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Thread: Going against the grain - The unorthodox way to beat the binge page

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    callison's Avatar
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    Going against the grain - The unorthodox way to beat the binge

    Primal Fuel
    Hello,

    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!

  2. #2
    Crazydoglady's Avatar
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    Hi Callison,
    That's quite a read...in a good way
    I too am a binge eater, but for many years. I find it very interesting you were able to quit drinking, doing drugs etc, but are having a hard time with the sugar. Sugar feels like an illegal drug to me. I'm trying to kick the carbs again too, so I will be following your journal with interest. I'm impressed you were able to quit diet pop. That is a huge downfall of mine.
    Happy Aniversary!!!

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    Callison......you go girl !!!!!!!

    Well done for being so honest......

    Im not quite a binge eater....but I'm a pantry grazer......different habit...same effect...and oh boy am I feeling it at the moment...and I'm not sure why....stress I think makes it worse.....

    Take care and...rest assured we all struggle and we 'get it'

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    callison's Avatar
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    Day 1 went great. The huge breakfast really works! I hardly even wanted to eat at the end of the day.
    Today is day 2. It wasn't as great. I found myself grazing a lot after lunch, and even picking at the cheese in the refrigerator after I promised myself I wouldn't. Cheese isn't primal anyway, so I threw it away. I may have went over the carb limits, but if I did, it wasn't much. Just a lot more food than I really needed to eat.

    I am also starting to feel the withdrawal. I am not sure if it is really withdrawal in the addiction sense or if I just feel like crap because I am not giving my body fuel that it recognizes. I know because after about a month off diet soda, I was getting desperate enough to drink one. I didn't cave into that, thankfully.

    Overall, I feel that I could have done better, but I am not going to beat myself up over it. All or nothing mentality has never served me well in the past. Tomorrow, I am going to have a bigger breakfast. I found my appetite increased after working out (in addition to being really weak today). So, I think I am going to take Dr. Kruse's advice and lay out of the gym for about 2-3 weeks. This may be difficult for me to do because I am pretty darn regimented with my lifting, but I have to realize that I will never reach my body composition goals if I don't get the eating under control. Hopefully, taking it easy for a couple weeks will expedite things.

    Holy crap, I found myself thinking about deleting the section regarding laying out of the gym. Maybe I am a little obsessive. I was actually on a roll again in strength gain, and I got to thinking about how much strength/muscle I may lose in 2-3 weeks. Anyone have any thoughts/experience in regards to this?

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    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....
    All right, so you fell into binge eating because of a restrictive diet. There is no way you will heal yourself of binge eating by going on another restrictive diet. JUST EAT. Primal is not for people recovering from an eating disorder because it can turn very easily into its own eating disorder. Just look around the forums for people who are afraid of sugar, let alone carbohydrate. I don't want to rant too much, but the best thing you can do is to listen to your body. Even if it is begging you to eat a whole cake. Eat that cake righteously, with no guilt. Don't beat yourself up over any food choice you make. The point here is to relax and get your mind and body back into a trusting relationship. Your cravings will diminish in time.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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    Check out 180degreehealth.com and also Yogabare's journal.

    I agree with grumpy that a carbohydrate restrictive diet wi enevitably lead to a binge. How overweight are you? Have you ever tried a high carb diet?

    From your title i was excited to see someone trying a massive grain diet to cure binging.
    Last edited by Zach; 03-26-2013 at 05:42 PM.

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    callison's Avatar
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    I have tried everything! I have tried eating intuitively, not feeling guilty, high carb low carb, everything in between. I just don't have that "off" switch to tell me when I have had enough to eat. I am not eating because I am stressed or bored or any other emotional reason. I just want food all the time.... it's really all about the food. That's why I think that it is something biological and not psychological.
    I am not becoming carbophobic. I love fruits and vegetables, and I don't want to live without them forever. The reason that I want to do the ketogenic diet is for the side effect of appetite supression and to improve my insulin sensitivity. After the initial period, I will begin adding carbs back into the diet as I can tolerate them. As of right now, I have about 25 lbs to lose, but that is steadily going up. I am not doing this necessarily to lose weight. I am just tired of food dominating my thoughts and my life.
    If this experiment does result in a binge, then I will bail and try something else.

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    Hi Callison, I saw your original post on binging and I really feel your pain. If you've read any of my journal you'll probably see that I agree with Grumpycakes and Zach. Personally restriction did not work for me, and going low carb was an absolute disaster in terms of binging and subsequent weight gain But - if you feel this is what you need to do then I support your decision to try it. I know some people here have overcome binging with HFLC.

    Just one suggestion I would make is to really look at the potential reasons that you are driven to binge. Is it emotional? Are you addicted to junk food? Is it due to deprivation and restriction?

    If you believe it's an addiction to junk food then you may consider just cutting sweets and replacing them with a balanced diet (including carbs) - no restriction "types" of food until you've gotten the sweets out of your system (takes a few weeks). I would seriously advise not trying to lose weight until you deal with the binging problem - it will just take you further down the rabbit hole.

    Lots of people will have different views on this, and maybe different things work for different people. Keep an open mind and try one thing at a time Good luck!
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Grumpycakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callison View Post
    I have tried everything! I have tried eating intuitively, not feeling guilty, high carb low carb, everything in between. I just don't have that "off" switch to tell me when I have had enough to eat.
    What is the longest period of time that you've let yourself just eat as much as you want?
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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    I think all disordered eating is complex in nature. There is an emotional component, which may range from fond memories of what your family used to feed you, to a fear of what may happen if you let go of your fat persona, to a feeling of loss of control, to an immediate frustration or stress. There is a physiological component, resulting from your body not getting what it needs until suddenly some critical mass is reached, and your body demands nourishment. And there is the cultural situation of being surrounded by ready-to-eat snacks, with voices telling us it would be the end of life as we know it if we were to allow ourselves to experience hunger by denying ourselves an entire bag of Milky Way bars. Of course there's also the the sugar/fat/salt trigger that means the first one will never be the only one we eat.

    And don't forget that at the root of eating disorders is weight loss dieting, which teaches so many unhealthy behaviors it's amazing anyone ever achieves a healthy weight.

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