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    ar0e's Avatar
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    Primal diet and eating disorders?

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    Does anybody have any advice on using the primal lifestyle and diet to treat eating disorders? The past few years I have been battling with depression and anxiety, I began seeing a therapist about 6 months ago to treat it. Through therapy, it has recently come to my attention that what I called being 'nutritionally aware' is actually a full blown eating disorder. I restrict, I binge, and I am addicted to calorie counting and label reading. When I eat foods that aren't organic or grass fed I feel anxiety because I am afraid I am going to get cancer from it. Based on that you would expect me to be thin, yet I am 5'10" and weight 220 pounds. I am disgusted with myself and that leads me to restrict my foods and then I have a hypoglycemic episode (I've had it since I was born) I get insane, literally I can not think or function and I get really emotional, once I realize I'm just hungry I binge on tons of food, they are mostly primal but it's still a binge. After that I feel even more ashamed and so a cycle begins again. When I was 21 I used to not eat on purpose, I like the way it feels to go to bed hungry. I didn't binge then and I got down to 160 lbs and looked and felt great. I gained that weight back in about 6 months once I started binging. I know this is wrong but I can't stop. When I read these message boards I get so jealous of people who are talking about how successful they have been and how it's so easy the weight is just falling off. I want to be like that. I know 80% of it is diet, but I can't seem to stick to it and it's making me feel hopeless. This post is kinda all over the place, I guess I'm just hoping someone has advice or has been in my same situation.
    Last edited by ar0e; 10-12-2012 at 03:46 PM.

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    BestBetter's Avatar
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    There have been quite a few threads on this topic. Here is a link to one of the more recent ones:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread59619.html

    If nothing else, reading through that will help you to realize you're not alone!

  3. #3
    heatherdarbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ar0e View Post
    Does anybody have any advice on using the primal lifestyle and diet to treat eating disorders? The past few years I have been battling with depression and anxiety, I began seeing a therapist about 6 months ago to treat it. Through therapy, it has recently come to my attention that what I called being 'nutritionally aware' is actually a full blown eating disorder. I restrict, I binge, and I am addicted to calorie counting and label reading. When I eat foods that aren't organic or grass fed I feel anxiety because I am afraid I am going to get cancer from it. Based on that you would expect me to be thin, yet I am 5'10" and weight 220 pounds. I am disgusted with myself and that leads me to restrict my foods and then I have a hypoglycemic episode (I've had it since I was born) I get insane, literally I can not think or function and I get really emotional, once I realize I'm just hungry I binge on tons of food, they are mostly primal but it's still a binge. After that I feel even more ashamed and so a cycle begins again. I used to not eat on purpose, I like the way it feels to go to bed hungry. I know this is wrong but I can't stop. When I read these message boards I get so jealous of people who are talking about how successful they have been and how it's so easy the weight is just falling off. I want to be like that. I know 80% of it is diet, but I can't seem to stick to it and it's making me feel hopeless. This post is kinda all over the place, I guess I'm just hoping someone has advice or has been in my same situation.
    Don't be jealous; know that everyone has anxieties and they manifest in different forms. Some are more revealing to the naked eye.

    This may seem like a strange suggestion, but I'm tempted to think you may have to continue your binges (on primal food), without a follow up session of restriction. It’s the restriction and punishment that make you feel ultimately deprived (cravings predetermined as "bad") and you probably need to get your leptin signals balanced. Your “prize” is the feeling of hunger, where you feel you’ve redeemed yourself. But then the cycle repeats. My intention isn't to tell you how you feel...I'm just walking through a scenario.

    Eating primal foods, is a great start. The process takes quite a while, though. You'll have to consciously exercise patience each and every day.

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    You can find the link to my journal in my sig, I am trying to keep it updated as I battle bulimia with primal eating and supplements.
    My Primal Journal:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread65788.html

    16 years old
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    Primal since 8/12/12.

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    It sounds to me as though you're off to a great start...even though it doesn't feel like this for you.

    Food heals, good primal food heals fantastically. I admire your committment to primal and I appreciate the battle is ongoing. I suffer from the binge/restrict/binge cycle and I'd love to be free of it. Last night, afer a week of strict anti-candida diet and desperate to heal my poor inflamed body, I binged on white choc chip cookies (huge ones!) and a chocolate muffin. Very unprimal, and very hormonal. But this morning I picked myself up, had a laugh at my poor bloated wheat belly and went to have my usual breakfast of green veg fried in coconut oil and 4 fried eggs. A few months ago I would have taken an appetite supressant and not eaten until dinner, hating myself and loathing every whimper from my body.

    I'm keep going with this, and the more I do the more I realise that I'm not going to 'fix' myself. I can heal, but it's bloody slow. But I have the rest of my life.

    Also, I go to Overeaters Anonymous, I like the kindness and the support. I recommend that, and recommend keep on trucking. Have a look at my journal if you like. I haven't written for a while as I've been so much better and so much less obsessed by food.

    Good luck, you're doing well, really you are.

    The key for me is not to restrict and to eat three square meals a day. Preferably no snacks as they seem to trigger binges. I have binge foods to be avoided, anything sweet and anything with nuts involved. If I'm not starving, I'm less likely to binge, or the binges aren't so catastrophic.

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    You are probably hormone imbalanced. Get yourself to a naturopath and a good nlp practitioner or hypnotherapist.

    Everything starts with healing your gut. Your hormones are driving your binges and your depression. Hope this helps.

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    Eating primal will not cure your ED, but it is the healthiest way to eat as you treat the problem. Many people with binge disorders have reported that eating low-carb really helps them.

    I hope you're still in therapy because you should work with your therapist on how best to deal with your ED. It seems to be 'depression/anxiety' related, and very often therapy (and possibly meds to affect brain chemistry) are the best solution.

    From my reading, anyone with binge tendencies should avoid any 'restrictive' plan, so my advice would be to eat primally, but not attempt any weight loss until you're comfortable with food issues. Again, your therapist should be able to help you cope with this.

    Good luck; weight management is a complex and difficult issue.

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    I think you should talk to your therapist before starting primal because with any restrictive eating plan, there will always be a point where eating the right thing becomes an obsession. You could easily develop orthorexia from this. I highly recommend you resolve your issues with food before plunging wholeheartedly into this. I wish you luck.
    F 28/5'4/100 lbs

    "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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    I like Stephani Ruper's take on all this Paleo for Women | Disordered Eating

    Basically, you may well need specific psychological support -and that's fine, in fact I think it's admirable to seek treatment when you require it - it's part of knowing yourself. But, keeping your blood sugar level stable and your body nourished is going to help with regulating your eating.

  10. #10
    PHaselow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ar0e View Post
    Does anybody have any advice on using the primal lifestyle and diet to treat eating disorders? The past few years I have been battling with depression and anxiety, I began seeing a therapist about 6 months ago to treat it. Through therapy, it has recently come to my attention that what I called being 'nutritionally aware' is actually a full blown eating disorder. I restrict, I binge, and I am addicted to calorie counting and label reading. When I eat foods that aren't organic or grass fed I feel anxiety because I am afraid I am going to get cancer from it. Based on that you would expect me to be thin, yet I am 5'10" and weight 220 pounds. I am disgusted with myself and that leads me to restrict my foods and then I have a hypoglycemic episode (I've had it since I was born) I get insane, literally I can not think or function and I get really emotional, once I realize I'm just hungry I binge on tons of food, they are mostly primal but it's still a binge. After that I feel even more ashamed and so a cycle begins again. When I was 21 I used to not eat on purpose, I like the way it feels to go to bed hungry. I didn't binge then and I got down to 160 lbs and looked and felt great. I gained that weight back in about 6 months once I started binging. I know this is wrong but I can't stop. When I read these message boards I get so jealous of people who are talking about how successful they have been and how it's so easy the weight is just falling off. I want to be like that. I know 80% of it is diet, but I can't seem to stick to it and it's making me feel hopeless. This post is kinda all over the place, I guess I'm just hoping someone has advice or has been in my same situation.

    Being a 32 year eating disorder poster child (anorexia in high school, bulimia in high school after hospitalization and then years of bulimia), I will respectfully disagree and say that 80% of it is MENTAL (emotional?) and the rest (like diet) falls in place. I am striving for that goal of Intuitive Eating. No more thinking and stressing about what I put into my mouth and the binges that can result when I guilt myself into thinking I've failed somehow. I know that feeling of disgust. The bulimia is not a force in my life anymore, but I am still at the point where I have to make some conscious effort not to purge.

    Adding enough fat and protein to my diet was huge in tackling the over eating. It was like blasting through a brick wall I had constructed over 30 years ago. The fat really makes a difference. I eat less and I feel more full. Really.

    Anxiety is a killer for over eating. I also binge when I feel anxiety if I have food handy. I am in perimenopause (47yrs) and I struggle with some hormonal fluctuations. Sometimes, out of nowhere, I get that 'fight or flight' feeling and I eat to try to fix it. Or the anxiety over wanting that wonderful looking piece of cake at the bakery, but instead I go home and eat just about everything else in the kitchen to avoid buying that one piece! I would've been better off just eating the damn cake, calorie wise.

    I am glad you are seeing someone. Hopefully they can give you some coping skills and suggestions. Exercise is huge for me. You also need to get over that cancer fear. Make smart choice, not neurotic ones?

    For depression: I found Omega 3 fatty acids very helpful. I know people frown on the supplements. I took 2-3 grams of Nordic Naturals EPA Xtra for 6 months and then weaned myself off of antidepressants back in 2004. I feel better off of them than I ever felt on. If you can get several grams/day of Omega 3s from food sources, try it. If not, I would suggest a quality supplement. I read some studies by Dr. Andrew Stoll (Harvard). It worked for me. I'm not a "Glass half Full" kind of gal quite yet, but I am able to feel the highs and the lows which is wonderful.

    Good luck to you! Like another member said, there are a lot of threads out there. Many of us have a history of problems with food. For most of them, that is probably what brought them to PB.

    ~Pam
    Last edited by PHaselow; 10-13-2012 at 05:20 AM.

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