Q & A – How Did I Stop Bingeing?

Yesterday, a reader commented on my post and asked me a question about bingeing. I started writing a response, but it got kinda long, so I decided to answer in a post today.

Tanya wrote…When you first stopped binging to now, what is it that you do or say to yourself that stops the binge?
thanks!

Well, it all really began back in late December of 2007 when I realized that for the past 30+ years I had an eating disorder (not just a “sweet tooth”). Once I realized that I had a true sickness, a disease, I was determined to do whatever I could to fix it. I mean, wouldn’t anyone want to fight and beat a disease that they learned they had?

Armed with this new knowledge and drive, I stopped bingeing the very next day and haven’t done it since.

I went to overeaters anonymous meetings, found a therapist and read a lot of literature. As far as OA, here I had thought I was all alone with these crazy thoughts in my head about food and it was SO helpful to find out that I was not alone. That gave me strength.

Through therapy, I learned what things happened in my childhood to lead me down this road. That enabled me to understand where the compulsive overeating/bingeing came from, deal with it, put it in it’s proper place and move forward.

Stringing the non-binge days together became a badge of honor for me that I’m still determined not to break. This is illustrated in the beaded bracelet I wear every day, with certain beads representing years, other beads are for months, binge-free.

Some of my mantras are/were – “It’s (the food) is not an option”. “Nothing tastes as good as lean and mean feels”. “It’s just food.”

I also employed my husband to help me when we were out at social situations when I’m faced with dessert buffets (and still do!).

Blogging about my honest feelings has been really helpful too. The eating disordered/health/fitness/weight loss blog community is so awesome and supportive.

I wrote another post not so long ago about how I remain binge-free here.

Also, I wrote another blog which lists a lot of the things that I do when I feel a binge coming on – bag of tricks

I really don’t feel the need to binge anymore. I know now it is all emotional eating and I have much better ways of dealing with emotions now, I do not turn to food. Do I sometimes overeat a bit, yes, but I am comfortable with that because even “normal” eaters overeat sometimes on things that are really worth it.

Tanya, I hope that answered your question.

Can anyone else share their tricks of how they stopped bingeing?

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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Comments

37 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Ameena
    12 April 2010, 5:08 pm

    I don’t have a problem bingeing but I know that my fellow bloggers have made me feel 100X better about the various other problems I face!!

    To answer your question, I am going to Japan/Singapore/Malaysia this Friday. Hence, the new luggage! So needed.
    .-= Ameena´s last blog ..The Indulging Continues =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    isn’t the blogosphere awesome?!?!?

    wow, big trip! how long will you be away?

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  2. Rita
    12 April 2010, 5:14 pm

    Being on day 16, this was really helpful, lol, Thanks again for all your wisdom nuggets. I have a distraction list set up in my bedroom now that is helping. It’s away from food for one, and it has a list of thing that I can do instead of eating along with a list of questions to ask myself about why I’m wanting food.

    Sometimes when I’m red lining like that I can’t get my brain quiet enough to remember what to do. This way, I just have to get to the bedroom and read my list of coping strategies. It’s been awesome, have I mentioned it’s been 16 days!
    .-= Rita´s last blog ..Say Goodbye to My Little Friend =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    congrats on 16 days!!!! the list sounds awesome. keep up the great work!

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  3. Jody - Fit at 52
    12 April 2010, 6:13 pm

    You have so much to offer! Amazing!

    I never binged but for things that are a “problem” for me, I just do not keep them in my house or near to where I can get my hands on them. Out of sight as they say.

    I also have found food that I like & is a better choice than the worse choice. I find ways to make my food program one that does not feel like I am giving up everything.
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog .."Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is Out." – Book Review & GIVEAWAY! =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    aw, thanks, jody! i find the out of sight out of mind works great for me too, in my house anyway. 🙂

    exactly! no deprivation, less chance of making/eating the worse choice.

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  4. Jess
    12 April 2010, 6:51 pm

    Can anyone else share their tricks of how they stopped bingeing?

    Well, the first thing I did was identify my trigger foods. While they do shift around (right now, fresh-baked pan dulce is up high on my list of potential trigger foods), I try to avoid them.

    Awareness is the biggest thing I use. The clarity that came from moving from a diet of chemicals (snack foods, candy, soda, etc.) to a nutritional diet made me aware. When I know I’m in a danger zone, I am a more aware eater and I “Proceed with Caution”.

    I was lucky to have a meeting which gave out chips. We use AA and OA chips, and my favorite chip I ever got was my 24-hour chip. I look at it sometimes, as a reminder that it’s not about the months of abstinence I’ve chained behind today, it’s about the 24 hours I am living in.

    I do weigh and measure my food (for now), and I guesstimate the rest of the time.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    good ones, jess, thanks!

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    Rita Reply:

    Oh I really like that Jess! Living in the moment, so very true.
    .-= Rita´s last blog ..Vacations, Buffets and Thoughts on Binging =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i’m guilty of often not living in the moment too. 🙁

    [Reply]

  5. tanya
    12 April 2010, 7:40 pm

    This sentence answered my question-I know now it is all emotional eating and I have much better ways of dealing with emotions now, I do not turn to food.
    I see that dealing with your emotions in a different manner caused you to not feel like bingeing anymore.
    I’m glad you found that place and are in a healthy path.
    Thanks for sharing in more detail , you do a great job at expressing what you have gone through. Your story could make an interesting book:)

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    lol! sorry i blabbed too much. once i got started, i couldn’t stop. 🙂 thanks for the compliments though!

    it really was a combination of all of those things. it was like i was bingeing because my dad teased me all through my teens that my butt was big, or i was bingeing because my mom hid the junk food from me even before i was 10, which i later found out in therapy meant my mom was saying to me – you cannot be trusted with food. it took therapy for me to see how what they did impacted me in such a negative way. the food gave me the nourishment/comfort i needed when i was young and it was a pattern that i subconsciously held on to for over 30 years.

    it was also realizing that it’s not right to pig out because i had a bad day, was sad, happy, frustrated, insert any adjective. there are other ways to get comfort or celebrate, rather than turning to food.

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  6. Suzie
    12 April 2010, 7:44 pm

    I read A LOT of books about bingeing and body image. I also saw a therapist to figure out what my main issues are. I was completely disconnected from my emotions and my body and in therapy I realized why I was binging. I think you have to figure out what you get out of bingeing. We don’t do anything for no reason. There is some benefit to bingeing that you have to find somewhere else. For me it’s a way to give myself a guilt free break from my todo list or anxiety. I’ve worked to just confront my feelings, create me time, check in iwth myself, etc. And I’ve also had to work on accepting my body and stopping dieting (intuitive eating).
    .-= Suzie´s last blog ..d-ropped off the planet =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    great points!!! and congrats to you for getting to where you are today!

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  7. Sagan
    12 April 2010, 9:02 pm

    I really like the idea of the bracelet- having that reminder on your wrist is great.

    I find that I binge on nut butter and popcorn. I’m not entirely sure what to do about those two items… I’m considering limiting myself to only eating them when I’m around other people, because I KNOW that I won’t binge on them when others are around. Experiment time!

    PS Your mantra of “it’s JUST food” is one I’m adopting. Right. Now.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Poll: How Much Do You Read? =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, sagan, but i can’t take all the credit for the bracelet, my (first) therapist came up with the idea of somehow marking my days of abstaining/being binge-free. first it was a bead a day, then when i filled up the bracelet with days, i did weeks, and so on.

    it’s good that you know your trigger foods. awareness is half the battle. eating them around other people to make you accountable could definitely work, as long as you don’t pull it out again after that person is gone. i’m only saying that because a few years ago, that is what i would have done, i’m sure you would fare better than i did.

    awesome! it is just food, it does not have magical powers over you.

    [Reply]

  8. Cammy@TippyToeDiet
    12 April 2010, 9:22 pm

    I don’t have bingeing problems in the clinical sense, but I do overeat from time to time. I usually practice preventative maintenance by not bringing large quantities of certain foods in the house. (Odd, how I never over-eat tuna or cucumbers.*g*) When I do catch myself in a situation where I’m overeating, i just say “Stop it!” out loud, repeating it if I have to, until I register what’s happening. So far, so good.

    It’s awesome how much progress you’ve made with identifying the problem and finding workable solutions.
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Rambling about Designing Women =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for your kind words, cammy. sounds like you have some great systems and solutions in place!!! i know, like we should only have the problem of overeating a vegetable like cucumbers, right!??!!? lol!!

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  9. amanda
    12 April 2010, 9:43 pm

    Wow, I am amazed that you basically had a revelation type of moment and decided from that day forth you weren’t going to binge and stuck with. I am very grateful for your advice and have enlisted my husband to help me on my journey along with my therapist. Keep up the good work with this blog. 🙂
    .-= amanda´s last blog ..Las Vegas Food Porn =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i just did it one day at a time, amanda, and it wasn’t always easy, but suddenly, here i am at 2+ years.

    aw, it makes me feel good that you used my advice and enlisted your husband to help. i know that was probably tough for you to go to him, but i bet it made you stronger. a big step in your recovery. take pride in that!

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  10. Julie - Big Girl Bombshell
    12 April 2010, 10:13 pm

    I had a rare opportunity to actually write through a binge. That was a powerful eye opening experience. Mid-point I realized I was binging and told myself I had to continue to write. That was my last big binge. I am still working on the disconnect and trying to not keep myself separate. I am my own enabler and that is my current obstacle.
    .-= Julie – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Boots Made for Walking =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    wow, that is pretty amazing!!! back when i was bingeing, i was so focused on stuffing my face, i don’t think i would have had the wherewithal to be able to stop myself and write. kudos to you from getting so much out of that experience and using it to move forward in your recovery!

    have faith, in time you will not be your own enabler. in fact, maybe you should tell yourself that. act as if you are not. the power of positive thinking!

    [Reply]

  11. Holly
    12 April 2010, 10:36 pm

    I think I’m going to borrow your mantras. 🙂 I’ve never tried using mantras, but I definitely think there is something to them. It IS just food. It IS just temporary gratification. Like drugs (I’m assuming!) it helps us to forget about our problems only for a small period of time.

    Thank you for this post….as always, it is SO helpful to me knowing there are ways to deal with this and come out of it stronger!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Three Things =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    borrow away! it truly is just food, just like a pencil is a pencil. they are just objects. these objects have no power over us, we are the ones that give them power. food tastes good for 20 seconds, but they don’t solve anything, and make you feel lousy afterwards.

    [Reply]

  12. tanya
    13 April 2010, 10:01 am

    In regards to your reply—there are other ways to get comfort or celebrate, rather than turning to food.
    What are some of your New ways to comfort or celebrate rather turning to food as you did before?
    Thanks~!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    for comfort i will do something to nurture myself. some examples – first and foremost, i have a good cry if i feel it brewing. i would blog about my feelings, vent to a friend, go upstairs and read a book, hit the gym, go out of the kitchen and watch something mindless of tv, get a hug from my husband (which often leads to another good cry).
    as for celebrating, again, doing something that i enjoy – whether it’s getting some “me” time via reading a good book or watching a good movie, getting a babysitter and going out with my husband. basically, it’s doing something that is enjoyable for me, instead of making it about food.

    does that help?

    [Reply]

  13. karen@fitnessjourney
    13 April 2010, 11:09 am

    Although I have never had this condition, I think it is important to educate ourselves about it. We may recognize the signs in someone we love. I am a HUGE supporter of therapy and support groups. I’m so glad that you have been able to overcome this. I can only imagine the hold it must have had on you.
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..Why Do We Put Ourselves Down? =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i really do try to read a lot about it. as you alluded, knowledge is power. the more we know, the more we can do to make changes. therapy has been huge in helping me overcome this ED.

    [Reply]

  14. Lara (Thinspired)
    13 April 2010, 11:11 am

    Hi! I’ve subscribed to your blog since you did a guest post on one of the other blogs I regularly read, but I don’t think I’ve commented yet! Thank you for your comments on my blog, too. I’ve only just put two&two together that you are the blogger I lurk at 😉

    Anyway. I appreciate all your thoughts on binge eating recovery. One thing I have started to do is imagine how I will feel afterward. It has been helping lately because I remember that I feel worse than whatever feeling I’m fighting and trying to cover up with food!
    .-= Lara (Thinspired)´s last blog ..What, When, Why. =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    lol! welcome!

    lara, that is another great tool to use. we all know how totally awful we feel after bingeing. combine that with the fact that whatever the problem we were eating over didn’t get solved by the food, is a lose-lose situation. it’s great that you have started to incorporate that great tool!

    [Reply]

  15. Lara
    13 April 2010, 11:32 am

    A combo of theapy and “self help” books such as Intutive Eating really helped me beat the binges. For me the binges were a way to help deal with anxiety and also to “comfort” myself when things were not going well in my life or that made me uncomfortable. I felt I deserved to eat whatever I wanted, whenver I wanted in whatever quantity I wanted (often till I felt sick to my stomach) My therapist helped me realize what I instinctively knew-that food is only a temporary fix and often results in feeling worse because you still have the anxiety/problem plus the guilt of the binge/physical fullness on top of it. Such a simple concept but hard to grasp when you are in a bad cycle. I started wtih small goals, 1 day binge free, then 2, then a week, then a month and that if I had a binge it didn’t mean I failed, I used it as a learner tool and just started fresh the next day. A week of being binge free made me feel so good it empowered me to keep it up and that good feeling made it much easier to resist the call of the food. Once I got over that hump I was able to really get into the philosphopy of Intutive Eating and start applying those practices to every day.

    I do love food, especially sweets and learning to enjoy them in moderation has been so empowering. There are some trigger foods I don’t keep in the house but I enjoy them often outside of the house.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    yes yes yes!!! the fact that i now can say and live the words “everything in moderation” is just amazing to me. it absolutely is empowering to not let the food control us. i’ve said this before but, you are an inspiration, lara!

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  16. Sarah
    13 April 2010, 11:40 am

    Wow, what a great post and great comments! I am in a place of a lot of despair right now and this post and the comments give me a lot of hope that things can get better. I love how this is such a positive place to read. “It’s just food.” “food tastes good for 20 seconds, but they don’t solve anything, and make you feel lousy afterwards.” Very important to remember. I hope someday soon I will get there, one day at a time.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    my commenters are awesome, aren’t they!

    things definitely can get better, sarah. it really is just food, don’t give it the power over you. you can totally do it, one day at a time. one hour at a time.

    [Reply]

  17. Lindsay
    13 April 2010, 4:21 pm

    Thank you for this post! It really shows that no matter how alone you feel..there is someone out there experiencing the same thing! 🙂
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..A New Twist On and Old Favorite and Flax Success =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    for sure!
    thanks for stopping by, lindsay.

    [Reply]

  18. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather McPike. Heather McPike said: Q & A – How Did I Stop Bingeing? http://bit.ly/dwO7Qp […]

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