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Looking For Advice About The Binge Monster...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

emoticon This is about as REAL as I can get on here... but I have nothing to hide from you fine people. I don't expect everyone to be able to relate, but if you can and have found ways to combat the Binge Monster, this one is for you. emoticon

First off, I feel the word Binge can mean so many things to so many people. When I think of a binge, I picture someone in the kitchen just eating everything and it's almost like they are on auto pilot and are not aware of what they are doing. I used to get so caught up on the labels and I'd think to myself "well that's not what I do, I'm not a binge eater." But I am definitely an emotional eater (eat cuz I'm happy, bored, tired, cranky, sad)... and I am definitely an over eater. You don't get to 272 pounds eating normal and healthy amounts of food. But I am done getting caught up on the labels, because the truth of the matter that whatever it is that I do from time to time, is not a healthy behavior. For me it is more of an "I'm bored, I want to eat". Or sometimes there are no emotions involved and it's a simple "I want to eat." I know that I am not hungry, I just enjoy eating and I enjoy food. I was doing a really good job at telling myself "you aren't hungry, you will eat later when you're hungry", but that hasn't been doing the trick the last few days.

This past week my Self Sabotaeur teamed up with the Binge Monster, and really got on my case. You see, even after losing 80 pounds, there is still that little Saboteur emoticon that does not want to see me hit my goal weight. She is really sneaky, because she will disappear for weeks or even months at a time, only to pop up and bring me down in the blink of an eye! When she pairs up with the Binge Monster, they are a dynamic duo that can not be stopped, until now!

I had heard suggestions before of doing activities or something to distract yourself. I've also heard tips for finding lower calorie foods to eat when the urge hits, so that you can come away from it with less damage. I never used those suggestions, because I was so caught up in trying to get rid of the behavior entirely, and telling myself to stop the madness. I think I am at a point where I know I am going to have to battle the Binge Monster for the rest of my life. I am prepared for the fight, because it is worth it, and sometimes I can beat him to a pulp and come out unscathed. But I am looking for any tips you have heard of or might use yourself to fight him when I'm not so strong.

I read about setting a timer for 20 minutes, doing an activity, and if you still want to binge you can when you are done. If that happens I want to make a list of lower calorie foods that I would still like to eat, but nothing that I love or consider a treat because that would really mess me up LOL.

The only food I have come up with is the 40 calorie fudgecicles when I am wanting something sweet. But I definitely to find more foods that would help when I'm wanting something more salty.

For activities I have:
Hula Hooping
Painting Nails
Reading a book or magazine
Staring a movie
Spending time thinking about how I felt at 270 pounds
Coming on Spark and giving goodies and commenting my spark friends

My binges or overeating days have definitely lessened and lessened over the last year and a half, but I really feel like I need a plan of action for when those days do hit. I need to realize that the urge may always be there and that I can't simply trick myself into thinking it'll go away on it's own... so that is why I need your help in putting a firm plan in place. Any suggestions on foods, activities or any other tips. The goal here is to not have the binge happen at all, but the list of foods is the back up plan for when all else fails.

emoticon I have little/no interest in seeking professional help on this issue. There is nothing wrong with seeking help for these things and I think it could be very beneficial to some. I feel like I am really self aware and understand a lot about why I do this, which is why I am researching and looking for tips to help work on it. This has also gone from something I did all the time to something that I can go months without doing, so I don't think it's a huge enough problem to go that route. It is just something that happens from time to time and I'm looking for a plan of action when those days come. emoticon

Edit: emoticon Interesting tidbit, even when the binge monster hits I still track all my food. If it is something that would typically be weighed I will weigh it and eat one serving. The issue of course is sometimes I go back in for yet ANOTHER serving. So I am realizing that if I am in the frame of mind to TRACK it and physically weigh out the portion, maybe while I'm weighing said food I really need to RETHINK what I'm doing and work on putting back all or at least some of the food I'm dishing out. (This is just a note to self really, I really want to work on this. :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    OMG....I thought you were writing about me!! Thank you are putting this into words, it helps to know that other people are fighting those two mean little monsters! Keep us posted if you find something that works for you. I have tried the water and waiting, sometimes it works.
    Going to the darn grocery store can set those two monsters working against me.....grr, which is really bad because we do actually have to eat!
    1635 days ago
  • AAHMED61
    Chk out this link
    1636 days ago
    I really have to jump on Annie's bandwagon here. I eat low carb and I don't eat processed foods or sugar anymore, so I have a lot in common with Paleo eating (I can't give up my dairy, though, so I'll stick with low carb).

    The binge monster visited me DAILY before. I was hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Even when I was trying to eat healthier foods, the binge monster would come and I could never fight off the sunuvabitch. I would go to get fast food on the way home from work, eat it, stop somewhere and toss the evidence, and go home and cook a meal for my family and eat that, too.

    That gnawing hunger is GONE. Gone, gone, gone. The binge monster is gone, gone, gone. When something is tempting, I look at it and think, "I don't eat that kind of stuff anymore."

    The more I research, the more I believe that low carb diets and Paleo are the way we should all be eating. I echo Annie's sentiments...give it a try. You'll be amazed at the binge monster's disappearance!

    Whatever you decide to do, you always have my support! You are AWESOME!
    1636 days ago
    Thanks for another super blog! emoticon

    Probably the biggest key for me is keeping my trigger foods out of the house as much as possible. Thankfully, my family is pretty supportive most of the time.

    The other danger is nighttime and feeling blue, which it helps to play my ukulele or pop in a movie and crochet, those keep my hands busy. Highly recommend handcrafts of any kind.

    One nummy salty food is nori (the kind of seaweed that is wrapped around sushi) and it's now available in snack packs in various flavors. Another fave is wasabi peas because you can't eat them too fast! Trader Joe's has both.

    After 10 months on SP, my binges are fewer and farther between, I binge on better foods than I used to, the quantity is smaller, and I actually notice how I feel afterward. All of these things help me to binge less and less.

    So if it stil happens occasionally (as it did last night!), I'm not going to beat myself up over it the way I used to, I'll just pick myself up, dust myself off, and eat properly the next day.

    1638 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/22/2013 7:48:59 PM
    Lots of good ideas. We're in this together. emoticon
    1638 days ago
  • MOURGIE221
    Thank you so much for referring me to this blog entry, it's so smart to track your binges me on the other hand I track everything but that lol I'm going to try it next time hoping there isn't a next time but hey I'm a work in progress lol emoticon
    1638 days ago
    Hang in there. Were all in this together. I hear what your saying and its not an easy journey. Take one step and one day at a time. I have been up and down myself we with. You are inspiration and a success story to me! I'm sure as well as others. Hang in and I am behind you all the way. You go girl! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Happy first day of Autumn a new season and a the changing of the leaves and we can change just as well and turn into more beautiful the we already are! Good Luck emoticon
    1639 days ago
    I too have a self saboteur and binge monster. Since I quit smoking they have really spoke up and I am doing a poor job of conquering them as I have gained 15 pounds in the past 10 months since I quit smoking. Lately my plan has been having 1 meal a week that I eat what I want without worrying about salt, fat, calories. Within reason of course, that oh so stuffed feeling is not comfortable. I really enjoy salty the most when I binge so I always have popcorn on hand when I just want to eat uncontrollably. You can have a lot of popcorn with few calories and high fiber. Helps to fill me up so I won't eat everything in sight. Being 18 months into this journey I am trying to find a balance between my old life of eating anything and everything and my new of eating healthy. If everything is always no I will just get frustrated and want to go back to my old ways. You are so smart for wanting to have a plan in place when the binge moments hit. By having a plan you can lessen the damage and get back on track faster. Stay strong by Spark Friend.
    1639 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/22/2013 12:15:45 AM
  • KML410
    I too an am emotional eater. Sweets are the thing that gets me, usually right before I'm ready to go to bed. Two things I do - 1. If it's during the day I chew a mint flavored gum that helps keep the cravings a bay and also helps with my drinking water. If its at night I drink a hot cup of tea and allow myself a few chocolate chip morsels. That satisfies my sweet tooth and I don't overindulge. emoticon
    1639 days ago
    Loved the post. I will try some of the suggestions. very informative. thanks emoticon
    1639 days ago
    I caved in after losing 75 lbs, its a daily battle, Stay strong.
    1639 days ago
    I'll think of some suggestions and come back and post
    1639 days ago
    I battle the binge monster too! He gets me usually when my emotions get the better of me, usually when someone pisses me off! And it's hard not to give in.....I drink water, take a walk, ride my bike - but even that sometimes doesn't help! When I really need something crunchy I have carrots, when it's something salty I use my air popper and air pop some popcorn. Sometimes you just have to have something more than a cup of tea or a glass of water. Good luck - he's really a devil to deal with!
    1639 days ago
  • ADF1981
    Hang in there! You have done so well and have come so far! Some things that have really helped me are the foods I eat, trying to avoid buying the bad stuff, reminding myself how far I have come, and planning. When I feel like I am wanting to snack on something but it's really not time to eat I will drink a big glass of water and make myself busy.

    I thought that the theory of avoiding certain foods was bogus, but for me it works. I'm not on a low carb diet, because I don't think those are healthy but I chose to get my carbs from fruits and veggies instead of starchy foods and sugar. This really helped my cravings. Also, I make sure I eat foods that I like and pick a few things that are low in calories to bulk up my meals. I have found that if I enjoy my food and eat foods that really fill me up that saying no to the other stuff is easier.
    1639 days ago
    Ah, the nasty binge monster, I know him well. Finding something to do can help alot, but I think finding the magic magnet in the fridge door and burying it in the yard would be great, too! lol Keeping a journal of how you feel can help, then you can spot a binge when it hits and maybe keep it from happening in the future.
    1639 days ago
  • KATYDID412
    I agree with the folks who mentioned keeping those trigger foods out of the house entirely. I have used the "wait 20 minutes" practice for years and sometimes it works for me. I love the idea of coming on SparkPeople during those times because of the support and strength you can get just b y visiting a few sparklers' pages.
    1639 days ago
    Dynamic duo indeed! They have been visiting me lately, so they sure are keeping busy..

    I really like your activity-list! You could add going for a walk to it?

    When I get that salty urge I will usually have dried fish (Weird, I know..) or popcorn. Lately I have been craving popcorn like crazy, so I am actually considering getting an air-popper for damage-control!

    I too make a point to track food when I overindulge. I feel better about it when I do. The truth hurts, but the shame I would feel otherwise would hurt me worse.
    1639 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/21/2013 11:19:35 AM
    I like to use water and wait 10 minutes! And in that 10 minutes get distracted.....and get as from away from the kitchen as possible... Or I hear the food calling my name.

    You have a good plan, and a healthy attitude about it. But remember the solution is not linear, and that it is gradual. Be kind to yourself !
    1640 days ago
    As for your list of things to do when in the midst of a craving, this is just me but I'd remove reading and watching a movie (for some reason both of those make me want to eat.)

    For something to eat OTHER than 'goodies', first I'd do as others have suggested and keep trigger foods OUT of the house. Then how about eating something tasty but healthy like an apple, grapes, or other fruit? Or something crunchy like raw carrots? Or something I choose (because of the extra protein and because its pretty low carb) is the Dannon Light Greek Yogurt.

    That said, I read through what Annie said and feel it has a lot of merit. I haven't gone full blown Paleo (yet) but I have cut way back on grains. I have a friend who suffers from both arthritis and gout and I recommended it to her (because I'd read here on Sparks of people getting relief from diseases that cause inflammation with it) and it has helped her AMAZINGLY! Just sayin'.....

    Whatever you choose to do, I KNOW you are going to succeed because like me you have embraced Winston Churchill's quote: "Never, never, NEVER give up." And Babe Ruth's "Its hard to beat a person who never gives up!" emoticon emoticon
    1640 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/21/2013 10:48:18 AM
    I am an emotional eater as well. My problem is that I let the emotions get to me rather than dealing with them. I do better if I deal with the feelings. I have also used knitting to help me manage it. I am keeping my hands and mind busy and the urge usually go away. Good luck.
    1640 days ago
    I am also a binger. I have come to the conclusion that it is part of my personality, and it has been with me since childhood. I don't binge often now, mostly I can distract myself by promising myself that I will eat that tomorrow, but I know then that a binge is coming. Therefore I plan it. I work out the things that I don't normally eat, and fancy, and I buy them. Salted roasted nuts usually, jam doughnuts, chocolate, beer. Whichever I chose. Then I sit back and eat them and enjoy them. Usually as if it was my main meal, so I have saved the calories of that. It's not as if I'm binging regularly anymore, so once in a while does no harm and is a 'release' of negative emotions. I need that safety valve, and I feel so much better if it's planned and I'm in control. the rest of the time I don't have these foods in the house.
    1640 days ago
    Stephanie... this is probably not the answer you're looking for but it's my truth.. and so, I must share it with you.. I could have written your blog last year (without as much flare but the same content - wink).. I know you hear me taut eating along the Paleo guidelines but just give me one more listen.. please.. i have not had a visit from the binge monster since eating paleo.. could it be because I have not eaten the foods that chemists have *intentionally* combined the right amount of fat, sugar and salt to keep me addicted?? to keep me craving? to keep the binge monster coming to the trough?.. I used to think *I* was flawed.. that I just didn't have the same self control as the skinny girls.. that it was a character defect.. and finally I gave up and said "it's just something I'm going to have to battle for the rest of my life" but I was wrong.. eliminating sugar, grains and processed foods from my diet made me realize *I am not broken*.. it's not ME.. it's what I was eating.. and before you say "yeah, but....".. I am an emotional eater still.. but the cravings before were insurmountable.. it took SO much energy to resist.. that I would get worn down.. and then feel like a failure.. I've had none of that now.. I don't have strategies because I don't need them.. if I'm having an emotional day, then I eat healthy nutritious food and am satisfied.. un-freaking-believable.. and one more thing and I will stop (swear) .. but one of the tenets of eating the Paleo way is to reduce inflammation in the body (not just lose weight).. there are whole groups of people who eat Paleo NOT to lose weight but to treat their inflammatory disease - you know, inflammatory diseases like ARTHRITIS.. do you think it's a coincidence that you had a flare up right after you binged? I don't.. I think there is a *possibility* that you could control both the binge monster AND arthritis flare ups with Paleo.. or? I may be wrong cuz every "body" is different.. but it might be worth a 30 day try? I would not normally make this direct of a plea.. but you did ask.. and I do care... :-)
    1640 days ago
    I have the same problem that little monster sticks it head out now and then. So I have tried not to have the unhealthy things in the house and when I'm out I try to talk myself out of the stuff I'm craving. It isn't easy cause sometimes that ugly little monster gets in my head and says eat me it won't hurt you. Try to talk yourself out of it and if that doesn't help take a walk.
    1640 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    I never have been a binge eater, but I did learn a lot from reading Roger Gould M.D.'s "SHRINK YOURSELF" and I recommend his web site. He has a 12 week course on emotional eating that many have taken and said it really helped.
    1640 days ago
    I too suffer from the self saboteur. My salty suggestion to you is one that helps me when I need to slow down. I buy the snack size bags of microwave popcorn. Around 100 calories, but gives volume. For me the volume slows me down just enough to satisfy the urge to eat the emotions. Hang in there sounds like you are on the right track. emoticon
    1640 days ago
    I haven't binged for 86 days, but I still know i could be ambushed at anytime and then the binge can last a few days. I am tracking everything I eat, I try not to have 'binge foods' in the house. I if I feel one starting I eat some protein. The only time I didn't binge was when I was following Atkins. I blew a whole year when I came off it for Christmas and was like an addict eating carbs. I gained a stone in just a few days. We are like alcoholics I think you just have to say I am in control one day at a time. I think you have done really fantastic. emoticon
    1640 days ago
    You have some great ideas there! I am an emotional eater, stress, anger, sadness I eat. For me this is a work in progress but I have learned (not always) to just ride it out. Feel the emotion and repeat to myself a cheeseburger will not make me feel happy. They suggest you keep busy but when you're driving and these feelings overwhelm you and you spot a McD's you have to dig deep for that willpower and drive past and not hit the drive thru.

    For me it's like going to the grocery store. If I don't put it in my cart I won't eat it because I won't have it.

    I LOVE the idea of the saboteur. I have one of those!! I must name her emoticon
    1640 days ago
    Well, it sounds like you already have good self-awareness and a pretty good plan of action. Two other things - I try not to keep those famous trigger foods in the house. I tend to binge on odd things - certain kinds of cereal, for example. Other types just don't do it for me, so I can be satisfied with one portion. Another thing that has helped me with the evening snacking thing (which can turn into a binge) is to make a cup of tea or hot cocoa (around 100 calories) and sip it slowly. I sometimes get "mouth hungry." Even the preparation helps slow me down so that I become more mindful of what I'm doing. I have a couple of favorite cups that make me smile and remind me that I'm worth it.
    1640 days ago
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