Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Binge, The Weight Loss, The Ideal, and The Reality

I sat here this morning, drinking my Medifast shake from a box, and I wondered if my life would ever stop being so food-centric. I thought about how I seem to be addicted, not just to sugary fatty salty processed junk food, but to *thinking* about food in a somewhat obsessive way all the time. When I am "dieting," it is the calories, fat, carbs, protein, portion sizes and meal times I obsess about. When I am bingeing, it is the planning, shopping, food variety, eating, and remorse-cycle that consumes me. When I am doing the whole "lifestyle" thing, the very mindset and planning and extreme focus on healthy eating and exercise becomes my drink. I think, nowadays, the thought process and use of "food thoughts" as distraction and diversion is more of the problem than the actual food is.

I seem to have broken my eating patterns into three planes.

One: The Binge Mindset

This is the way I was living much of the time between 1998 and 2007. I ate a lot of the tastiest foods I could find. I ate them in a frenzy, for many reasons: numbing, pleasure, self-destruction, anxiety, and indulgence. I ate so often that is was rare for me to feel even remotely hungry. I think, underlying all this frantic eating was a panic about the way my life was going, a sense of everything being out of control, and a very real fear of facing what life was giving me. While I do not live this way anymore, I get snippets of it in my life every so often, like when I "go off plan" and buy a pint of ice cream and a donut and eat it all in one evening.

Two: The Weight Loss Mindset

This is how I have eaten most of the time since August 2007. It doesn't matter so much whether I am eating a plan based on fruits, veggies, protein and whole grains or a plan made of protein shakes, bars, measured vegetables and weighed meats. Regardless of whether I am counting calories, watching portions, doing lots of exercise, doing South Beach or Medifast or some other lower carb plan, this mindset is more productive but still a bit obsessive. I obsess less about the actual food, but more about the method, the scale, and the process of losing (and/or gaining) weight.

Three: My Idealistic Plan for the Future

I see it in my mind's eye. It is confirmed and supported by lots of scientific research. It is the plan Medifast recommends after transitioning off their foods, with my own added ideal of eating mainly local, organic, free range, grass fed, in-season foods. It is how I have always pictured my eating after I am done with weight loss. I have eaten this way *during* weight loss as well, at various stages. I imagine it vividly: I drink lots of green tea, and no sodas, diet or otherwise. I avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague. Sugar never crosses my lips. I am satisfied with the sweetness of fresh local fruits, relish the indulgence of organic locally grown vegetables, and partake of moderate portions of grass fed meats and wild caught salmon and hormone free unhomogenized milk. I eat nuts and seeds and healthy fats and I am happy and skipping along la la la with a sky blue frilly lace dress flouncing about my waist and a hand-woven basket full of just-picked wildflowers over my arm. Okay, well, you get the picture. And it is idealistic. And yet I have always wanted it and imagined it and even lived it for days or weeks.

But not months. Because...

Four: Can I Ever Just Eat a Darned Snickers?

No matter what I do, it always comes back to me wanting the same processed, fatty foods. Not all the time, but once in awhile, I want to have some chips and dip or a hot dog or a candy bar. I know they are not nutritious. I know some of these foods are difficult if not impossible for me to eat in moderation. Yet I want it to be true. I want to be able to have pizza on a Friday night with my family or go to a friend's house and enjoy a piece of lasagna and garlic bread without feeling like I am committing some kind of sin. Yes, I *know* food is not immoral and there is nothing evil about eating any particular thing. I am forever getting comments from people telling me to go ahead and have one piece of cake and enjoy it, because it is okay to have a piece of cake once in awhile. But they don't understand I do not eat A PIECE of cake. I am never ever satisfied with A PIECE of cake. I want more, and if I don't have it (out of manners or unavailability) then the next day I end up buying a cake and eating half of it myself.

Yet I still want this to be true. I keep wondering if there is just some way I can fix myself and be normal again. I wonder if I just relaxed and let it be and let go of the emotional attachments I have to food, maybe I wouldn't be so obsessed. I wonder if I could just quit worrying about it and eat without thinking about it or micromanaging it but not gain weight. I always come back to the same foods that I *want.* Most of them are foods from childhood: pasta dishes, cranberry bread, cheese soup, salad with bacon and blue cheese dressing on it. Is it awful that I can't let go of the cranberry bread that my Dad used to make and I wonder if I will ever reach and maintain my goal weight because I cannot stay low carb on a day I eat a slice of cranberry bread?

I don't want to give up toast forever. I like pancakes and English muffins. I like having a nice piece of pie once in awhile. But this stuff, it doesn't fit into my idealistic plan for the future. And I am not sure how to reconcile the fact that I want a Snickers once in awhile with the plan to eat low carb, healthy, natural foods.

The logical answers are:

A) You have to give them up. Sorry, you just cannot handle cake/candy/cranberry bread. It's like an alcoholic. One drink is too many and 100 is not enough. May as well accept it and move on.
B) You can find a way to eat some junk food and higher carb food moderately. You can eat your idealistic plan most of the time, and the other stuff occasionally. Maybe 90/10 or something.

So that's what I've been thinking about. And to tell you the truth, that is something I have thought about every time I have gone off plan and eaten some crappy piece of junk I wished I hadn't over the past few years. I sit down and eat a donut and I wonder if I will ever have another donut again. I wonder if I am going to have to give them up completely. And it bugs me, and I think about peanut butter cups, and I have one, just in case I have to give them up and never have them again. I eat it, I savor it, I soak up every nuance of its flavor and texture and try to remember every second of the experience and I mourn while I eat it because it just might be the very last time. And then I do it again the next time I have one.

For now, I tell myself "maybe someday, but not now." I have to focus on the weight loss if that is still what I want. And honestly, if I could eat a moderate healthy diet and still have some donuts or cupcakes here and there, and stay around 185 pounds forever, I would be very tempted to do it. I am comfortable and happy for the most part with this weight. But I know for my health's sake, more has to come off... for my knees, for my heart, and to help lower the cancer risk. So I keep going.

I will figure it out. It just takes time.


Diandra said...

Maybe you need something else to occupy your mind - volunteer or get a hobby that involves lots of planning and stuff. Just something to take your mind off food for hours, or perhaps even days.

(I know it works for me. When I am at work or really busy, I don't think about food until I am hungry. When I am at home doing nothing, I am like, "Hmm, what should I eat next?")

Beth@WeightMaven said...

I've done a few things that have worked for me. First, I too had done the Medifast/Nutrisystem route, but I became convinced that even tho those foods are portioned appropriately, they are still full of processed ingredients that aren't ultimately helpful in terms of dealing with cravings.

So I switched to doing a version of the paleo diet that emphasizes whole foods (including nutrient-dense fats) and allows safe starches (like potatoes and rice). On this diet, veggie oils, grains, and sugar are discouraged for being essentially toxic.

But like you, I couldn't imagine never having those favorite foods. That said, these aren't healthy foods and I realized that they didn't deserve a regular place on my diet. So, I basically go off-plan once a week and have what I want. It's not a license to binge (that'd defeat the purpose), but for me, this off-plan meal makes the overall plan doable for the long-term (I've been doing this since January).

What worked for me was realizing that I could have a piece of cake or a cookie occasionally if 1) the rest of my diet was really nutritious and 2) I kept in mind that if I didn't get back on track the next meal, I'd be right back into the yo-yo'ing I'd been doing for decades (I've often thought I cared less about the weight than just having peace of mind!).

Anyways, we're all different, so this might not be something that'd work for you, but I just thought I'd mention it. It's essentially the premise behind Tim Ferriss' Slow Carb diet ... only my version is paleo.

Marilyn said...

I've sensed this from reading your blog for the past 18 months - and I can empathize completely. There IS something about letting go of our favorite foods "FOREVER" that is VERY upsetting to even think about! I have MANY more years of overeating under my belt than you and still struggle with this idea, but it's beginning to make more sense the longer I stay away from my trigger foods (baked goods, sweets, creamy dairy, salty-crunchies). It MAY be that you have not yet truly had your fill of these "goodies" and will have to sample them and TRY to control your consumption of them for some time to come. I personally am finding that those foods that I have a HISTORY of overindulging in are NOT a "safe bet", EVER. I just have too many years of abusing myself with them!

The most hopeful thing that has happened to me recently is the experience of seeing a display case of pastries on a layover in an airport and having them register as "non-food" to me! This has NEVER happened before, and I confess that if I'd had to SMELL them, all bets would have been off. But they were safely behind glass in a refrigerated case and they just looked like PLASTIC to me! (and I was hungry at the time - amazing!) I would LOVE to manifest that type of disinterest in my formerly favorite foods on a regular basis, because feeling deprived SUCKS! But I'm not counting on it, and I'm certainly not stocking my larder with foods that I have a bad history with - why tempt myself?

Diandra has a good idea re. finding other interests that can become all-consuming and take the place of food obsession. Maybe once you reach your goal, you'll be inspired enough to let go of the idea of treats entirely - or maybe you'll have to keep an eye on (and hands-off!) the Snickers for the rest of your life. Either way, remind yourself of all the advantages of your health and your progress - you're doing a wonderful job of taking care of yourself!!

XO - M

Anonymous said...

Well...all I can say is that you mapped out MY mind swirl amazingly well.

I can do normal for a week...once I lasted a month...but then I pause to consider tha fact that normal eating is finally working for me. (Becasue of real health issues, I have to be gluten free and low carb, so that's included in my "normal")

Such a relief to not be countng and measuring, obsessing and worrying, craving and trying to game the system.

So easy now to just eat normal portions of healthy food. So nice to be able to take that deep breath with this pleasant stroll going on as far as food is concerned. "This is nice," I think.

The binge hits in a day ortwo days. Gluten and carb and sugar-filled.

You spelled out the stages and details quite well. When the answer dawns--let me know.

Right now, my conclusion would put me in with the lunatic fringe, so I'll spare you.


Maren said...

I like the 90/10 way of thinking. I'm a junkfood addict. Seriously. And every time I've decided "this is my last burger EVER" I can only go so long before the obsession is screaming in my ear .. and I wind up pigging out for weeks.

Now, I'm trying to think that I will enjoy a burger from time to time. But not today. I don't think about not having something throughout the week or month, just not today. And this "some other day" thinking got me from November '10 to June '11, before I found out that "today is an okay day to have that meal". And it was. Now I'm back to "not today", and don't know how many days until "it's today".

It sounds weird I guess, but it works for me. :)

Jaclyn said...

My "weight problem" is moderate. (I have lost 15lbs and only have about 20lbs to lose.) I've never suffered from a binge-eating disorder, anorexia, or any other diagnosed eating disorder.

And yet... I find myself consumed by thoughts about my diet/weight/intake/activity level all. the. time. Part of it, I think, is cultural - our society pushes these ideas in front of us, whether we like it or not. And part of it, for me, is a little bit of an addiction. For whatever reason, I'm addicted to thinking about what I will and won't eat, what number shows up on the scale, how tight or loose my pants are feeling.

I want something more, something better! I want to just EAT! I want to be able to just nourish my body - and have cake on my birthday! - and not obsess. I don't want my kids (especially my daughters) picking up on the way I think, and falling into the same trap.

This wasn't a helpful comment, I know. I don't have advice (you probably don't need it anyway). I just wanted you to know that *so many* of us have the same thought patterns, regardless of our weight or where we are in our journey toward health.

Dinahsoar said...

I'm sharing this link:

It's a blog post by a Dr. Phyllis Collins, JD who has lost 100 pounds twice. She has some very good advice and information on her blog and this particular post might be helpful to you at this time. She is very wise and understands first hand all the issues--she has tried everything (read her 'about me' page) including years of Individual Therapy.

Emmy said...

Hi Lynn--

I'm just curious whether you've ever tried treating you food issues as an eating disorder, instead of as a weight problem? Once I stopped seeing my weight as a problem (and therefore diet/food restricitons as the "solution) and instead focused on emotional issues that drove me to eat, food became less important. I realy believe (as one of the 'intuitive eaters gurus') said--"For every diet there is an equal and opposite binge." I think that you have been dieting for such a long time, you have incredible emotional as well as physical drives that make it really difficult for you to control foods that have given you difficulty in the past. But I am sure that with enough time, you could learn to enjoy foods in moderation. Learning how to do this and let go of dieting is probably the hardest thing I have ever done.

Emmy said...

PS--I'm very curious to hear what you (or any other commenters) think about this post

Tony said...

There are so many outside factors that influence my mood, so the best thing for me to do naturally is just to not keep junk in the house. However, I find that the 90/10 plan or whatever you want to call it works for the most part because it gives you that light at the end of the tunnel. I've been using IIFYM (if it fits your macros). As long as you get the right amount of fat and protein, then whatever else you eat that day doesn't matter as long as you stay under your calories.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you sister. I don't think there's ever a day.. hour..min..sec. that I'm not obsessing about food whether it's healthy or junk food. Weight Watchers new points plus plan is working for me. If I want that binge food I have it and just track it!! I'm doing it online so right now I'm obsessing about the tracking.
Maybe it would work for you too!!

Dawn said...

I totally recognise myself from the "binge" description. That was me.
I gave up binging and maintained for about 18 months at a UK size 28. I ate with the family, i neither gained nor lost nor was I even attempting to. It just happened.Unscientific, but true.
I accidentally cured the binging without even considering a diet. During those months I ate reasonably, not to lose weight, but I didn't gain. So no secret eating, no packet after packet of crisps or cookies, no whole cakes with what i didn't eat hidden in the bottom of a rubbish bin.All of this accidental and unplanned.
Then when I started what is admittedly a relatively strict diet plan...I eat my own choice of food, no published plan I have never considered binging, I hope I'm out of that. I was disasterously overweight, AND i had a proper problem with binging. Curing the binging helped me to move onto curing the weight. I too dream of eating in moderation in my future. I have to do it. You and I are both doing what we can to get to the same future, we don't know all the answers but we work at it. Keep working

downsizers said...

You have gotten a lot of good advice here. I don't know about changing up your recipes because it sounds like me and I would still overeat because my mind would think - this food is righteous now so I can eat it all. Splenda is a great product. I substitute half the sugar in a recipe for it. You can also substitute half the fat in a recipe with applesauce. We do have to act like an alcoholic in many ways - just stay away from it. I know we have to eat something whereas an alcoholic can completely stop drinking alcohol but there are still many similarities. You may consider an OA meeting. There may be some help there for you as you share with others who fight the same battle.

Jennifer McNeely said...

I d REALLY recommend 21 Lessons in Weight Loss MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, it is a spiritual approach and is super helpful. Cant hurt to try it.
She mentions that when something so bad for us tastes good, the wires are crossed and we cannot fix it permanently without help, i think this is true. She wrote the book for and with Oprah, its a great read.
Good luck to us all!

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get out of the house and get a job. Focus on something other than you and food. I know this out of experience, when I stayed at home with my son I gained 60lbs! But really when we' re home all day doing idle stuff theres nothing to do but eat/de obsessed with food. Getting out and focusing on something bigger than ourselves and food will help.

Anonymous said...

A fascinating post. I'm not great with expressing this myself with words, but you really have done it for me. Those stages are so accurate for me too. Well done, I will subscribe to your blog, I think it will help me too!

Grace said...

My husband and I have adopted a new lifestyle, based on a book called "the 4 Hour Body." It's pretty much low carb, with some additional "slow" carbs in the form of beans and legumes. Then, one day a week, we eat whatever we want. In fact we are encouraged to eat crap on that one day.

This takes away the guilt of the binge, lets us have the binge food, but then we go back on the program for 6 more days. It has been working great for us for 10 months. My husband has lost about 30 lbs, and although I don't really have much to lose (I'm a recovering bulimic and binge eater), it has stabilized my weight as well as my minds and emotions as related to food.

You might try a program that allows for your favorite binge-y food.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Lynn. It really touched me. You are a sweetheart.

kara said...

Lynn, I truly don't understand why you are so incredibly resistant to seeking counseling for your issues. What you have described - someone obsessed with food, no matter what your relationship to it - is an eating disorder. You still have many lingering issues around your relationship with your mother and your family, your ex, and so many other things in your life. Yet you fight and fight and fight and fight against the idea of seeking counseling and therapy - determined that you'll "do it yourself".

Why? Why will you not seek help for yourself and make this EASIER???

I truly don't understand. I've been following your blog for years - ever since I started reading your posts on 3FC. I see you fighting the same battles over and over again. I see you struggling with the same emotions and the same feelings. And yet you won't seek help.

Is this really what you want to show your children? That it's wrong to seek help if you need it? Do you really want them to grow up thinking that seeing a counselor is such a stigma?

"Doing it yourself" is not a badge of honor. Refusing to seek professional help when it can truly help you and make your life easier is SMART.

Please, if not for yourself, for your children ... find a good therapist and get some help working through all those issues. Until you do, you will never be able to do this all by yourself.

Lyn said...


Oh, I am pretty busy. I do volunteer already, one day a week in my daughter's school and sometimes at other venues locally. I got my dog last winter specifically to give me a new hobby, and am involved in many clubs, classes, and activities with her. I am probably *too* busy if you add in the full time job of managing this household and being a mother of five. I always seem to find time to obsess about food though. But adding more busy-ness to my plate is *not* what I need right now.


since you have followed me for so long, you know about the the months of individual counseling, groups, and OA I have attended already. I also find your diatribe a bit condescending. Believe it or not, counseling is not always a magic cure. And yes, some of us can, and do, succeed on our own. I did learn and grow from the counselors I've seen, but I don't depend on them in an ongoing relationship or expect them to somehow repair my past FOR me, or expect that they could cure my eating disorder. Maybe my life is not your definition of success, but it is mine.

Anonymous said...


I know first-hand how busy life can be taking care of pets and little ones. But I wouldn't entirely write-off what Diandra is saying. I volunteer at the school and run a household, but it's still not the same as having my own career. The latter gives me a particular kind of personal satisfaction, to wit, that I'm doing something outside of my home and family: something "out in the world" that effects a larger community.

Especially in light of your earlier posts about your children leaving the nest, it might be enriching for you to branch out.

To second what several people write, I just read The Primal Blueprint and it was just excellent. And it addressed the "sometimes/never" issue when it comes to off-plan eating. You can check out the basics at

I am not an expert, mind you: just learning myself. But it's worth checking out Mark Sisson's approach to food, sleep, life etc.

GL! We are all pulling for you.


Karen said...

So what's the next step? Obesity is a chronic disease- IMO. Do you have any plans on how to go forward?

Good luck and safe travels. Both a snickers bar and healthy weight have advantages and disadvantages.

I hope you choose health. Less physical and emotional pain in the long run.

You are worth it. And so are your kids and the pup.

Lyn said...


The next step, well, I am taking it a day at a time, focusing on keeping the weight off, fixing the issues in my life that bother me, remaining self-aware. If you mean with the eating, I am still doing Medifast, pondering the healthy food thing, and trying to find the time and motivation to exercise more.

Lyn said...

Maybe I haven't mentioned this before... although I think I have... but I am really in no rush to get back to working full time. When my older kids were younger, I *had* to work. I was so exhausted all the time working and going to college full time as a single parent of four. That wasn't so long ago. I actually quit my job when I was pregnant with my last child, was hospitalized, then spent about a year and a half being her full time nurse because she was critically ill. So it is just the last 4 years I was able to relax, decompress, and enjoy being a stay at home mother. If I can milk one more year out of it I really want to do so. It is such a relief to not HAVE to work outside the home right now. I am busy, I do work part time from home, but I have zero desire to go back to work outside the home at this time.

And this just popped into my head... when I worked, I still used to be food obsessed and find ways to eat a lot of junk.

I've been chipping away at this whole mental process for awhile now, and have made tremendous progress. I will just keep on chipping!

LHA said...

What an interesting, diverse group of comments following a very thought provoking post. I can identify with all you said, Lyn, and I can also identify with many of the comments as I have thought/tried a lot of those things myself. I know that everyone who commented was speaking from their own experience in fighting obesity and eating disorders, which just shows how many different ways there are to look at things.

All I can say is that I am older than you and have been dieting since I was six years old. For me, no diet is a permanent solution to weight loss. I wish it wasn't so, but it just is! Some research and statistics bear out that restricting intake eventually leads to weight gain, and sadly that has always been true for me. I have been working toward what you described as your "ideal" way of eating with some success. Somehow, knowing that I "can" have a Snickers on occasion seems to keep me from eating them daily. When I do eat something less healthy like that, I don't think "I'd better eat this now before I start another diet again, and while I'm at it I'd better eat several!" I am losing weight and don't feel deprived all the time, but only time will tell if this works in the long term. Good luck on your journey and thanks for blogging.

Anonymous said...

This is on point to some things I have been thinking about. First, the way that food triggers and denying myself do not work. The only solution I know is not to trip those triggers, spend my time in food-free zones. Second, the way to enjoy my diet is to have allowed splurge foods - only things i know I will not binge on. I won't list mine, but there are foods that are higher calorie/ fat/ carbs than usual but which I've always eaten in small doses. After 2-3 years on a very low fat diet, my body didn't have the tolerance for fat, and even now, I am satisfied with smaller portions of high-fat items like chocolate, ice cream, and even cheese, especially if I buy the fancy, expensive stuff. Third, in terms of my classic binge foods - I find it weirdly successful to allow/ force myself to eat one serving a day every day of one particular food. Until I'm sick of it. You don't think this will happen, but I'm not talking about some Geneen Roth, no food is off limits, intuitive eating thing. I'm talking about having one oatmeal raisin cookie every day for a month. For whatever reasons, this mentality of "I ate it yesterday, I'll eat it again tomorrow, one cookie is plenty" changes my perception of the cookie as a privileged food that I obsess about eating or have to inhale in large quantities when it's here. I don't set official parameters, it depends on how much of a hold the food has on me, but it's interesting to me how quickly I can go from "must eat every cookie" to eating one serving.

Anonymous said...

How did you have 4 kids to raise, go to school full time, and work? It doesn't add up to me unless your kids were in childcare and you were working night shifts. I'm just honestly curious. I'm guessing you got free or very reduced tuition, but the rest I don't really get. I come from a single family home myself, and remember how difficult things could be, and I was the only child.

Lyn said...


it was very difficult. No doubt about it. I got some grants from filling out a FAFSA (I was pretty low income) and then I kept my GPA close to a 4.0 and got scholarships that covered tuition, books, transportation, and much of my living expenses. The rest was paid for with student loans, my employment, and child support. We lived very frugally but got through.

Lyn said...

Oh, and yes, the children were in elementary school and childcare. Many colleges will reimburse childcare expenses for single mothers, which was the case for me.

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about working full time? I work 2 days per week, and am home within 2 hours of the bus on the days I *do* work. And I have a career - a satisfying, intellectually stimulating career that keeps me sharp and reminds me that there is more to me than mom.

The work issue is not binary. It's not yes or no, unless you force yourself to look at it that way.

If you are enjoying not working because you hated your job (and that's what it sounds like), well, I can understand that, even if I can't relate.

If you're enjoying your current situation, that's wonderful. That is not how it came off in your posts, imo. You sounded a bit down, a bit bored and food obsessed. But reading that you love your life is only good news! I obviously misinterpreted what I read. You'll get no more advice from me!

Take good care.


Lyn said...


my aunt died, so yes that has had me a bit down. I think everyone has ranges of emotion. Bored... no. Down? Sometimes. Fall/winter is hard for me too, because of the decrease in sunlight (seasonal affective disorder). But yes, overall, I love my life and would continue just working part time from home and volunteering for many more years if finances allowed. I did love my job, but I love having freedom to pursue other things and spend more time with my kids even more.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I read the comments you've received. I wrote a post. I hardly ranted at all. :)


screaming fatgirl said...

"I wonder if I just relaxed and let it be and let go of the emotional attachments I have to food, maybe I wouldn't be so obsessed."

"I have to focus on the weight loss if that is still what I want."

The second is what prevents you from ever achieving the first. As long as you view weight loss as something special that you have to do and do not approach food as something you have to create a lasting and stable relationship with, you will never stop being obsessed.

Dieting creates a more disordered relationship with food than not doing so. This was something I realized after about 8 months of ruminating on food daily and pretty much feeling like I couldn't live the rest of my life like that. At some point, you need to normalize your relationship, and you don't have to wait until you've lost every pound to do it. In fact, if you wait that long, the chances that you will re-gain weight when you transition from "diet" mode to "normal" mode.

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps a lot of people, but most never pursue consultation with a real therapist. They think they can do it on their own because they already know their issues. The thing is that knowing your issues isn't the same as knowing how to address and repair them and even knowing how to fix them isn't the same as being capable of implementing those solutions. Most people need guidance for that, though a few can manage it on their own.

Emmy said...

In response to Deb's post, I need to respectfully say that the view that binge eaters do better on "low cal" diets is completely unsupported by any scientific study. Read any major scientfic journal--for example, Appetite (usually available at University libraries) and it is replete with studies about how restrained eaters (e.g. "low cal") eaters consistently eat more, exhibit greater overeating behaviors, and are more likely to be obese. Developing a "healthy" relationship with food does not mean having a free for all, or eating "high cal." But the idea that restricting yourself is the solutoin is absolutely not true--but is perhaps appealing because it is easier for people struggling with binge eating disorder (which I am no stranger to) wanting to desperately latch onto some food plan as the solution

Anonymous said...

@Emmy Thank you for your respectful response.

The intention of my post was not to offer low-cal eating as a solution to bingeing, it was to point out that what works for one person can be detrimental to another.

The notion that reduced cal diets were helpful to bingers seemed odd to me, too. But my area of counseling expertise in in sexual abuse counseling, not eating disorders. The only expertise I have there is the praactice of bingeing...that happens in response to low cal diets. :)

The authors that were cited in reference to that info I lifted were Christopher Fairburn & G.T. Wilson (2007). Fairburn, in particular, is very well-known in the eating disorders field and has authored many books and scholarly articles on the subject.

The issue that was being addressed in that bit of article I referred to was how various eating plans did or did not illicit the rebound effect of bingeing in respective groups. There was much more to that section of article, mostly the effectiveness of CBT in treating eating disorders.)

The point of my post stands, however; what works for one group of people does not work for another.

Sorry, Lyn, for using so much space.


Anonymous said...

You continually mention that you are plenty busy already, so I am not going to suggest a new hobby/job/etc. since you keep hearing all those suggestions (from me, too, on past posts).

But, I don't seems like, from me, you keep trying the same things over and over again. Medifast, clean eating, primal eating, low fat, low carb, etc. etc. etc. And, no judgement here! I know what it's like to keep trying the same things over and over again.

But for ME, the ONLY thing that worked is looking at every meal individually. I'll sit down and say "will this meal contribute to diabetes? or a heart attack? Will I be glad in 10 years that I ate this entire pizza?" Junk food tastes good, certainly, but isn't living a healthy life better?

I'm not trying to shrink you here, honestly, but you seem so unhappy...I think that's why people keep suggesting new hobbies and such. And maybe I am totally off the mark, but it seems like you haven't been happy for a long, long time. What about activities that you can do from the home? Reading, crafting, crocheting... are you still doing some of your strength routines?

I can understand not wanting to go back to a full time job if you had a bad employment experience (and you are quite blessed to be able to afford not to!) but all I can say is not every place is like that.

I don't know, as always, I wish you luck, and I hope one day this circle can be broken.

lettucefactory said...

A lot of what you wrote here really hits home, Lyn, and I'm even tempted to copy and email it to some of my nearest and dearest to explain how I feel about food, how overwhelming and terrible it all is.

Folks who are telling you to get a job do mean well. Personally, I was a SAHM for a couple of years and indeed did find that I lost some weight - about 25 pounds of the 60 that I need to lose - when I went back to work in 2010. It's really hard to do anything BUT overeat when you have access to your fridge 24/7, you know? So going to work helped quite a bit at first. But now, the weight has slowly been creeping back on. Probably because my job is okay, but not particularly satisfying. Once I was past the intial glow and the novelty wore off here, I was back to distraction-by-dining. And now I just have an excuse to go to restaurants at lunchtime rather than raiding my fridge at home.

I suspect if I found a job I loved, if I had a PASSION, it would help me lose weight. But I'm not there right now and so, the job has really made no difference. Also, there is always a candy dish at work - at least at home I'd have to make a special trip to the store to get my candy. I'd only see a job as a solution if you can find something you love.

Meantime, I've also been in the boat of people telling me over and over again to get counseling, so I get that, too. It's one of the major reasons I stopped blogging, actually. I know they have goodness in their hearts when they suggest it, but it's patronizing - everyone alive in 2011 knows that counseling exists. If you don't choose it, you have your reasons, and I don't see why people can't accept that.

Anyway. I've been to counseling, it wasn't helpful, and I stopped, and I suspect you're in the same boat. Maybe I've just had poor luck in choosing counselors, but there are only so many my health insurer will cover (and even then it's a limited number of visits). Obviously, mileages vary and some people have had great success with counseling and I get that they want to share it. It is just annoying to explain several times that it's not worked out well for you. Counseling is like dieting, I think. If you find the right plan (or counselor) and stick with it, you will see success, but finding that right match is so hard, and what matches in June may not be what matches in December, but the cost and time investment to figure that out is really high with counseling, whereas it's not too expensive to try a diet.