Following on from our last post, today we have two shorter stories from members of the community. I hope they engage and inspire you, and show that no matter where you are on your journey, it’s never too late. These two binge eating stories show us the different kinds, and causes, of binge eating – and just go to show that no matter how much food you eat, or where you’re at, if it feels like a binge, then it (emotionally) was.
Our first binge story comes from community member Lisette, who’s been working on her health and fitness for a while. She shares the fact that it was actually her efforts to get healthy and lose weight that triggered her binge eating
Lisette and the low-calorie monster
“Though my fitness journey I noticed the pattern on binging if I would calorie restrict too much. I would go days thinking I was on track and then ruin all my progress by binging. I was not giving my body enough fuel to run properly and eventually my hormones took over. No amount of willpower can overcome those most times… and I would binge out.
Over time I was able to identify the problem; I started to gradually increase my calories when eating proper foods and created smaller deficits. It worked! Instead of craving and binging, finding a balance and a sustainable deficit helped to eliminate that behavior.
There’re all sorts of nifty calculators out there to figure out exactly what your caloric intake should be and what a safe and maintainable deficit is. I highly recommend using it and tracking calories and macros.”
What was going on here?
This is a really interesting story – thanks to Lisette for sharing it! It goes to show that sometimes our best intentions lead to behaviors that maybe aren’t serving us quite how we would like them to.
Quite clearly, Lisette was suffering from one of the key physiological causes of binge eating: under-nutrition.
Despite Lisette’s recommendation to track calories and macros, I caution against this. As she has shown us, being too controlling about your diet can result in the opposite reaction over time – a total release of control through a binge. Tracking can be a super useful tool, if you can use it as gentle guidance and NOT as a source of control, fear, or judgement. So, while it’s working for Lisette, have a think about the kind of person you are before you take this step. If goals and tracking turn you into a self-judging, guilt-ridden crazy person, step away from the calorie counter!
Lisette also shows us that sometimes healing binge eating isn’t a deeply emotional journey, but can be as simple as tweaking things like calories, macro-nutrients, and meal timing. If you’re on a diet, controlling what you eat, or have a poor diet in general – and you binge eat- head on over and check out the free 7 day e-course aimed at filling up some of the nutritional holes that can cause binge eating behaviors.
Our second binge eating story today is from Karina, who shares about her stress and emotionally driven eating – an interesting contrast to Lisette’s.
Karina and the Stress Monster
“I wouldn’t say I suffer so much from regular binge eating but certainly in times of stress. Then, the sugar demon comes out to play and anything sweet is fair game – I can’t resist even when it makes me feel unwell afterward.
The pattern repeats itself over days, and then of course I feel bad that I have gained weight, and then it is, of course such a struggle to lose.
When I developed Erythromelalgia two years ago (otherwise known as Mitchell’s disease or burning man syndrome) I was frightened and in a lot of pain. Initially I lost weight but the drugs to treat pain are notorious for making you gain weight. Not out of thin air, but they increase your appetite.
I am now much improved and beside the meds have a spinal stimulator implanted to block pain. Despite improvements in my pain level I am worse at handling stress and sweets still are my go to for a good old binge. I am maintaining a weight of 76kg at a height of 177cm, hard to do and I know I would feel much better at 63kg.
I have to get better at managing stress I suppose, and acknowledging I don’t control everything! What a surprise. Also: “sweet is treat” – I can’t seem to convince myself anything else compares (except maybe a glass of champagne). So, I have insight but it ain’t bring’n change.”
What’s going on here?
Here, Karina identifies a few things that are awesome to know about yourself and your binge eating.
- She can see the emotional and stress connections to her behavior
- she knows she wants to improve her mindset and coping strategies
- she’s identified the super important idea that her need to control is contributing to not only her stress levels, but her reactionary binge cycles
Despite these realizations, Karina says she’s finding it hard to change her behavior. This is totally normal! Change is often difficult, and even when we have the knowledge, habits are made of tough stuff. I also think that removing something is harder than adding something in. The added sense of loss and deprivation is an extra load we often can’t take. And stress management is something we all work on, with varying degrees of success. So, I’m not surprised that Karina hasn’t been able to remove sweets from her life.
In my next post, I’m going to be addressing this idea directly – specifically how ‘treat’ foods and the power they have over you can be harnessed for good rather than binge – and outlining some ways you can start with some real, positive behavior change.
So, thank you to Lisette and Karina – these stories are brave and wonderful. I hope you’ve found something here to inspire you. If you have a story of your own that you’d like to share, get feedback on, or that you think can inspire others, please let me know about it!