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Binge Eater Wants to Get to a Healthier Mind and Weight

By January 29, 2013

As long as I can remember, I always have been trying to lose weight the wrong way. Finally, in my mid-to-late twenties I stopped, knowing that I was just hurting myself more in the long run. I lost ** pounds by eating healthy. I have gone up and down over the past six years in that ** pound range. Even at my lightest, I was **-** pounds overweight. I find that at times I binge late at night, in the middle of the night, and during the day. Sometimes I don’t even register that I do it until after I am done eating. Then I have the usual feelings of being weak and hating myself because I am smarter than this. I can stop it after a few days, but after a couple of weeks I go back again. I binge on anything I can find in the house. Loaf of bread, pound of cheese, large containers of yogart, anything. At this time I am living alone. The only way I have dealt with this throughout the years is to keep a basically empty kitchen. This only works when I live alone. I throw out food after the binging to help me get in control. But that is not really getting control. I know it is emotional. I don’t know how to go about finding the help that I need to finally end this struggle and getting myself to a healthier mind and weight. Thanks for your time and this wonderful website. – K

Dear K,

Thanks for your email; you have great questions. My first question to you is this: who says you were overweight “even at your lightest” by ** pounds? Do you have high blood pressure? Type-2 diabetes? Pre-diabetes? High triglycerides? Joint/knee pain? Or do you simply believe that you look best minus ** pounds even “at your lightest”?

Have you ever heard of the set-point theory? This is the idea that we are genetically pre-wired to weigh within a reasonable range of weight that is ideal for our individual body. Each of us can determine our body’s natural set-point weight by eating intuitively with balance, variety and moderation and by exercising moderately doing activities that are sustainable and enjoyable. Our world and (unfortunately) even some medical providers have a much more narrow definition of what is a “healthy” weight. Some great books on this topic include: Intuitive Eating by Resch and Tribole and Big Fat Lies by Gaesser.

Second, it sounds as though food has a lot of control over you and occupies a much bigger part of your life than you are comfortable. Take heart! There is a better way and you have come to a place of hope.

I would strongly encourage you if possible to start talking to a counselor about just what these emotional needs are that you are seeking to meet with food. Food does a lot of things for us, but I believe long-term, food was never intended to meet emotional needs. It fails miserably doesn’t it? A therapist can help you find much more effective and meaningful ways to meet emotional needs. See “Finding Treatment.”

Some practical tips to get started even today would be, first, to throw out the rules of “good” food vs. “bad” food. Eat what sounds good to you and eat until satisfied. Limiting yourself to eating only “good” foods when you are being “good” and “bad” foods for a binge perpetuates the emotional power of the binge.

Secondly, put food/eating in its proper place by only taking up some of your time and attention. Check out the definition of “Normal Eating” by Ellyn Satter.

Finally, read the book, Intuitive Eating then check out The Rules of Normal Eating by Karen Koenig. These resources will help you connect to your internal cues again to regain freedom with eating and body image.

And of course, be encouraged that if you are a believer in Christ your worth is completely grounded in Him. Our eating pattern, exercise routine, body weight, shape and size are all only parts of us and don’t define who we are. There is hope! You can do this!

Juliet N. Zuercher, RD