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Friday Q&A- I can’t stop calorie counting

binge eating help
Question:
I was wondering if you could give me any advice with my problem. I lost 6 stone 4 years ago calorie counting by writing it down every day.When i got to my target I tried to stop the counting,  but found instead of writing it down it stayed in my head. Every day I worry about my weight and what I’m eating, I log calories of meals in my head but don’t know how many I actually have each day.I think I’m trying to keep track but in a haphazard way and it’s stressing me out.I try so hard not to count but cant seem to manage it. If I eat anything extra or different I try somehow to make it add into another meal I might have that day, so i don’t feel i have overeaten.
I have NOT BINGED OR PURGED or been ANOREXIC.Only had an issue counting
 calories.
I have seen a therapist but they put me on 3 meals and 4 snacks a day regime which hasn’t helped. ( Is this more suited for binge eaters rather than obsessive calorie counting)
I have tried to stop weighing, is that a good idea? I have gone a month without weighing, is the goal to never weigh?
Any advice would be so helpful as I’m rock bottom with this problem.My life has come to a stop and I have a struggle to get out and do normal things. Its as if i become paralyzed when thoughts about counting come into my head, I muddled with what amounts  I should be having. I don’t want to go back to writing them down again as it was not working doing that at the end.
Debra
Answer:
Hi Debra,
Thanks so much for your question. This is a very good example of an eating issue that’s not a straight up  eating disorder, but nonetheless as you stated, it’s incredibly distressing and beginning to take over your life.
Your instincts are right. I agree with you that choosing to quit weighing is a great idea. In fact, trying to stop counting your calories and refrain from weighing and measuring your food is probably best. As you said, you’ve become obsessed with weighing, measuring and counting and if you don’t “do it right” you feel stressed out and distressed.  A way that you can continue to keep some level of control without counting calories or pounds is to begin quantifying your hunger and satiety using a scale.
Before you begin to eat, rate your hunger on a scale from from 0-10.  0 is so hungry you’re practically passing out, 10 is so full you’re vomiting. Eat S L O W L Y— and stop half-way through and check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What do you need? Instead of having a goal for a certainly calorie count, see if you can change your goal to giving your body what it needs. Your body does not want to be uncomfortably full, nor does it want to be empty, it wants to be satisfied. So, rather than looking outside your body to numbers, you might want to look inside your body for cues for what you need. When you eat to your hunger and stop when you’re satisfied (not still hungry but not very full), your body will come a place that is comfortable to you.
If you use a notebook before each meal to record your hunger before the meal, in the middle of the meal and at the end of the meal, you might find that you still feel that sense of control that you had when you were counting calories. Then, as you find that you’re able to stop actually recording the numbers, you will naturally be eating when you are hungry and stopping when you’re satisfied. The numbers won’t be stuck in your head because you’ll be focused on yourself rather than on something outside yourself.
I hope that this is helpful.
Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy  at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.

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