I'm smart and have my head on straight. So why can't I stop eating?
December 27, 2009 6:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm smart and have my head on relatively straight. So why can't I stop eating?

Long story short: My life is okay, I'm accomplished and intelligent and have a lot going for me. But I'm at the end of my rope with my binge eating and need some help.

Long story longer: After an abusive childhood and a few terrible relationships, life has been treating me well for the last half decade. I'm with a person I love, I run a successful business, and later next year I will have a very public career milestone that's basically the culmination of a lifelong dream.

So why the fuck can't I stop eating?

I've struggled with binge eating since my teenage years. In early college I flipped over to the anorexic side, losing 40 pounds over the course of a year. I then flipped again after a stressful move, gaining 100 pounds over another two years. I lost about half of that weight, but over the last two years my weight has been creeping up again (work stress, professional pressure due to the milestone accomplishment I mentioned, death of a dear family member) and I'm only about 15 pounds shy of my highest weight. And it's not okay.

Things I've tried: OA (extensively), therapy, Weight Watchers/diets, food journaling, antidepressants, various forms of getting my shit together. Nothing has worked. I still binge eat, in secret. In the past I could go for weeks, even months, without doing it, but recently things have taken a turn for the worse. The more weight I gain, the more I eat in secret. Except it's not a secret, because I'm putting on pounds at a shocking rate.

This all came to a head the other day when I tallied the amount of money I spent on food this year and it is a BIG amount of money. To a scary extent...like, I could be paying off a student loan with that money, securing my financial future.

I don't want to be spending my money destroying my health. At five foot six, I now weigh in at 225 pounds. I am short of breath when I walk and I'm having trouble finding clothes that fit. And I hate it.

I don't want to be fat. I'm a vibrant, intelligent person and I think my outer body should accept that. I'm no longer surrounded by negative, terrible people, so why do I still feel the need to eat? I'm tired of breaking New Year's resolutions, of feeling like I know what I should be doing (believe you me, I know tons about diet/exercise) and secretly being so out of control.

Advice? How did you stop binge eating?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like compulsive behavior to me. I would see a therapist who has experience with eating disorders.
posted by amro at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have you identified any triggers that set off a binge? Maybe acknowledging those things will help you take their power away.

What about when you want to binge, write down what you WANT to eat rather than actually eating it, like...in great detail? What it is, how much, calories, what it would cost, how much exercise it would take to negate it? In other words, until you can figure out what the trigger is and eliminate it, make the binge happen in a way that won't harm your health.
posted by Edubya at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2009

Some info on binge-eating disorder.
posted by amro at 6:12 PM on December 27, 2009

Sounds like you have underlying problems that go beyond simple "tricks" to me, so what works for me is probably not going to help that much, but you didn't mention it, so:

Beat the crap out of yourself with a CrossFit workout or heavy lifting as much as you can stand. Not every day, but maybe the 3 on, 1 off or even 3 times a week. At the same time, discipline yourself to keep healthy but easy food in the house. If you have to put a grocery store trip on your appointment calendar every two days, do it. You know you have the discipline for that; you run a successful business.

I know that after a workout, a chicken breast and a sliced up apple sure look better than a bag of chips. Problem is, if all I have handy is a bag of chips I will eat it or go to McDonalds. A person I know who shall not be named was shocked to find out how much of an effect WHAT you eat vs. HOW MUCH has. Try the paleo style for a while, if you haven't already - It's pretty much impossible to eat way too much (in my experience, which, like I said, isn't the same as yours.)
posted by ctmf at 6:33 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have no idea how helpful this will be but knowing I completely and totally lack any self control around food in the house - if it is here, I will eat it - I have had to become a dictator about what comes into the house. No junk food and nothing that is not on the eating plan.

Additionally, a very structured programme that required a lot of research, cooking and attention to food along with a daily check-in, helped put me in control of what I eat and how much. For me, this was original Atkins (the 1994 version, ala ADBB) and daily of not hourly posting for the first two weeks. The fact that it was hard and required focus changed my relationship with food until the addiction was broken. It was also really hard and kicked my ass in the first week, which in retrospect was a very good thing.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:44 PM on December 27, 2009

You mention that you've tried therapy before--are you currently in therapy, though? Your descriptions of eating in secret, and feeling so ashamed, makes me wonder if therapy could be a great source of support and understanding for you. If you've had less-than-great experiences in therapy before, maybe it's a matter of finding the right therapist. There's a directory of ED specialists at the NEDA website.
posted by so_gracefully at 6:48 PM on December 27, 2009

I have been there, and it's really, really hard. I'm sure you know that you're not alone in dealing with this problem, but sometimes it helps to hear that from someone else! I don't have any easy solutions for you. Make sure that you are evaluated by a regular physician in addition to therapy. There are conditions -- like, say, insulin resistance -- that can dramatically affect your appetite. There are good drug therapies that might help you if this is the case. It's really just a matter of a simple blood test, so if you haven't ruled this out already, make sure you do so. If you want to talk about this in further detail, feel free to email/mefimail me.

I think, very often, there are a web of issues surrounding binge eating for people who have chronic problems with it. There probably isn't a single reason why you do this. There's no key to this puzzle that's going to make complete sense, nothing that's going to reveal the answer in its entirety to you. I kept looking for one for a very long time; my thinking was similar to yours. I have everything going for me! Why am I doing this? I realize now that it's a constellation of issues -- medical/physiological and emotional. I tried therapy (and, of course, all the diets, etc) about a million times before I hit on someone who used EMDR. That technique worked for by allowing me to isolate specific issues/memories and work out the problems. I'm still working on my own recovery, but these things have helped me significantly.
posted by theantikitty at 6:49 PM on December 27, 2009

If things like OA haven't worked in the past, you might want to consult a Gastroenterologist or other doctor to get checked for digestive disorders or illnesses of your digestive tract.

Some gastrointestinal issues like Celiac disease, Crohn's diease, and etc can cause weight gain and eating disorders (among them binge eating) due to the inability of the body to process hunger signals or whatever. Generally, these diseases cause weight loss, but they can cause weight gain and weight fluctuation like you describe in some people.

Here's an article or two from the net. You can find more through PubMed if you're into that sort of thing.

An article on Celiac and Weight gain.

The widening spectrum of celiac disease from American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
posted by corprew at 6:49 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

You're still a vibrant, intelligent person even if you're overweight.

Perhaps consider a different approach. Perhaps consider Health At Any Size, or perhaps consider Fat Acceptance in general.

Because the beating yourself up is not going to work either. Trust me on this.
posted by micawber at 6:54 PM on December 27, 2009 [7 favorites]

Let me take a minute to lecture. It appears that you have a healthy concept of your general need to control your eating. What you seem to need is both a specific approach to this control and the tools to put it into effect.

So, let's start with a broad concept of personal control. Many of the things we do, including eating have become habits. Habitual behaviors are often triggered by unconscious activities. One thing that can help you break these unconscious trigger events is to pay attention to what you are doing. For example, do you find yourself standing in front of the open refrigerator without remembering that you opened the door? Take two pieces of duct tape and tape the door shut. You will have to do something unusual (pulling off the tape) before you open the door. This will make you stop and consider what you are doing.

Do you want to lose weight and keep it off? If so, set a realistic goal for next June. It took you two years to gain 100 pounds. Don't try to lose it all in two months. See if you can lose 30 pounds by next June 1st. The way you will do this is to buy a doctor's scale and weigh yourself every day. EVERY Day. Draw a chart of your weight, logging it every day. When you have set a reasonable goal and see yourself making reasonable progress toward it, you will start reinforcing your good behavior. If that trend line on your chart is continuing on a generally downward direction, you are doing something right. Keep doing it. If it starts going back up, take a look at what you are doing (sneaking snacks?) and make adjustments.

Eat the kind of meals you know are healthy and in keeping with your goals. You know what they are and don't have to be told. If you have to snack between meals, make it really hard to do so without conscious effort. Put your snack stuff on the highest shelf of the cupboard over the refrigerator. You know, that one you need to climb on a chair to get to. Ask your self if that snack is that important to require a climb up to get it. Do not snack away from home. Period.

When you reach that goal at or before next June, set the next goal. Maybe 30 more pounds? Keep the chart going and keep shooting for that next goal. Keep focused on the goal. Be ready to do this for the rest of your life. Weight management is not a diet. It is a lifestyle.

Lastly, when you momentarily slip, don't punish yourself of feel bad. Just get back to healthy eating as soon as possible, reset your goals and work just a little harder.

It isn't hard to do. You just need to pay attention, commit yourself to your goals and hunker down. You can do it.
posted by Old Geezer at 6:56 PM on December 27, 2009

I'm sorry, but the advice from Old Geezer is absolutely not what the poster needs. Dealing with binge eating is not a matter of willpower. For many people, the desire to diet is exactly what triggers the binge. For the vast majority of binge eaters, Old Geezer's advice will make the binging worse.

Other resources you could look into include the Something Fishy forums and the Overcoming Overeating method.

Please mefimail me if you have any more questions.
posted by emilyd22222 at 7:06 PM on December 27, 2009 [14 favorites]

This isn't about smart vs. stupid. You have an eating disorder. You need to seek medical treatment from a mental health professional or registered dietitian (possibly both) who has specific experience treating eating disorders. You may benefit from medication, talk therapy, eating plans, or any number of other options, but the best way to explore them is with the help of a trained professional who understands your medical needs. I wish you all the best.

You may also want to look into Health at Every Size, which focuses on creating a healthy life for yourself regardless of the number on the scale.
posted by decathecting at 7:07 PM on December 27, 2009 [5 favorites]

You need to seek medical treatment from a mental health professional or registered dietitian (possibly both) who has specific experience treating eating disorders.

Absolutely both!
posted by jgirl at 7:19 PM on December 27, 2009

I have no idea whether this would work for anyone else, but what worked for me was that I jumped off a cliff.

Not literally. Don't jump off a cliff. But I decided that being fat could not be worse, could not make me more miserable than my binge/ starve cycle. So maybe I was just going to be fat. I was going to stop punishing myself for binging, stop trying not to binge, stop starving to make up for my binges, and just accept that maybe I would be obese. I decided to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, and learn to live with whatever body that got me. And it turned out that when I gave myself permission to binge, I stopped binging. I'm thinner now than I was when I was binging and starving, but I had no idea that was how it was going to pan out when I decided to jump off the cliff.

It took about a year to work itself out, and it was a scary year. I threw out my scale at the start of this exercise, and I also decided that I was going to walk five miles a day, every day. Sane, low-stress exercise was a huge help to me, because it helped me think of my body as functional, rather than just the frame that my fat hung off of. Be careful about compulsive exercise, though, because that's a trap that people with eating disorders find really easy to fall into.

I'm not sure I should recommend this to anyone. I did this at the end of a very long eating disorder journey, and I'd been through a lot of therapy and a lot of iterations of my eating disorder by the time I tried it. I think I got better in stages, and this was just the last stage.
posted by craichead at 7:41 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

This isn't about smart vs. stupid. You have an eating disorder. You need to seek medical treatment from a mental health professional or registered dietitian (possibly both) who has specific experience treating eating disorders. You may benefit from medication, talk therapy, eating plans, or any number of other options, but the best way to explore them is with the help of a trained professional who understands your medical needs. I wish you all the best.

You may also want to look into Health at Every Size, which focuses on creating a healthy life for yourself regardless of the number on the scale.

This. All of it - you have an eating disorder, and you need treatment from a therapist & registered dietitian who specialize in eating disorders. A therapist who does not specialize in EDs may be helpful in some parts of your life, but probably will not be able to help you overcome the binge eating. And I agree think that looking in to the Health At Every Size movement might be very beneficial to you - the focus is on taking care of the body you have now.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:48 PM on December 27, 2009

Nthing everyone who says "You can be healthier at your current size." I know a woman who is your exact height and weight (or maybe she's 230 or so) who is a triathlete, a former couch potato who decided that she was sick of saying "I'll do stuff when I get thinner."

The binge eating thing is one thing. Your current state of being out of shape is another thing. You could try to do something about the second while looking for answers to the first.

Dieting is, for many people with binge eating issues, a giant trigger. Maybe work on your health for a while rather than your weight and your eating?

Best of luck to you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:10 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just because you can check off the "loving partner" and "career milestone" boxes on your mental to-do list, that doesn't mean you're actually happy and able to relax. It doesn't mean you're content. It doesn't mean you don't have a ton of stress in your life. In fact, whatever you're doing to achieve your career milestone might well be causing more stress, and less attention to general life "infrastructure" or things that make you glad to be alive.
posted by amtho at 8:10 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm a binge eater, too. First of all: forgive yourself. You are not bad, evil or a sinner because of your weight. You are, regardless of the condition of your body, a decent human being and fat or thin has nothing to do with "good" or "bad." That we constantly receive messages that our virtue is now contingent on looking like something someone we don't even know wants to have sex with is just much more insanity that makes it all the harder to overcome our personal crazy-triggers. You have a problem, but it is a problem that ultimately only harms you. You are not a bad person.

Second, binging has never in my experience had anything to do with food - it's an emotional response to some other stressor. So what's really going on? What's happening in the hours before your binges? What emotion is the food helping you manage?

If you can, deliberately slow yourself down when you are eating - the 35 bites per chew thing, if you're able to get past the impulses. Have you kept a daily emotional journal or done stream of consciousness writing independent of anything to do with the food? The food, at least as far as I've experienced, isn't where the answers lie - it's what emotions lead to the overindulgence - i.e. the triggers.

You'll still need to see a therapist. I just suggest that even though you're overeating, it's worth raising the idea that the behavior has nothing or far less to do with the food than you think.
posted by medea42 at 9:15 PM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]

When I have the urge to eat, I try to drink something like tea or coffee which let me have that comfort of putting something in my mouth. Decaf also works, if you are worried about caffine. There is a reason that alcoholics also drink a lot of coffee, and often smoke cigarettes -- it's displacement onto something less harmful.
posted by jb at 9:19 PM on December 27, 2009

I'm going to recommend that you forget about weight and treat this as a straight up addiction and a serious one at that. You've been struggling with this addiction to various degrees since your teens, you've tried several treatment options but you've never been completely "clean". Either they were the wrong treatment options or you weren't ready to stop. And now it's affecting your life negatively to the point that you really, really want to give up but you don't know how and you're discouraged by your earlier attempts to manage your addiction because they have all failed. You are not sure that you can really become a person that can live without this habit and you are freaking out (a bit).

It could have been cigarettes, alcohol or pot or coke but it's for you it's binge eating. I'm guessing your in your early 30s, which is about the age that people's bad habits bite them in the ass. Some cut back and manage the problem but most people with that kind of long term addiction need to radically change many things about their lifestyle to leave it behind. You have been living with this longer than anything else in your adult life, in a way it's your longest relationship and in a way you're going to have to become a different person to stop doing it. You need to learn entirely new ways of dealing with your emotions, new ways of interacting with people (maybe some new people too), new routines etc. You have to take this very seriously and the people around you do too or you won't get better.

Don't try to do it all on your own or overnight. Pick a treatment option (or a few) that appeal to you and stick to them and tackle one issue at a time. Come clean with your nearest and dearest and enlist their help because you need the accountability. Get a therapist if you need one, or join a support group. If you need to take a break and go to a residential facility or on a yoga retreat- do it. This is your life and your health and it's OK to do things like that when you need to.
posted by fshgrl at 9:35 PM on December 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

And don't get trapped in the idea that you're a horrible person because you are overweight. Guilt and self-loathing are just another way to justify doing bad stuff (that's what bad people do and I'm a failure so I might as well do it etc etc..).
posted by fshgrl at 9:41 PM on December 27, 2009

I am not a binge eater.
Random suggestion: Try going on a 'minimums' diet.

By which I mean,
Each day you must eat a MINIMUM of 6 servings of fruit vegetables (actually, check this out http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/index.html)
A MINIMUM of 70 grams of protein,
a MINIMUM of 6 glasses of water...
etc etc.

Sorry, can't remember what the rest of it was, but, it was also a handful of nuts etc. A glass of milk or a yoghurt etc.
So basically,
make up a big container with all your minimum food, and you *have* to eat at least that each day.

Thing is, if you're really spending that much on food, I'm guessing your 'binge' food isn't that healthy - is it takeaways? Because binging on veges isn't going to hurt your budget much or your weight.

So take the pressure off. As long as you eat healthy each day, you can eat anything you want. You just have to focus on eating your MINIMUMS first.
posted by Elysum at 9:51 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've had bingeing problems in the past, but not currently. Things got better when I took full stock of the impacts the binges were having, and made associations with those impacts to the moment I would start going over the edge. I trained myself to do some CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) work such as slowing down my thoughts as soon as I recognized a binge starting; then progressed to examining my thinking distortions right then and there in the middle of the binge.

It wasn't easy; looking at my true thoughts at those moments created new emotional pain and made it hard to continue. But what it did was make my motivations of the moment clear (something that was hard to do before in the midst of 'medicating' with food). Over time the emotional part got easier to manage. It was a bit cathartic at first, then the whole emotional reaction to seeing the negative thoughts as they happened just diminished. Once that eased it was possible to deal with those revealed motivations with other tools such as thought replacement and positive reinforcement. It took months to get to that stage though.

The urges are still there, but what's in place to stop them from progressing are the 'conversations' bored into my self-talk from repetition, acknowledging the motivations, accepting the existence of the negative thoughts, yet analyzing and refuting the assumptions behind the negativity. Some days are harder than others, but over all it works.

I'm a big CBT supporter because it's done good things for me. Not everyone gets the same benefits or in the same way but I recommend trying it, especially for people like yourself who seem highly motivated and willing to apply yourself mentally. CBT works best when my motivation and mental energy is highest, so I think you'd get some good progress from it. Here's a workbook I recommend.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:37 PM on December 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I know about binge eating. I have been there, I've recently found I can easily drift back into it. Because I'm tall and because I've gone back and forth into anorexia it didn't show on me 'as much' as it might have otherwise. I hate it, hate being out of control, having 'it' doing what it wants, regardless what I knew/know* was good, regardless I didn't want to, regardless anything.

Here's what happened/happens for me -- I was absolutely a binger, *way* out of control, and mostly in the middle of the night**, going out for chocolate candy bars and ice cream and filled 'long johns' and whatever caught my eye, I'd bring all this stuff home and jam it into my head, knowing I ought not, knowing it was not good for me, blah blah blah. Out of control. It was way bigger than I.

Two years ago in early September I started practicing yoga. Whatever I was feeding in those night runs got fed on the mat, and it started immediately. And if ever I would eat junk -- which I didn't want to, really -- if I did eat junk I'd feel it the next day on the mat. A horror show. So I didn't eat shit, and I did eat well, or my version of it at any rate, after entering into an active practice, and, of course, my body fat content began changing immediately. It was amazing. A dramatic change.

I'm not saying to go buy a yoga mat -- I know that this is my experience, and maybe not even terribly common. But others upthread have spoken about finding some physical activity that feeds whatever it is that is getting fed with these secret binges. I'm writing to tell you what happened to me, not to say that it'll happen to you. It might. I can't know. Nor can you. But might be that something physical may feed it.

Twice this year I've injured my back, badly, some of the worst pain I've ever experienced***, long long healing periods, and no yoga. As the days ticked by the junk looked better, and better, and then I started eating it again, not as bad as before but it's happened, especially this last time I hurt myself, in early November. Dark chocolate -- even cheap dark chocolate ie snickers bar dark chocolate -- is satanic shit to me, an incredibly powerful siren. I'm just now back on the mat, a week, maybe ten days. I was able to watch it unfold, sortof sit back and just see it happen. Scary stuff, not what I want, not at all. Just now I'm watching myself head on back toward sanity as my practice begins to unfold again, it's difficult of course with all the garbage food being passed around this time of year -- earlier tonight, I heroically gave away a bunch of very, very high quality sugary crap that'd been given me as a holiday "gift" but not of course until after I'd picked out and eaten all the chocolate, dark and white. Wish me luck, k?

ANYWAYS, I wrote all that to write this: You ain't the only one. I don't know exactly how to help you but I damn sure will if I can, email or memail or whatever, and there's lots of others that will also, you've just got to tune into their wavelength. Therapy, 12 step, CBT, church, gym, running trail, mass murder, meditation, yoga, maybe a combination of some or all of these -- find your way. YOUR way. (If I could reach into your life I'd have you to call Tina tomorrow, or one of her collegues in your community, and then go from there.) While I will help you, fact is that I'm just SMOTI (Some Mope On The Internet) and you'll of course do much better with people In Real Life, up close and personal, right there in your very own community, there are people who will gladly reach our their hand to help you, and people who you can reach our your hand toward, get into that whole circle thing, it's a hoot. I'd bet dollars to dimes you're not going to get this alone, but, hey, I've been wrong before. Prove me wrong here, I'll gladly buy you a hat, up to $50, or we could maybe get up a collection on MetaTalk and buy you a car or something, maybe a whole new wardrobe? Let us know.

Good luck.

*One of my best friends has worked in treatment centers (From street people to the hollywood treatment centers in Arizona; she has seen it all. [PS: They really do take the anonymity of celebs seriously; she's heard everyones secrets, in group and one on one, she knows who's shamefully shoving junk food into their head like I do and/or drinking grain alcohol and/or smoking crack and/or whatever-the-fuck-else, and in all these years I've never ever heard one word about who is in there and/or why. Tina rocks!]) for every kind of addiction and eating disorder but she's specialized a time or two in eating disorders over the years and she knows whereof she speaks. She tells me -- and I damn sure do believe that she's right -- that OA is pretty damn good for compulsive overeaters but not too very good for anorexics and bulimics, that they have an entirely different animal to deal with, that compulsive overeaters are *out* of control and anorexics and bulimics are out of control by being ever so *in* control: You tell them that they are *out* of control and they'll show you in a heartbeat just how very in control they are. Those of us like you and I, who swing from one side to another? Well, we're, um... interesting. (Tina's got her some silly little concerns about me just now -- which I of course refuse to consider -- about the fact that I'm all into eating healthy and practicing yoga and being all fit and whatnot -- see "orthorexia"...)

*The guy in my neighborhood Stop-N-Rob knows me like a liquor store owner knows an alcoholic. He's from 'somewheres else' and we have talked about it some over the years, that this is American 'shit food' and etc and etc; he'll hold up a dark chocolate snickers bar and question me: "This is shit food?" and I say shamefully "Yep, tis". He's compassionate as that liquor store owner, a good guy. You live in 78704, and want to reduce your shame about compulsive chocolate/sugar night runs, send me an email and I'll tell you which store it is, right down there on South Congress.

**Opiates are also "Not A Good Thing For dancestoblue" but each time this back pain hit, twice, I was literally in tears with the pain, crying like a kid when on the table getting it worked on, and other times also, I *had* to use that shit, only the second and third time, respectively, in almost three decades. I was terrified to set that one into motion, I let many people in my life in on all this jive, to help me keep accountable. Addictions fucking suck.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:00 PM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]

Therapy, or back to OA. You're eating your feelings. This isn't about food, or appetite. It's about doing something addictive and destructive to avoid feeling pain or fear. It won't stop until you deal with the feelings and stop eating them.
posted by essexjan at 12:37 AM on December 28, 2009

I've been there, too, and medea42's answer is spot on. The first thing you need to do is tell yourself that you are okay, and not bad or weak, and that you are capable of overcoming this - not right away, but eventually.

There is something that this is "about" for you. Learning to understand and deal with the cause will help you with the symptoms). Therapy can help with that - sometimes it's a matter of finding the right therapist. CBT can definitely help with this - Feeling Good, which is recommended all the time for everything here, can get you started with identifying and disarming the thoughts that are causing you to overeat.

Do not for a fucking second read or listen to any advice about changing your diet or exercise plan until you're at least aware (if not fully in control) of the underlying thought processes. Binge eating and overly restrictive eating/anorexia tag-team with surprising ease, which you already know, and imposing new rules about food can trigger either. You can introduce new, healthier habits later, but not now.

MeMail me if you want to talk. It is hard, I'm not going to lie, but once you find the right way to approach it, it's actually a lot easier than you think.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:47 AM on December 28, 2009

Do not for a fucking second read or listen to any advice about changing your diet or exercise plan

How would changing the exercise plan hurt? I could not agree more that dieting is a horrible idea for people with eating disorders, but if someone is out of breath when they walk, starting an exercise plan seems like a logical idea to me.

I've never heard of a connection between binge eating and compulsive over-exercising, ever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:29 AM on December 28, 2009

I've never heard of a connection between binge eating and compulsive over-exercising, ever.
She was anorexic in the past, though, and there's definitely a connection there. And over-exercising is a pretty common purge method, especially among the kind of bulimics who convince themselves they're not really bulimic because they're not throwing up.
posted by craichead at 8:32 AM on December 28, 2009

She was anorexic in the past, though, and there's definitely a connection there.

Ah, yes. Somehow that hadn't registered with me. Good point, then. Therapy first, exercise later.

I was just bowled over by the poster's perception that being 5'6" and weighing 225 was some kind of automatically disabling condition, considering all the athletes I know at that height and weight.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:13 AM on December 28, 2009

Stop trying to limit what you eat. You binge because you found a moment in which you think the rules don't apply. If you get rid of the rules, you won't need to binge in these breaks. Even if you eat the same amount and food, which you will do at least at first, you might have a completely different experience psychologically.

Also, don't be so strict about eating only "healthy" foods when you're not binging. You're a lot more likely to binge after a bland, "healthy" dinner than you are after something really satisfying.

Disclaimer: I hardly ever binge anymore, but I am obese.
posted by callmejay at 6:26 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

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