Going against the grain - The unorthodox way to beat the binge
I would like to thank all of you guys who responded to my inquiry regarding binge eating disorder. I have suffered with this for a year now (depressing when I realized that this month was the anniversary of this horrible state). I have searched endlessly for a cure with precious time that should have been better spent with my children, on my home or my career. The rest of the time I have wasted either binging, using every once of mental energy I had to avoid a binge, purging, overtraining, restricting/starving, weighing all my food, planning every meal down to the macro, taking diet pills, and becoming psychotic. Needless to say, my life is a wreck.
If I were entering an addiction program, I guess you could say I am at rock bottom. Just to tell on myself, I have been an alcoholic, drug addict, and a smoker. I walked away from all of this about 8 years ago, and honestly it was quite an easy thing to do. I often wonder why I could give up all of those addictions so easily, and want desperately to stop binge eating and cannot succeed? The addiction model has been thoroughly studied in its biochemical aspects and its psychological aspects. Both components cannot be denied; however, I feel that it is very much more biochemical than it is psychological. I think that addicts often become addicts because they are inadvertently attempting to self medicate a hormonal or chemical disturbance. People experiment with substances and discover that they feel better. This happens to good people, such as the person who gets hooked on prescription drugs after a surgery or toothache. My drug problem was very much related to chronic fatigue. I fell in love with cocaine when I realized that I felt normal - I wasn't tired anymore. You can all guess how that went. After giving up drugs, I have suffered chronic fatigue ever since. Now, when I am tired, massive amounts of food make me feel normal again. It is no different than cocaine, only harder to turn loose of.
Like many of you, I can trace my first real binge back to the ol' low fat/low calorie diet. Yes, I had all the willpower in the world and I did give up sugar and replaced it with veggies ( a step in the right direction ) and "healthy whole grains." Basically, I did the typical bodybuilder diet, high protein, moderate carb/carb cycling, low fat, eat every 3 hours because if I am not on an IV drip of foods, all that muscle is going to evaporate, and if I don't eat carbs pre and post workout I am going to hit the wall at the gym and if I don't replace my glycogen I am going to shrivel up and die blah blah blah.... you get the point. I started craving sweets all the time, and finally after a particularly stressful day, I had a piece of pie... and then the rest of the pie. That was a year ago, and massive amounts of sugar have somehow found their way into my mouth on a pretty regular basis ever since then.
After researching some on low carb and paleo, I am starting to put together why I may be feeling fatigue in the first place, and hopefully, after wasting a year of my life on this, I may finally be on to a cure. Some incidental findings led me to believe that the low carb lifestyle might be right for me. I had actually tried the Atkins diet when I was in high school, and I remember feeling great while I was on it. My mind kept going back to the rapid weight loss I enjoyed on Atkins, and out of desperation to lose the pounds that I had gained from binging, I decided to give it another try. Thus far, 4 attempts has ended in sugar binges and even faster weight gain.
That brings us up to current. I had decided to try a moderate carb approach to avert the binges, because I do love vegetables and fruits and hated to limit my carbs so much. This led to binging on fruit, then sugar. Thus far, I have not made it past 5 days without a binge. I am talking massive amounts of sugar, cartons of ice cream, bags of cookies..... each taking its toll on my insulin resistance, waistline, and psychological well-being.
I have decided to look into the leptin reset, which is similar to Atkins induction, with a few extras such as meal timing and my favorite part - the big ass breakfast. I had made that correlation somewhat in that if I had a large breakfast, I would go several hours without thinking about or wanting food, but the diet mentality had always led me to restrict my portions (esp fats). Well, tomorrow, I am going to have a luxurious breakfast of bacon and eggs and see how it goes. The other part that will be helpful to me is the meal timing. I found myself snacking too much on Atkins. And I would get things like pork rinds to try to curb the binge urges. This is the only time I have ever wanted to eat pork rinds.... gross. I was trying desperately to dodge the bullet of caving into sugar again, but I always would. I am hoping that this more structured plan helps me a bit more. I have also invested in some glutamine powder which I hope will ease some of the carb cravings if they arise.
I am committing to 25 total carbs or less for 2 weeks. I will have the large protein breakfast, and the rest of my nourishment will come from meat, eggs, vegetables, and nonprocessed fats. I may have an occasional small serving of aged cheese, but I find cheese addictive; therefore, it will only be used to complement a dish, so I will not be standing at the refrigerator nibbling away at it. Beverages will be only water and occasionally almond milk. Thank goodness I already kicked the diet soda habit. Actually tried one recently and it was horrible!
By the way, the common theme with the former addictions is that I had decided once and for all that I wanted no part of any of those substances ever again. I never looked back. This is the first time in my life I can say that I want no part of eating sugar or junk ever again. Not birthday parties, family gatherings, or any other event that calls for it. I know it is possible to let go of the mental connection when it is out of your body long enough. I get disgusted being around people that smoke. I can go to the bar and I have no desire to drink. I used to want to be able to enjoy junk in moderation, but now I just want to rid my life of it.
The other common theme was that I had a damn good reason to leave those things alone. The only habit I had left when I became pregnant was smoking, and if that's not a damn good reason to quit I don't know what is. Losing weight was a good reason, but not a damn good reason. I want my life back. My kids need their mom back. I need the energy to keep my home in order. I need the mental focus for my career. I need to be emotionally stable to keep healthy relationships with others. And yes, I need to look my very best! There's my damn good reasons, and my posting this on a public forum is my accountability.
Here's to the 2 year anniversary of my binge eating disorder being the 1st anniversary to the best life I have known yet!