Healthy and Sane

Just say no (to bingeing)

February 8th, 2011 · 23 Comments · binge eating

Remember the game plan? I am happy to report that ever since that post, I’ve been much more focused on staying within my points plus allowance and exercising. And when things got tough (like when all I could smell was buffalo wings when we were out bowling on Friday night… and in turn I just wanted “something bad for me”), Adam was there to remind me that I don’t actually “need” any of it. That what I needed was sleep or water. Smile On Saturday night I was the most proud. I was home alone, prime time for mindless snacking (bordering on bingeing). I don’t remember the last time I didn’t eat while alone. I really wanted to this time too. All these cravings came but I was already at my points limit (I had an awesome day of eats!) and I knew it was just a knee jerk reaction that I needed to work through. Eventually I made a deal with myself – if I made cookie dough for the Super Bowl cookies, I could lick the spatula. It was the perfect little treat and I got another errand done (a fun errand, but still). Open-mouthed smile

Everything was going so well. I really felt like I was making progress. And then the Super Bowl party came. We didn’t go out to dinner on Saturday, knowing that Sunday was going to be a caloric night… so I sort of had permission to eat whatever I wanted. And I did. I ate all.night.long. I couldn’t help but track my points the next morning and estimated my daily consumption at 80 points – blowing through every single one of my weekly bonus points (but still being at exactly 0 because of all the activity points I earned in days prior). So in theory everything was ok. Except it wasn’t.

I felt bloated all Monday morning and my body was constantly reminding me of my “sins” the night prior. And then came the guilt… and the discomfort and anxiety, lack of concentration… and eventually the desire to binge. Since I promised Adam that I would tell him BEFORE I ate anything in this situation (and let’s face it, I don’t really want to ask him for “permission” because I already know what the answer will be), I had to sit with this feeling and was actually able to observe what was unraveling right before my eyes. It was so amazing to see how discomfort instantly brought on thoughts of food. Here I was, still happily full from lunch, thinking about what was in my desk drawer or the fridge that I could munch on. YOU DON’T NEED FOOD!!!

Instead of giving in to this short period of quietness (while eating) I made tea and told myself I had to keep working on my assignment at work. It wasn’t easy, but I did not give myself the option to binge. It was out of the question so I had to go with the alternative and get through the day like a “normal” person.

JUST SAY NO. These instances are mental. You can let your mind win and seduce you into bingeing, even though you know you will regret it right after (or maybe even during, stuffing yourself guiltily). Or you can tell yourself that you can get through whatever emotion you’re feeling without food because food is off limits for the moment. That feeling (to binge) passes – we all know that! It’s a matter of not falling victim to it and letting it pass WITHOUT food.

I know it’s tough.

Yesterday was a strong moment for me. I’d like to build on this one strong moment and remember it next time. I now know that I CAN say no, that it is possible and that it is worth it.

If you’re struggling with binge eating, please remind yourself of the same. Your mind is strong. Make it work for you, not against you.

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23 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Carly

    Wow! What a great post :) I have the same problem with eating alone… its like I get bored/lonely and food is my friend. I’m going to try your trick tonight! I work in a bakery and when treats just stare at me it is so hard NOT to give in. I mean, last night my husband brought me up a healthy delicious dinner. I was full, yet I still munched on baked goods while I was closing :( I close again tonight and my goal is to behave myself because I know that I have a delicious dinner waiting for me at home! thanks for the encouragement, Elina.

    • #2 - Elina

      Good luck. I know you can do it!! [Take a cookie home for after dinner if you think that will help you with not munching while closing.]

  • #3 - Lauren at KeepItSweet

    This is one of the best posts of yours! First of all, congrats on doing so well in so many challenging situations! I can relate all too well to that post-binge conflict of being upset and then wanting to eat more. I am going to channel your strength to say no the next time I feel a binge coming on.

    By the way, nights home alone are when I struggle the most. SO impressed that you stayed on track!

  • #4 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    And the more you say “no,” the easier it will get!!

  • #5 - Tracy

    I recently was diagnosed with binge eating disorder by my doctor and referred to an eating disorder specialist … he explained that binging on food releases serotonin in your brain similar to taking drugs or alcohol. When most people binge eat, they feel the most pleasure from the expectation of the binge, rather than the actual process of eating. It’s that split second when you decide to f* your diet and eat however many cookies you possibly can that you feel the happiest, after that it’s a downhill experience as I’m sure you know.
    The more often you allow yourself to do it, the more the physiological addiction and dependency will grow.
    Thank you for this post! It feels good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with it, but even better to know that you were able to beat it with pure willpower!

    • #6 - Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel

      this is too true! serotonin plays a huge factor in binge eating. actually its why i suffer from such debilitating depression. i used to binge eat daily when i was younger and even up into my late teens and early adult…but when i started going on medication to help depression the side effect was that not only did my depression lift, but i stopped the urge to binge.

  • #7 - MelissaNibbles

    Very honest post. It’s a daily struggle that I think most of us go through. I don’t keep binge foods around so I’m not tempted as often as I would be and it works well for me. Parties are a tougher situation though. Good luck!

  • #8 - Sassy Molassy

    Nice work, Elina. This is a tough thing to get over. I know when I’m alone and bored my mind starts thinking…what snacks do i have to munch on even if my stomach isn’t telling me I’m hungry. That’s a big part of the struggle is being mentally strong and deciphering a craving from a real hunger.

  • #9 - Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle

    Good for you! You must’ve been so proud of yourself.

    It’s true. I don’t need food. What a great motto 😉

  • #10 - Jess

    Overeating is definitely something everyone struggles with at times, but you’re right its totally mental. I ate a much bigger lunch yesterday than usual because a food truck I’ve been wanting to try was near my office. I felt really full all afternoon and barely hungry when dinner came around, although I felt like grazing of course. I let myself have a little cheese and a few crackers and then a bowl of high-fiber cereal cereal with half of a banana. And then I closed the kitchen and relaxed for the night. I felt so good that I could listen to my hunger cues and keep the binge monster quiet.

  • #11 - One Healthy Apple

    I think you did exactly the right thing. We tend to be nice to ourselves and give excuses, or rationalize behavior in our minds. Being firm and not as polite to ourselves is taking a stance and probably the most logical thing we can do.

    I used to have trouble controlling myself when alone. I still sometimes have an extra snack but then I just have to be mean to myself and say ‘NO’ and then I’m thankful for it later. I probably sound like a looney, but that’s what works for me.

  • #12 - Rachael

    Honest as always :)
    Knee jerk reaction – that’s exactly how I would describe my former tendencies. Certain circumstances, in my addled brain, necessitated a binge – after all, I didn’t know when they would happen again. The minute my parents left, my partner headed out the door, I couldn’t help but consider what I perceived to be my options.
    Thanks for this, and I’m glad you’re finding alternatives that work for you.

  • #13 - A Boston Food Diary

    WOW! Great post! Its an amazing process our bodies go through that triggers “eat” even when it isn’t hunger huh? Wow…go you for resisting! You’re definitely giving me some inspiration RIGHT NOW

  • #14 - Shannon

    i’ll need to reread this when i have that moment next time…

    good for you!! and thanks for posting!

  • #15 - Liz @ IHeartVegetables

    This was such an encouraging post!! I still struggle with those “I’m alone, I want to eat everything in the house” moments. (Actually, they usually last longer than a moment… ) but I’m getting better!

  • #16 - Kathy

    Great post Elina!!

  • #17 - Meghan@travelwinedine

    You are incredibly strong, and just keep remembering that the positive voice in your head can beat out the nagging, mean binge voice any day!

  • #18 - Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel

    and also remember to forgive yourself even tho its hard to have compassion for ourselves when we do things that upset us. no matter what, you are human and the best thing you’ve done is become honest with yourself and your struggles. True growth and results will always come when we can look at ourselves through transparency. You are beautiful, you are string, you are living proof that resilience isnt just a necessity, its a part of your nature and makes you an inspiration to all of us. I love you and your courage. Don’t worry about the slip ups, just try your best to look for patterns that may cause them to occur..just recognize and move forward because each new day is one for you to explore and learn. The road is always a rocky one but with the help of those we love, we make it through and, not just live, but THRIVE <3


  • #19 - Tracy

    I ate and ate at a Super Bowl party too. I think the trick is to give yourself permission for those kinds of days and not let it turn into a major backslide. I think you did that — good job!

  • #20 - Meatless meals | Healthy and Sane

    […] Last post was a bit heavy so I’m going to keep this one a bit lighter. Actually I need your help! […]

  • #21 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    ugh I feel you! I totally did the same thing and even though it was my no rules day I felt like I had a hangover the next day and I didn’t drink! Crazy what food can do.

  • #22 - Kim @ Imperfectly Perfect

    The mind is such a powerful thing! I’m glad that you defeated the urge to binge. Keep up the great work!!

  • #23 - joanne

    Good for you Elina! You are inspiring me so much and I LOVE this post. i definitely binge most (a) when I’m alone and (b) when I’m already feeling upset about eating something I shouldn’t have. It’s like I’m trying to punish myself for eating crap by eating more…when really what I ate in the first place probably wasn’t SO bad after all! I’m so proud of you for staving off the binge. I am definitely going to keep you in mind next time I feel the urge. I think it’s true that binging is like an addiction and so the longer I can go without giving in, the more the feeling will fade. Hopefully.