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How I broke away from the binge eating cycle

Posted Aug 28 2012 8:17am

Over the past few years, I have been dealing with some disordered thoughts about food and eating. I would diet intensely for a while, lose weight, and then crack and have a binge. Because of the intense calorie restriction and exercise overload I would put on myself for periods of time, the binges happened quite frequently. And when they happened, they were bad. Literally, it’s like I was out of control. I had absolutely zero control over my thoughts, my behavior, what was going into my mouth. I’ve had binges that lasted a week straight, in which week I would gain back ALL of the weight I fought and strived so hard to lose. It was a horrible feeling. A downward spiral. Depression, negative thoughts, self hatred. Then extreme diet and exercise once again to compensate and punish myself for the slip ups. It was a never-ending cycle.

Source: Underdressed Skeleton

I don’t know when I stopped the cycle. I can’t say the cycle has been stopped entirely but I have been a whole lot better than I was at the worst time of my life, my sophomore year of college. Today, I can say that binges still occur. They don’t occur nearly as frequently though and they aren’t as extreme as they used to be. I am very proud of myself for almost freeing myself from the binge cycle. No one is perfect, we all have days where we overeat. It’s important to realize that binge weeks and binge days are different than cheat days. It is also important to realize that there are certain things that we can do in order to get away from the binge cycle and into a healthier lifestyle, away from the obsessiveness and compulsion.

What are some things I have done over the last year that have helped me get away from the binge cycle? There are a couple..

Source: WebMD

The one most important thing I have done is beginning to eat clean. I have set my mind, again and again, and reprogrammed it by reinforcement, self-education, and self-respect. I have told myself that I am a healthy person. I read numerous books on healthy eating and clean eating and its importance. I educated myself on the dangers of artificial ingredients and the junk that occurs in commercial foods. Eventually, I became disgusted with commercial foods. I can honestly say I don’t have the pull that I once had towards fattening junk food. There is no way in hell will I put packaged freezer foods in my mouth, with an ingredient list longer than you could imagine. I also refuse to eat anything with any ingredients which I don’t recognize. I have developed an aversion to junk food and fake food. I have learned to respect my body and to love myself enough to want to treat it well by eating REAL nutritious foods. Of course, I’ll have dessert. Heck, and are what I eat every day. Sometimes twice a day. But I have learned how to make my own desserts by combining clean healthy ingredients together to create a delicious treat that not only tastes heavenly, it also is great for my body. I have become an advocate for healthy eating and I simply can’t imagine myself eating empty calories (with exceptions, of course). Why would I eat a brownie from a bakery filled with refined sugar, carbs, and fats; when I could make that same exact brownie by myself – except I can make it healthier by replacing the refined ingredients and making them better quality healthier ingredients and boosting the nutritional content, as well as spending much less money in total by baking them myself.  It’s simple. Yes, it might take time getting used to, but it’s not that hard. It’s possible and it most definitely is normal to be picky.

I used to feel uncomfortable when people called me “picky” or “a health freak”. They would give it such a negative connotation. I wanted to be liked so I’d just eat whatever I wanted even if I knew it’s bad for me. Now, I don’t care. I wear the name proudly. I call myself a health freak. You can’t make me feel bad for wanting to treat my body right so that I can feel good about myself. I’d rather feel good about myself and feel healthy instead of acting according to what “my friends” expect me to act like. Sorry, I’m not sorry. I deserve better than McDonald’s. My body’s health is worth more to me than that.

Another major thing I have done that allowed me to break away from the binge cycle is recognizing my trigger foods. This is hugely important because these are the foods that have some kind of special hold over me and no matter how well I’ll be eating, something happens when I eat those foods that just weakens my self control . I have had to give up sprinkling honey on foods because I recognized that the overly sugary foods are the ones that make me want to binge. Especially the combo of nut butter + honey. Wow, that would just make me go crazy – I mean it tastes simply amazing. To the point that enough is never enough. I had to give up using honey as a condiment even though I can easily say I was addicted. I used honey every day on yogurt parfaits, etc but it has helped my self control greatly by eliminating it as a condiment. I still use it in recipes, I just have to make sure I don’t add it as a topping to anything I’m eating as a snack or dessert. Too much sugar does that.

WIAW 6: my trigger combo, almond butter + honey

Third thing that has helped me get away from binging is paying more attention to the food I’m eating. Some call it intuitive eating but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a total intuitive eater. I wish I was. But I have trained myself to focus on the food. I like to look at the food, taste the food, and enjoy it. I try to eat it away from any distractions whenever possible. I’ll prefer to eat with the TV turned off and away from my laptop. Whenever I’m eating and I find myself going through my phone at the same time, just to keep myself more busy, I take a step back and look at the food again and ask myself “did I really taste what I am eating?” the answer is usually “no” because I’ve been too busy paying attention to the phone (or whatever else I was looking at while eating) and I refocus onto the food because I know I love eating and I love food – I want to make the experience the most it can be and the most satisfying so that I don’t end up craving something different an hour later.

Some other things that have helped me get away from the cycle and onto leading a healthier happier lifestyle:

  • developing a self love and self respect that I deserve
  • stopping comparing myself to others – I work in the nightlife industry: there a half naked girls dancing on the GoGo boxes and bars every night I work, it’s really hard not to compare myself to those girls. It’s hard to not compare myself to all of the beautiful models that go out that I take pictures of at work and seeing all of the guys swoon over how beautiful they are and then look in the mirror and see this plain average me. It’s discouraging but crucially important to stop comparing in order to really become happy with who we are. I’m still in the middle of getting over this.
  • stopping extreme dieting and fad diets
  • allowing myself to indulge when I really want to
  • not beating myself up when I mess up
  • recognizing that I am not perfect and that I am only human
  • food will not make me happy in the end, a binge will not make me happier and it will only try to cover an emotional hole temporarily
  • recognize the real reasons for wanting to binge at the moment
  • recognize the consequences I will feel after a binge
  • realize that people should love me for who I am; that confidence and happiness truly is more important and obsession over weight will not make others like me more
  • Eat enough food. Calm down with sugars and sweets. Make sure to eat veggies.

Hope this post can help some of you who are struggling with binge eating disorder or binge eating episodes like I was. These are the tips that have helped me over the past couple of months. I am not done with the disorder but I can easily say I am happier and more carefree than I have been and my binges aren’t nearly as frequent, depressing, long lasting, or extreme as they used to be.

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Keeping a diet higher in protein has also helped my sugar cravings which are often a cause for binges. Speaking of, I’m happy to see you guys are still entering in my giveaway for the high protein low-carb diet bars in 6 scrumptious flavors! Keep the entries coming!

The post How I broke away from the binge eating cycle appeared first on Sensual Appeal .

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