Saturday, December 10, 2016

Variety Over Volume: No More Binges

Today I wanted to share something about how I was able to overcome Binge Eating Disorder, which truly changed my life. Binge Eating is a whole lot different than obsessive food thoughts, although a binge usually began with those thoughts for me when I was actively binge eating (which you can read plenty about in the early days of my blog, before I stopped binge eating). Over the last couple years I have not binged, but have struggled at times with the constant, nagging, obsessive intrusion of food thoughts that just *would not* go away until I gave in and ate that specific food. That is the same process that started a lot of binges in the past, but the end result was very different. I always felt *driven* to eat ALL of whatever food I was craving or obsessing over, and once it was gone I just felt like I was physically unable to STOP eating even more... so would eat huge volumes of food at once until I could not fit one more bite into my stomach, stretched to its largest capacity. But after I stopped binge eating, I found that even when driven by obsessive thoughts, I could get that food, eat one or two servings, and stop eating. That is the main difference, in my experience, between the two disorders.

Now that the obsessive "voices" have quieted and calmed because of my non-restrictive (but also moderate by choice) eating, one of the things that has happened to me is that I am able to be very satisfied with small, sometimes ridiculously tiny amounts of food. Strangely enough, I first figured this out at restaurants. I would see something on the menu that sounded good, order it, and even if it was amazingly delicious, would be satisfied and "done" after a few bites. At first this made me mad! After Medifast, my stomach had shrunk to a much smaller size and I was not even *able* to eat a huge meal anymore... but even more amazing to me was the fact that I had no desire to eat large volumes anymore. I still don't... but I would get mad at the restaurants because they "make" you buy a huge entree just to have a little bit of it! Yes, I could take it home and have it later, but I often wished they would serve mini portions so I could have a little of this and a little of that. One solution I found was that many restaurants have a menu for Seniors which is a bit cheaper and has much smaller portions. I am obviously not a senior citizen but every time I have asked, I have been allowed to order from the Seniors menu. In a few cases I have even been allowed to order from the Kids' menu, which has even smaller portions! I love this! I have also taken to splitting some foods with people I am dining with (trading, say, a little of their appetizer for most of my dessert).

At home, it's easy. I really enjoy variety. I cook several things have just have a little bit of each. At potlucks and parties, even better! I can have a full plate of food (just ONE plate... that is plenty) and have lots of things if my portions are tiny. I like to have larger portions of the healthiest items like meats and vegetables, and then very small portions of anything else I'd like. I find I am quite content with one bite of sweet potatoes, one cracker, one little cheese cube, etc. Really some of my portions look kind of silly to other people (as someone commented earlier, why would anyone eat a third of a Clementine? They are already tiny!) but it is enough and I am satisfied. I know that if I decide to eat some chips I am happy with 2 or 3 of them. If I really really want cheesecake I am great with 2 bites of the filling, no crust. I can literally put 2 tablespoons of au gratin potatoes on my plate and feel happy with that amount. I no longer want to eat the WHOLE package of food or a giant bowl of anything. I would much rather just have a taste! And that is a completely different, and much healthier mindset from both the binge eating of the distant past and the obsessive eating of more recent times. The DRIVE to eat is gone, and replaced my a calmness even about the foods that look exceptionally tasty to me. I know I can have them, and a little is enough.

Try tiny portions. You might be shocked at how little you can be satisfied with! You can always go back for more!


Anonymous said...

I was impressed with all the things you could fit on a plate in your last post. Now I understand how you did it! I think that is a good strategy for cutting back on overall calories.

Anonymous said...

Now the only thing you need to conquer is how to not gain weight eating this way. Maybe 1/2 a bite, instead of a whole bite. Remember that every bite, or lick has calories, and do add up.

Lyn said...

Thanks, anon1!


oh I am probably not cutting my portions any smaller. If the weight keeps going up I will just tweak my carby choices a little lower, maybe drink more water and walk a bit more.

Roxanne said...

Even when I'm eating healthy meals, I always seem to overeat the foods (portions) I am eating. I'll try to follow your strategy and see if I can lose more weight :D

Anonymous said...

Hm, you know it's interesting--I read this post and thought, wow, I remembering reading something else about portion size. LOL--it was on YOUR BLOG!

Anyway, the one thing I will say about a huge variety of tiny portions is, it may mess up satiety signalling. We humans have taste-specific satiety: i.e., we feel full sooner if we're eating a limited variety of things at once (that's why we always have 'room for dessert'). So, eating a lot of little things maaaaay mess up your satiety a bit and maaaay be worth keeping an eye on.

Lyn said...


yes! That was the beginnings of smaller portions for me! I have found a half entree at a restaurant is perfectly filling! And even tinier bites are enough sometimes. Thanks for the tip!

Verena Schwald said...

Lyn, am I losing it or am I missing some of your posts? Hope everything is ok. Take care please.

Rose Sperlonga said...

I'm so sad you took your most recent blog down. I am suspecting that someone was not respectful to you and what you wrote. And I will be the first to apologize for their behavior if that is the case. People can be so mean because they can be. As long as you are happy Lyn, that is all that matters..... all the rest doesn't. I've learned that these recent 5 weeks after I hurt / broke my ankle. I was so upset that I was letting people down because I GOT HURT!!! My husband had to knock some sense in me... lol Its not about them, its about us! We have to take care of ourselves. Do I love myself for being so over weight right now? Nope, but I had to stop beating myself up of what others would think. We are so programmed to please others, aren't we? Can't be at work and I was apologizing to my boss... I find it funny now.
Be happy Lyn!! Be proud of what you are over coming!
Take care,

Lyn said...


it looks like some posts are missing. Weird, will figure it out.


no, people have been really supportive! I love my blog readers... usually very kind and helpful. I am looking for the missing posts. Thanks for letting me know!