binge eating: how to stop?

food is our everyday necessity. unlike alcohol, nicotine or other drugs one cannot choose to avoid it – it is essential to survive. however sometimes it goes beyond the demand of energy for a human body and eating then is converted into a drug-like tool that gives some kind of pleasure. then eating disorders such as binge eating appear and start causing various problems. in this article i would like to share my story and suggest a few ways to avoid it. i honestly hope this will help someone coping with that phenomenon.

let me define binge eating

i am not talking about eating until you can hardly stand up from the holiday table few times a year. this might be considered as a single case of binging. however the next day you move on and return to your usual eating habits. it can be a few days in a row. as long as it does not turn into a constant endless rollercoaster of donuts pointed towards one’s mouth i do not consider it dangerous. however what i do consider harmful is an eating pattern when:

  1. one eats enormous amount of food (usually of a low quality and containing a lot of carbohydrates especially sugar and fats) ;
  2. after doing so the person admits that it has been the worst decision in the entire life and feels miserable;
  3. after a few hours two steps described above are repeated even if the person does not feel well and empty enough to do it again.

and this pattern repeats daily. unfortunately sometimes even years can pass and cause obesity together with other obvious and serious problems with a human body.

the vicious cycle

i would like to describe the cycle of constant overeating that i have been in. first of all i will provide some background. i have been going in for sports and trying to reach some goals there for quite a while. in such case nutrition is one of the key elements that describe one’s success. i could lift weights, row a boat, ride a bike or run for hours. physical activity was not an issue because i actually enjoyed doing that. however, personally nutrition became the hardest unknown of the equation to find: i have been struggling a lot. i cannot count how many mondays there have been from which i was supposed to start fresh and clean. maybe fifty, maybe a hundred. i failed many many times. in the morning i used to count carbohydrates, protein and fats in my breakfast and for lunch i used to visit mcdonalds or eat a whole pizza with a pile of candies afterwards. in addition to that i developed a habit of the last supper: binge eating a lot on sunday because on monday i would not let myself do that. i thought that i should use the advantage of the ability. suddenly each evening contained a last supper. day after day. i could not pass a grocery store on my way back home. i had to buy some treats and binge again. after doing so i used to feel miserable before going to bed and the quality of sleep suffered like hell. the next morning i could not think of an idea of getting out of the bed. however after reaching the office the first thing i used to do was to prepare a cup of coffee and buy some treats. sweet stuff. i was like a zombie.

what is the enormous amount?

i am not talking about a 60g chocolate bar with the morning coffee every day. neither i am talking about a portion of ice cream or a big cookie once in a while. i am talking about a 300g chocolate bar per one sitting then a few rolls after that and then a piece of cake or a tub of ice cream. and then repeating the next day. by saying enormous i really mean a lot. for some people it is even hard to imagine how one can put all this stuff into the stomach. however, such eating habits can be developed and actually exist. i remember myself doing that and believe me i know how horrible this feels. i remember myself eating a half of the cake when there were 8 people around the table. i also remember finishing a half of candy bag at the office a few hours after it appeared there. i remember myself rushing into the grocery store minutes before closing and buying a bag of sweet stuff: a pack of chocolate chip cookies, a few rolls, a bar of chocolate and maybe a snickers or a mars just to have something on my way home. hence this is what i consider enormous amount of food.

reasons of binge eating

i am not an expert in how the human brain works. however i do believe that the main cause of such disorder can be found in one’s head. it might be the inability to sustain some strict diet routine one has set up. also it might be a tool to relieve stress and improve one’s mood. however after eating such bunch of food the sugar high is extremely short and after that begins a very unpleasant period. in addition to that, the high becomes not so high after a while: one needs to eat a lot of sweets in order to feel just fine. this sounds like i am talking about a drug. i have been researching about possibilities of developing an addiction to sugar. however, i could find some hostile information. one article says that the sweet thing is 8 times more addictive compared to cocaine while the other claims that it is impossible to be develop such addiction. however from my experience and point of view i can say that i have been addicted as hell. this also might be related to some disbalance of hormones. it would be interesting to know the exact reason. finally, this period has been one of the worst in my entire life. and it has been a long one. i have reached the culmination when for two weeks in a row i went to mcdonalds for 15 times and to kfc once. other than that i have also been stuffing myself with all kinds of desserts. i gained approximately 10 kilograms in a month’s or two time.

a stop sign

after the curve of my daily weight went up towards the sky some kind of warning messages started appearing in my head’s operational system. somehow i understood that if i continue behaving so a dreadful future is ahead. i knew that before as well. but this knowledge was not natural. after gaining these last 10 kilograms it felt like i was struck by a lightning. back then i thought i was doomed and there is no way out. however, there is. and seems like for me it has been working until today.

an attempt to solve the issue

in order to change this horrible habit and eating pattern i knew it would take tons of my will power or whatever that is responsible for making decisions that are against one’s brain favour. i have tried many things: attempting to implement some kind of moderation in eating sweets and other stuff, trying to incorporate so called cheat meals or cheat days when during them one can eat whatever he or she likes. however none of these strategies worked for me. all attempts of establishing the moderation resulted in another binge period. so did the cheat day method. cheat days turned into cheat weeks and even months. after experiencing all this i decided that there is the one and only way that will definitely work but with a single condition: if i stick to it. this might not be so popular. however, i decided to quit cold turkey. 

this might look as another unsuccessful monday on which i started eating clean again. however this has been lasting for more than a month now. i finally understood that

i am capable of making decisions.

i have mentioned this thought a lot in my description of the whole idea of this blog. once i tattooed this phrase on the surface of my brain, everything started to change. now i know that no matter how difficult this is, i am not a zombie that runs after a piece of chocolate. i am a human being which can decide how to behave. yes, this has been extremely hard in the very beginning. however, after a few weeks things become smooth and easy: one does not even want these foods that looked so amazing before. the feeling of freedom comes to the mind and it feels so amazing to become unchained. literally.

what have i changed

i stopped eating all the sweet stuff: pastry, candies, donuts, chocolate, ice cream and so on. i also decline to eat a pizza or some other meal that might light a spark. the most amazing part of that is the disappearance of all cravings. i have been trying to stick to whole foods, eating a lot of vegetables, meat, nuts, peanut butter, fruits and so on. i do not refuse to eat a burger of a good quality or some sushi or other kind of outside the home food. and i have been successful.

for those who are struggling

first of all i think it is important to admit that there is a problem. however when such eating habits appear it is hard not to notice. usually people even tend to hide that from others: they try eating all the sweet stuff while being alone. i have been there, done that. after this step it is important to understand that this is not a death sentence. it is crucial to acquire the idea that this can be changed. a person is capable of overcoming that issue. every person. there are no exceptions. after this step one has to understand that this will be hard like hell. it will be harder than any physical activity one has ever done. during my 100 kilometer walk near the baltic sea i once thought:

actually it has been easier for me to walk 100 kilometers without stopping than to avoid bingeing during the weekend.

and yes, for me this is the exact truth. this is how hard it might be. and last but the most important feature: patience. just wait, suffer a little bit and things will definitely start to become better. each day.

it is possible. if i have managed to do that, everybody else can.

never forget to ask for some help from your friends or relatives. if that does not help i believe there are many specialists who work with such issues. do not be afraid to look for a helping hand.

remigijus

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