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Help...Emotional Binge Eating

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  • Help...Emotional Binge Eating

    I guess the topic says it all. I *know* in my head that binge eating is horrible and this particularly happens when I am stressed or emotional about something. It sucks because a few days on a binge and you feel like all your primal values and effort went down the drain.

    Any motivational tips/success stories you guys have that can help me get off this? I'm usually 90% primal but lately have been giving in to ALL THINGS BAD!!! :*(

  • #2

    You can't stop binge eating until you address the underlying psychological reasons behind your compulsive consumption. I can go 100% primal for weeks at a time if I am in a sound state of mind, but once I get loaded with work or exam time comes around I start craving old staples like bread, peanut butter, pasta, donuts, chocolate... you get the picture.

    Remove the roots to remove the symptoms, I say.


    • #3

      I could write pages about this, but I'll try to be succinct here. (Please do e-mail me privately if you (or anybody else) at if you want to discuss things in further depth.)

      I don't purport to have all the answers, but this issue hA


      • #4

        Yes...I know. It's almost as if I need to hear what we all already know and pound it into my head! I know that the root of the problem needs to be addressed, that understanding that food won't resolve the issue, and that moment of "oh what the heck" will turn into torture and guilt should be reason enough to stop.

        I guess I just needed to post and hear from you guys especially today.


        • #5

          ( cat decided to stroll across the keyboard.)

          OK, here it is:

          I could write pages about this, but I'll try to be succinct here. (Please do e-mail me privately if you (or anybody else) at if you want to discuss things in further depth.)

          I don't purport to have all the answers, but this issue has been THE issue of my life. I've been bingeing my brains out since I was 17; I just turned 40.

          Of all the many things I've tried, I have to say that therapy worked the least.

          What HAS worked (and I do them all in conjunction -- I don't think one thing alone "kicked" it for me):

          -- 5-HTP: A natural amino acid that repletes serotonin. Serotonin deficiency is a HUGE element of this, and I rarely see this addressed. Two books I would urge you to read:

          Anatomy of a Food Addiction: The Biochemistry of Overeating

          5-HTP: The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia

          There is a whole subsection in this book about binge eating and carboyhydrates, called Bulimia: An Extreme Form of Carbohydrate Addiction (I would also add Binge Eating Disorder in this.)

          Other things that have worked for me:

          -- an essential oil (must be therapeutic grade, not aromatic grade) called VALOR

          -- Kundalini Yoga (this type specifically)

          -- Overeaters Anonymous (for all issues with food, even anorexics go)

          -- acupuncture

          -- body work/energy work

          -- journaling

          -- learning to love myself so that I could never harm myself so badly

          -- eating primally

          -- the tonal approach (a branch of chiropractic that deals with the neurological system)


          • #6

            CJ4400 - I do the same when I get stressed. Not all the time thank God. but enough. I just got off the phone with my daughter who is majorly stressed, in college, struggling financially, engaged, etc and when I hung up I realized i ate 3 medjool dates and proabaly a half cup of almond butter. Was headed to bed when she called! I think I will email Ginger and see what she has to say. I am always open to suggestions. I know it is discipline. Been there, military background, success at many things I have wanted to do but cannot master this one. Am about resolved to quit beating myself up and cont PB as much as I can and enjoy life. I am training a high school ski team and am able to hang with them in the workouts I put them through so not doing too bad I guess. sorry - went off the subject....


            • #7

              Thanks for sharing the info Ginger - will look at all.


              • #8

                Thank you all for the info. It feels good to know that you're not the only one that experiences this.

                Ginger, thanks for sharing and being so open about what you learned. I will read into some of the things you covered on your list. I definitely agree that going Primal has helped tremendously in combatting emotional binging. Thank goodness for Mark and the MDA community!


                • #9

                  I'm guilty of it too, especially lately.

                  My triggers:

                  Stress. "I'm working like crazy. I need to relax, so I'm going to sit here and eat almond butter and chocolate chips."

                  Depression. Junk food makes me happy... in the moment.


                  Boredom, occasionally. This one doesn't get me much anymore. It's mostly Stress and Depression now.


                  • #10


                    Discipline is SO not what it's about! I have more discipline than anyone I know. I once went 14 days without eating a single thing -- not even a stick of gum. And, yet, my ability to stop the bingeing was completely, utterly beyond my control.

                    Sorry, but the discipline thing this is a huge pet-peeve for me. Haven't we beaten ourselves up enough? The last thing we need is some dumb personal trainer who has no idea what they are talking about basically telling us to "buck up and be strong."

                    There's so much more going on there, including biochemistry. You can't fight biology; you will lose. It was a watershed moment when I finally came to the realization that, rather than hating myself/my body's weakness, my poor body was doing what it needed to do to get the serotonin it desperately needed. Next to the brain, the most serotonin receptors are located in the stomach (or intestines?--I'm not exactly clear on that).

                    Anyway, another thing that helps a lot is to keep things simple. I don't overcommit anymore and I make sure I take plenty of time for myself to just do nothing and rest. (Just as the PB says.) Also, becoming more self-centered and looking out for MY best interests for a change, rather than taking care of everybody else, helped as well.

                    ::: hugs to all :::


                    • #11

                      Diana Renata - I must say...lonliness/boredom is something that triggers severe munching for me too! That is annoying and therefore I try to get out of the house as much as possible.

                      Ginger - 5HTP is something I need to read up on (based on what you wrote). Biochemistry is such a mystery to me and yet I'm learning more each and every day how much it is a part of our lives and why we do/are a certain way. For example, I have severe bloating/cravings/emotional problems when I PMS and while it doesn't rid of the PMS completely I try to combat it by using B6, Evening Primrose, and a mild dieuretic to help. I'm also taking a Ca, Mg, Zn formula right now. Not sure if it is the *right* thing to do but it is what I gathered from my research..


                      • #12

                        Alright, I'm back. I knew I wouldn't be able to shut up about this issue.

                        As I said, talk therapy with various sorts of therapists helped the least. However, two coping mechanisms gleaned from the eating disorder therapist that really, truly do work:

                        1. Eat only in a peaceful, quiet, uncluttered environment, without distraction. No eating in the car or in the front of the TV or computer or standing in the kitchen. Put the fork down at least twice during your meal and B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Blink your eyes and stay in your body here (if you're a binger, you know exactly what I'm talking about). If you do feel yourself leaving your body/floating up to the ceiling, then put both your hands on top of your head to keep yourself down. (I will also say, either silently or even out loud, "hold, hold, hold" (you can say whatever you want) in a loving, gentle manner -- not judgmentally or with frustration.)

                        2. If you ARE gonna binge, GO FOR IT, BABY! HOWEVER, you must follow one simple rule: You must spread all that food out before you out on your nice, clean table, with no distractions (as above). I'll be damned if you won't be able to get very far! I was PISSED the first time I did it because I had just spent $50 on a binge, and I was hardly able to eat any of it (only about as much as a normal-sized meal).

                        Oh, and another great book on Binge Eating Disorder:

                        Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop

                        (she gets it!)


                        • #13

                          I've been having success with eating something high in protein and fat when I have the urge to binge.

                          If I'm craving something sweet, I'll go for fruit dipped in some melted dark chocolate, or a coconut milk smoothie. If it's something savory I go for bacon or ham, as they are comfort meat to me. By the end of eating those things, I'm too full for crap, and calmer.

                          The more I see the less I know for sure.
                          -John Lennon


                          • #14

                            Yes, that really helps (to a surprising degree).


                            • #15

                              The bacon definitely helps....but for some reason it's the sweets that kill me!

                              On a not so random note, I think it comes down to loving yourself =)

                              Again, really great advice and encouragement on this thread. You guys rock.