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Stuck in the binge/restrict cycle

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I'll keep this as simple as possible. I am already trying to combat emotional overeating, but I (almost without fail) have a relapse one or two days a week. Instead of running away from the binges in fear (which wasn't working...I'd agonise over it which would then trigger a binge), I started making my goal to decrease the size of my overeating days. Example being that I've managed to shrink my "bad day" calories from around 5000 calories to 3900 calories, and then to 2800 calories (which is what I did yesterday. Still bad, but an improvement I guess :(
My question is this: last week, I overate badly at the weekend, and yet through heavy restriction during the week, I managed to get my calories to average at maintenance for the entire week.
Now, for me this is an achievement - I really don't want to put any more weight on, since I know that that in itself will make me want to comfort eat (yep, it's pretty bad I know).

What I'm concerned about is whether restricting over 5 or so days after 2 days of overeating is ok? As I say, my weekly calories can be considered "healthy", but I want to be sure that while I'm working on stopping the disorder completely, I'm not harming myself even more.

Oh, one final thing I should mention: the binges aren't a result of restricting; I was having them before this. I've only started to eat little during the week recently, in an attempt to stop the weight gain.

Thank you for any help :)

Replies

  • 2snakeswoman
    2snakeswoman Posts: 655 Member
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    Please remember that you are a human being with free will. As far as I know, having feast days and famine days are all right as long as they average out to something appropriate. Some people do deliberate partial fasting and make it work for them.

    But don't forget, you have free will. You can conquer this problem; I know you can.
  • jlaw_1992
    jlaw_1992 Posts: 40 Member
    edited March 2015
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    I used to have this problem too. I know it's not about restricting. For me, it was kind of a general perfectionism. I had to entirely stop tracking my calories for a while and plan to eat some of my "trigger" foods daily. Foods that I thought were "bad" became part of my daily diet, and they lost their power over me. Also, alternate coping mechanisms are really important. Exercise is a big thing for me. I need to work out to give me that stress release that binge eating used to give me. If there's anything else specifically that I can address, I'd love to help! I've now been completely binge-free since Christmas.
  • McCluskey1128
    McCluskey1128 Posts: 88 Member
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    Have you tried incorporating foods that you binge on into your daily budget? Perhaps that way you'd be less likely to binge.

    The most basic level is that it's calories in versus calories out. If you completely over indulge 2 out of 7 days and keep the other 5 so restricted that you're back at maintenance, it's all the same as if you ate a consistent amount throughout the 7 days. But, your mental health is extremely important and that level of restricting is probably very taxing.

    I wish you all the best!
  • sophzhr
    sophzhr Posts: 96 Member
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    Please remember that you are a human being with free will. As far as I know, having feast days and famine days are all right as long as they average out to something appropriate. Some people do deliberate partial fasting and make it work for them.

    But don't forget, you have free will. You can conquer this problem; I know you can.

    Thank you :blush: I'll do my best!
  • sophzhr
    sophzhr Posts: 96 Member
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    jarnold390 wrote: »
    I used to have this problem too. I know it's not about restricting. For me, it was kind of a general perfectionism. I had to entirely stop tracking my calories for a while and plan to eat some of my "trigger" foods daily. Foods that I thought were "bad" became part of my daily diet, and they lost their power over me. Also, alternate coping mechanisms are really important. Exercise is a big thing for me. I need to work out to give me that stress release that binge eating used to give me. If there's anything else specifically that I can address, I'd love to help! I've now been completely binge-free since Christmas.

    I'm glad to see someone else has experience with this - well doe for managing to beat the binge for so long! I hope to manage the same soon :smile: A problem I have with trying to incorporate my binge foods is that they are generally "Multi-packed" - two examples being cereal and bread. If I bought a box of cereal with a plan to have one bowl, the chances of my ONLY having one are small :( I may have a go though, thank you jarnold390! :smiley:
  • sophzhr
    sophzhr Posts: 96 Member
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    Have you tried incorporating foods that you binge on into your daily budget? Perhaps that way you'd be less likely to binge.

    The most basic level is that it's calories in versus calories out. If you completely over indulge 2 out of 7 days and keep the other 5 so restricted that you're back at maintenance, it's all the same as if you ate a consistent amount throughout the 7 days. But, your mental health is extremely important and that level of restricting is probably very taxing.

    I wish you all the best!

    I haven't tried it yet...another poster has suggested this too, so I may give it a go :) One of my major triggers though is bread, and I DO have that occasionally as a sandwich at lunch; it only seems to make me want another 10 slices though. :(
    Honestly, the restricted days are quite tough...it certainly wears me out big time. What I find odd is that somehow I simultaneously have the self-discipline to restrict heavily, and yet not enough to stop me from binging :neutral_face:
  • gantzgirl87
    gantzgirl87 Posts: 25 Member
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    I have similar issues, and luckily my episodes have gotten less frequent. I find that I have to stay away from the foods I tend to binge on especially when I'm feeling emotional or will have excess idle time. I just don't buy those foods because I know I won't be able to stop eating them during those times.

    My weakness is mostly crackers and similarly boxed/bagged items. I found it helps to get items that are already portioned so that I am not mindlessly eating out of the box. Also, if I do buy an item that I like to binge on, I will portion it out ahead of time, and track it so that I know what I'm doing in terms of that day.

    I also think it is okay to have an occasional "bad" day as long as we stay accountable for our actions and remember that one day did not get us here and one day won't get us out of this situation. This is a lifetime of learning.

    Good luck.
  • esjones12
    esjones12 Posts: 1,363 Member
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    I would try eating at maintenance every day. If you go over one day, just go back to maintenance the next day. Do this for a few weeks and let your body reset and get used to a more consistent intake. Personally my body has a fit when it doesn't have consistent fuel. If I exercise I have to replace those calories or I get very worn down and hungry and then I tend to "binge".

    While maintaining or having a small manageable deficit....try to work on your emotional issues. You don't have to share what those issues are....but if it is stress, try some workouts. If it is self-image issues, try a hobby that builds self esteem. Etc. Fixing the root cause of your binges is really the way to long-term solve this. Have you tried talking to a dietitian or a therapist about it?

    It is also always good to evaluate your sleep, hydration, stress levels, etc.
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,371 Member
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    Honestly... I've been stuck in this cycle for months. Last week I said it was enough. I had a 4200 calories binge (because PMS of Hell), and the next day I didn't eat that much and had 500 calories left after dinner and told mysef... 'ok, I can stop there and feel better about it and not have any of the tasty things that are in the house, but might end up binging again, or I can have a bit and eat up to my calories without feeling guilty and hopefully prevent another binge'. So I decided to have some of that ice cream and a bit of chocolate.

    The thing is, I lost 80 pounds by eating things in moderation and sticking to my calorie goal. It worked. Saving calories is nice and all, but in the end I'm better off eating a chocolate to round up my last 50 calories than saving them and saving them until I end up binging on chocolate because I haven't had any in too long.

    I managed to finish the week with a 500 calorie surplus, which could have been way worse, and I've managed to stick to my deficit since that binge, without feeling deprived. So, no more restricting for me. Back to eating everything in moderation.
  • KrunchyMama
    KrunchyMama Posts: 420 Member
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    If you know what your triggers are, could you just not buy them? And if you want, say a sandwich for example, then go to a deli or cafe and order the sandwich? I hear you about cereal though, we don't keep it in our house because that's all I would eat.
  • sophzhr
    sophzhr Posts: 96 Member
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    If you know what your triggers are, could you just not buy them? And if you want, say a sandwich for example, then go to a deli or cafe and order the sandwich? I hear you about cereal though, we don't keep it in our house because that's all I would eat.

    I wish I could avoid buying bread altogether, but several members of my family love it and eat it daily. So it is there 24/7, and I honestly attribute MANY of my binges to the loaf sitting in the kitchen all day (I work from home, so it can be torture). I guess I just have to get over it though.
  • cfischer81
    cfischer81 Posts: 111 Member
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    I loved bread too, and still have my own problems when it comes to not binging. I was going to mention, though, that I gave up bread and pasta. I thought it was going to be torture but it really hasn't been that bad. There are others in my house who are eating it too. In the few months I've been doing it, I have had a couple "slips" but just plain giving it up is just easier for me to manage right now. It's hard to find a stopping point sometimes. I have no great advice but good luck!
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
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    One way to not binge on bread and cereal is to cut them completely from the diet and go on a low carb hight fat plan (LCHF). I feel better overall and I do not miss the trigger foods because I am eating more fat and oils.
  • neaneacc
    neaneacc Posts: 224 Member
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    I am not an expert, but I find that keeping a journal of your day to day feelings helps. It will allow you to explore what your triggers are and it is therapeutic to write it down and then let it go. I know it sounds weird, but it really works. Also, you can try to see if some foods just don't work for you. I too have found that I needed to "break up" with some foods that I found just sent me into a tailspin. Unfortunately, there isn't a one size fits all to dieting. However, with a little work and encouragement you can succeed.
  • Nony_Mouse
    Nony_Mouse Posts: 5,646 Member
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    No, it's not healthy to eat this way, in fact it qualifies as disordered eating. Have you considered seeing a counsellor to get to the bottom of why you are binging in the first place? You need to establish new, non-food tools for dealing with those triggers.