How I stopped binging.

Binge eating has been apart of my life for a long time. A looooonnnngg time. Emotional eating gone extreme. At some point in my healthiness journey, even though I was losing/had lost weight, I wondered if binges were just a part of me. Just something I’d have to deal with for the rest of my life.

This post is months in the works. I’ve wanted to write it but didn’t want to risk hitting publish and then having a binge. But today, there is something different. I feel different. Mentally. Clear. I haven’t binged in months and I know why. Years of therapy didn’t get me there (although it could for some). It was a conscious change to my diet that did. I stopped binging by changing my diet.

This change to my diet hasn’t really affected the scale. And while I have shared enough frustrations regarding the scale over the past couple months, the scale is really only a part of my journey. There were times when the scale was low but I was still fighting with binging. Except I’m not fighting anymore and haven’t for months. So how did I stop binging? It was so easy yet so hard.

I cut out 80% of sugar and processed carbs.

Wait. Stop. Don’t close the browser, please keep reading and let me tell you about this. I’m not suggesting everyone run out and do this (although if you have considered it I highly recommend it!). Let me just share with you my experience and then, you’ll know what worked for me.

Let me share if not because you are interested, but in case you ever wonder why I haven’t mentioned my binging any more. Let me clarify a bit:

Examples of what I cut out:

  • Flavored creamer
  • Excess chocolate/dessert
  • Sugar-free/low-calorie/low-fat products
  • Most pasta, rice and grains

So what do I eat?

  • Eggs
  • Meat (chicken, fish, beef)
  • Fresh veggies (lettuce, peppers, onions, carrots, pea pods, mushrooms, the list goes on!)
  • Dairy (pure cream for my coffee, cheese)
  • Alcohol (2 glasses a week? But some weeks none)

Carlos made the switch with me which is a big deal because he grew up a meat and potatoes kind of guy. It came about after a conversation he and I were having about getting back to “real” foods. Since we were already eating the vegetables it was really just saying to ourselves “we don’t need pasta or rice every time we eat dinner.”

Now… let me clarify a bit more about what I’ve been eating/not eating.

I am not 100% sugar free/processed carbs free: This is important to clarify because I promise, you’ll see me eat something sugary or a processed carb in the future. I have removed almost all of what I used to eat but every once in awhile, I’ll share a dessert with Carlos and my niece, Gracie, or enjoy Jimmy John’s for lunch.

I still eat sugar: I eat fruit, so there is natural sugar in my diet. But I cut out most of the chemicals or added sugars from my diet. I read labels and if it says any sort of added sugar, I look for another brand. This includes tomato sauce, marinades and other items that sugar can somehow sneak into.

I still eat carbs: Fruits, veggies and beans naturally have carbs. Love them. Love carbs. I’ve stopped eating pasta, breads and grains. I focus on getting my carbs from fruits & veggies. But every once in awhile, I’ll eat Subway for lunch, have a sweet potato with dinner or grab a handful of crackers to go with my snack. Compared to what I was eating, I’ve cut the processed carbs out 80%.

A typical day looks like this:

Breakfast:
2 or 3 eggs cooked in BUTTER, a piece of fruit

Lunch:
lettuce w/ meat, sunflower seeds, golden raisins, dressing

Dinner:
Chicken or fish w/ sauteed veggies, sometimes a sweet potato

Snacks (2x a day):
Hard boiled egg w/ slice of cheese
Carrots w/ peanut butter
Cottage cheese (full fat!)
Turkey lunch meat & slice of cheese
Turkey lunch meat & 1/2 avocado

The above is a typical day over the past couple months. Sometimes, it varies. For example, one day last week I met a friend at a restaurant and had a burrito bowl for lunch. No rice but did have black beans, meat, salsa, lettuce and guac. So good. I was so full, it lasted me until dinner.

Now. Let’s get back to the binges. I noticed after about a month that I had stopped obsessing over the candy bowl at work. I would walk past it often without thinking anything of it. Amazing. A powerful feeling.

I’m not sure if it is the fact that I cut so drastically my sugar intake or my processed carbs, or, the combination of both. But all I know is I changed my diet and my binges have disappeared.

Now THAT is something to be thankful for.

Jen-white-1-300x106

Comments

  1. What I want to know is how did you not cheat and binge when getting started? I eat low carb. Pretty much the same way. It’s like a modified version of Atkins but I cheat every night when I get home on SUGAR!! I feel addicted and it’s so disappointing.

  2. I realised last night after downing a quart of ice-cream in the middle of winter that I really do have a binging problem. I can’t keep lying to myself and telling myself that I can buy large packages of cookies and dole them out over time like a normal person, because the truth is I have a problem. After reading your blog, I think I’m going to try and follow what you do, starting with no sweets and sugars. Then I can slowly work myself off of the other carbs. Thanks for your inspiration. Knowing that others out there have done it gives me hope.

  3. Robert Diffin says:

    Thanks for the heartfelt post. I realize this was a while back, so I hope it is still working for you. Great inspiration as it reflects what I’m just on the road toward.

  4. The worst part of binging: you crave for processed carbs. Which give you highs, and you feel full for a (very short) while, then come the lows…and you HAVE! to eat more carbs. And this goes over and over till you look at the HUGE ball your belly has turned into, thinking you won’t have to eat (paradoxically) for the next year to make up for it. Sounds familiar, anybody?

    Hope this piece of advice helps:

    -since I replaced processed carbs with proteins and fats, binges hardly happened anymore. I still eat them occasionally, and the less I eat them, the less I feel like wanting to eat them.

    -if I do feel I had more processed carbs/sugars than I should have, and craves are coming, that’s the moment to quit them cold turkey. DO NOT FIGHT CRAVES (this will make you crankier than ever and eventually you’ll give up!), BUT EAT ANYTHING THAT ISN’T PROCESSED CARBS/SUGARS. Proteins will most likely keep your hunger at bay doing way less damage.

    • Hi~Thanks for writing this. I’ve been knee-deep in all kinds of books, tips, trying all these crazy supplements, etc., to kick my binging problem. I have been mainly binging on carbs/sugar like u described above. Am desperate to stop as it causes whole weeks of my life to just go down the drain, plus all kinds of depression, self loathing etc.
      Can you tell me though, what strategies did you use to get through that initial period where the cravings are so overwhelming? This has been my main challenge. I crash so hard emotionally that its really hard not to give in…
      Thx,
      S.

      • the girl in the comment above says if she feels like she is craving sugar she does not allow herself to have any sugar “BUT EAT ANYTHING THAT ISN’T PROCESSED CARBS/SUGARS. Proteins will most likely keep your hunger at bay doing way less damage.” I find this is often helpful too… that and drinking loooooads of water.

        xxx

  5. Tanya White says:

    I came across this post because I was looking for answers to why I no longer binge eat and for a few months now I have cut most carbs and sugar from my diet. As far back as I remembered I was a binge eater, I couldn’t control the urge to eat even when extremely full, I always thought of food. I was and still extremely obese but have lost 40 pounds in 3 months. But now I have to force myself to eat I’m hardly hungry and never really think of food, my taste for food has changed dramatically and I have to force myself to eat because I’m not really hungry and was wondering if cutting sugar, carbs and processed foods has had a effect on my new eating habits, I am so glad to come across this post as it helped me understand why I would binge eat in the past, I always wondered and was told by doctors it’s because I had no self control now I know it’s the chemicals In processed foods that make me have no self control. Thank you for this post I understand now.

    • waooow you go girl !! yes they put loads of crap in most of the food you buy now to make us addicted and keep us consuming 🙁

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been battling the binge (and the resulting bulge!) for several years and have recently been trying to cut out processed food and carbs. You’ve given me hope!

  7. Loved your article!
    I also managed to kick the dreaded binge eating cycle but did it by drinking a large glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice each day.
    After a while of doing this each morning my tastes just began to change and I didn’t crave the sweet sugary stuff any more.

  8. I love that you put BUTTER in all capitals. I also stopped binging when I stopped starving myself with low-fat alternatives. I used to hard boil eggs and throw out the cooked yolk so I could just eat the egg white, etc. etc. Once I started eating the whole egg, for example, I lost the urge to binge because I was satisfied.

  9. Hello I gave up all food items containing gluten 2 weeks ago. Since then I haven’t had a binge or any cravings. my iron levels were low regardless of an iron rich diet and my GP suggested I cut out gluten to see if my iron rates improved. I will have new blood tests in 2 weeks but can testify that the following has occurred: 1. my eczema has improved _ almost gone away, my low mood has lifted AND my binge eating (after years) has completely stopped. I used to over eat all the time, would consume family packs of crisps in one sitting followed by largest pizza in shop, tonnes of sweets, cakes etc. No matter what I ate I would be hungry an hour later. I can now have a piece of chocolate without wanting to consume 2 huge bars, I can have a small packet of crisps without wanting more. Mostly I dont want either of these things and can easily abstain. During my binges I couldn’t have any of these foods in my home as I would eat and eat until they were all gone. The one restriction in my diet is gluten – I wont eat it in any format. I use rice, potatoes etc as carbs and oats but definitely nothing with gluten. I have three meals a day and can go for hours between meal without being peckish. My life is changed completely and I am no longer a prisoner of my cravings. I am normal. (7 lbs gone in 2 weeks too). I can go to supermarkets and restaurants avoid pizza and breads\, cakes etc with zero effort i am free! Good luck to everyone. I hope you find your path.

  10. Sheila Dane says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I struggled for years with binge eating and finally gave it up after fruitless years of therapy. I don’t know how I gave it up. Just gradually conquered the urge and let it go. Put on a great deal of weight afterwards, so obviously was still overeating, but the terrible binges were finished. I still suffer cravings but will try some of the changes you suggest. Some of it I am already doing naturally. I rarely eat sweets and mostly eat vegetables and protein. I need more carbs, good carbs. I get hungry for them. But I am losing the weight, slowly. I joined Weight Watchers and am losing about a half pound a week which works for me. I figure if it comes off slowly it will stay off. Weight Watchers helps because it is structured and I need that extra social support. So I go and get the help I need. In the meantime I haunt places like this and learn what I can. Thanks for the blog.

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