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Fight withdraw/hypoglycemia w/o bingeing?

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  • Fight withdraw/hypoglycemia w/o bingeing?

    Hello there, so I am not really that new...

    I have been trying to eat primal for about six months. The problem is binge eating. I really want to break my carb addiction and I have found that going cold turkey is probably going to be my best bet since I cannot, for the life of me, stop at just one treat (so I have gained a lot of weight recently instead of lost). I have been trying to go the cold turkey route but what happens is I get very hungry no matter how much meat and fat I eat. I can eat 4000 calories of meat (I am a girl) and still feel tired and hungry and my body is just screaming for sugar! I think that this might be hypoglycemia. I bought a glucose meter and I will be trying it out tomorrow to see.

    Is this normal carb withdraw? Is is hypoglycemia? How do I bring my sugar up without eating something that triggers bingeing? I will start trying a piece of fruit to see if it makes me feel better without binging but I am worried it won't work either. (I have tried chromium, starting 5-HTP tomorrow... I have seasonal depression too... and of course I have tried eating more meat and fat and nothing is working).

    Or we can skip trying to eat fruit or a cracker and you can just tie me to a chair for two weeks to keep me from eating everything in the fridge in attemmpt to take away the miserable withdraw feelings (anybody?).

    Anything helps. Thank you.

  • #2

    Howdy TYS,

    Ohhhhh binging, I am currently working on kicking that myself. One thing I have come to realize is that my first month or so primal I tore through veggies at every meal, we are talking on the order of at least 13 servings a day, and never really had the inclination to binge but was still getting all the primal benefits; however, when I tried to cut down carbs by removing my veggies the binging reared its ugly head.

    I just started diving back into the veggies yesterday so I will keep you updated if that kicks it for me.

    What does a daily diet look like for you?

    My whole life, I've felt like an animal......but I've ignored my instincts. I ignored what I really am. That will never happen again.

    My blog


    • #3


      Well, I have a bit of the same problem, although I have not been on the diet as long as you. I'm realizing that for me there is a psychological component, and I'm brainstorming about how to deal with it. I'm talking about emotional eating.

      Yesterday, for example, I had a disappointing appointment at the doctor's. I went for a run afterwards and thought I was working out my frustration. But later in the day and into the evening all I wanted to do was stuff my face. I kept imagining cupcakes. I opted for a hearty meal of two chicken thighs and a big salad, followed by as much fruit as I wanted--until I felt stuffed with fruit.

      On the other hand, I know that some of this tendency for me to over eat is biological. I'm surely addicted to sugar in many ways. I'm also breast feeding, which throws a monkey wrench into things.

      Now, this is my thinking for myself: since binge eating is a problem, it is the number of calories that's the problem, plus the psychological barrier that I cross once I've cut out all the 'bad' foods. In this light, I've opted for the time being to allow myself to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I want. If I want to binge, the least harm will come if I consume fruit and vegetables, since in the end they amount to fewer calories than a pound of bacon, for example.

      I know this approach is contrary to what a lot of people on the board might advocate (more fat, more protein, better workouts, etc.) but I think and I hope that eventually my fruit intake will go down naturally. And so far it has worked to stabilize my weight, and I've even lost a few pounds. I've also stopped eating fruit smoothies in the morning as a routine and reserve them for when I feel I really NEED them.

      One way of getting a healthy fruity fullness is to have a HUGE spinach salad with half an apple and other veggies thrown in. The apple gets spread throughout, but you get a sweet bite every time.

      Anyway, for myself and maybe for you too, it's probably a good idea to consider ALL the reasons for over eating and to think of creative and appropriate means to deal with each.

      Kundalini yoga helps too. Just a thought.


      • #4

        Agree w/ Adventure8

        How about eating more plants and vegetables? As much as you wish. Lots of colours and varieties; especially greens.

        "tried to cut down carbs by removing my veggies the binging reared its ugly head."

        I kind of went through this too. For one, I really don't fare well on super-low carb. I personally find placing limits on produce too restrictive. Maybe it's just as much of a psychological as physical thing, but having a lot of colours as the bulk of my plate leaves me satisfied.


        • #5

          I just spent nearly 2 years bingeing---lying on the couch in the evening, spaced out in front of the TV, just eating. Gained 50 pounds in two years in response to readily identifiable, major life stressors.

          Yes, of course, it's very important to set up your diet so that there are no nutritional triggers for bingeing---like simple sugars, grains, etc. Following the PB diet should take care of that.

          But to address the psychological push to binge---well, I can only share what has helped me 'turn the ship' so to speak.

          I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for nearly a year. It has helped a lot. You learn to watch your thoughts and sensations go by, noting and not judging them. It helps create just a tiny bit of space between an impulse and its execution. If stress is making you eat, it's a good way to deal with stress.

          Second, since my bingeing went on for nearly 2 years, I changed my mindset about it. Instead of fighting with myself, feeling bad and powerless, I practiced lovingkindness. I don't think you can bully yourself out of eating disorders. I think you can only love yourself out of them.

          So when I binged, I took it as a signal of how needy I was inside, how tired and hurt and broken. I felt compassion for myself because the best and only way I had available to me was to eat. I also made efforts to make my life more rewarding in other ways. I started a fun social group with about 10 other women in midlife to go out and have adventures with. I found a dance class for seniors that is 2 hours a week of sheer play. You get the picture. I enriched my life in ways that work for me so that I didn't have to 'enrich' myself with food.

          When I was ready, I came here and took on the loving discipline of Primal eating, and since it was the right time with the right intention, it feels like slipping on a cozy flannel nightgown on a cold night (comfortable) or getting a breath of clean, fresh air after being in a dusty room (refreshing).



          • #6

            No, it is not hypoglycemia. If you had hypoglycemia, then you would be weak, trembling, dizzy, panicking and unable to talk or think clearly. Believe me, I have it.


            • #7

              Not a doctor. But this is what I think I know.

              From what I understand, early in an attack of hypoglycemia a symptom can be extreme hunger, for some people.

              However, excess protein is converted to glucose--if you're eating 4000 calories of meat on a regular basis, if all your hormones are in order, it kind of seems unlikely you are suffering from hypoglycemia in any regularly-defined way because of carb withdrawal.

              It would be interesting to hear what the glucose meter says.


              • #8


                From what I understand it talks time for your body to adjust to breaking down stores of protein for glucose. Dietary protein that is broken down to glucose (or the release of glycogen that comes from protein's ability to stimulate glycogen release via the glucagon hormone) doesn't happen until four or five hours after the meal.

                I am not feeling extremely hungry yet today because I had some carbs but when I am feeling crappy I will test sugars and we'll see what happens.


                My daily food is usually sausage or eggs for breakfast, sausage and a salad for lunch and dinner is usually spaghetti squash with a creamy tomato sauce and sometimes more protein depending on my hunger. Occasionally I have an all meat day. I sometimes drink a few tbs of cream to increase my fat in hopes of giving me energy but a lot of times it makes me feel hungrier (WHY?! this doens't make sense!). My cheats/binges can be one thing like a graham cracker (since my roommate keeps them in the house... I try not to keep carbs here but when I am starving and meat won't satisfy I have to have something and reach for those) and sometimes I feel better afterward but most of the times I only feel good after I have eaten 40g or so of carbs and I wait for them to kick in which can take up over an hour sometimes. It is miserable waiting and I try not to eat any more of the crackers and tell myself that I will start to feel better with time. Most of the time I fail, which starts the carb binge cycle where I leave my house to buy a piece of bread or a cookie... okay a box of cookies.

                Thanks everyone for the psychological stuff too. I do also reach for sugar or am tempted to binge if I am stressed. I am working on journaling and using the 5-HTP and getting on a good sleep schedule (right now it is god-awful and I have trouble sleeping).

                I am pretty sure most of my problem is physical carb addiction and if it isn't hypoglycemia then what should I do when I am really hungry/carb hungry? Drinking a lot (like 5 glasses) of water helps sometimes, oddly.


                • #9


                  Thanks for everything, you have a great suggestion! I am going to try eating more fruits and veggies and see how that works. As you can see, I eat very few compared to some people here.


                  • #10

                    I'm sorry to hear that you are battling this. I have in my past too and it's not fun. What I find works for me is completely eliminating sugars including fruit on most days. However, I must have them occasionally or I will fall off the wagon hard. Things that I eat that keep me satiated without craving or bingeing on are eggs, beef jerky, pork rinds, celery with hot salsa and pickles.

                    I second the yoga suggestion if you don't practice already. It's taught me how to breathe and really keeps me in tune with my body.

                    Really, it's all about testing out what works best for you. Good luck and I'm glad you can come here for support.


                    • #11

                      Thanks Mandy. How did you learn the yoga? Did you have to go to a studio (not really in my budget)?


                      • #12

                        Yes, I go to a studio near me. Yoga is so much more than the postures which is what you get in videos or gym yoga.

                        I would also suggest meditation as well. Jack Kornfield & Sharon Salzberg have some good books.


                        • #13

                          TYS - do you journal? Not just what you eat but when you eat, why you are eating(mealtime, felt hungry etc), how you feel and what is going on both before and after you eat (before:I was anxious about the meeting with the boss, afterwards:not hungry, satisfied,etc). Sometimes you can get some amazing insight just by jotting down a few notes. I did this once for a month with the weather and found that I ate more on crummy days (vit D deficiency? who knows but now I watch what I eat when it's raining out). The patterns will reveal themselves and once they do you can form your own battle plan (so to speak) and combat the unhealthy things that you notice.

                          I am hearing a lot of self disappointment in your post. Don't be so hard on yourself. As PrimalWannab so beautifuuly put it you need to love yourself first and foremost. Believe me I know. I've been there myself and the loathing that comes with the "failure" of binging is one of the worst feelings any one can have.

                          My suggestion is to up your intake of veggies first and fruit second. You need to get your whole self, physical, mental AND emotional, in order before you try being overly primal. If veggies and fruits get you there then so be it and damn the carb count for a while.

                          I might also suggest trying to blend a smoothie for when the cravings get really hard to deal with. I have found that the texture (much like a milk shake if you blend it with enough ice)can be as satisfying as the actual taste. You can at times "pretend" your way out of a craving.

                          No matter what you do please stay on a healthy path. You are so worth doing this for and you need to believe that you an overcome the cravings and beat them. Think how proud of yourself you'll be the first time you realize that there are no more cravings/binging!

                          I'll end this long post with a quote I like that might help: Nothing is impossible if you believe it is achievable.

                          Stay well.


                          • #14

                            @kjake55: Simply awesome!!! Even though that wasn't intended for me, it was still really motivational.


                            • #15

                              kjake55, That was so what I needed! Thanks so much. It is good to hear someone say that.

                              I will certainly try the smoothie idea, fruits and veggies idea, and keep up the journaling and make it more in depth.

                              Thank you, thank you!

                              Oh and I still haven't tested sugars yet. It seems veggies are keeping me from having that weird hunger feeling.