Hope you find this reply in the midst of the other stuff.
I've been struggling with a binge eating disorder with periods of bulimia and mild starvation for about 13 years. I'm lean, but "never lean enough". My weight continually vacillates. Fasting and feasting and obsessive thinking are my familiar terrain. I've hated myself because I was out of control and couldn't stop.
But "this thing" is an addiction, and any addiction is there for a reason. It's a projection of a deeper issue that we don't want to deal with. But that's nothing new to most of us. Primal added a new piece to the puzzle.
I've tried lots of things: counseling, psychotherapy, various restrictive diets, exercising, spirituality (meditation, reiki (aka energy healing), and even becoming a yoga teacher. I actually made amazing progress emotionally (I had a lot of baggage), and after a long journey I finally felt fine.. except that I kept binging! THis is where Primal came and and made me realise that, even though it's roots are emotional, there are reasons beyond our emotions that keep us in this cycle.
For me, an ED is a combination emotional, mental AND physical impulses. Mental stuff - wanting to look a certain way because it's how we've been programmed culturally and by our family, emotional stuff - food becomes a crutch to help us deal with stress / depression / guilt / loneliness etc.
But what Primal has taught me is how powerful our body's intelligence is, and the role our physiology plays in our well-being.
Example: I would go through periods where I was eating 1000 calories per day and not dropping weight. (I am 5 ft 7.5 and have a fairly high metabolism but because I was at a plateau I thought I needed to be eat less). I would develop chronic insomnia, acne, and get depressed. Eventually I would binge for days, feel like shit, and start the process of low-level starvation again, sure that if I could just stop the binging I would finally be able to drop the last 7 pounds I "needed" to lose (to make me skeletal).
When I learned about the science of the body, I realised that the chronic undereating and lack of sleep was throwing my hormones (particularly ghrelin) into a state of chaos , which made me retain the weight I was so desparate to lose (and gave me lovely gifts like spots and bleeding gums in the bargain)! Furthermore, the knowledge about blood sugar, serotonin etc. made me realise why I felt extremely depressed after a sugar binge, and why I went through periods where I did it every day.
Kerry's insight below sums it all up for me - sometimes I was binging because I was starving myself, and eventually my body's impulses won out over my "willpower". We can't stop ourselves from breathing - no matter how long we hold, we eventually need to take a breath.
But what I'm realising with Primal is that you can use the body to start nursing yourself back to emotional health.
Originally Posted by KerryK
So this has been my journey. Bear in mind that I'm still experimenting with "recovery", so my advice may not be totally solid, but here goes.
OF course, I started it to lose weight First, I cut grains and refined sugars, but I was binging on fruit. Then I cut fruit and this helped a lot with the cravings. Then I was binging on nuts, but... I wasn't feeling depressed afterwards. This was the first "eureka" moment. was something. I was reading a lot on the forums, and started to look at Primal as a way of life, and a healing journey, and figured that until I got the binging under control, at least the nuts was good food, and weirdly they didn't make me put on as much weight as a sugar binge.
Then I got addicted to nuts and took that to a whole new level...! Went on a serious two week binge where I was eating about 2,100 calories per day in nuts alone. But only two sugar binges in that, and ultimately - it had a weird effect. I put on weight in a way that I never have before - it seems bulkier, more like muscle. And I am stronger and more flexible than I ever have been.
It gave me an epiphany. I realised that, while I'm not the weight I want to be, I'm not damaging my body any more.
I have to point out => this change in thinking marks a significant part of the recovery. The priority is no longer being "phsyically perfect" - it's now being healthy. I accept that I am binging a lot of the time because I am not taking care of myself, so taking care of myself has become my number one priority.
I don't know if any of this is resonating with you, but if it is, I suggest you really think about what you could do to take care of yourself everyday. Maybe it means going for therapy for a while.
For me this means: doing Yoga (a moving meditation), doing cardio (so I don't pollute Yoga with my desire to be lose weight!), being with fun, supportive friends, expressing my creativity, and.... EATING GOOD FOOD. I know some people say a little bit of everything is okay, but I'm not at that point. I'm anti-wheat and refined sugar, but I'm trying to reintroduce some items that I know don't make me binge, but I was afraid to eat cos I thought they were fattening. Limited rice, and am broadening my fruit intake slightly. Nuts are dangerous, so I'm limiting myself to macadamia nuts because they can actually help you lose weight (and for some reason the lessened guilt associated with them means I'm not as likely to binge on them!) I have even started to eat fish again - I was practically vegan for a long time for ethical reasons, but I realise now it wasn't the right way for me, and I need to put my physical and emotional health first.
Overall the message is:
1) talk to someone about your past if you need to
2) start taking care of yourself
3) make weight loss / maintenance a second to getting better (remember you're already thin)
4) Listen to your body
5) avoid really bad trigger foods, but don't deprive yourself of too much.
6) A slice of lemon after a meal gets rid of the taste and can reduce the urge to keep eating.
7) Eat satiating foods with lots of flavour and fat. Hot meals like Thai green curry, avocados, and eggs are the way forward
This has been the longest post I've ever written - hopefully you'll get something from it. We're on the journey together
Last edited by YogaBare; 06-26-2012 at 03:44 PM.
You're dead right, this is when I binge too. I have a no eating outside meals rule generally, but what will you do if you feel the binge sneaking up? That's when all my best made plans fly.
Originally Posted by JackieKessler
OMG, I hear you sister. That weighing and measuring is like OCD. Loggin lettuce leaves is painful. Do you never weigh yourself now? Did you just decide? I think this would be a really big leap for me, it's super scary.
Originally Posted by BestBetter
Yes, I can see that time and my lack of patience is not helping me. Thanks fvor this, how amazing to not binge anymore, welldone. I find it hard to accept that I might need to gain a bit first. And I'm really trying to eat more meat, I know I don't eat enough. Thanks.
Originally Posted by sakura_girl
YogaBare - oh wow, thanks so much. So many helpful suggestions from all of you I'm so grateful, all of this has been just what I needed.
I have had about 10 years of therapy! Lol. I come from a background of significant and chronic abuse, PTSD, alcoholism, self-harm, major depression blah blah blah. I know my issues and I thought my anorexia had left me years ago, so at almost 40 and married with two kids I've been horrified to have it impede and take over my life again.
YogaBare - I LOVE your idea of primal as a means to lifeling health. I'm going to write down bits of what everyone has said. I struggle with the difference between restricting trigger foods (nuts and sweetness) and not sure I can have little bits. I love Jackie Kessler's fistful of nuts. I end up taking the biggest fistful with the other fust for support. I think I can have nuts if I plan them into my day. I relate so much to your need to be skeletal and the sense of failure that comes with it, and always looking to the next thing as a means. When I first stumbled across MDA I knew at my gut level that this was something had the potential to help heal me. For me there is nothing unsafe or faddish about it. And you're right, my stress level, lack of sleep and hormones are way out of whack and have been for years (I have 3 and 4 year old boys and live several thosuand miles from my family, we have no family support and all, not complaining exactly, but it's tough).
There is a lot of work for me to do, but I see more clearly than ever before that today is just a day in my primal journey and wanting everthing now and to be fixed isn't going to happen. I like learning about the science of my body, it's a revalation. I'ms struck by how widespread binge eating, restricting and body issues are. My fear of weight gain is totally irrational. I'm so thin that I have lost nearly all my breast tissue and my ribs stick out way further than my boobs do. Yet all I can see is the muffin top that has appeared from having two children within 18 months - its's so messed up. My body composition has changed since I've been primal and I'm not convinced I like it. I have put on 2 kg and I feel more solid and chunkier, this is at my waist which has always been very lean, but I think I've lost fat from my thighs and bottom.
I will keep going. I know it will work. What a journey. It's great that so many can share their expereinces here, there is a lot of hope.
So far? I have a mug of hot tea. Specifically, peppermint tea. Soothing on the tummy; hot and filling; minty makes it feel like a treat (I love mint chocolate and mint ice cream). It worked tonight -- after my TKD class, I was feeling a bit hungry/noshy. But instead of having dessert, I told myself that it's after 8 pm, so I just had the tea. In the morning I'll have a larger breakfast if I'm really hungry.
Originally Posted by Dexy
I too would usually binge at night, but I have taken the exact opposite approach. People have talked about how IF-ing is a problem for them, but I have found that it helps me. I wake up around 7:30-8 and don't eat until 12:30. I eat a couple very small meals during the day so that I can eat a large meal around 9-9:30 at night. This way I am full going to bed a few hours later so I have no urges to binge. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
Good idea. I was hungry at bedtime last night but knew it was opening hell to open the fridge. I have some posh herbal teas, I'll try this. Thanks Jackie. Been reading about your new training - how's it going?
Originally Posted by JackieKessler
Yeah, I've tried IFing it's just surrounded with negativity for me and too much akin to restricing and starving. When I was underweight I IFd every day and missed meals as often as I could. It smack of illness for me.
Originally Posted by jimhensen
Hey Jim. I tried to PM you yesterday. I wanted to apologise for slagging you off and calling your opnions "nasty and moronic". Totally out of order, sorry for that. You're entitiled your opinions as much as I am (even though I don't agree with you)
As an FYI, this morning, I didn't have a massive appetite like I thought I would, so I had a normal breakfast (2 strips of uncured bacon, 2 pasture-raised eggs, 1/3 bell pepper, chopped onion and chopped garlic all fried up in bacon fat. Nom!) with my black coffee, water and vitamins.
Originally Posted by Dexy
I'm also finding that after I eat -- like, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour after -- I get a sudden urge for fruit. For the past two days, I've been just noting the feeling instead of giving into it and having the fruit. I wonder if my blood sugar levels are trying to straighten out. Or something. Hmm.
Anyway -- thanks, Dexy! I'm actually going to the new CrossFit Beyond gym at noon, so I'll report back later. I'm cautiously hopeful that this particular CF gym will be the right one for me. Fingers crossed!
Good luck with the tea!