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  • Primal living and binging

    Something I've noticed about this forum is how common it is for people to 'binge', whether it's simply eating more than you planned, or 'real' binging, i.e. losing control and eating and eating even if it becomes painful to do so.
    For those of you who do things like this, did you do this before your started eating primaly? Is there something about trying to stay primal that causes people to binge, or do most strict ways of eating have that effect on people?

    I just found it strange how common and openly discussed it is here, because I've had problems with binge-eating for quite a while now, but never realized how many other people also deal with it. For me, eating primaly has helped with my problems, but, unfortunately, it's still something that I can't say I'm over.

  • #2
    Hi Enamel,

    I have always been a binge eater, usually on carbs. Since I have turned Primal I am controlled most of the time except during PMS week. I am there right now, fantasizing about bread etc. My hope is to get through without eating sugar or grains. I am trying several survival strategies including more fat, more primal food, supplements, and just plain determination. I will never lose the weight I need to lose if I keep eating crap 1 week per month.
    Primal since 9/24/2010
    "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

    Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools
    MFP username: MDAPebbles67

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    • #3
      Your average hunter-gatherer is/was most likely not opposed to the odd binge... I don't think there's anything inherently bad about eating a whole pile in one sitting, just so long as it doesn't happen day after day after day and doesn't include much really awful food, and it's done for the right reasons. I mean, there's a vast difference between a celebratory feast with family or friends, and locking yourself in the closet with a bag of doritos and a family-sized Dairy Milk bar, right?

      I've found that since I cut starch and sugar from my diet, I can "handle" a binge - in that it doesn't spark a complete fall off the wagon - kind of the same way that I can handle a 24-hour fast. It's not a big deal. Last night was our family's Chinese New Year feast, which certainly qualified as a binge. I didn't have any rice or noodles, but I certainly partook of the deep-fried spicy squid and other delights, and was uncomfortably stuffed at the end. Today, I just didn't feel like eating - I didn't have anything until 5 pm. Previously, I would have actually woken up starving, and craved junk all day.

      Just my experience - I think the odd binge isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don't freak out about it.
      Last edited by spughy; 02-06-2011, 06:36 PM. Reason: add distinction between ok binge and not ok binge.

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      • #4
        Any website where diet is a major part of the discussion will have more binge eaters than the proportion in the population. I would venture that most on this forum don't binge and that no-one who has fully adapted to PB binges
        Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

        Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pebbles67 View Post
          Hi Enamel,

          I have always been a binge eater, usually on carbs. Since I have turned Primal I am controlled most of the time except during PMS week. I am there right now, fantasizing about bread etc. My hope is to get through without eating sugar or grains. I am trying several survival strategies including more fat, more primal food, supplements, and just plain determination. I will never lose the weight I need to lose if I keep eating crap 1 week per month.
          It's good that you've been getting better at controlling it. My problem is coming up with a plan to help myself - I've got absolutely nobody I can turn to for help with this, so I've got to be my own therapist. Sometimes I feel like I've made loads of progress, but that feeling leaves as soon as I relapse. I was doing a lot of self-reflection this past day to see if I could think of some way to help myself, and I realized that I'd had this problem waaay longer than I had thought. Makes me wonder if I'll ever be 100% free of it.
          Originally posted by spughy View Post
          Your average hunter-gatherer is/was most likely not opposed to the odd binge... I don't think there's anything inherently bad about eating a whole pile in one sitting, just so long as it doesn't happen day after day after day and doesn't include much really awful food, and it's done for the right reasons. I mean, there's a vast difference between a celebratory feast with family or friends, and locking yourself in the closet with a bag of doritos and a family-sized Dairy Milk bar, right?

          I've found that since I cut starch and sugar from my diet, I can "handle" a binge - in that it doesn't spark a complete fall off the wagon - kind of the same way that I can handle a 24-hour fast. It's not a big deal. Last night was our family's Chinese New Year feast, which certainly qualified as a binge. I didn't have any rice or noodles, but I certainly partook of the deep-fried spicy squid and other delights, and was uncomfortably stuffed at the end. Today, I just didn't feel like eating - I didn't have anything until 5 pm. Previously, I would have actually woken up starving, and craved junk all day.

          Just my experience - I think the odd binge isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don't freak out about it.
          Great post. I agree with the occasional day of excess food being totally fine, especially when it's celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately, the binging problem I have is the 'doritos in the closet' one - although lately the problem has usually come up at family celebrations - I'll have a bit of sugar, and suddenly I'm in the mindset to eat until I make myself sick, and then maybe do it again. It's disgusting behaviour, and certainly doesn't have any good reasons behind it.
          Originally posted by peril View Post
          Any website where diet is a major part of the discussion will have more binge eaters than the proportion in the population. I would venture that most on this forum don't binge and that no-one who has fully adapted to PB binges
          True. This is the only diet-centric forum I've ever been on, but I'd probably find a lot of binge-eaters if I picked any other diet forum at random.

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          • #6
            For me, binging, especially on carbs, is tied to mental health. Stress, depression, sleep deprivation and lack of exercise all exacerbate one another and make me extremely prone to stuffing myself. The guilt and feelings of failure, and especially the physiological response then make the problems that led to the binge that much worse.

            I don't think there's anything about primal that would make someone more likely to binge, except perhaps the 'forbidden factor' that certain foods take on after you go primal; bread and crackers almost get shoveled into the same category as ice cream and candy.
            Last edited by weird fish; 02-06-2011, 07:39 PM.

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            • #7
              I wanted to add that even though I do still binge sometimes, I have had great success on Primal (See Stats below). This however is not an excuse to binge. I am aiming for 100% primal eating this month. I cut out dairy and artificial sweeteners this month. That seemed to help with the cravings.
              Primal since 9/24/2010
              "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

              Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools
              MFP username: MDAPebbles67

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              • #8
                Primal has helped as the less sugar/carbs I have the better. My binges are so frustrating and come because I am tired, stressed etc. They make me feel terrible.

                I am recovering from a binge yesterday and feel mentally beaten, the cravings are bad. All I wanted to do was binge on chocolates again but I have to climb out of this hole. I hope I can move past it but it's a tough nut to crack.

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                • #9
                  I'm a binge eater. Just had a nasty one on Sunday night actually. My second in the past month. Although, they usually aren't quite so frequent.

                  I've always binged regularly to some degree, but it has gotten MUCH worse since I started taking control of my diet. So for me, yes, there is a definite connection. It started before primal, when I was eating the SAD and counting calories, but it has followed me into the primal lifestyle and I'm beginning to think that this is a behavior I'll never be able to shake.

                  I'm atrocious when I binge. Absolutely disgusting. It usually starts with stress, I'll give into a craving and go a little off track, and instead of moving on I shit all over myself and go into a frenzy. I just stop caring. I eat until it hurts, to the point where my heart's pounding and my back aches from the pressure of all the food in my stomach and I literally could not down another bite. Then I sit around until the agony passes just enough, then I eat some more. I'm seriously going to give myself a heart attack or something with this shit someday. My binges sometimes turn into a two-day ordeal as well, as I end up too stuffed and bloated to sleep at my regular hour and just stay awake, getting angrier and angrier with myself and continuing to eat, so there's the double-whammy of sleep deprivation thrown in. Once I've stopped and slept, I have absolutely no problem getting back on track the following day, which I find curious. My will power is there, I guess it's all a matter of emotions.

                  I'm 6'3, 170 pounds, so not fat. I've lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years (about 120 pounds), so nobody would think that I behave in such a way and I have a hard time talking about it. My mom thinks I'm like the pinnacle of health and discipline and always tells her friends how well I eat.

                  It's a tricky demon to deal with, I'm not sure what to do at this point. I hope it's just a matter of time and mental conditioning. As spughy stated, I really don't think the occasional binge is anything to worry about health-wise. But, I've done it much too often since the new year to be comfortable with. And this last one included copious amounts of gluten, which I've stayed strong against and haven't touched since September, so I'm pretty frustrated with myself.

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                  • #10
                    Brian Wansink's book Mindless Eating (fascinating read!), and some articles the last couple years in NYTime, Newsweek, etc., seem to indicate that humans are primed by evolution to gorge--makes sense in hunter-gatherer times. Check out the following:


                    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...e-food-and-sex
                    This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

                    Any given day you are surrounded by 10,000 idiots.
                    Lao Tsu, founder of Taoism

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                    • #11
                      Btw, biology probably accounts for most if all human behaviors, which does erase accountability. We just have figure out what our triggers are and steer clear, which is easier said than done.
                      This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

                      Any given day you are surrounded by 10,000 idiots.
                      Lao Tsu, founder of Taoism

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                      • #12
                        I've always been a binge eater to some extent, but I find it more controllable now. I used to binge on buttered toast....but I was craving the butter not the toast. Now I just eat the butter. It is still shocking when I realize by the end of the day ..hey that was a NEW stick of butter this morning!!!!!
                        MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

                        "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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                        • #13
                          Hey guys this is my first post and I am sorry I have not done an intro yet. I was just really compelled to comment on this topic seeing that I am a former binge eater.

                          I struggled with binge eating off and on after I lost a lot of weight. I was so focused on my body image and I was constantly concerned with other people’s perceptions of how I looked. It is so difficult because our society teaches us to value people based on their appearance and not by who they are as human beings. I have spent a lot of time reading a number of books and doing self-reflective writing. My best advice for anyone suffering from binge eating is to seek professional therapeutic help. I did not have this option so I worked with what I had. Through journaling I was able to pinpoint my binge triggers and the feelings that I had surrounding my binges. For me a lack of social relationships and being extremely lonely was my trigger. I found that in order to combat my urge to binge I had to tell everyone that I was close to about my problem. My parents did not really believe in the beginning that I had an eating disorder. They thought that I was the “picture of health”. However I told them about how disgusted I was with myself after a binge and I went into details about how much food I was consuming. They finally believed me.

                          There is a lot more to my story so if you have any questions just send me a message.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pebbles67 View Post
                            Hi Enamel,

                            I have always been a binge eater, usually on carbs. Since I have turned Primal I am controlled most of the time except during PMS week. I am there right now, fantasizing about bread etc. My hope is to get through without eating sugar or grains. I am trying several survival strategies including more fat, more primal food, supplements, and just plain determination. I will never lose the weight I need to lose if I keep eating crap 1 week per month.
                            Pebbles did you try reading the Female Hormones thread? Quite a bit there about the need for slightly higher carbs in the week prior to a period. I know I feel it too which is what sent me off investigating in terms of hormones. Try including more carbs this week from sweet potatoes perhaps or a little more fruit, hopefully that will cut the drive to eat grains/sugar :-)

                            If you are PMS now the Feeling Sexy thread must have been going a couple of weeks LOL!
                            Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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                            • #15
                              There is a really big link here with sugar. As I posted over on Griff's current thread sugar for some is highly addictive within the scientific community it is considered to be one of the most addictive substances. The cravings (and bingeing) are a result of biochemical imbalances, ironically mostly caused by overloaded insulin system which interferes with the correct balance of other hormones which of course is the result of sugars and starches.

                              Art De Vany talks about humans as being evolved to be lazy over-eaters and that makes evolutionary sense when you consider we used to live through times of scarcity. We no longer have those periods but we still have some of the original drives.

                              Eating enough protein at each meal with a good quantity of fat helps but if you are one of the one's who is predisposed to sugar addiction (as I am, and it manifested as biploar disorder - the dopamine/seratonin balance goes when insulin is dominant) I've found the only way is 'cold turkey'. I can't do 'just a small amount' because that triggers the whole cycle again.

                              I know it makes me mentally 'ill' so I use that to shore up my will power. Having none of the bad foods in the house is a good route and then if you binge it is only on foods that are healthy.

                              I think if you can understand that the cravings are based on biochemical biology it is easier to start helping yourself and letting go of the guilt. And I'm not saying forgive yourself for doing it I'm saying use this knowledge to help in cutting out the offenders.

                              When I finished reading GCBC (Taubes) November 09 I stopped eating any grains and anything with added sugar. I just got up the following morning and didn't eat them. Made myself a cooked breakfast, had a salad for lunch and protein and veg for dinner. I had the shakes, night sweats, the works, clear signs of addiction withdrawal and yet previously I'd never considered I was addicted. It does pass, but it's easily triggered if you allow a little to pass your lips. Just like a recovering alcoholic.

                              Now if I need a little more carbohydrate, say I'm doing a long training session or during PMS phase I will add more vegetables and a little fruit eaten with protein and fat and this seems to give me control.

                              Read as much as you can about the effects of hormones on your biochemistry and that I find really helps.
                              Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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