Friday, November 7, 2008

A look at binging

We've been discussing food binging on the forum lately. So I thought I'd blog a bit about it, and what life is like with an eating disorder.

It seems to be out of the realm of comprehension for people who don't have this problem. So it's always been hard to discuss it without feeling judged.

I have been a compulsive overeater since as long as I can remember. Eating when I wasn't hungry, eating an excessive amount, eating every chance I got.

So where does it crossover from just being a "food lover" into having a real, psychological problem? I'll tell you where.... it's the point where you don't even TASTE the food. You don't know what you're eating, and you don't long as there is a steady stream of it going in.

I've gone through the drive thru, eaten 3 value meals before going home to have a full dinner with my family. I've gone out to eat with a friend, then agreed to go right back out for another dinner with another friend, to go back home and have someone ask "have you eaten dinner yet?" NOPE. No I haven't, what should we make?
I've eaten things I don't even like. I've eaten to the point of illness. I've eaten things I'd thrown away. I've never counted, but I am sure I've eaten more than 10,000 in one sitting. Easily.

I know it sounds ridiculous to most of you. I'm sure you'd just say "stop it!"
But it's not that easy. It's literally like telling a meth addict to stop. An alcoholic to stop drinking. An anorexic to just eat a damn sandwich.

It's a mental illness. It's probably genetic. My mom has it the same way I do.
Who knows.

From speaking with experts on the subject, and people who also suffer from it, I got a pretty clear answer that - No, it doesn't EVER go away. But you find ways to cope with it, and control it better than in the past.

Eating a low carb diet has already helped quite a bit. But I still get home from work, and the first thought in my mind is WHAT CAN I EAT?!
But I just answer myself in a less frantic way. I think... I can eat some celery. I can eat a salad, some tuna, some eggs. Whatever. I CAN eat it. I allow myself to. Because if I fought it off, it would come back ten fold, and I'd drive to the store for a dozen donuts instead.

It's all about learning how your brain and body reacts to different methods.
I'm still learning.

But more importantly... I'm still TRYING.

As long as I keep trying, I can never truly fail.

10 refreshing comments:

Fatty McFat-Fat said...

It's hard to completely comprehend binging for me. At least to the degree of someone like you or mom. I've definitely had my battles with overeating, and still do. As out of control as I thought I was, it looks like I had it easy. I've had more than my fair share of getting home, eating a whole large pizza, crust and all, go take a nap, wake up an hour later snack, then go eat dinner. It's really hard to explain what's changed, because I don't know. For one, my stomach isn't as big as it used to be, I get full quicker, and stay full longer. I still have my days when I feel like eating everything in the house. Luckily most of the time I'm too damned lazy to make anything, or there's nothing in my apartment to make, so I just sit and listen to my stomach rumble. Which is probably just as bad. I physically can not eat 1/4 of what I used to. I can drink diet coke and coffee til I'm peeing out my earlobes though.

Low Carb Vee said...

Oh man, people don't talk about this! Wow, thanks for putting it out there--love it.

Even on my most recent post, about the McRibs and Cinnamon Melts? I totally got a cheeseburger too to eat on the way home, but I consciously didn't include it when I wrote.

My goal, about a year ago, was to stop eating to the point where I was truly *uncomfortable* (our favorite word, right?). I did it far too often--almost every night, sometimes. It was a tough habit to break, and I know the ghost of that binge-er is *always* hovering, saying "There's some sour cream left...go get some pork rinds and finish it off."

This also kind of ties in with your brother's wish for more convenience foods on a low-carb plan, I think...anything that *does* come in a convenience pack (Slim Jims, individually wrapped cheese, sugar-free candy), I tend to overindulge in, because it's easy. So for me, that isn't a solution (although I often curse having to spend a lot of time preparing meals). But, sugar-free chocolate does have a built-in "anti overeating" mechanism...if you catch my drift. ;)

Sorry for the randomness here. Lots of thoughts whirling around!

P.S. RE your comment--I totally agree about us doing things for's that "No one does anything for anything other than selfish reasons" philosophy.

Fatty McFat-Fat said...

Vee, I mostly agree. Convenience foods do make it easier to over indulge. But they also make it a little harder. I could sit down an eat a whole bag of chips, but if I had 3 small bags of chips, and I only grab one(have someone hide the other three if it's easier that way), I can only eat that one small bag. It's kind of like built in portion control.

Chai Latté said...

Heh, so right Vee!
I sure left out some even more embarrassing things from this post as well. I think there is a fine line... between being "brutally honest" and being so honest that it makes other people uncomfortable.

I really prefer to keep that line there. No one would want to have a conversation with someone who just kept indulging embarrassing, sad secrets. What do you say to that?Its not nice to anyone involved.

But, on the other hand... although I wouldn't wish eating disorders on anyone, it is always nice to know when you aren't alone. And how would you ever know... if you don't say it out loud yourself.

Melissa said...

I love donuts.

Maybe I don't eat 3 dinners, but I certainly have a bit of the compulsive eating too. I eat ALOT when I'm not hungry. For me, its usually when I'm bored.

So on days where I'm insanely busy at work, its great, because I even forget my snacks and barely remember my lunch.

But yeah. I always think of food. Always. What can I eat? But...I'm very concerned with taste. And I constantly think - OMG I can't wait to have thai food in say, a week. I think about the meal allllll week long.

Chai Latté said...

I don't even love donuts! Haha thats the thing! I do love a hot, fresh, Krispy Kreme donut though.


Blueberry Muffin Queen (Jenn) said...


Binging is a real disorder. And I agree, if someone hasn't dealt with it, then they don't understand.


And you know I'm around if you need to chat.

Ammy said...

Binging IS a real disorder...hands down!
I too am a binger - and a compulsive overeater! I was planning my next binge while eating the current one...I could NOT have enough.


I have been eating PP for 10.5 years and participating in Overeaters Anonymous as well. PP helps with the allergy of the body (I can't stop eating once I start) and OA helps with the obsession of the mind (I can't stop thinking about the food).

Now that I've been abstinent for 10.5 years, every aspect of my life has improved. From the major changes that happen when reducing from a size THIRTY to a size 14 (down 116 but I still have 20lbs to go), to finding a Significant Other whom *I* actually love, not just one who will put up with ME.

Life for a binger CAN be a good life...but it takes work.
And we CANNOT do it ALONE!!

Thank you for this post...for admitting what life is like for a binger.
For "putting it out there" so others can come forward and know they are not alone!!

Chai Latté said...

Amy... thank you for your comment.. and.. I can't wait until *I* can say I've been binge-free for 10 years!

Ammy said...

You can do it...if I can...ANYONE can!!

Never give up...and get the help you need!!!