3

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Binge Eating Disorder and Paleo

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 03, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Hi everyone!

So I've been struggling with BED for years now, and the episodes have become more and more frequent over the past few months. I eat pretty healthy on a regular basis, and then go into these maniacal eating sprees where I can scarf down anywhere up to 7,000 calories of processed high carb/sugar foods-cookies, candy bars, cereal. I was wondering whether there are any binge eaters out there, and what Paleo has done for them? Anyone else's input would be appreciated as well. I know that bingeing is, to some degree, prompted by physiological triggers, and I was wondering whether a Paleo lifestyle could possibly help reduce these?

3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

(2262)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:02 AM

I think it has helped a lot of women have a better relationship with their bodies, but I think diet and treatment have to meet in the middle somewhere. This is something that never really goes away, it is always lurking there in the back of your mind, so it is really important to develop a healthy relationship with food.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:43 AM

Look into Leptin reset. Binge eaters usually have out of whack hunger hormones. Leptin signals your brain to stop eating when you have had enough.In Binge eaters, they no longer produce this hormone. From now one eat only when you are hungry.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:31 AM

Stress reduction, sleeping earlier, hanging out with positive people helps. Keep busy in your social life and you wont have to think about eating. When you feel like your going to binge, go for a walk. I know how you feel:(. It's not easy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:29 AM

High fat meals will keep your satisfied without having to even think about food.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:28 AM

Realize that you don't NEED to eat as much as you think you do. You only really need to eat about 2 medium sized meals a day.You body only utilizes and absorbs so many nutrients at a time. Eat high fat and low carb. High fat meals will keep you fuller throughout the day. This helped me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:26 AM

I am still struggling with this issue as well. Do you binge when you're alone or in social settings? Do you binge when you're feeling mad, sad frustrated or stressed out?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on August 03, 2012
at 06:45 PM

This is something that took me a LONG time to figure out. Paleo won't help binge eating, but neither will any other diet. Psychologically, a binge on carrots and celery is still as much of a problem as a binge on chocolate chip cookies. The veggies might not have the calories of the cookies, but the binge can still be horrible for your mental state. I've dealt with binge eating disorder and bulimia off and on for about fifteen years, and only dealing with the underlying psychological issues have helped. Eating paleo-ish has, however, helped me learn to be kinder to my body in general.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:50 PM

+1 for fat. I know that the days that I feel "bingey" are the ones where my fat intake is not high enough.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:32 PM

It isn't that simple - for me it's emotions, stress, feelings of deprivation or inadequacy (and subsequent desire for escape), combined with something like a sugar craving.

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15 Answers

7
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on August 03, 2012
at 11:50 AM

Unfortunately paleo cannot fix this problem entirely on it's own, you have to undress the underlying psychological causes of the binge eating. Paleo will help in the sense that you will feel more sated, and less hungry most of the time. Also, binging on whole food paleo goodies is better for you than a bag of oreos, but really diet alone cant cure the problem.

3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

(2262)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:02 AM

I think it has helped a lot of women have a better relationship with their bodies, but I think diet and treatment have to meet in the middle somewhere. This is something that never really goes away, it is always lurking there in the back of your mind, so it is really important to develop a healthy relationship with food.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on August 03, 2012
at 06:45 PM

This is something that took me a LONG time to figure out. Paleo won't help binge eating, but neither will any other diet. Psychologically, a binge on carrots and celery is still as much of a problem as a binge on chocolate chip cookies. The veggies might not have the calories of the cookies, but the binge can still be horrible for your mental state. I've dealt with binge eating disorder and bulimia off and on for about fifteen years, and only dealing with the underlying psychological issues have helped. Eating paleo-ish has, however, helped me learn to be kinder to my body in general.

5
Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on August 03, 2012
at 11:48 AM

I've struggled with binge eating from a young age and Paleo seems to have helped a lot.

For the last few years I've had depression over the winter months and was hospitalised earlier this year because of it, and I was binging every single day on sugary, carby junk.

Since I discovered Paleo (around February) my binges have been much less frequent, and I've been tweaking things to make it better and better.

I haven't had a binge now for a fortnight (I know, not long, but it's the longest I've been without a binge for over 18 months) and upping my carbs from 30g a day to 60g a day has made the difference there.

I'm not overweight but I'm looking to lean out a little, lose about 10-15lbs of fat and get my abs back through (female). In terms of binging, upping my fat and never letting my carbs go over 100g (all those carbs coming from leafy greens, broccoli, berries and Greek yoghurt) means I never get hungry enough to have a binge like I used to.

Before I would find that my sugar-based diet fuelled my hunger to the extent that when I would shop I'd buy 3x times than I could actually eat because I felt like I'd never be full again!

3
A7d60508bc045667a2c970b3e221c138

on August 03, 2012
at 04:02 PM

I never had a binge issue in my life until I had been very low carb (as in, <20 for over 1.5 years) for too long, apparently. I was taken by surprise and totally alarmed when they began to occur regularly. I've just recently confirmed my suspicion that that those "binges" were thanks to the fact that my body was screaming for something, and I believe that it was for both potassium and YES, glucose. I had resisted for about a year because of my rigid belief in the negative effects of any and all carbs on my body. Regardless, I was now miserable physically and mentally and the binge issue was just the tip of the iceberg. I had to do something to stop the downhill slide that was picking up speed.

I tried everything, and I mean everything, before adding back the dreaded carb. I started with a sweet potato a day and the change was instantaneous and nothing short of amazing. It was like I had come back to life. The effect on my mood and energy alone told me that this was most definitely what I needed. I had energy to work out, I WANTED to work out and ENJOYED working out for the first time in ages. I did gain a couple of lbs of water weight but it quickly dropped off and I knew that since my body now had a brand new take on workouts and this new-found energy, I would be able to get rid of anything I gained initally - and then some. Just as reassuring as the energy and mood issues was the fact that I finally remembered what it felt like to be full and satisfied after eating. I no longer felt like once I started eating, the dam had broken and I had to force myself stop because I wasn't feeling "nourished", for lack of a better word. This has been HUGE. HUGE!!!

Long story short, I strongly feel that sometimes there is a missing nutrient - whether it be a vitamin, mineral, electrolyte, etc., that our body is lacking and begging us to take in - which contributes strongly to the urge to binge. I'm not saying that this is the answer to binge eating disorders as obviously there is a major psychological component present, but that making it a priority to address the physiological aspect and making sure that your body is well-nourished and receiving adequate nutrition will level the playing field somewhat and help rule out many of the possible physical origins. It's a big enough challenge when our body is bucking up against the effects of psychological deprivation involved in chronic dieting, or "watching our weight", but coupled with its attempts to have its basic metabolic needs met, it can feel like too much and we eventually cave, again and again.

Best of luck to you!

3
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:13 PM

i am a binger. according to my mother it started the moment solid food was introduced into my diet.

i have dealt with it in different ways over the years; for a while i binge drank instead and for a couple of years i embraced the roaring hunger as a sign that i was indeed losing weight and suffered.

once i went low carb, i felt bingy less frequently and so i fed the odd urge plain rice cakes; i once ate 20 of them and the only reason i stopped was because i ran out. another tactic that worked for a while was to eat eggs when i felt bingy. lately it has been a bottle of water and an avocado. i am beginning to think that fat is the key to shutting them down.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:50 PM

+1 for fat. I know that the days that I feel "bingey" are the ones where my fat intake is not high enough.

2
810e3811e3f579caa55a860cb5e51dc4

on August 04, 2012
at 12:11 AM

I share your struggles. I do believe that Paleo has helped me in these ways: first, if I eat clean, my cravings are reduced after about a week of consistent eating. It seems like every time I indulge in something sugar-y, then I have to start over. Second, my stomach is far more sensitive to "cheating" - any grains or sugar causes some noticeable amount of intestinal distress. Third, related to the above, my mentality toward food has changed: now I don't use guilt to prevent indulgences (e.g., you're so lazy/fat/weak if you eat this), but rather more rational thought (e.g., if you eat this, your stomach will feel painful and your clothes will feel awkward and tight). I see this as a positive attitudinal shift toward food. It's also easier to manage as logical thought is easier to control than emotions.

I also want to mention one point that others may not agree with: in my struggles with over-eating, I have done a lot of private therapy and self-research on the subject. Time and again, I was advised to look for the root cause of my binging - that is, there must be some traumatic life event OR some insecurity OR some unmet need causing my binging, and if I could just find it and treat it, the binging would ease. This approach did not work for me; the root cause is elusive, or perhaps not even there. One book that did help me immensely is Kathryn Hansen's Brain Over Binge. She agrees with the sentiment that for SOME people, there is not always some emotional damage or emotional sinkhole causing the binging. Instead, it's more about how our brain is wired. This perspective is may be quite compatible with the paleo tradition - our brains as being hard-wired to seek carb-heavy foods as such will protect us against famines. In this vein, our "animal brain" (as she and the psychologist she draws from put it) tries to control our appetites, inducing binge eating when available. (And it's nearly always available in our modern world.) It's up to use evolved creatures to use our "rational brain" to use logic to overcome our binges. She basically tells us we need to have our "rational brain" tell our "animal brain" to shut-up. The beauty of evolution is that we can use our "rational brain" for this purpose.

Hope this helps. This is just my perspective, but perhaps its different angle will help.

1
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on August 21, 2012
at 04:44 PM

My best coping mechanisms for my binge eating problems

Strictly and without exception do not keep ANY trigger foods in the house, my husband has just had to get used to this.

Eat a relatively lowish-carb diet

Lots of seafood (some every single day is my Preference)

Making sure I'm getting enough magnesium seems to be an ongoing issue. I find when I Am getting it, my anxieties and compulsive behavior lessen

Consciously and slowly Put my fork down in between bites and breathe or talk if you're at the table with others

Sipping warm tea, coffee, or bone broth. It gives a feeling of fullness in etween meals without adding calories or triggering binges

Get enough sleep, turn the contraptions off after 9pm at the latest and sleep in a dark quet place. I cannot stress enough how much more I binge when I'm sleep deprived.

Have a buddy you can confide in when you slip up. Even if it's a pen pal from an overeaters anonymous forum or other eating disorder group. in person, or someone you can call or text personals is even better.

Mindfulness, self forgiveness, and being gentle with yourself. Realize that if you slip up, the next day, hour, week... Whatever is your tabula rasa. Just because you slipped up this hour doesn't mean you should just say "F%#??? it!" and keep on bingeing all day or week. As soon as you get a hold of yourself, throw all the offending food in the garbage or walk out of the store or restaurant and start out clean.

1
14e1dbdd25db00d2c9db36d6a695f6cb

on August 04, 2012
at 04:18 AM

I've been in a binge cycle lately, as well...

As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to order a supplement called SynaptogenX, it's supposed to help balance out the neurotransmitters and specifically, dopamine. I came across it while researching "Reward Deficiency Syndrome", which I was led to while hacking away eating disorder topics.

I know that will-power is a HUGE part of not succumbing to the binge... but sometimes I feel like my body is inhabited by an alien life force and I'm watching from a distance as it controls my body and steers it toward that bag of olive oil potato chips and bottle of heavy whipping cream. Oh and milk chocolate, too.

I really feel like hormones and their balance or lack thereof play such a huge part in why we do what we do (food or otherwise). When I was VLC was the only time I did not have ANY food cravings, but mood and exercise really sucked. I also gained weight on VLC, super bloated out. As soon as I added back in some carbs, I felt better but bam! Food cravings galore.

Frustrating.....

1
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 03, 2012
at 06:21 PM

I feel your pain. I have eaten an entire tub of Trader Joe's chocolate chip cookies washed down with quart of Half n Half in the parking lot of said TJ's. It ain't easy.

Lately I've had to face home made cream puffs and chocolate chip cookies and really had no desire to indulge. It takes time. It takes getting back up on the horse after falling in a pile of poo. It does, eventually, get better.

But it is like any other habit. One cigarette can trigger restarting smoking as one drink can trigger an alcoholic binge.

1
C7960eecd671a3ac8a1700445631b74a

on August 03, 2012
at 01:02 PM

What are your trigger foods?

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:32 PM

It isn't that simple - for me it's emotions, stress, feelings of deprivation or inadequacy (and subsequent desire for escape), combined with something like a sugar craving.

0
74d3afd30ebc0d604d56c6de897bb9a8

(100)

on August 21, 2012
at 06:31 PM

I found that what helped me, the only thing that helped me, was the Leptin Reset. Visit jack kruse website. it sounds crazy but I had a bad habit of not eating at regular meal times, pushing until exhaustion, and then inhaling everything in site. Until I started eating a ton of protein with a ton of fat as soon as I woke up, I was always starving, as crazy as that sounds.

He calls for 50 g, which I stuck to, but sometimes I ate up to 70 g, plus butter. Yes, it's tough because it's boring sometimes, in which case, add a little veg/and more fat.

I don't like eggs/don't feel full after eating them so I did chicken, beef, fish, pork and lamb for breakfast.

If you're stil hungry, increase the fat with your protein. I mean, like 1/2 a stick of butter + coconut oil, if you can. Yes, I put on weight, but I couldn't eat the rest of the day, and it was the first time I couldn't snack, didn't want to snack, in a long time.

And more over, you hit a point, with that much fat, where your body's not happy. versus mindless grazing/scarfing, you realize, "wow this macronutrient is a lot more satiating, and there is too much of a good thing."

It was an important tipping point for me, like, "wow, there is something that can fill me up and not make me crave crunchy or sweet foods." there's a psychological component but also a chemical component to your binge eating, and you're probably not well nourished - you're probably lacking in some vitamin or mineral.

So it sounds crazy, but I think at least 50g of protein and fat in the morning for several weeks, your brain doesn't hit satiation. Meaning, how do you get to the point you don't want to eat anymore? It's pretty complex, and this article, plus jack kruse's leptin reset, explain a lot of it.

http://www.gnolls.org/2304/why-are-we-hungry-part-1-what-is-hunger-liking-vs-wanting-satiation-vs-satiety/

Good luck! I promise, there's hope!

0
7f1e48db1bee85b9ef8a4bc4baedd044

on August 21, 2012
at 08:25 AM

A few suggestions:

  • Spending more time chewing and mixing food with saliva can make you more satieted with less food. Check out Attentive Eating. Fibrous foods such as carrots and cabbages are excellent for practicing this eating habit.
  • Natural salt helps with satiety, energy and hydration. Try experimenting with increasing your salt intake.
  • Keep only the healthy foods in your house, abundantly.
  • Increase your fat intake.
  • Don't feel bad about eating healthy carbs, especially when you have a high activity level.
  • Fructose(and sucrose) is probably one of the main factors in bingeing. Fructose disrupts your bodys' satiety feedback. It makes you think you're in starvation mode even when you have a stomach full of food. The popular ingredient High Fructose Corn Syrup(HFCS) is found in almost every junk food. Leptin reset by Jack Kruse is a good protocol to follow.
  • I recommend you look into neurofeedback. Basically neurofeedback trains your brain to form new habits and has been used to treat ADD, PTSD, epilepsy, and various addictions such as food, drug(ex. cocaine and meth), alcohol, smoking etc. Try contacting Nora Gedgaudas for a few neurofeedback sessions. The only downside is that it might be cost prohibitive.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:41 AM

I don't think of myself as a binge eater but I probably am. I never has they psychology of turning to food for comfort, control etc... but being that I was almost 500lbs on a vegitarian diet I have to say that I probably qualify. I discovered early on in my weightloss that if my carb level got too high I would end up disgustingly hungry - on the order of 6-8 cups of rice, 1 liter of fruit smoothie and 3 lbs of starchy veggies. So, early on, I had to go quite low-carb, dump wheat etc... and the weight dropped. Now that I'm down to 280ish I can eat yams, fruit etc... and the weight doesn't come off quite as quick, but I gain some extra muscle. It's a trade off.

So my appetite has been normal on Low/Lowish carb Paleo....

0
D4d0165711da841beafe7292b710a532

on August 03, 2012
at 06:23 PM

i started binge eating after a really restricted diet back in college. 10 years later i was still going in and out of binge phases. i have been eating primal, keeping carbs in the 60/70g range and fats almost 50% of my diet. the first few weeks sucked- i think it was my body learning to burn the fat, and not have the sugar.

i can honestly say that now and then i think of binge eating but a few things usually stop me: i am too freaking full already, binging would mean leaving the house since my house is stocked 99% primal (awesome roommates!), and to binge on my primal foods would be way more expensive than on crappy cheap carbs.

i do have a cheat meal or lax day (still san-wheat) and find that i do want to binge after those meals, so i usually try to cheat when i have something planned after that can help prevent me from binge eating crap.

0
C5bc3b2dd902c637a57ec9868ca1adfe

on August 03, 2012
at 04:17 PM

I faced a whole garlic chicken pesto pizza last night with ranch, Krispy Kreme donuts and an extra large nepolitan in n out milkshake yo my triggers r boredom so keep your mind occupied set goals and pursue them always thinking ahead. Sometimes when I binge I step back n think.."you can just eat a small meal again in 2 hours instead of binging but obviously there's a psych. issue present with BED my ex had a bad one and I went to her counselling appts. With her and learned some things. Nutrient deficiency could be a trigger. I have always just loved food I'm not sure what the psych. Issues with me are. I do find that if the fridge is stocked with healthy food at least you can eat that instead of gross things like I did last night because well, my fridge was empty. Sleep cycle is important with BED. Sleep @ a set time every night and get a full nights rest. W/O that key step your body obviously will have funky hormone balances from lack of sleep and maybe you're body try's to make up for that imbalance with caloric intake. As far as paleo curing BED, I think it can help IF you take your Paleolithic diet seriously. As I said set goals and think about the long term in the future aspect. Recently my stomach has started to tank on me from my BED. So I woke up today feeling like shit where as in my high school days I could BED and feel fine hit the gym in the morning and sweat it out, this is no longer the case so much as I have acid gurgling up now and my stomach is definitely having some pains from digesting all that gross bad devil stuff for me. This is why I said fuck it and having my discipline control my BED because I remind myself of how bad my body will feel afterwards. Also I began to consider my heart health. We can't all be Peter pans

-1
3fd76a804a1bb5c082af54a792cd4ae2

on August 21, 2012
at 07:48 AM

Yours blog is very attractive. I like it very much. Thanks for shares http://bingeeatinghelponline.com/

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