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Compulsive/Emotional/Binge Eating: My Journey and Helping You With Yours
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Compulsive/Emotional/Binge Eating: My Journey and Helping You With Yours
emotional eating compulsive eating binge eating
3/30/11 1:22 PM
Hello and thank you for wandering on to this page!

This will be a safe place to discuss and tackle this horrible, humiliating, frustrating and debilitating issue that often sabotages and derails our progress and can even lead us into a deeper hole of self-loathing. Pretty harsh and definitely straight-forward, but that's how it's got to be if we want to rid ourselves of this "prison" of constant food thoughts and battles to not "lose control."

After more than 35 years, tons of article reading, book reading, self-evaluation, therapy and gut-wrenching effort, I am emerging from that battle, much of that time as an enthusiastic and positive fitness instructor/personal trainer. I live for my hard-core workouts. I understand what it's like to work out hard and feel great only to lose momentum with a binge. You can share anything and believe me, nothing will shock me. I know how lonely it feels, at times. You beat yourself up. You get in a vicious cycle. You get mad and sooooo frustrated but you just can't stop yourself.

I get it and I want to share my journey in hopes that my experience can help you free yourself from this self-destructive behavior.

Testing the waters, as they say, right now. We'll see what kind of response I get and go from there!

Blessings and genuine compassion if you are reading this right now and resonate with my journey and the possibility of diving into this subject matter.

Tina
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This thread is just what I need. I have participated in other threads that have kept me accountable for my exercise, but have been embarassed to admit my binges (how silly because this is all online and I don't really know the people on the threads).

I do quite well during the day--eat completely clean, workout, etc. Then mid-afternoon arrives and that is when my willpower takes a nosedive. At first I thought I needed to increase my calories in the morning to avoid this, but I have realized it is more mental than physiological.

Sometimes when I make it through the afternoon w/out blowing binge when I go crazy when the kids go to bed. The other night I polished off a chunk of icecream the size of my fist followed by some potato chips, pretzels, and malt balls. All this after a perfect day of clean eating & working out. As I was doing it I kept asking myself why. I am my own worst enemy.

I will do fine for a few days, then blow it. It is a vicious cycle. I am tired of sabotaging my efforts.
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I am in need of help in this issue. I started P90X back in May and lost 50 lbs, but my old ways came back in November and have gained it all back. Constant eating, and a lot of it is emotional eating and laziness. I need to get back in a routine, and I want to make it a consistent lifetime change of healthy eating, just do not really know where to begin. After college I have been on a roller coaster of losing and gaining losing and gaining and never at a consistent weight. I am tired of feeling this way, and need to change my life in this aspect.

healthym0m I am in the same boat. I do great during the day, but mid-afternoon and nighttime arrives and it's like I turn into a werewolf.
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Instead of reaching to finish my son's crackers he left from lunch, I reached for my laptop instead to check this thread. Good choice!

beltster42-let's try to work through this. I know I am tired of the roller coaster (emotional & physical). Are you planning to start another round of P90X? I just started one this week. I also have a goal to run a 5K in August.
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I just started this past sun...and I am STARVING!!! Following the diet Phase 1 trying to get rid of some fat. I even added an extra carb...I had a sice of whole wheat bread to try and choke down some more chicken salad..I am praying this hunger will go away Grrrrrr!emoticon
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The first week was the worst during my first round of P90X. I gave up on the ultra-low carb phase 1 after about 3 weeks. My afternoon headaches immediately went away when I added one or two servings of whole grain (usually steel-cut oatmeal or 1 to 2 slices of whole grain bread was all it took).

Each person is different, so experiment to find what works for you. However, be sure to give your body time to adjust.

Best of luck--stick with it! You will LOVE the results!
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Tina, I can totally identify with EVERYTHING you are saying. When it comes to food it can be my best friend and also my very worst enemy. There are certain foods that I have to stay away from (mainly flour and sugar)...it just makes me crazy. I TRY to look at food as fuel. I try to eat three meals a day.....with nothing in between....with the support of friends. Most of the plans here suggest 3 meals and 2 snacks (oh and /or shakeology)....I tried...it turns into gazing all day.....and an extra pounds. Working out helps but if you add any processed foods or flour/sugary products it really does get me out of sorts. So I stick to the basics ....clean protein, cooked and raw veggies, grains....simple.
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RE: Compulsive/Emotional/Binge Eating: My Journey and Helping You With Your
emotional eating overeating compulsive eating
4/13/11 11:45 PM as a reply to tinaanderson.
Hello Fellow Keepin'-It-Real Peeps:

Thank you for your heart-felt comments, honesty, rawness and for sharing your own struggles and triumphs. Ironically, I have had to deal with several more-than-normal stressful situations since I wrote this. To say it's been a battle not to go to food throughout the last week would be an understatement. Won some, lost some. Winning more than I used to. So, where do we start. I am going to reply to all of you and I hope with comments that can shed light in the shadows or help you to just feel supported. In the mean time, chew on these!

#1 Food is serving a purpose for you and although we hate it when we are out of control and "ruin" an otherwise "clean" day or a hard workout, we are using food in part to keep ourselves in balance. Don't get me wrong, we need to find another mechanism if eating takes us down the wrong road, but please understand that these binges or emotional eating episodes are somehow helping us cope with everything else going on in our lives. Bottom line, give yourself and your body some love and appreciation for being productive, successful and strong when you need to be, if you are in deed living fairly healthy most of the time. Please turn your negative thoughts around and settle in with the fact that for the moment, food is helping you to be productive, etc., in other areas of your life. I know, I know...you're not convinced and your saying to yourself, "yeah, but..."
#2 Wishing Your Life was a Hot Fudge Sundae...this was a big moment for me. What was? Realizing that it's not a hot fudge sundae I want to eat (and, in fact - my fav guilty pleasures are chocolate malt balls, ice cream and several other high carb goodies), it's more that I WANT MY LIFE to BE a hot fudge sundae. I crave change, excitement, fun and interesting things. I'm a wife and mom with two kids and I have an incredible life, but it's often nothing like a hot fudge sundae. What about you? What do you really want or what is causing you to BOLT from whatever you're doing or feeling into your food trance. My food timeout is often from frustration, boredom and lack of fun. For many others, it's simply feeling stressed about "stuff" all the time. Please think about this one and how it applies to your situation.
#3 This is not just going to go away if you don't really work on it...in my humble opinion and after 36 years of dealing with it. I make the most progress when I am mindful of my work and goals for each day. I slip up and fall back into old patterns when I get "too busy" with stuff (you know, the really important stuff that we all have...all the time). In other words, when I don't make getting over this crap a priority. However, I'll take two steps forward and one step back as success and you should too. Bottom line, be patient with yourself but be diligent and consistent if you want change. Make this part of your overall fitness plan. I suggest, books, articles, CDs - tools! Women Food and God was the first book that really spoke to me - AND GUYS - you will get just as much out of this, trust me.

Review: Recognize that your imperfect relationship with food is probably helping you to keep your life in balance - yes it's a bizarre, contraindication-like, oxymoron sort of thought, but once I embraced it, I could see the unique blessing from my weakness and disorder. I've accomplished a lot and done quite well, and food was part of that. However, that particular blessing has served it's purpose. Use the hot fudge sundae parallel next time you find yourself entertaining food thoughts so you can forget about....fill in the blank. What does the hot fudge sundae represent at that moment? Awareness is the first crucial step to making permanent progress...in my opinion! Make this "transformation" a priority and find tools that work for you. Hopefully, we'll be able to provide many here amongst each other. AFGO? Another F-ing Growth Opportunity, you ask? Bingo! Talk to me - share - get it out! I appreciate all your comments and every little thing you go through or overcome! Blessings and Love to all of you.
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First of all, we can't be in the same room together with chocolate malt balls, because it would be too much fun to scarf them down...I'm just saying...secondly, thanks for sharing. Yes, we live in the same worlds. Keep in mind, that willpower is not endless and often times, I think we are just emptied out and worn down by the end of the night. I did a podcast on this subject and there are facts to back it up. Your experiences sound like my typical "time out" or food trance when I just want to veg and treat myself - and, feel enjoyment and escape. While I'm eating, I'm not thinking about the "other" stuff. My suggestion, why not start with writing down how you're feeling at the moment you are triggered. I see piles on my desk that I know I cannot take care of (and, I hate that) and instead of being okay with taking care of one out of three, I go downstairs...well, you know the rest.

Awareness. When and why are you triggered? What is all good on your controlled nights and what is all not-so-good in the other circumstances. Might help you create a battle plan. If you are typically sailing for three days and jump ship one or two days, try for four days in a row.

I've jumped ship thousands of times, but I have not drowned and I'm on the boat a lot longer now. Got a seat saved for you!

XO
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Hey!

Congrats on losing the weight and knowing that you can do it. Sorry that you have joined the majority of those who lose weight and gain it back. Truth. You are certainly not alone. Keeping it off is the hardest part and I've gained back as little as 7 pounds and felt like I had ruined my life.

One of the keys to losing and keeping weight off is having an emotional connection to your reason why. Just saying I need to get back into is usually not enough. Let's start with a few honest and charged reasons to get yourself back on track. Why and how did you lose it the first time? What would it mean to you and how would your life change if you regained your lean, strong body? Can you find something emotional and strong to connect your efforts to? What happened in November? What is triggering you at night - what are you avoiding - not wanting to think about or deal with that leads you to your food time out? Do you have a job you love and look forward to or are you drained by the end of the day and not satisfied? These are the questions I would love for you to think about and answer.

Did you enjoy P90X? Were you able to keep up similar workouts on your own? I'm encouraged that you have been successful and I know you can find your way back.

Hang in there and believe you can do this! I do!
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Hello HungerGurl!

How are you coping? Big time changes with hard core workouts will often create increased hunger for a week or two. It should even out. Drinking lots of water? Critical. Keep us posted! I'm proud of you for doing what many never do - start a hard program and face hunger straight on!
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Hello Lynnette!

Love having another sistah - you know, who understands this ridiculous food fight we engage in. You are on it and so true. I had an excellent former bodybuilder, nutritionist who helped me get the leanest I had ever been and we did it with 5 meals a day (3 major and two snacks). Worked because of the accountability. As the novelty wore off and after going it alone, I felt like I was always focused on food and if I didn't follow the protein/carb/fat exchanges properly at each meal, I would take in too many calories. Had to find a balance and it seems like that's what you've done. Congratulations! Looove it. And, I actually "killed" my first Shakeology cleanse - liked that I only had a few fruit snacks - not much to think about or plan. I must confess that I often do better with your style of less meals, even though it goes against what most of us trainers tell our clients to do! Just curious - what do you like to do for workouts?
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Tina,
Thank you so much for replying. #2 really hit home--wishing your life was a hot fudge sundae. Even when I am reaching for the M&Ms (or truffles, or chips, or icecream, etc.)after the kids are in bed I know it is not M&Ms that I want. I am going to make a plan for what to do instead.

Tomorrow will be day 1 of clean eating. I am going for 4 days in a row. If--no, WHEN--I do that, then days 5, 6, 7, and so on should be easier. I will have to remind myself that slip ups may happen, but as you said, as long as I continue to take 2 steps forward, I am moving in the right direction.

To everyone around me, I appear that I have things "together." I, too, have the nice house, 2 great kids, successful at what I do, but people have no idea with the struggles going on inside my head and how I sabotage myself. I confided in a friend who has always struggled with food addictions and she was shocked. She said I was the last person in the world she expected to binge. Guess I really have everyone fooled. However, I can't fool myself.

I can't thank you enough for your support. I will work on this. I will get through this.
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Excellent! Keep me updated and know that you are in for a huge battle - you already know that, though. And, I live just like you (kids, house, etc). When I admit my "weakness with-reliance on" food, people are shocked. One of the main differences between me and probably us is that we have enough determination and fortitude to make the workouts happen consistently. The exercise helps us balance out the calories and it provides us with energy, enthusiasm and a healthy vibe.

Okay - talk soon!
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Hi Tina

I am still here. I have been so busy that I have not formally exercised in over a week. I also quit worrying about my eating plan, and amazingly the binging has stopped. It is just a mental game. When I think about what I eat (and try to eat healthy), that is when I binge. When I am not as careful about what I eat, I don't binge. Maybe I deprive myself too much. I really don't know. I do know it is frustrating though.
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Well, isn't that interesting. You know best for yourself. I can say that even though I got incredibly lean with my nutritionist years ago, it was still about focusing on food - when and what to eat - all day long. It taught me a lot but it wasn't necessarily the best method for long-term success. If I am focused all day on when and what I should be eating, it's still focusing on food all day, which is not productive for me (although it can be extremely productive for someone without a food obsession issue). Anytime the word should comes up, we really have to watch ourselves, right?! Good for you - figuring this out. Hopefully, your body will ask you for decent food choices, but even if you need to work through average or below-average choices once in a while, I think it's a good plan if it gets you out of the binge mode. It is indeed in the mind and in our thoughts. Love that you have positive news. Keep sharing, sister, either way!
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RE: Compulsive/Emotional/Binge Eating: My Journey and Helping You With Your
diet losing weight emotional eating compulsive eating exercise motivation weight loss support weght loss motivation
5/1/11 3:39 PM as a reply to tinaanderson.
The Shadows and Motivation (or lack there of) in Your Life

Addressing issues with one of my clients yesterday that really has no visible reason to not achieve her lean body goals. No children, excellent and secure job (very busy but who isn't), owns a house and has been in a long-term relationship that appears to be healthy. No baseball or sports games to travel to and from; a few injuries to deal with but not serious enough to prohibit strong workouts; and, enough time, resources and money for proper nutrition and even a personal trainer.

What's up? What is going on? All the tools. Enough time. Enough resources. Knows what she needs to do. In fact, she's done it before.

Answer: The right motivating factor(s) and perhaps, not truly addressing the shadows in her life. When we say we want to lose weight or get lean but our actions don't match our words, then we are lying to ourselves. We are getting something back from our actions that is feeding a part of us.

Let's start with the shadows - a part of ourselves that we may recognize but chose to selectively filter or forget. I learned this from my spiritual director and from having to work through mine. What isn't quite complete in your life or what thoughts do you harbor that reside and hide in your shadows if you are truly honest with yourself? (Honest to the point that you wouldn't want to share or admit to anyone else, including yourself.) This takes deep, contemplative thought and hard work. It means getting uncomfortable and possibly facing things you have hidden for a long time. The result could require tough changes that deep down inside, you don't want to make. It could be similar to one of my shadows, which I'll share with you, since this was the less painful of the two I've had to work on.

I learned that (complete, stripped down honesty with oneself) I did not care about my physique as much as I needed and wanted instant gratification or escape with food, even though I whined and complained about wanting to lose those last 10 pounds and get more cut. My self-talk and rationalization uncovered a world in which I operated and lived with a level of entitlement based on what I've dealt with in life and how hard I work in other areas such as career, family, volunteering, etc. This was and is my struggle. I have always believed that I could obtain or achieve just about anything I wanted if I worked hard enough and stayed persistent, patient and diligent. I still am determined and enthusiastic towards my goals and I have definitely crossed off tons of items on my To Do lists, including pretty big stuff. Unfortunately, the shadow that follows me is connected to a time in my life that started a pattern of turning to food for stress time-outs and instant gratification when items on my list weren't manifesting themselves in the time or way I wanted. Thus, this dark silhouette is always lurking and ready to take over.

Yes, I'm much more in control these days and I know the triggers, but I can't get too complacent because I'm dealing with a 30+ year habit and pattern. How easy is that to change or break? Exactly.

So what's the deal with motivation? You must have an emotionally-charged reason to achieve your goal, especially with weight and fat loss. Just saying "I need to lose some weight" generally doesn't create long-lasting action and follow-through. What will change in your life if you do lose the weight? Where will you be, how will you be/look if you lose the weight? Or, if you don't? What about doing it for those who love and need you to be as healthy as possible? What about stacking the odds in your favor so you can enjoy XY or Z with (fill in the blank)?

I love that my boys are never embarrassed by my physical appearance or lack of endurance and strength at the park or during an athletic endeavor. I love that they know that I care enough to want to be a healthy and fit mom for myself, for their Dad and for them. Sorry, if this seems insensitive, but really? You don't have to be super lean and running triathlons, either. Just moving your body and making healthy nutritional choices most of the time is all it takes. But, you must have the right motivation. Without it, you're probably going to make little or no progress towards your weight loss goals, even if you proclaim them, get thoroughly disgusted with yourself and declare "Monday" as the day to start over (and, I know you know what I'm talking about!) Please don't overlook this aspect. It's often the reason we start but don't finish and/or gain the weight back. Pre-diabetic, heart attacks, parents passing away at a young age - those are pretty obvious. Not yours? Then what?

Anything you've always wanted to do but can't because of your body size? What do you need to be charged up in a big way for this monumental task because it isn't an easy one for most of us. Think about it. It takes effort, consistency, willpower, sacrifice; "doing" when don't feel like doing; saying no to things in which you've always said yes, etc. Those are BIG challenges. They need BIG motivating factors to push and deliver results. We often take on this HUGE task missing the one CRITICAL tool to achieve success: well-thought-out, emotionally-driven motivation. O-M-G. And, as a side note, you better write it/them out and post it/them everywhere so you are reminded of it/them all-the-time.

A lot to think about but a lot could change - for the better - if any of this resonates.
Your thoughts or experiences? Sharing is caring. Might shine light on someone's shadow.
God bless your journey and may a special angel give light to your shadows and wings to your motivation.
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I couldn't have came across this post at a better time. I have literally struggled with this my entire life and yesterday my boyfriend pointed out to me my obsession with food and I was utterly mortified....I felt embarassed and ashamed that others had noticed that I love food and even worse is that I love junk food, especially sweets.
I feel like I am constantly battling food and am never victorious, food always defeats me. I love to work out and always feel amazing when I'm finished but it never fails that when the weekend comes or when my friends are going out that moderation doesn't exist to me, only excess...
I have no idea how to conquer this but when my boyfriend says to me that he wants me to be healthy and not have to worry about my health and self esteem because of this I know that I have to do something, I just don't know where to start.
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OK great, so it isn't just me then!!! Durning the week I work Mon-Fri from 8AM-4PM. I do great during the week healthy breakfast and lunch BUT on the weekends I suffer from boardom eating!!! I just can't seem to help myself. What really annoys me is a year ago I was at 139lbs I got on this great diet called Ideal Protien and lost 23lbs. I had NO problem staying away from the BAD foods but now I seem to have no control????? I'm sitting there eating and I'm like Jess what are you doing and I'll get up and throw away the rest. BUT soon after I'm like what else can I eat!!! How do I stop this self sabatoge????
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When I started my Ideal Protien diet a year ago the hardest thing was constantly feeling hungry, but just hang in there. Soon your body will be use to what you are talking in and even more it becomes mind over matter. Good Luck and stay strong!!
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