How I Stopped Binge Eating

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I’m embarrassed to admit it, but for years I struggled with binge eating.

edible cookie dough in a food processor

When others were around me, I would eat healthy, normal-looking meals, but when I was by myself I would gorge on junk food until I felt sick. It was a heavy secret to keep, affecting not only my weight and overall health, but also my social life and relationships. (Some nights I would rather stay home and secretly eat than hang out with my family or friends.)

Today I want to share some of the steps I took to finally stop binge eating, in the hopes that it might help someone else out there who might be struggling, too.

Disclaimer: If you are feeling suicidal, severely depressed, or in need of medical attention, please see a licensed health care provider. This website is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.

What Causes Binge Eating?

I don’t believe there is a just one answer as to what causes people start binge eating, but it seems that one common cause is having a restricted diet at some point in your life.

This could have happened when you were a child, if well-meaning parents attempted to limit your food intake to help prevent childhood obesity, or it might have happened later in life, when you attempted to diet to lose weight. (In my case, it was the latter.)

before and after of Megan Gilmore, Detoxinista

Not surprisingly, depression can also play a role in binge eating. My suffering hit its peak when I was working from home in Los Angeles, as I felt very isolated and didn’t have a lot of human interaction each day. I also had a nutritionally poor diet, which probably contributed to those feelings of depression, and that left me feeling malnourished. This combination led to more serious bouts of binge eating like you’ll see below.

What is Considered Binge Eating?

Binge eating is defined as the consumption of a large quantity of food in a short period of time. In many cases, the person binge eating feels out of control and eats WAY past their comfort level. For a person suffering from Binge Eating Disorder, there is no purging after the binge (which is what makes it different from Bulimia.)

I would imagine that almost everyone has experienced some level emotional eating, or comfort eating, at some point in his or her life, but it’s the eating far past your comfort level or feeling out of control that sets binge eating apart from simply “splurging.”

flourless vegan chocolate cake

A binge can vary from person to person, as it’s kind of up to self-interpretation. For some, they may tend to binge eat at night, after a stressful day at work or after a day of a low-calorie dieting. For others, it maybe a full day of binge eating, particularly on days leading up to starting a strict diet. One thing that most binges have in common is that the eating is done in secret, as the person is ashamed of his or her actions.

Here’s an example of what a full day of secret binge eating looked like for me:

  • Morning: I’d go to McDonald’s and order an Extra Value Meal (which included a breakfast biscuit and hash browns), then realize that I could even be more indulgent and order a second meal. I’d order two cinnamon rolls, as well, because why not. I took my massive amount of food home and devoured it all in about 15-20 minutes. After that I would feel slightly guilty, but still excited to eat more food.
  • Afternoon: I’d order a large, deep-dish pizza. While I was waiting for it to be delivered, I’d eat cookies and potato chips, and anything else that might might be off-limits to me in the near future.
  • Early Evening: This was often my last chance to eat something before someone else could get home and interrupt my secret eating, so I’d walk to the convenience store across the street and buy a pint of ice cream, or a king size candy bar, or both. I’d eat as much as I could, then I’d get rid of ALL of the evidence, taking out the trash so that no one would see my empty food wrappers.
  • Evening: I’d make myself a light salad or healthy dinner to eat in front of my family, and act as if my stomach wasn’t killing me, even though I felt miserable. I’d go to bed feeling guilty, depressed, and ashamed, with a resolution to eat “perfectly” the next day.

A binge day like this would usually occur anytime that I was planning to try a super-strict diet, like a juice fast, an all-raw diet, a candida cleanse, or a low-carb protocol (I tried it all!). The more strict my diet, the more drastic the binge would be.

Also, my binges rarely were contained to just one day. Usually I would binge-eat like that one to three times a week. If I slipped-up during a dieting day, the rest of that day would turn into a binge because the way I saw it, I had already “blown it” for the day and I might as well start fresh tomorrow.

Mentally, I remember reasoning with myself that I would have a better “before” picture to compare to later when I lost weight after my diet, since I’d be so bloated from binge-eating. (What I a great excuse to eat with reckless abandon!) The only problem was… it was really hard to stop binge-eating, and it was even harder to stick to a strict diet for very long.

On a side note, days like this one would also wreak havoc on my budget. I was too ashamed to keep these “bad” foods in my fridge, so I would buy them and discard the evidence, which is a huge waste across the board. You would think that being on an insanely-tight budget would have stopped me at the time, but it didn’t.

Binge eating, in general, doesn’t make logical sense, which is why it’s so hard to explain it to others who haven’t experienced it.

date sweetened peanut butter cookie

Stuck In A Cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting

I suffered through this cycle for years because I was always convinced that if I could just find the perfect diet, or reach a certain goal weight or clothing size, that my issues would go away. I wouldn’t stop dieting, and therefore I couldn’t stop binge eating, either.

I also felt like I was “getting away with it” because I never gained THAT much weight, despite my crazy eating habits. I definitely did gain weight, and my clothing size did fluctuate often, but I would always follow a super-strict diet for 2 to 4 weeks and lose the weight again. (Though, this did get harder to maintain overtime. Your body won’t always respond as well to the same diet over and over again.)

Then the cycle would start all over again. I was stuck in a cycle of yo-yo dieting.

mango strawberry smoothie

How I Finally Stopped Binge Eating

I’d love to say there was a “magic cure” that made things click, but it didn’t happen overnight. For me, the change was more gradual.

By taking the steps below, my binge eating sessions became shorter and less severe, and happened far less frequently. Eventually, they started to simply resemble the dietary “splurges” that normal people have. (Like having a couple cookies after family dinner, or going out for ice cream with friends.) Now, I eat like a healthy, normal person with a few splurges here and there.

The following things helped me get there:

  • I stopped dieting. This was a non-negotiable step for me. I had to stop restricting my food choices, because restriction led me to binge-eating. Every. Single. Time. No more calorie counting or thinking about macronutrients for me. In fact, I needed to make sure I was eating plenty of nourishing food so that my body didn’t feel restricted at all. When you eat enough, your cravings really do diminish naturally. (This is also why I urge people to enjoy plenty of fresh fruit— when I eat fruit, I have almost no sugar cravings.)
  • I stopped labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” This one is tricky, because I truly do believe that some foods are better and more nutritious than others. I absolutely think we should primarily focus on eating real, whole foods as much as possible, and I do think that processed foods should be minimized. However, for the sake of my mental health, I don’t feel guilty about moments when I wanted to eat french fries, pizza, or a real donut. It really is okay to eat these things every now and then, and when I don’t feel guilty about it, I go right back to eating salads, smoothies, and healthy dinners– usually appreciating how good they make me feel even more. I try to practice this mentality with my kids, too, so they don’t grow up with issues around food.
  • I dropped all of my dietary labels. Along the same lines, I also decided to stop calling myself a vegetarian, because it was not doing me any favors from a mental health perspective. I needed to be allowed to eat any food I wanted, including meat. For the most part, I still don’t like to eat meat– but every now and then I want to be able to have a cheeseburger, or slice of pepperoni pizza, or a bowl of chicken soup, without feeling guilty about it. (Had I become a vegetarian for strong ethical reasons, i don’t think this would have been as much of an issue, but I became a vegetarian primarily because I wasn’t that fond of meat.)
  • I started practicing daily self care. Have you heard the phrase, “fake it until you make it?” Even if you’re not totally happy with how your body looks or feels, you have to start acting like you LOVE it. With enough practice, you will! To get started, I made a list of things that make me feel good– like dry skin brushing, sitting in a sauna, going for a walk outdoors, or even taking a nap– and then I tried to practice one or more of those things on a daily basis. I’ve found that the more I take care of myself, the more I want to keep it up. It’s momentum building! (As an added bonus, taking a walk outside makes me feel better than eating a whole sleeve of cookies.)
  • I only eat food that I truly love. I think it’s really important to start noticing how foods make you feel and what you actually love the taste of. When I stopped dieting, I let myself eat anything and everything– including fast food and junk food. And you know what I realized? Most of that junk food appealed to me because I had made it “forbidden.” When you tell yourself you can’t have something, you make that very thing SO MUCH MORE tempting. When I stopped making certain foods forbidden, I had the opportunity to judge those foods based on their actual taste and texture. Not surprisingly, most of the packaged junk food and fast food options became totally unappealing to me, simply because the recipes I make at home really do taste better– so now I choose homemade food most of the time, because I prefer it. (Not because I feel like I have to.)

Seek Professional Counseling: I was too embarrassed (and broke) to seek professional help at the time, but I still wish I would have seen a counselor for help. I’d recommend anyone who is struggling with binge eating, or another eating disorder, to seek help as soon as possible. I think it would have saved me a lot of time and struggle to have a professional guide me through the recovery process, since really none of my friends or family could relate to what I was going through.

As an alternative, I did read a lot of books. I can’t say that one book in particular gave me an “a-ha moment,” but I do think that as a whole, they helped gradually change my mindset. Here are a few of the books I found helpful.

Can you stop binge eating AND lose weight?

I think the scariest part of this whole process was the fact that I had to stop dieting in order to stop binge eating. It’s scary to stop dieting, because I think everyone assumes that they might gain weight when they let themselves eat whatever they want. (And often the desire to lose weight is what starts this cycle in the first place.)

The truth is, you might gain a couple of pounds when you first allow yourself to eat whatever you want… though, that wasn’t the case for me.

Because I truly let myself eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I was also able to stop eating those items when I was no longer enjoying them. Forbidden foods lose their appeal when you truly allow yourself to have them anytime.

vegan pumpkin donuts

For example, when I was dieting and binge eating, I could have eaten a whole sleeve or two of cookies in one day because I knew I wouldn’t be “allowed” to eat them the next day. I ate more than I needed or even wanted to, simply because they were going to be forbidden to me soon.

When I gave myself permission to eat those cookies whenever I wanted, I would only eat 2 or 3 cookies at a time and then I’d save the rest for the next time I wanted them. Eventually the box could sit in my pantry for a whole month or more. I became one of those people who “forgot” that the cookies were even there. (Which certainly never happened to me before!)

Get Rid of the “All or Nothing” Mentality

Something that I preach here on the blog, as well as in my cookbooks, is that you have to get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality if you want to have a healthy relationship with food. At the peak of my binge eating, I was either on a diet or I wasn’t– so when I wasn’t dieting, I was binge eating. There was no middle ground.

Now, I try to abide by the popular 80/20 approach, where I eat healthy 80% of the time, but I still splurge 20% of the time with no guilt whatsoever. Despite my lack of dieting, my body naturally lost the excess weight I was carrying– simply because I wasn’t binge eating anymore! I had to trust the process, and trust that my body would naturally start craving what it really needed when I simply followed my hunger signals. I eat when I’m hungry, and when I start to feel full, I stop. I can always go back for more food if I need it, so there’s no urge to stuff my face all at once.

While it’s super-embarrassing to share my personal struggles here in such a public space (Hi, Mom! Hello, coworkers!), I hope that my experience will help at least one other person who is out there struggling, too.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Comments

Kayla Mason

Thank you for this! I suffered from binge eating for a long time and had all of the same rationals you did! It feels good to know I’m not crazy. I actually did all of things you mentioned and finally stopped feeling the need to binge over the summer of this year. I started working with a Nutritional Therapist and we are making great strides with my emotional relationship to food and healing my digestive system. The two things that really did it for me were daily mediation, and changing the tomeing of meals. I make sure to eat breakfast within 90 min of waking and then eat every 4 hours. This makes it so that I’m not starving at mealtimes, so I don’t just eat everything in sight.
Thank you again for sharing your experience! I love your website and use it for recipes all the time! You actually inspired me to start my own website a while back and I’ve since stopped updating it, but it opened me up to a whole new world of cooking and nutrition! So, thank you!!

Tonka

Oh dear, thank you so much for this. I am 18 and have been struggling with binge eating for maybe 2-3 years now. For me, it’s really the loneliness and also the frustration (when I don’t feel in control of my life) that “activate” my cravings, and my high school final exam was the peak of my disorder.
I realize now that I am not alone, that some people can actually understand and show empathy which is so precious, even through the cold screen of a computer.
I think the best advice in this article is to let go of this illusion of finding the “prefect diet”, for we all know the very concept of dieting is deeply imperfect, as it prevents oneself from listening to one’s body and needs.
I think the main problem is that we want to lose weight too fast and our willpower is not always in it for the long run, it gets tired as we do not see inmediate results.
Rather than thinking about tomorrow, we should think about our little self in 10 years, imagine all the benefits we would get from just feeding nice food to our body (and by nice I mean both healthy and comforting, you’re right to say labelling food as “good” or “bad” is not helping).
Also your advice about enjoying simple pleasures such as taking a walk outside or doing some yoga is also so important in my opinion. It is like saying to your body “I love you and I want to take care of you”. Be your own ally instead of being your own ennemy (I often think about the term “self-sabotage” when I have my binge eating phases). It’s hard to learn to love oneself but I read something that I found interesting about trying to consider yourself as you consider your friends: would you shame a friend for giving in to a craving? Would you not comfort him and tell him to take it easy?
We ought to be as good of a friend to ourselves as we are to our loved ones.
We DESERVE it.

Jessica

Your story is so inspiring and provides a lot of hope. Thank you for being so courageous to share for the benefit of others.

Amanda zeffero

Thanks so much for sharing. Your experience is all too familiar to me! I just discovered your site and posts, as I was looking for healthier recipes. I’m so glad I found it and look forward to incorporating some of them into my rotation. Thanks for being brave in order to help others! ❤

MG

Thanks for this heartfelt post. I’m just at the beginning of my journey and am documenting it. Reading your story rings true.

Alyssa

Thank you for this post, I can totally relate to everything that you’ve written here. Much love

Megan

Thanks for sharing. I never even thought of my binge eating as cyclical before but it totally is and it makes me loathe myself when I can’t control what I’m eating. I always think, if I just hurry and eat all of this then it will be out of the house and I won’t have to worry about it. I think I need to get back to making homemade treats, like some of the ones I love off of your website that I can eat and not feel guilty about. I have some bad physical symptoms after eating sugar (refined cane, corn beef, etc) so I have been wanting to give it up but feel powerless to. Thanks for writing about your journey.

Nicci

Hi Megan, just wanted to write and thank you for a great post. Think alot of people will benefit from what you are sharing here! http://niccimarquart.com/

Patricia Fry

Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I have been on a very similar journey. Mine included sugar addiction. I became a cake decorator just so I could have icing and chocolate around me all the time. I can relate to the secretive eating and the all or nothing mentality. I have been “off” of diet lately so I have been eating “crazy” like. One of my things is coke which makes me feel bloated and yucky but if I was going to start another diet I felt compelled to drink as much as I could. I am going to start doing some of the things you suggest. Again thanks for the sensible approach. Already in my mind I feel freer.

runner

Thank you for this! Reading your story I felt like I was reading my own. For 10 years I’ve been in a binge, guilt, purge,”eat-clean” (restrict), binge cycle. I’ve felt unwell for years, and my body and life has suffered. I would tell people that I had IBS when really I was constantly ill from binge eating – filling my body with things it was intolerant to, and not nourishing it well. Thank you for your courage for sharing your story.

Kris

WOW Megan this article describes me to a “T”! I’m almost 49 and just now figuring out with the help of your article that I’m a binge eater. I’m scared. I won’t lie. I’m so afraid I’ll end up on one of those TV shows where they are getting me out of my house with a crane. I’m seeing my doctor in a couple days to discuss this. I pray for help. Thank u so much for this article.

LA

I am grateful for your sharing your story. I am still binging now it particularly happens the most when I am under alot of stress like studying for my boards. Frankly it is embarassing to be in the medical field and have the ability to be my healthiest self. Like you I don’t have the funds to get help because I am a student. I have read a couple of books on your list privately but I don’t know nothing seems to stick. I stopped eating all meats but fish but now I am sneaking eating meat again but I am afraid to tell my family because I have already did those extreme cuts out in the past and never stick to it and finally you just beginning to buy in after many months of dis-belief.

Carrie

This has helped me SOmuch already. I have started allowing myself to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it and no more diet/restrictions. I know i will lose weight anyway from not binging. I can eat yummy nutritious meals when ever i want,but nothing is going to be off limits. For me that seems to be the key, that and not going back on some form of restrictive eating plan. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope everyone that needs it finds it. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes.

Jess

This post is so helpful! Thank you for being willing to share!!

I have a propensity toward this same mindset and it’s something I sometimes have to work hard at overcoming but at other times, not so much.

I now understand your reasoning behind not being a fan of diets.

Megan

Thank you!!! Thank you for sharing your experience. It almost exactly mirrors my life! I am so grateful for your story, and for your recipes. Thank you. <3

Mary

Thank you for sharing your story. I am 57 years old and I have been binge eating all my life, as I can remember, just that I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. I was a skinny girl and I gained a great number of pounds after my tonsils were removed, at about 14. During the last months I came across with intermittent fasting, and I think this would work for me. I been introducing this practice in my life for the last three months–I am still adjusting–but I am losing weight. I think you are totally right about how crucial is to stop dieting, but I am still struggling with the “all or nothing” mentality–If I get a big bag of potato chips I have to finish it or through it away. I live in Los Angeles, but right now I am in Colombia, and I realize is much easier for me to lose the weight here, maybe because I don’t have so many options of “healthy” snacks as in the States. I thank you again for your article, and would appreciate your opinion. By the way, I really like your recipes, and I hope in the future I can get an Instant Pot to be able to have more whole home made food available in an easier way

Meg

Megan,

This is my first time visiting your page and I truly appreciate your honesty and openness in this article. I began the recovery process for my bulimia last summer and was doing really great for a while but have recently hit a few road blocks with binging and purging. I can totally relate to your story. I used to binge eat and purge alone in my sorority’s chapter room and throw away all the trash in the dumpster outside so no one would know. It’s a long journey to recovery but I really love your idea about not labeling any foods as “bad foods”. Although I have made a lot of progress there are still some foods that I personally see as off-limits. I’m definitely going to try your idea of embracing all foods. Thanks again

Samatha

Thank you,
I am currently going through exactly the same thing, this was so relatable. This post gave me hope that I can end by binge-purge cycle. I am 23 and do not want to be burdened by this disorder, it is frustrating in my crazy dieting cycle when my boyfriend and friends want to go out to dinner and I refuse because I am fasting and a couple days later I’m stuffing my face with junk food. I know fasting is not the way to keep a slim size because I’m skinny for maybe two weeks and then gain ten pounds after a week of binge eating. I really want to end this cycle and this post was super encouraging.

CARRIE

Been here before and fell off the no diet plan wanting quick results. Guess where that led? I’m sure we all know…binging again. And so I’m back reading your post and giving it another go. Your story was what got me on track before and I feel like it can help me now. Like you said, its not an instant fix, this is a process.

KATie corKill

Thank you for sharing your story! I can relate to a lot of what you are saying and even though I’ve also overcome binge eating, your tips and experiences are valuable to help clients in the fitness Industry.
Love your recipes (especially all the instant pot action) you provide! Can’t wait for the cookbook!

Rebecca

This is great ❤️ so many can relate. I also think it’s important to point out that people can binge on healthy food too! Anything that tastes great. You’re right about knowing when to stop and then having snacks available — we need to listen to our stomachs! Learning mind over matter with cravings is good too. It really is all about balance, so that soooo much for writing!!

Elisa

Wow, thanks so much for sharing that ! I sooo can relate and while I don’t feel ready to talk about it yet (hence my boundless admiration for you), just reading your post made me feel like I could breathe easier. I wish you all the health, all the success and all the best and will be bookmarking this post to read it again when things get tough (I’m still recovering; it ain’t always easy). Again, thanks for sharing !

CARB (my initials)

This is a wonderful post, and after reading some of the other comments, you are helping a lot of people. It is a hard thing to talk about and the confusion that accompanies any eating disorder is paralyzing. I felt that I was truly addicted. Whenever I wasn’t in the throes of binging, I was clear-headed and rational. When I gave in to the eating I was like an addict who can only think of when he’s going to get his next fix.

My husband passed away from cancer some years ago and that’s when my binging really took hold. I have been fighting my weight ever since (a LOT of weight). The predictable happened — I was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. I have also been on an anti-depressant for about 10 years. To cut this short, I’m going to skip ahead to a little less than three months ago.

Somehow in all my YouTube watching, I tripped across Dr. John McDougall’s videos. They really struck a chord with me and sounded like an eating program I could follow faithfully. Literally overnight I became an oil-free, high carbohydrate, low protein vegan. Within one week my hypertension and diabetes were gone. I was able to stop my medications for those two conditions. I am now in the process of ramping down from the anti-depressant. My doctor is thrilled.

My point is that my tastes are changing and I am enjoying how I eat. One caveat — I know I must stay on this diet for the rest of my life or the hypertension and diabetes will return with a vengeance. One of my coping mechanisms is that once a month I allow myself a meal that is not vegan, and it may end with a really decadent dessert. I figure one meal a month won’t send me back to the mess I was. It is something I can look forward to, and then I can go back to the straight and narrow until the next month. I lost 50 pounds before going vegan just by cutting my portions. It wasn’t even done that consciously.I have only lost about 10 more pounds since being vegan because I am still finding my way and learning how all this works.

I found your post to be very helpful and comforting. Thank you for writing it and God Bless You.

Allison

I honestly feel like it was me writing this article! Almost brought me to tears. I want to stop the craziness of binge eating and am going to focus on getting a healthy relationship with food and stop thinking that everyday is the last day before I eat ONLY perfect foods. I also agree that seaking professional help is important but I do not know how to find the right person. Any pointers there would be very helpful. Thank you for writing this!!

Karla

Thank you, Megan.

Sandra Zruna

Thank you so much for this! I know how embarrassing binge eating is. I started out as a bulimic teen followed by a binge eating adult. I’m 46 now. Because of my past I have messed up my digestive system and my doctor suggested food combining and sent me the link to your chart. I started reading your blog and ordered your 5 day detox and am going to purchase your book as well. I’m starting to feel better and am so grateful for your honest and helpful website so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! ❤️

yasmine

thank you for sharing this! I’ve gone through the same struggles with BED, binging and overdosing on laxatives after,ten years later Ive gotten myself healthy but still struggle with gut issues, your post will help many 💓, much love to you.

Kalyn Compton

I’ve been reallllllly struggling with this lately. Thank you for posting this. It really helped me to know that other people relate to my struggles!!! Your tips are very helpful too. I’ve never thought about it that way and I’m hoping it will prove beneficial for me the same way it has for you.

Jenny

I think you are brave, courageous and beautiful! Thank you for creating such an incredible website. Your recipes are all so delicious and work without fail. I have been struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating for about 20 years now. I have found more balance but I really struggle with night time eating. I will eat dinner and later find myself shoving mostly bread and peanut butter with honey down my throat. Sometimes I wake up in the mornings and feel like I have a “hangover” from it. Is there anything you can suggest that I can do to curb my night time eating? Any help is so appreciated.

    Megan Gilmore

    The only thing that has helped me with night time eating is making sure I eat a really satisfying, filling dinner. Usually something with plenty of greens, as I think that helps balance cravings, and I also think it’s important that you go to bed at an appropriate time. My urges to eat at night (when I’m not actually hungry) always happen around 10pm– when I should be going to bed! Sometimes I think the body can confuse tired and hunger cues, so make sure you’re getting good sleep, too!

Pati

Thank you Megan for sharing your story 5 It gives me hope.

Dorothy corrigan

Megan, I stumbled upon your website by searching Pinterest for Paleo/Candida recipes. Your recipes look amazing (so clear, easy to make, and organized) so I went to your site to read about you (I’m always curious to know what makes people post healthy recipes). I loved reading this post about you…thank you for sharing your story. You have such wonderful insights and offer hope to those who might recognize themselves in your story. Binge eating isn’t talked about often, and I think more people are dealing with it than most of us realize.

Anyway, from one IIN grad to another, thanks for spreading the word about health!

Penelope

Hi Megan
You have no idea how much article has helped me. I’ve had bulimia for 20 years and reading this and then the have your cake and skinny jeans book you recommended has made me realise what’s been going on all these years. I finally have the way out thanks to you. Thank you a million times over! 🙂

Teresa Doty

I just accidentally found you…I was looking for a steel cut oats recipe….I woke up up this morning, again telling myself that today would be my first day of never eating refined flour nor refined sugar…Then I found you and read your article on how you stopped binge eating…My eyes are full of tears…you described my life…You also gave me really good direction and peace in my heart and mind…Thank you

Jessica Flory

I love this philosophy so much, Megan!! I’m afraid I can relate to the binge eating 🙁 In high school I would go from eating as little as possible one day and then “messing up” the next day and just going crazy because I’d already blown it. It’s a horrible, vicious cycle. Now I’m in a MUCH better place and we eat a lot of healthy, delicious food (and some homemade treats, too :).
I’m wondering what your thoughts are on how to help kids have a healthy relationship with food. We have three little boys who LOVE treats and they get a lot of them at friend’s houses, preschool, church, etc. It worries me a little and I want to teach them about making healthy choices without restricting food for them or creating a negative relationship with food. Do you have any thoughts?

Suzy b

Thank you for sharing your story, Megan. My habits have not been so severe as yours or other commenters, but I definitely recognize them. I am just now finishing my first “5 day reset” and a shocker for me has been how full I’ve been that I can’t imagine eating things I shouldn’t. In fact we have some leftovers that we’ll probably lose because despite our efforts to eat everything my family is just stuffed, lol. I didn’t even make everything in my plan. I’m learning how much to prepare now but more importantly, it’s been a major aha moment to realize that filling up with nutritious, whole-food based delicious recipes can stop binge habits (at least mild ones) in their tracks–not just me, but my spouse and kids too. We’re excited and motivated to continue trying new recipes and adopting a healthier relationship with food, of all kinds. It frustrates me when I see comments or reviews about caloric content and related, because I feel like I understand exactly why you wouldn’t calculate or publish that. It’s purposeful and for good reason. Again, thank you so much.

JKaay

Thank you! I’ve never read a more succinct description of what I feel and go through in a binge. Oddly, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who hides my trash, I even go so far as to stop on the way home to throw trash away in a public bin so no one at home will see it.. I’m at my wits end, tired of the self hatred, and this roller coaster life. I am a certified health coach, and am too embarrassed to coach others because of my secretive binging, my friends and clients believe me to be a healthy eater.. Following your advice, I just made a list of things I love to do to make my body feel better, like soaking my feet in a magnesium bath, dry brushing, cupping, and doing my nails. I’ll concentrate on these things when my mind wanders toward a binge. Thank you.

Sarah Rose

I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing. A lot of what you talked about in your post really resonated with me, and it’s so nice to see other’s perspectives, and gain some insight, helpful hints and tricks to get yourself out of a rut. I just bought your Everyday Detox cookbook, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it. So thank you again for being so awesome!

Kitty

Yes, this helped me. I am working on changing my relationship with food. I have a si.ilar issue in that I restrict food to mostly 1 small meal a day. I have for years, do to training from childhood.
How to change that emotional relationship between me and eating is very hard.
Suggestions?

Betsy

I loved this whole article, and especially what you wrote at the end about trusting your body and mind to handle all the food in its own process. I read through some comments and see that many of us share similar experiences and shame. I also had a very similar journey, starting to binge in my early 20s. At the age of 33, I have significantly improved my relationship with food. I get sad remembering how scared an anxious pizza time with friends use to make me feel. Nonetheless, binging rears it’s head into my life sometimes still, and as I was reading this I had an epiphany- it’s when my self-trust is low that the struggle returns. When I’m questioning my intuition or lingering too long in self doubt that I lose trust in my body and mind to handle my appetite, my food triggers, toxic environments, sugary foods…. etc. in addition to lots of self compassion and self care, I need to focus on self trust! 🙂 THANK YOU!!!

Sheila

Thank you so much for posting this. A long term struggle for me.

Jaime

Thank you so much for being so open. It is incredibly comforting to know I’m not alone, to read your story, and see the comments from others struggling with something I never in a million years thought I’d deal with! I’ve always over-exercised and watched my food intake too much and been hyper aware of my proximity to probably every single dessert in a given settingfor years but it wasn’t until after leaning out for a bikini bodybuilding competition that things got completely out of control. The shame and self-loathing that comes with thinking “no one would believe how much food you just took down…YOU JUST ATE 5 CLIF BARS STANDING IN THE OFFICE KITCHEN. 5 CLIF BARS IN A ROW. And you KNOW you aren’t finished yet because you’re already “ruined” the day so you’ll head to Whole Foods to the self-serve chocolate bins and then maybe to another grocery store when that’s gone so no one recognizes you and you can get a little more…then you’ll wake up at 3:30 tomorrow morning and spend 2 hours on the elliptical and swear to go back to your competition diet of tilapia and lean ground turkey. Guess what? Tilapia and leang ground turkey ONLY is clearly not working for me anymore! Brain over Binge has a workbook that is starting to help me understand some things you’ve touched on re: the dangers of restrictive eating and how it sets you up to fail and that there isn’t necessarily anything “wrong” with you – your poor body is just crying out for better nourishment. I am inspired by you and congratulate you on doing the work to break the habits and find balance! THANK YOU.

Elia

Hi Detoxinista,
Great article. Thanks for sharing your struggle. It’s so easy when you’re overweight and see someone “pretty” and thin to assume they don’t struggle.
I can relate a lot to the binging and for me a lot of it is slso drinking too much wine due to loneliness.
I’m quite overweight and physically uncomfortable and want to feel better.
While diets don’t seem to work, what do you recommend to someone who eats healthy but also too much? Do yiu think something like weight watchers can be reasonable if it includes “ splurges” etc?

Maise

Thank you so much for sharing, I struggled for so many years and felt so ashamed as well and as if I’m the only one who binge eat and no one understood what I was going through and felt judged all the time especially it affected my social life in a great way and I also had to quit University, gained so much weight over the years , and I believe I messed my thyroid. I just didn’t know how to escape it , I wouldn’t say I don’t struggle but I’m doing much better now, sometimes I find it very hard to accept my self and my body and with my struggle with anxiety and depression I always feel tempted to find that diet, over the years because of my struggles I was judged and not accepted which made things even harder. Would you recommend a meal plan or can it lead to diet mentality? Thank you so much again for sharing your personal struggle.

Cheryl Contreras

I am struggling with exactly what you described and cannot get it under control. I am a fitness trainer so I feel like the expectation is that I LOOK fit and I feel like I can’t acknowledge this problem in order to get help. This isn’t messing with my head and I am in full blown menopause as well!

AJ

Hello Detoxinista! Thank you for your humility in sharing your past struggle. I am so incredibly thankful I came across your article. This article made me chuckle, have a few “ah ha” moments, and shed a few tears too. Your story, is the first story to mirror my current life. I am in this current binge eating disorder. Turning to food as coping mechanism to stressful situations I’m in right now, also going back and forth with whole30 to try to loose baby fat from three kiddos (ages 4,2,9mo)… I desire freedom. I want to stop this 20lb weight fluctuations… for the sake of being a role model for my daughters, to fit into one size of jeans, to feel confident for myself and in front of my husband… I want the “all or nothing” to stop, I want the “oh I just cheated on the diet, now I’m going to splurge the rest of the day” to stop. Thank you for writing your story, it has inspired me. I’m excited to dive into those books, and possibly seek out counseling. Thank you again!!!

Sarah

I truly appreciate your honesty. I understand why you may feel embarrassed because I have been down a similar path as you and have felt the same way, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. You are helping so many by sharing your story, including me! I struggled with a form of binge eating – chewing and spitting out food (gross, I know), because I craved sweets but would not allow myself to eat and enjoy them in moderation. I did this off and on for 5 years. I believe it was a coping mechanism during and after my divorce and a result of fear of gaining weight, although my weight has always been healthy and on the slim side. At my rock bottom, I chewed and spat a box of donut holes in one day. I have not done this in 3 years and it is so liberating! I am no longer consumed by thinking about if I have the right food to binge on and when I can do it next. Now, I no longer have the desire. I am working on eating intuitively, listening to my body, and I recently stopped counting calories. It is truly a journey and I learn more about myself everyday. I am so proud of you ❤️ so many people struggle with disordered eating. Our society has a sick view of food and dieting. I appreciate all of the work you do to promote healthy eating and lifestyles. 😍

faye

what a great story, thank you for telling MY story…and encouraging me.

Melané Fahner-Botha

Thank you so very much for your honest and open sharing. For me the recognition is so good: although I am still ‘battling’ I also know that I am not alone or unique, that really, focus on what I shouldn’t be doing is self-destructive. I know that if I relax it will all be better AND I accept that I need to be vigilant because this is who I am. Not bad, not stupid, it’s just a part of me and not all of me. Thank you for sharing this part of you,

anon

Water fasting was the only thing that helped me stop binge eating. Gradually eating less never worked for me, because once I started eating, I couldn’t stop until it was time to fall asleep. After water fasting 14 days, I lost all weight from binge eating and then some. Then started eating just a small amount of food each day and was able to stick to it. Like the water fast broke my habit. It’s been 2 years and still no binge eating and haven’t done any more water fasts. I can’t shake my all or nothing mentality, so I have to stick to a small amount of food each day, and stay away from carbohydrates, since they trigger binges for me. I seem to be doing well and am much, much happier now. Binge eating is frightening and distressing, really. I hope everyone will recover.

Anita

I have been struggling with binge eating for.5 years. I feel very depressed and am at a loss about what to do. After reading your article, it does give mr some hope. I want to ask if I start to eat normal now by not following any restrictive diets, how will my body weight return to normal?

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