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    TINAJANE76   65,284
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How Dieting Turned Me Into a Binge Eater


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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

You're doing great all week, staying at the low end of your calorie range and hitting the gym almost daily when, BAM!, you go totally off the rails and binge. And it's no ordinary binge. It's a big one. One thousand, two thousand calories or more in one sitting. Then you're filled with guilt, sadness and remorse knowing that you've just undone all of your hard work in one sitting with food that you don't even really like all that much and definitely weren't savoring when you were in the throes of your binge passion.

This was the anatomy of my binges back when I was a yo-yo dieter. The ironic thing was that I wasn't a binge eater when I was overweight. I simply overate. What I came to realize in my recent weight loss and now maintenance efforts is that my idea of what it meant to be on a diet actually turned me into a binge eater. I learned that I can only be restrictive for so long before my body starts crying out for more food until I reach a point of no return and eat anything and everything in sight. As a result, I often had great short-term weight loss success followed by almost instantaneous regain because I just couldn't sustain the effort I had made while I was losing in the long term.

Although I can point to a lot of different factors that have led to my success this time around, I think my awareness of this problem has guided me to an approach that is proving to be instrumental in my long-term success. As I was losing weight, I learned that I have a magic number and a magic combination. In weight-loss mode that magic number was 1,300 with one more liberal day a week for a planned splurge meal. If I was consistently below that level, I would inevitably binge and undo all of the great progress I thought I was making. In the end, giving myself some extra calories every day plus the freedom to eat more one day a week without guilt was worth it because my binges BY FAR outweighed the savings I banked by being more restrictive. So, in the end, eating more calories led to more weight loss for me and has translated into successful maintenance. I think recognizing and dealing with this problem has been a big key in managing my binges. They're much fewer and farther between than they were in my previous efforts and I am finally successfully maintaining after years of yo-yo dieting, which were marked by periods of being too restrictive followed by periods of eating with reckless abandon.

I know that my strategy won't work for everyone, but if you are suffering from the heartbreaking pattern of binge-eating, please know that there is hope and that you can overcome this. It's so encouraging to see that other people are doing the same and I hope that one day, every person on SparkPeople can truly live a binge-free life.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CATNCAG 7/19/2013 12:49PM

    That's great Tina Jane! Way to go! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALAWA 12/12/2012 2:47PM

  I have this problem right now, I am so tired of it . Thank you for this blog I will
try and see how it goes. emoticon

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EFFRAYECHILDE 11/19/2012 7:48AM

    emoticon

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REGSHAR 11/11/2012 10:18AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PAMAZON 11/10/2012 9:33PM

    Wonderful blog! I have dealt with binges all my life, and I can't say that I've figured out a magic number yet that will stop that from happening. But I am a big believer in fueling our bodies with enough calories to support our workouts and to give us satisfaction so we don't feel so deprived. I have many friends who have completely eliminated major food groups and reduced calories so severely for weeks on end, only to give it up completely. Building in a cheat meal/day here and there can have a reinforcing effect on the healthier meals you're maintaining the rest of the week!
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TDWANDD2MYK9 11/10/2012 2:15AM

    emoticon

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SUSANS706 11/9/2012 3:41PM

    Thanks for sharing, I think that may be my "key", will start paying more attention, and see if that works!!

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PCASEY7 11/9/2012 2:45PM

    I think I'm discovering that too! Upping the calorie intake generally keeps me more satisfied & fuller and minimizes the binges. I still will have the odd binge but I'll make up for it in the next few days.

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SERASARA 11/9/2012 11:27AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 11/9/2012 9:29AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LADYJ6942 11/9/2012 9:13AM

    Thank you for sharing and it is true if we eat at to low an intake we overeat the next day to comp for it.

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ROUNDTOWNMOM 11/9/2012 7:03AM

    You have helped me find my own key...........now to use it...............

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BLUE42DOWN 11/9/2012 3:56AM

    Very interesting. I'd read an ebook on my Kindle at one point (title was something about fighting food and winning). The author said something very similar about adding up the total calories she was consuming in her binges and spreading half of them through her week added to how much she was otherwise restricting herself to - her way of finding her magic number as it was.

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MARYJEANSL 11/8/2012 11:27PM

  It's so interesting that you have figured out your own body that way. I used to binge quite a lot. Many, many years ago I had bulimia and did the binge-purge thing. I got over that (entirely by myself) but I was overweight and couldn't seem to be able to lose. Now I don't really binge much, and when I do it's usually on tasty and sometimes fatty main dishes or casseroles. I enjoy sweets maybe too much, but I don't binge on them anymore. It's so interesting how these things work...

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JAMER123 11/8/2012 9:53PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Good blog!!

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LISA_FRAME 11/8/2012 9:26PM

  great post

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CRANRANA 11/8/2012 8:58PM

  So glad I read your blog. I've been in that same cycle lately. I eat so much on the weekends that I have to pull back a lot during the week to maintain/lose weight. Intellectually I know that this is a dangerous cycle to be in. I'm attempting to maintain my weight loss. I've lost weight many times before--I'm good at doing that, but have never learned the secrets of maintenance. I'm going to use your insights to help level out my caloric intake. Thanks for sharing this.

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ONLYTEMPORARY 11/8/2012 8:12PM

    emoticon

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SUSANK16 11/8/2012 7:53PM

  I like that idea and have been struggling with binge eating since I returned from holiday, I am going to try that starting tomorrow. Thanks!

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SHOAPIE 11/8/2012 7:39PM

    emoticon

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LYNNA1968 11/8/2012 6:47PM

    emoticon emoticon glad you figured it out.

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DIANNEMT 11/8/2012 5:57PM

    Glad you figured that out for yourself!

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PATRICIAANN46 11/8/2012 4:36PM

  That makes so much sense!!! emoticon for the great advice.

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ALIDOSHA 11/8/2012 4:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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IAMAGEMLOVER 11/8/2012 3:34PM

    emoticon

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LYNNBELLS 11/8/2012 3:22PM

    This rings so true for me - I was never out of control until I met Restriction! Still struggling to find a balance, but definitely knowing this effect has been positive for progress. So glad to read someone put it so well! So, thank you.

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KARRENLYNN 11/8/2012 3:00PM

    I agree with you. My neighbor is on an 800 calorie/day medifast diet. she's lost alot of weight, but she doesn't get to each very much and always has to watch her family and friends eat stuff she can't have. I couldn't do it. As soon as I'm told I can't have anything, I feel deprived and begging for a binge!!!!

Personally I've found this time around I've not banned any food. I plan for it when I can and if I can't and I "need" it, I try to have a small serving, enjoy without guilt and move forward from there. I'm also diligent about exercising so the damage is minimal. So far, it's working for me and I'm much happier as I'm losing weight. I do try to stick to the SP nutrition guidelines which help alot.

Have a great weekend!

Karen emoticon emoticon

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REGILIEH 11/8/2012 2:41PM

    emoticon

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MOMMY445 11/8/2012 1:14PM

    such a wonderful and inspiring blog! have a terrific day!

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NEWTINK 11/8/2012 12:36PM

    Thank you for the wonderful blog ... It is great when you can share a secret ...

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VOLLEYGIRL77 11/8/2012 11:49AM

    Congrats on being able to overcome that! It is a constant struggle for me.

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ROCKYCPA 11/8/2012 11:37AM

    Thanks for sharing! Some really good ideas to contemplate.

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JACKIE542 11/8/2012 11:12AM

    emoticon Well said, thank you! emoticon

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LIVELYGIRL2 11/8/2012 11:11AM

  Very insightful. Well said, and worth considering. emoticon

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THOMASINA57 11/8/2012 10:41AM

    Well said! emoticon

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AMARILYNH 11/8/2012 10:24AM

    Great blog!! I too found weight loss success when I QUIT dieting and just increased my exercise and worked on eating healthy food with as little sugar as possible. Then there is Sparkpeople - I give Sparkpeople a LOT of credit for keeping my weight in check! Both the nutrition tracker and the friends I've made here are making a huge difference in my journey!! emoticon

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GOOSIEMOON 11/8/2012 10:23AM

    Good thoughts, well-expressed!

Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

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MINANCY 11/8/2012 10:11AM

    Your blog was a real eye-opener this morning. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to work out my magic numbers and hope that by taking a more thought out approach to my calories, I will have more sustained weight loss.
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MNNICE 11/8/2012 9:48AM

    I've always been a binger -- I remember even as a child sneaking a bag of chocolate chips out of mom's baking supply cupboard, hiding and eating the whole bag (lest there be any evidence!) And I wasn't overweight at that time. I still have binges even being in maintenance for several years, but I continue to work on "moderation" - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but the binging is becoming less frequent and smaller amounts, so I'm making progress.

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GRAMPIAN 11/8/2012 9:39AM

  Good advice. emoticon

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TERRIJ7 11/8/2012 9:35AM

    I love that you studied your body's responses and paid attention to what it was telling you. We're all different and need to take somewhat different routes to reach our goals. Many happy years of maintenance!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 11/8/2012 9:30AM

    Fantastic advice. I usually haven't had problems with binge-eating - just overeating in general, but I think this advice applies to anyone who just likes eating and has trouble feeling restricted. Plus, it's just safer to eat more and lose a bit more slowly - I lost my period/fertility in February from a combination of overexercising and not eating enough, even though I was careful to eat at least 1200 calories per day. Better to have eaten a bit more. Maybe I wouldn't have had to spend tons of money on doctors and endocrinologists and future fertility treatments. AND I would have been more satisfied and happy in general, and less cranky with my poor husband while I was following such a restricted-calorie plan. I know weight loss is essentially controlled starvation, but none of us should take that too far, whether it triggers a binge or not! Thanks for sharing your experience and your wisdom. :)

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MIMIDOT 11/8/2012 9:29AM

    Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing.

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SUGARADDICT5 11/8/2012 9:25AM

  Thanks for sharing how you became successful at maintence. You just told my life story.

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MRSTABER 11/8/2012 9:08AM

    Great reminder! Thanks!

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PENOWOK 11/8/2012 8:43AM

    You said it well! Thanks for the strong reminder!

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DNRAE1 11/8/2012 8:32AM

    Oh yes! You can't DEPRIVE yourself without consequences! That's why I always incorporate a treat into my calories....not a big one, but just enough so I know that I'm not depriving myself. And I deserve my treats....I work hard and I eat nutritionally correct for most of the day! Plus.....I'm losing weight slowly and consistently. emoticon

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DJSHIP46 11/8/2012 8:30AM

    Thanks for sharing... emoticon

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LUV2RUN72 11/8/2012 8:28AM

    emoticon Well put and insightful.

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ON2VICTORY 11/8/2012 7:31AM

    Great blog.. in my own experience I have found (and I am still working on it) that I binge when things in my life are out of balance. While caloric deprivation is one cause for sure, I tend to binge when I am sleep deprived, emotionally deprived due to shift work, frustrated and the list goes on.

I'm trying to bring things into as much balance as I can. thank you for bringing up this important subject.

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