Overcoming Binge Eating

by tinareale on November 22, 2011

I am a recovered binger. In my past, I have hidden food and scrambled to eat as much as I could when a moment by my lonesome presented itself. I have bought whole packages of cookies, candy, donuts, and more to eat in my car when driving home. I have eaten so much food I felt ill, but not had the strength to stop shoving more in my mouth. That used to be me. That used to be my existence.

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Now, I have found balance.

I have found the joy in eating healthy…most of the time -because what’s life without dessert? I have discovered the fun that exercise can hold when not used as a punishment technique. I can eat “intuitively” (cake included) and still make progress in finding my body’s “happy place.”

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I receive more emails asking how I stopped binging than any other topic related to my blog. While I am not a professional, I can happily offer what helped me.In a topic not openly discussed nearly enough, I hope to offer some solace and guidance to anyone reading with their own food struggles. So, here is my personal path to recovery from binging…

Moments of Peace

I made an effort to start each day with a positive mantra – “I have the strength to honor and respect my body. I have the strength to not turn to food for comfort”. Taking some time to direct my thoughts to a positive place, to something that provided a source of strength, helped me to begin overcoming such struggles.

Realize Your Worth

When I conceived Makenzie and realized that the actions I took no longer only impacted myself, I found new motivation to care for my body by not binging. I was an example to her. Now, I also see the impact I can have on others through sharing my story and blogging. Focusing on your strengths and the impact you have can motivate you to care for yourself more.

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Look At The Bigger Picture

If you were given a diagnosis of one month to live right now, would you really worry so much about your body? Who approaches their death bed wishing to weigh 10 pounds lighter, showcase a perkier booty,or have flatter abs? Trying to restrict food to achieve such goals does not satisfy us because it is not what matters in life. Therefore, we feel empty physically and emotionally. Fill yourself emotionally with the important facets of life and you likely will find less desire for the emotional eating.

Lose the Rules & Embrace the Fear

I used to have so many food rules. Once I stopped listing foods as good or bad and opened myself up to everything, food had less power over me. I admit that when I “allowed” myself to eat anything, I did go overboard at first. Too many people find themselves in that situation and then don’t believe they will ever stop. Embrace that fear and believe you will find balance. After a short time, I realized I didn’t care for many of the things on which I used to binge. I craved healthy staples and could satisfy myself with reasonable portions of my favorite treats. Food no longer had the control.

Don’t Give Up

The above is not to say that after a few weeks’ time I no longer faced binges. I still had numerous occasions pop up where stress would get to me and I would suddenly find myself digging into a jar of peanut butter or grabbing a box of sweets from the bakery, despite a lack of hunger. Instead of trying to “make up for it” by restricting myself the next day or loading on the cardio, I told myself it was okay. I reminded myself it’s a process and picked up with normal living right away.

Find Other Distractions

To this day, I still occasionally have the urge to binge. Sometimes the emotions, stress, and fatigue of a day present too much a challenge to face and evaluate right away. When that happens, I find other ways to comfort myself instead of food. Things like blog reading, household tasks, going for a run, or watching some mindless TV.

Make Health Fun

Finally, finding a way to love healthy living made a big difference in overcoming my binge tendencies. I took a long, hard look at what exercise inspired me and left me with that natural high. Now, I happily work out lifting weights, running, and taking spinning classes because they excite me. I made an effort to make eating fun.

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Plus, I keep in mind that I don’t have to eat “perfectly”. I focus on eating these things 80% of the time and make room to enjoy other favorites (I have a killer sweet tooth) the rest of the time – guilt free.

You don’t have to continue with food struggles. Believe in yourself each and every day. Your body deserves the best you can give it. And you have the power. You deserve happiness. Take it.

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  • Have you ever fought an unhealthy relationship with food?

{ 19 comments }

1 Mish December 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

great ideas! fabulous and a good reminder to me.

2 Kathy December 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

I too binge eat. Never had a weight problem until I turned 30. Now its a struggle. Mostly because of boredom and wanting comfort when stressed. I have a 40 hr/wk desk job that is SOOOOO boring. I buy stashes of food and put them in my desk. I think of food constantly and what I can next buy to keep in my desk. When I run low or run out, I can feel the panic set in. I HATE the feeling. Last year I worked all year to lose 45 lbs and reached my normal high weight. Within a few months I could see I was starting to put weight back on. Instead of doing something about it, I continued to eat. Now I’ve put back on 30 of the 45 I lost. I know I’m doing it, but its like I can’t stop eating. I have tried everything but the desire is so strong and the panic is a horrible feeling. Thanks for sharing your story. I know I can do this. I did it once, I just need to get back on board.

3 tinareale December 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

You certainly can!

4 Laura January 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thank you so much for such open and honest posts, Tina. Your blog is beautiful, as are you. I stumbled upon your blog a while ago (a year or more) and just now came back to it and am so excited to see you are now a personal trainer. That is so perfect for you! You have been a huge inspiration for me working on overcoming binge eating disorder. I started my own blog in May 2011 to chronicle how I am working on getting over it, but I do still struggle and have “bad” days, although they are fewer and farther between. I wanted you to know that your open and honest posts have played a major role in getting me to where I am today. Thank you so much!

5 tinareale January 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

And thank you so much for such encouragement. I honestly don’t think i would be where I am if not for the support of you all. :)

6 Jenna@FoodForLifeNews January 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm

This article is so honest that its inspiring to those who turn to food during stress and end up over eating. You’ve really come a long way by being able to be to open about your food habits. Keep up the hard work and continue to live a healthy life style!

7 Elyse Briski February 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Thank you for sharing what so many people struggle with. I am still working out my balance, but reading and connecting with others has made such a difference. Wishing you well on your journey!

8 Casie April 21, 2012 at 6:00 am

I’ve lost my balance, I know I will find it again and I thank you for sharing, your courage is inspiring.

9 Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats April 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

So glad I found your blog. Lindsay @ In Sweetness and Health recommended it to me after the post I wrote today about the struggles I have been having with binge behaviors. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to trying some of the tips you have mentioned to see if any of them can help me out as well!

10 tinareale April 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

Thanks for the comment, Abby! And I’m so glad to “meet” you through blogging. I’m here if you ever need anything! :)

11 Em August 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Tina, I can completely relate. I am working very hard right now at breaking the binge-ing cycle. Sometimes it’s very hard!!

12 Corinne October 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Tina, thank you so much for your honest story, tips, and encouragement. I’m so glad that I found your blog and read your story. I’m in college and have developed some serious binge-eating tendencies since the end of high school. Though I may look healthy from the outside, I don’t always feel healthy on the inside. I’ve been working on breaking these bad habits, and I think your tips are a great help! I hope I can find a healthy balance and encourage others to live happier, healthier lives like you have.

13 tinareale October 9, 2012 at 8:37 am

Thanks for the comment, Corrine. I hope you find the support that will help you with this. i know it’s a huge struggle, but it’s worth it. Focus on progress and not perfection, taking things one day and meal at a time. Things won’t change overnight…but they can change. And you deserve that change. Hugs!

14 Jae February 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

It’s so hard right now. I’m a former anorexic/bulimic and now i find myself at the opposite end of the spectrum. It sucks. I gained 10-12 pounds in college (I’m a sophomore) and it’s all due to the eating late at night thing. I do SO WELL during the day, and then when I get home, i just eat :( and i get up at night to eat. I feel like I can do it though. I feel so uncomfortable in my body right now but I actually do love myself for my worth. I can, right? I have the self control in me to do this right?
I’m 5 ft 3.5 at like a 130 weight and it’s because everyone at college is a thinskinned model that I feel this way. :(

15 tinareale February 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm

You certainly do!!! Perhaps look to make sure you’re eating enough during the day to not have hunger driving any of the later evening episodes. Also, remember you are at a healthy weight and health is SO much more important. You won’t reach your death bed wishing you weighed X or had abs but that you lived a full life of joy and love.

16 Mike March 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been battling binging for a while now. I had at one point lost over 150 lbs. Since then, I had to have my gallbladder removed and ever sincethat ssurgery I’ve been binge eating. It’s like I finally am able to eat anything so I do. But usuallyiit’s “healthy” foods that I binge. Box of fiber cereal, mixed nuts, hummus, sandwich meat, granola. Rarely is it cookies or donuts but that happens too. I spent so much time focusing on losing weight that I feel I can’t control my weight or eating now. I’m glad I came across your story and how you battled with binging and overcame it. Hope I have that same strength. Thanks again!

17 tinareale March 21, 2013 at 7:51 am

So sorry to hear you are facing this as I know the emotional heartache it causes. Take it a day at a time, forgive yourself when it does happen. I wish you all the best.

18 Heather Murphy July 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Thank you for this post. I struggled with binging/ restricting in my past. Those were the darkest days, but I read a book called ‘feeding the Hunrgy Heart’ by Geneen Roth and it helped me start the healing process. I think the biggest thing I found that helped was not restricting myself and not getting so upset when I did binge. Eventually (with lots of tears and prayer!) the cycle just faded out and I didn’t feel captive to it anymore. It’s so great to hear other people’s story and know I’m not alone!

19 tinareale July 2, 2013 at 8:22 am

It is so huge to know others out there can relate. It’s often so hush hush and not well understood or known like some other disordered eating styles. And love Geneen Roth!

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