/binge eating is a obsessive-compulsive disorder. After finishing a good meal, if you ever feel hungry and want to eat again, either distract yourself, or do what I do, tell yourself: "I just ate, this is just a craving and an obsessive thought. It will go away. I have to think about something else". It really works for me.

Good luck and don't worry - binge eating will stop, even if it is a very severe case!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 30, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Although I had to discover and learn it for myself, it's basically the same as I did and I'm so happy to be a (possibly) former binge eater!

24868bf5aa2c49e269392765932d9dc4

(510)

on January 30, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Just put the book on hold. thank you.

1
Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on January 14, 2013
at 04:59 AM

About a year ago, I went VLC to lose about 30 pounds. During this time, I did long (30-45min) cardio on the elliptical. When I started doing shorter, more intense intervals, the carb cravings got worse. After I had achieved my weight loss goals, I added moderate (no more than 100g per day) safe starches. I actually still lost weight. My urge to binge, especially on nuts, greatly decreased. So, if you are going VLC, from my personal experience, I would suggest steady cardio since it is more suitable for fat burning rather than glucose burning. Again, as I always say, this is not one size fits all. Don't be afraid to do some experimenting and see what works best for you :)

1
63479974b34930b7bedb12afa19083d3

on January 30, 2012
at 04:28 PM

I've basically been living VLC for a while now (it's my main, steady diet since April 2009) and am a guilty champion of binge eating. It's rough...mentally and physically. From my self-experiments and experiences, I can say this: since I cut out my daily, machine-based cardio, I weigh 10lbs less, eat less, crave sugar/carbs less, and am able to tell myself to stop before the binge goes wild. I walk everyday, yes...3-5 miles at my own pace, but it doesn't set off the same crazy stuff that high energy cardio did. Coffee in the morning (black, with a touch of stevia or erythritol) is a saving grace for me, as well. Hope this helps and am always willing to chat more about this!

1
698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on January 30, 2012
at 03:41 PM

Hi MNH,

First off what is the reason for Cardio? Weight loss? Overall fitness? I really don't see why you can't keep it up to be frank but I think the whole "I need to eat carbs after" is either an excuse or a habit based on years of misinformation - regardless you need one thing: will power. How about this? Don't want to eat crappy foods after your cardio, why are they even available in your house? Toss em.

Have you tried eating a normal (read Paleoish) meal after your workout instead? Couple of eggs, maybe some salsa, bacon etc? The protein really should fill you up enough for a few hrs.

How about coffee or tea? Black coffee is a huge hunger supressor for me and I do a good 30 mins swim daily and weights 3x a week and never refeed on carbs... after a while of doing this your 'carb' crave will just stop being a post cardio habit/reward..

How long have you been VLC? I always find most people after 2 weeks just dont crave the starchy and sugary stuff as much, you change from live to eat to eat to live :)

Best of Luck

0
3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

on January 14, 2013
at 09:48 PM

Intermittent fasting really helped me gain control over my eating problems. After about a year Im down 100 pounds and a lot stronger and less hungrier than ever.

I'd recommend just being more conscious of what you are eating and the ingredients in those foods if fasting isn't your style.

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 14, 2013
at 07:34 PM

I can run half marathons on VLC (<25g a day). I strongly doubt that your carb cravings are caused by a bit of cardio.

0
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on January 14, 2013
at 05:34 PM

Basically, you're not eating enough. You really need to increase your overall volume of food intake to compensate for a sharp cut in carbs.

You know, eat your meals... schedule them how you need to... just gorge yourself on fibrous veggies and fatty meats. It's an exhausting way to eat, believe me. Carb cravings don't stand a chance against 3/4 lb of chuck steak fried in butter with 4-5 leaves of kale, 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 cup of cauliflower.

0
24868bf5aa2c49e269392765932d9dc4

(510)

on January 30, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions. I need some tough love, I think--and will keep the ideas and suggestions given in mind as I work to resolve this. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

0
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on January 30, 2012
at 03:38 PM

Another option to consider - eat before the exercise. This will be naturally self-limiting if you want to avoid feeling ill during the exercise, and the exercise itself may then kill the lingering taste that would drive you back to finish the packet. And ahving eaten already, you should find you're not as hungry afterwards.

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 30, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Can I ask what you define as carbs? And what would a VLC day's meals be for you?

I must admit I don't fully understand the nature of binge eating, but if it is a case of hunger then perhaps add more fats, if it is for pleasure then perhaps just have less of it around the house and again increase the fat in your meal.

But in terms of cardio and carbs, I think a lot of people simply eat a yam/sweet potato after the workout rather than fruit. Personally I have my biggest meal after my workout in the evening which in terms of carb content is simply a whole head of broccoli or bag of spinach. <-- 14.01.12: Edit: These are not carbs at all, I was mistaken back then. I eat yam/sweet potatoes post-workout now.

Edit: Sorry, the reason I ask for definition is that your 'normal' carbs could be much higher than someone else and so going VLC is a different dynamic. Also the carb cravings I find generally only come for refined surgery carbs like pastries/cakes. I don't think I have ever craved a potato or sandwich in my life. So it was only after a week or so of not touching a sugary carb that the cravings stopped. A handful of blueberries seemed to help, a handful of blueberries in full fat yoghurt was the best.

32be195157f00ad15a933b8bb333dcc4

(379)

on January 14, 2013
at 05:06 AM

Binge eating for me is not hunger, not pleasure. It's like an uncontrollable, automatic grabbing and eating food, like a robot. The worst is realizing its happening and not being able to stop. Still working through my issues :) getting better :)

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