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Looking to connect with other binge eaters
December 18, 2014
9:44 pm
Az_Brighton
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December 1, 2014
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Hi folks, for many years I've turned to food for emotional comfort. I've gone through periods of extreme regulation of food intake only to fall off of the wagon to go back to binge eating; my weight has yo-yoed along with this.

I've experienced shyness and discomfort when eating in front of others. As well as giving others the impression that I don't eat that much when in reality I was stuffing my face in secret!

In the last few months I've been trying once more to tackle the problem. Joining a MGEDT group has definitely helped. It's as if telling others of my private problem with food has made the issue more real so that I can take control and responsibility for it.

I have been able to sustain my healthy relationship with food considerably longer than I ever have before.

Although I've had only a few binging sessions in the last few months I'm looking to connect with others who have similar issues. I'm hoping that we can talk about the issue and share ideas and strategies for managing and coping with the condition.

Please get in touch.

January 9, 2015
11:32 pm
Thomas Grainger
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January 9, 2015
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Hey Az,

Great to see that you are reaching out. Talking about emotional eating is the pinnacle to overcoming it. I come from a background of having suffered from anorexia and orthorexia for several years in the past, but before this I had a problem with overeating, resulting in being heavily overweight. I think the core to understanding the issue and overcoming it, is approaching any disordered eating behaviour as a SYMPTOM of underlying psychological concerns. Trying to get to the root of what is sparking such behaviours is always the best approach I've found when assisting anyone with an eating disorder. This is because you're tackling the heart of the problem, rather than offering a bandaid solution in dealing with the eating. Binge eating is not the true issue, its the way the deeper concerns within yourself are manifesting. We could say it's your primary symptom.

I find that, like it was with myself, it can stem from personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. Since food offers that instant gratification, the relief from feeling empty inside and filling yourself with the sensations of eating/consuming food, I find that the best strategy is to find NEW WAYS of filling that gap. Apart form cognitive behavioural therapy, which is basically being 'mindful' about how you are thinking and catching yourself out before you turn those thoughts into unhelpful behaviours, there's a number of approaches I have found helpful:

* Meditation - I know it sounds like a wishy-washy area, but when feeling the urge to binge, taking a step back and meditating for 20 mins can really help
* Going for a walk - get out of the house/office and walk around in nature for a while
* Call someone who is willing/happy to listen and talk it through
* Jump on the forums!
* Make sure you don't stock food that leans towards a binging mentality eg. packet food, food that comes in many small pieces like biscuits, chips, chocolate, etc.
* Make sure your diet is nourishing and satisfying, as this will lean towards a lower inclination to binge. For example: moderate fat intake from heathy sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut and olive oil. Greek yoghurt, plenty of fruits and veggies.
* Don't restrict, but find a balance. Depriving yourself is more likely to lead to a binge. Don't say: 'I'm NEVER going to eat, for example, cheese and biscuits". This will lead to you craving it more and more. Instead, incorporate it into a moderate and balanced diet, appreciate it, and this will be more inclined to satisfy you.
* Make eating sociable!!! Getting in the habit of eating in private will spark binge eating behaviour, as your mind becomes use to repetition and therefore, this will be your natural inclination to move towards each time you think about food and link this to your emotions.
* Practice intuitive eating. The more you listen to your body and ask yourself what you really feel like and need, rather what you think you want to eat, then the more satisfied you will be within yourself after eating and the less likely you will be to binge. You will feel nourished, whole and full of energy, rather than feeling bloated, guilty and overwhelmed physically and emotionally.

I hope this has helped. Let me know if you have any questions and check out my podcast that tackles issues like this: beyondthebodyshow.com.

Cheers

Thomas

Thomas Grainger thomasgrainger.info Author | Speaker | Coach | Creative Producer
January 13, 2015
11:52 am
Az_Brighton
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December 1, 2014
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Hi Thomas

Thanks so much for your post. It's good to get new ideas and to recognise some of the things I'm already doing which are also being used by others.

I too have found that meditation has been a great way to stall the binge-eating "auto-pilot" and a general help with the underlying thoughts which may be causing the binge-eating behaviour. I used to practice daily but this has slipped over time to just once a week. It's amazing how the mind makes excuses not to spare a few minutes a day....that's something I have to explore further!

Running has been a hugely helpful tool for me, although I do have to keep the exercise routine in check so that it doesn't become too obsessive. Running every other day now feels healthily realistic for me and if something comes up I just switch to running the next day instead without too much angst.

I definitely agree with not stocking up on binge-worthy food at home. If everything is okay with the world then I could resist the food but if something is off-kilter I would eat the lot. So better that it is out of sight, out of mind!

Talking about emotional eating has definitely helped me to realise that things don't have to be black and white / all or nothing. I am slowly starting to appreciate that it is all about balance. I am coming to accept that sometimes I might not be able to prevent over-eating but I don't need to punish myself for it. Instead I look at the possible reasons why it might have occurred and what I could've done differently to prevent it in case that scenario comes up again. For example a big trigger for me is packing my life with too many things to do and getting over-tired, so I try and make sure I moderate my schedule or try to defer some things to a later time / date....and not being able to do everything does not make me a failure, just human (that's a hard one to fully accept!).

I'm also becoming less regimented with my eating. Previously I would become anxious if I didn't eat regularly as I might get over-hungry and trigger a binging session. Now I check-in with myself whether I actually 'feel' hungry. If I don't then I can relax more about it and just make sure I eat as soon as I start to feel hungry. Also making sure I don't ignore the signs of hunger.

Another thing I have started to do when I feel a potential binging session brewing due to stress, anger or upset (as opposed to tiredness) is to ask myself whether I will feel better or worse afterwards, regardless of the short-term 'hit'. Recently I had maintained a regular diet for several weeks and then had a binging session, after which I felt bloated, agitated and unwell. I visualise those feelings as a reminder that binging will make me feel worse.

So I wouldn't say that I've cracked it at all but I am slowly learning to explore different ways to manage the condition and getting input from others like yourself is both helpful and reassuring.

I'm interested in your point about the primary symptom for binge-eating but I'm at a loss with how to discover what it could be. I could guess but it would just be that, a guess. I did try CBT for a few months and although this helped me deal with some family issues it never really addressed the binge-eating. Actually I found the whole administration and note-keeping so time-consuming and stressful that it became somewhat counter-productive! If you have any ideas / suggestions in this area I would appreciate it.

I will subscribe to your Podcast too.

Thanks once again for your input Thomas.

Take care.

Az

January 15, 2015
8:16 am
Thomas Grainger
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Forum Posts: 22
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January 9, 2015
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Hey Az,

Wow, you definitely seem to have implemented a number of fantastic well-thoughtout strategies to help you overcome this challenging situation. Great stuff! It's never easy, it's a journey, but I truly believe that through these experiences we get to learn more about ourselves.

In terms of trying to get to the bottom of your binge-eating, I think you said it yourself in this post (when I read between the lines). It seems that binge eating is a release from the built-up anxiety and overwhelm that you sometimes feel in your life. Binge eating is your way of emotionally dealing with the situation. Does this seem to be making any sense to you at all? Of course, we have never met so I can't start making conclusions, but it's an interesting start. I find that if I sit quietly and just write the question on a piece a paper, close my eyes and answer it with the first thought that pops into my head, it can be a way of unlocking your subconscious thought patterns. I know it sounds strange, but it really can work. That's how therapists attempt to do it, without saying that's what they're doing.

Totally agree about the clinical stuff when it comes to CBT. I would recommend then trying to at home and then implementing small practices throughout the day. A brilliant book on CBT is 'The Happiness Trap' by Dr. Russ Harris. I love it because it's not another one of those 'just think happy thoughts books'. I've also written a book about overcoming eating disorder behaviour, which includes a few chapters on CBT: 'You Are Not Your Eating Disorder'.

Hope you're having a great week!
Cheers

Thomas

Thomas Grainger thomasgrainger.info Author | Speaker | Coach | Creative Producer
January 29, 2015
3:58 pm
Az_Brighton
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
December 1, 2014
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Thanks for the suggestions Thomas, I'll check those out.

Kind regards

Aaron

February 12, 2015
12:22 am
Thomas Grainger
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Forum Posts: 22
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January 9, 2015
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Az_Brighton said

Thanks for the suggestions Thomas, I'll check those out.

Kind regards

Aaron

Any time Aaron. Let me know how it goes for you and if you have any other questions or comments :) Good luck!

Thomas Grainger thomasgrainger.info Author | Speaker | Coach | Creative Producer
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