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MollyK

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I would be very grateful for any advice/help on controling binge eating. I have had bulimia since I was about 15. I have been painfully thin to overweight and my weight yoyos all the time.

I was recently on the Atkins diet and that helped me get a little bit of control, but its oh so boring.

I have noticed my eating binges are linked to when I feel upset, afraid or depressed. I panic afterwards about how fat I will become and get really afraid if I cant get rid of it all. I think I may just be able to control the purging (although I havent really tried) but I cant control the need to binge out.

Are there any practical ways to stop myself over eating like this?

Thanks!
 

David Baxter

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mollyK said:
have noticed my eating binges are linked to when I feel upset, afraid or depressed.
This is the key. Binging is satisfying some emotional need, not a physical one... reassuring you, comforting or consoling you, unwinding, stress/anxiety reduction, relieving depression, getting rid of anger, relieving boredom or loneliness, or perhaps it's about controlling a world around you that seems out of control... Look at what it is that eating is helping you to "stuff away" or avoid, and then find other ways to deal with those feelings, and you will be well on the way to a "cure".

I was recently on the Atkins diet and that helped me get a little bit of control, but its oh so boring.
In my opinion, it's also unhealthy and self-defeating, although I know there are people who will disagree. Atkins will help you to lose initially but you will plateau and over the long term it is no better than any other diet in terms of weight loss and probably not as healthy as other ways.

My own bias about dieting is that most diets are doomed to failure over the long term because they deprive you of eating what you want to eat. So typically people lose weight and then get to the point where they feel happy about the weight they have lost and reward themselves by eating those things they havem't been able to eat over the course of the diet. This perpetuates a loss-gain-loss-gain cycle and is horrendous in terms of its effect on self-esteem.

What works better for some people is the Weight Watchers approach, where in essence you learn about the costs of each food -- eat what you want but in smaller quantities and eting something that is high caloric means you need to reduce the amounts of other things to compensate.

But even that isn't very good for binge eating because it doesn't directly address the emotional factors...

A good therapist who is experienced in treating eating disorders can be invaluable.
 

MollyK

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Hi David

Thank you for your reply. I have tried to 'catch hold' of the thoughts prior to binging out. I seem to be at the fridge in a panic kind of mentality before I have got hold of what need it is meeting. I did feel there was a lot of fear and a bit like a small child running to a parent, I am running to food! Sometimes I throw it all up and do the same again an hour later. I feel really guilty and ashamed after but the prospect of gaining weight is even worse.

I am seeing a therapist at the moment, but she is working on other issues that seemed to be more important and we havent touched on this yet - but I think its all inter-linked.

Think maybe I will have a pen and paper and write down whats going on just before
 

David Baxter

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I am seeing a therapist at the moment, but she is working on other issues that seemed to be more important and we havent touched on this yet - but I think its all inter-linked.
I do too. I assume the therapist is aware of your problem with food though?
 
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I believe that the probleme is not really the eating disorder and that your therapist is trying to work that out so after you will realise maybe that you do not need to controle your eating habits cause you will have regained the control on the real reason you developped an e-d but well that my opinion I am no dr or anything but my therapist works the same way and I asked him why and that is what he told me I hope it is of use to you
yours trulyl
ashley-kate
 

Eunoia

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I don't know if anyone will agree w/ this or not but I think obviously knowing reasons behind binge eating will help you control it a lot more... but meanwhile and if per se you know you're upset (as an ex) but really really feel like you have to binge, try to distract yourself from that excaxt thought. get away from food, the kitchen, and get around people that way you're more or less keeping yourself from bingeing at that moment. start being really involved in something like a chore etc. or get out of the house for some fresh air. try some light exercise like walking. and if you have to binge if it helps at all try to "binge" on something more or less healthy...ie. fruits, veggies. hopefully this helps. it's insightful if you can get in the habit of writing down your feelings/emotions just b/f you feel like you have to binge (as you said). you could show that to your therapist too.
 
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I agree copmpletly with you casue it is very logic what you are saying if you are in a stressful situation leave it go somewere else to think things over and get calme to regain control over the situation nd to not have to control what you eat
luv always
ashley
 

MollyK

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Hi and thanks for your reply

I can of course see the logic of what you are saying. I have had this problem for a very long time - years! I have tried every practical approach ever invented to try and get some control over this. I cannot distract myself, or "binge on healthy food" If I could gain control over what I am eating, I think I would not find it necessary to binge. Its like a moment of complete madness. Just before I am about to binge, its like a total over-powering despair. I go to the kitchen and cram food in - any food as if I would die if I didnt. I eat it really fast and a lot of it - it tends to be carbohydrates and sweet things - maybe because they are to hand.

I have tried to be calm and use distrations, really I have. Even to go out, but I just end up with the same binging/purging behaviour later on in the evening. It is not a time I can utilise rational thinking, no matter how I try. Afterwards when I have got rid of it all, I feel terrible, I really hate myself for loosing it and vow I wont let it happen again (I am actually a very logical and rational person outside of these episodes).

I suppose what I am saying is, I cannot implement rational approaches to something that is so irrational and uncontrollable (or thats how it feels)
 

MollyK

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Hi David

I just read your post with interest and I share your views about diets. I think they actually make you become obsessed with food.

I did at one point try the Atkins diet however, and contrary to a lot of traditionally held opinions about this, it is not all fat and red meat. I actually ate a lot of salads, berry fruit, nuts and vegetables on this, as well as chicken and fish. Anyway, I did oddly notice that by restricting carbohydrates, i also managed to control bulimic episodes considerably more than I do normally. For some reason I wasnt constantly hungry.

I sometimes wonder if there is a biological element to eating disorders that are traditionally believed to be purely emotionally linked.

even though I am now at a normal weight. I am constantly hungry. I could always eat. I am aware of the emotional links with food having done much reading in an attempt to heal my own problems, I have noticed a strong correlation to when I am upset and unable to deal with things and binging/purging, but at the same time I did not have this constant craving and binging episodes nearly as often when I reduced my carbohydrate intake - making me wonder if this was related to a physical problem too
 

Daniel

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Early humans (before it became easy to process grain) ate roughly the same percentage of fats, proteins, and carbs as the Atkins diet. That's why I think the Atkins diet/lifestyle makes sense for some people.
 

katelynw

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It amazes me how you all can talk about the underlined meaning of an eating disorder and I was kinda wondering how you all figured it out. IN my bulimia i see no underline meaning except for maybe that its just a habit. I try not to over eat but eating one bowl of cereal is not the same as eating half a box. My reflexes just tell me just to grab and go for more and then I'm stuck pigging out on everything in my house leaving nothing but wrappings. If anyone has any advice for me with control I'd love to hear it because im beyond out of control.
Thanks.
 

Diana

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I don't think that anyone is saying that eating disorders have no emotional element. I think that some people are just looking at some of the possible intertwined causes. Of course ed's are linked to emotion. If we were all just purely logical we wouldn't starve ourselves or binge. Our bodies certainly don't logically need that. That's why ed's are so difficult to deal with because first you have to figure out where these emotions and fears are coming from. Then, if you can figure them out, you have to find a way to not let them take control. I'm not being hopeless here, anybody has the ability to get better. But, it can be a long and difficult process. Just going to a therapist and acknowledging that you have a problem is great. Be fair to yourself and give yourself time.

As far as diets are concerned, has anybody ever heard of the ABS diet. I never actually went on it, but I've taken quite a few tips from it. Actually, I don't really consider it so much a diet. It's not about counting calories or anything. It takes the letters ABS DIET POWER 12 and lists certain foods that you should eat a lot of. For example, A - almonds, B - berries, S - spinach and so on. The diet is also geared towards building muscle, so eating enough food is important. It doesn't really count any kind of food out. It just suggests that you surround yourself with the food that's on the list and eat less of other things. It doesn't count out carbs, or protein, but it does give suggestions for lower fat foods. It also has you eating 6 times a day (small meals), so that you keep your metabolism up and you'll never really be hungry. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it because it's the best "diet" I think I've ever seen.
 

MollyK

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It amazes me how you all can talk about the underlined meaning of an eating disorder and I was kinda wondering how you all figured it out. IN my bulimia i see no underline meaning except for maybe that its just a habit. I try not to over eat but eating one bowl of cereal is not the same as eating half a box. My reflexes just tell me just to grab and go for more and then I'm stuck pigging out on everything in my house leaving nothing but wrappings. If anyone has any advice for me with control I'd love to hear it because im beyond out of control.
Thanks.

Hi there Katelynw

I can relate to what you are saying and for a long time, I didnt have a clue what this behaviour is all about. Well I knew that it wasnt really about food, but food was an instrument. If it were just about hunger, we would be filled up. I did find this a bit helpful to get a bit of insight. Just before I was to binge, I made myself go get a pen and paper and write down what I was feeling. Made myself ask questions, like is this hunger for food or some other kind of need? What am I feeling? What was I feeling just before? Seeing things written in black and white not only makes to think about whats really going on, you tend to remember things more.

I would most often however, after writing it down, go binge anyway - but it did give me a bit of understanding into what was going on with me

I think its a way of coping or masking difficult emotions that are painful and difficult, so we act them out in this way. To give an example, the last time this happened I was driving home from work feeling really rejected by a couple of colleagues and then started a downward spiral of thinking, like, I dont fit in, I dont belong anywhere, I'm unhappy, I never will feel right, I a failure etc etc . I was in tears by the time I reached home, no one was in and I made straight for the fridge cramming food down my neck with speed and without stopping to think. Then I really really hate myself and If I couldnt get rid of it after, I would then really panic about gaining weight, i.e. being fat and so unlovable and worthless (my perception!) I think this is a common scenario for a lot of bulimics

Katelyn are you getting any help and support? People DO beat this problem with help. I wish you well!
 

MollyK

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Hi Diane

The ABS diet sounds a bit like the GI diet. Can you tell me where I can get more info? thanks

I like diets that give you foods that you can have without limit, because there is no sense of deprivation.
 

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There is nothing magical about the ABS diet, of course. The marketing is very good since it feeds the craze for getting "sexy abs," and it focuses more on building muscle tone. It does have an easy-to-remember grocery list, which is convenient:

Almonds and other nuts
Beans and legumes
Spinach, other green vegetables

Dairy (fat-free or 1% milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese)
Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored)
Eggs
Turkey and other lean meats

Peanut Butter (all-natural, sugar-free)
Olive oil
Whole-grain breads/cereals
Extra-protein (whey) powder
Raspberries and other berries
 

Diana

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Thanks Daniel. No, there's nothing magical about it. I just think it gives some good tips and suggestions for people who feel the need to have some structure to their diets. And it doesn't completely count anything out. In fact, I remember reading a quote from the man who created the diet in which he said to PLEASE "go off" the diet about once a week. Take one day a week to eat whatever you want. In fact, you're not even really going off the diet by doing this. And, ultimately you're cravings will be limited anyway because you won't be lacking in nutrition if you follow the diet.

I don't have a specific website for you now, but the name of the man who created the diet is David Zinczenko. If you do a search on him, you should be able to find info and lists of the books he's written.

I don't know anything about the GI diet, so I don't know how similar it is. David Z is also the editor (I think) of Men's Health Magazine, so you can find stuff about the ABS diet by reading that. Yes, the diet is for women too.
 

Daniel

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David Z is also the editor (I think) of Men's Health Magazine, so you can find stuff about the ABS diet by reading that.

Yes, a good amount of info about the diet is there, including recipes: Mens Health: Abs Diet

More info about the 12 "power food" types is at the official website of the Abs Diet. As Diana says, they do seem to helpful in giving structure to meal plans:

The Abs Diet encourages you to focus on (not restrict yourself to) a generous market basket of food type - the Abs Diet Power - to fulfill your core nutritional needs

The FDA's new Supertracker can also be helpful and provides tips for each food group. Also provided are assessment tools that can track one's food intake and exercise for up to 1 year.
 

katelynw

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mollyk-
when i used to go to therapy thats what my therapist would tell me. i would say i would try it but i never would cuz i was in such a rush to just binge and purge and get it all over with. i would even think about feelings ( i dont think) except maybe like boredom. and now its just a trigger reaction. when i wake up i go and binge. most of teh time i really dont want to do it but its just a habit. have you been through that. i hate that so much and i just cant seem to find any answers with my bulimia. im stubborn so i fought my parents about therapy and i won cuz i agreed to take depression pills.
katelyn
 

MollyK

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Hi Katelyn

Yes I do think that this behaviour becomes a habit. I have battled with this problem for years and it can be such a deeply entrenched pattern of behaviour that eating normally seems really alien. I also think there is a lot of self-loathing "Im fat I hate myself" kind of thinking, the more you hate yourself, the more you abuse yourself with this behaviour.

I have often heard people say that eating disorders are about control. I have always felt that I was totally out of control, although getting rid of all the food made me feel like crap, but at least I had some control over my weight (I felt) for a while.

Something I also found helpful is in the US there is quite a big movement towards "inner child" work. There is also a website www.innerbonding.com
where you learn to love your own inner child. I was a bit skeptical at first, but then found what I was learning to be helpful in helping get a sense of self worth. I have got a lot more control of it in the last few years (although I still have the problem that escalates at times) but well, I still think its progress even though I have a long way to go to get free of my problems.

The right therapy can be a great help in making us consider new ideas, helping us rethink our mistaken perceptions and help to change our ideas about ourselves and the world, but it does involve some effort on our part. You have to want to get well and want to face and deal with your problems I suppose before any movement of them can take place. I think sometimes however that a sense of self-loathing keeps firmly in the prblem, we feel that we cant get well or dont deserve to feel better. You are an innately good and valuable person, as I am. This isnt dependent on looks or anyone else's opinion of us. you are Good, as you are! We have a right to be well and happy..

Anti depressants do help with the horrible symptoms of depression, which always go with this (although they didnt help much for me) but they are still a temporary crutch and dont deal with real issues. No one is going to come and heal us if we dont want to cooperate and work towards healing, we do have to take responsibility for getting well and utilise all the help we can, either psychotherapy, an eating disorder clinic, self help, or all of those, but it is possible to get well Katelyn and if you do your best and follow advise and utilise all the help that is available, even though this might be a painful learning process along the way, you can get better and have the peace and stability that you not only need but DESERVE

Love yourself and take care of yourself and get some help! Good luck.
 

katelynw

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yeah thats exactly how i feel. everyones talking about how their eating disorders are from control and im thinking, i have absolutely no control. im completely out of control. and it scares me so much. and i am very negative and i just dont know what to do anymore.
therapy would be nice but im just filled with guilt when i ask for help. we have to sell our house now because me and my sister have caused so much trouble with our eating disorders. of course my parents encourage us getting help and tell us not to be guilty but i just cant do it.
 

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