Intuitive Eating: Binge Eating Update

I’m working hard to address and conquer my binge eating tendencies by reading the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

I am excited about this journey, although it did have a rocky start.

I’ve written about my bingeing issues and my attempts at self-love in the past. The posts are here:

Before beginning this project I ate too much almost daily. I was not eating sugary or carb-filled foods, though. I would eat myself sick on roasted brussel sprouts, for example. I would overeat and feel shame, physical discomfort, and anger at my lack of self-control.

I’ve tried to follow the advice in Intuitive Eating and to stop thinking of various foods as good or bad. Instead, I am learning to honor my hunger cues and desires for specific foods (as much as is practical).

It isn’t easy. There’s a lifetime of habits I’m trying to break.

I’m learning so much, though. My feelings of deprivation when it comes to food, in a general sense, are revelatory. They are what cause my binge eating behaviors.

I realize now I never think there’s going to be enough food for me. I have deep-seated triggers when it comes to food quantity. As a result, I am competitive in my eating and I binge.

I fear hunger. I fear weakness and lightheadedness. I eat at the slightest twinge of hunger. I then I eat more than I should in the hopes I will ward off the possibility of feeling hunger again later in the day. I binge eat out of fear.

This fear, these binge eating triggers, they’re wonderful things to be aware of. Awareness allows me to address them. Addressing them allows me to conquer this.

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Guidance for Intuitive Eating beginners

At the beginning of my Intuitive Eating journey, I ate foods I generally consider off limits or “bad.” I ignored my inner “Food Police” and ate what I wanted. This included sandwiches, pie, ice cream, and various other foods I usually feel guilty eating.

It caused me to recall why I tend to limit sugar and carbs.

Eating either in larger quantities makes me feel like crap, often for days. I will easily binge eat anything that’s in front of me, so if I ate sugar or carb-filled foods I felt like hell for half a week.

I wasn’t avoiding sugar or carbs because I was afraid of gaining weight. I actually already was eating intuitively in that regard. I avoided them because I didn’t like how I felt after eating them. The same is the case with dairy. I don’t like how it makes me feel (I get congested and stuffy) so I don’t eat it often.

The issue, then, was the same as with brussel sprouts: I was overeating anything I could get my hands on, regardless of whether I was hungry or full. The issue was not that certain foods are good or bad. The issue was my compulsive eating, or binge eating, tendencies.

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Compulsive eating was my escape

My mentality was like that of a recovering famine victim. I ate as though I hadn’t seen food in years. With every occasion to eat anything, I felt it was the last food I would ever eat. I ate as though I didn’t know where my next meal would come from.

This is why I was binge eating. Now that I’m aware of it, I can work on it.

In doing so, I’m learning about my inner Nurturer. I am using my inner Nurturer to talk with myself about my anxiety and my food fears. I gently and lovingly remind myself that there is plenty of food available. There will be dinner later, or snacks, and there’s no reason for panic. There is no need to binge eat. There is no famine coming.

It’s a way of living that doesn’t put restrictions on what you can eat—it allows you to build a healthy relationship with your food, mind and body. You learn how to distinguish between emotional and physical feelings that help you become your body’s best friend, nurturer and savior.

Peaceful Dumpling, “How Intuitive Eating Changed My Life

In essence, what I’m learning to honor is the fact that there’s always food available. It’s something my subconscious hasn’t been aware of. My subconscious always fears to be hungry “later.”

compulsive-eating

It is in this way that I am addressing my binge eating habits, and so far it’s working.

For the most part, my binge eating is an example of dieting mentality gone amok. The Food Police tell me I’m only allowed to eat certain amounts of certain foods, and I’m only allowed to eat at meals. The Food Police tell me I should fear to snack and shouldn’t trust my hunger cues.

Of course, this results in hunger. My fear of hunger is real. Or, rather, if I follow the rules of the Food Police, I will constantly be in a state of hunger.

Thus, the Food Police are being shut down. I’m standing up to them and not allowing them to have control any longer.

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Ditching Diet Mentality and the Food Police

Moving Forward

The authors warned me not to weigh myself. I expected that at the outset, as I learn about my food tendencies and dismantle decades of unhealthy food-related relationships, I might actually gain a little weight.

I did weigh myself, just this morning, and I am within the same range I’ve been in for months. Intuitive Eating hasn’t caused the scale to budge much at all. I expect in time I’ll lose some weight, given that I’m no longer overeating on a daily basis.

I feel a ton better, emotionally and physically. My food anxiety is greatly diminished. I’m happier and more relaxed with food than I’ve ever allowed myself to experience in the past.

I haven’t once eaten to excess in the past three weeks. No more binge eating.

I’ve given up on being on a “diet” and instead am embracing and loving myself.

Not once in three weeks have I eaten to the point of feeling disgusting and nauseous.

I have not had one instance of binge eating in three weeks.

That’s three weeks of uninterrupted success, thanks to the lessons I’m learning about Intuitive Eating.

intuitive-eating

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12 thoughts on “Intuitive Eating: Binge Eating Update

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  1. I’ve noticed that if I pay attention to my desire to eat it can tell me a lot. Often I’m not hungry but there is some other need in me that wants to be filled. When the desire to eat comes along I’ve been stopping (mentally) and focusing on the physical sensations- what signals are my stomach sending? Do my muscles feel weak and needing nourishment? Or is there some other drive or pressure that is trying to convince me to consume something? Am I eating to nourish my body or am I eating for the sensory pleasure or the emotional comfort? Just having that information has allowed me to make much better choices about my eating in the past few weeks. I don’t snack at all know and I’m taking in much less even per meal. The body doesn’t lie, listen to it.

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  2. I have struggled with intuitive eating a lot. For me, it’s really hard to tell if I need to eat or it stems from something more emotional. I also cannot understand people who are able to eat until “just barely satisfied”?? I like the feeling of being full and am paranoid of feeling hunger later. It’s a tough journey- I wish you the best of luck xxx best, Carly 🙂

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    1. Sounds like we’re on the same journey. Have you found any reading/resources that have helped? I’m still slowly making my way through the Intuitive Eating book and am trying to be patient with myself.

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      1. The intuitive eating book has been super beneficial for me. Also the real life RD has a blog that is focused around intuitive eating that really helps along with Becca Bristow who has a wonderful YouTube account.

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    2. It definitely takes a bit of time to realize whether or not your urges to eat are stemming from hunger or any emotional need. It’s especially hard if you have any history of restricting because we can get SO out of touch with our hunger cues. This is something I struggled with a LOT early in my ED recovery. Stick with it! Stick with it! it will get easier!

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  3. Another thing is I’ve been working with a dietitian who helps me with a meal plan based on exchanges so that I am eating enough consistently throughout the day and not second guessing myself

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      1. I’ve been on it for a couple weeks. It helps so much because it’s for maintenance of weight & stopping overeating since losing weight & stopping binging behaviors doesn’t work. It’s really beneficial to figure out how much you can eat to feel your best & not over consume. I haven’t felt the need to overeat or count calories since I’ve been on it and can say I can now feel hunger/fullness cues so much better. Sometimes it helps to not be confused with food choices & rely on a professional until your body can trust you again

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      2. That’s sounds pretty amazing. I’m glad you’ve found someone you like and now I’m tempted to look for someone for myself. Keep me posted once in a while on your journey? I’ll be rootin’ for ya!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Intuitive eating is great. It’s SO freeing when your finally notice your urges to binge decreasing. Allowing ALL foods into your diet really makes so much difference. Thanks for the great post!

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