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Q & A Friday- Why Can’t I Get Back on My Diet?

You didn't fail at dietingYay! We’re back to Q & A Fridays.  I’ve got a huge backlog of them – so if you send me a question, please don’t worry- I will get to it! If you don’t hear from me, it’s okay to send me a reminder. 

This one comes from Jessica in New York.

Dear Leora,

Thank you for the great blog and newsletters. I really appreciate them. I am struggling really badly right now. I have been overweight my whole life- on my 25th birthday, I woke up and the scale said 300 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. I was so scared that I would wind up on one of those TLC shows about someone needing a forklift to get them out of bed. It was at that moment that I decided to lose weight. I implemented a strict zero carb diet and started walking 10,000 steps a day. In six months I lost 150 pounds. It was amazing. For the first time I could wear normal sizes and didn’t have to shop in plus size stores or the plus sized section. It was amazing to walk into a store and buy regular sized clothes. I felt like my life was finally starting. Only not- because I was always anxious and I was afraid that I was going to gain the weight back and I was afraid of food and so I started eating less and less and less. I lost my period and despite that, I couldn’t lose anymore weight. I just stayed at 150 pounds. I got to the point where I was eating like just 2 hard boiled eggs and a container of cottage cheese each day- and I still couldn’t lose weight. I became really anxious and depressed. Some days, even if I’d eaten barely anything the day before, the scale would even go up like 5 pounds. And then… the bingeing started. One day I just lost it, I ate a piece of cake at my niece’s birthday party and then I was done for. I started in on the cheetos, the coca cola, the chips, the candy… then I went home and bought a pint of Phishfood and ate the whole thing. And it didn’t stop from there. The next 10 days, I couldn’t stop bingeing.  I finally got back to my diet- and I can maybe go now like a day, or sometimes not even. I just cannot, whatever I do, stick to the no carb thing. I feel like I’m elbow deep in oreos without even knowing it. Can you help me? I’m so scared and I feel so out of control. I’ve already gained back 20 pounds and I am afraid that I’ll binge myself up to 500 pounds.  Why can’t I get back on my diet? Please help me, I’m desperate.

 

Jessica,

I’m so glad you wrote. I have seen your exact situation so many times. I know how difficult it is. You feel like a failure, you feel like you failed yourself and you feel like there is something wrong with you because you cannot get back onto your diet. Because your diet was so successful the first time, you are trying desperately to get back on, but you can’t. This is what happens to many people who severely restrict their food for a long period of time- they wind up on a life-long quest to get back to that  way that they were- back to that severe restriction phase and beat themselves up when they cannot make it. They then begin bingeing like crazy. This is your body’s way of telling you “NO STOP DON’T DO THAT TO ME AGAIN!” And the fact that you couldn’t lose anymore weight after you got to a certain point, no matter how hard you tried tells me that you probably hit your body’s healthy weight so your body did what it had to do to maintain the homeostasis.  THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! You did not fail!  

But not to worry, you can still maintain whatever your healthy body weight is without going back on your restrictive diet. 

This is my advice to you. Stop trying to get back onto that zero carb diet. Feed your body big healthy meals at least 3 times a day. Include all three macronutrients, fat, protein AND carbohydrates. If you are uncomfortable with simple carbs like bread – that’s fine, but do nurture yourself with complex carbohydrates like yams, legumes, fruits and vegetables. I also highly recommend seeing an acupuncturist to help heal the damage that the no carb diet has done to your reproductive system and to restart your periods. You can also check in with your OB. It’s important that you pull yourself out of this binge/restrict cycle now and create balance for yourself and your eating.  When you are feeding yourself 3 big healthy meals per day with the 3 macronutrients included in each, you will see your urges to binge greatly diminished. If you need help- please do see a registered dietician or nutritionist who specializes in treating Eating Disorders to help you figure out your food and get you the nutrition that your body so desperately need right now after so many month of not giving it what it needs.

I hope this answers your question and that you are able to feel better soon.

Warmly,

Leora

Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating? 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. Are you interested in online therapy or coaching to deal with your eating disorder? Please contact me to discuss getting started. 

How to Stop Dieting

bingeeatingtherapy.com“As soon as I stopped focusing on losing weight, I healed from my eating disorder…”  or “As soon as I stopped dieting I lost weight…” I’ve heard this from clients again, and again and again and again. 

Why do you think that this is true for so many people? I know that focusing on weight loss keeps people pulled into the bingeing and restricting cycle and pulled into the “I’ll be better when…” syndrome (and there’s never an ending to the when…), but it’s also because the focus on weight loss is always inherently focusing on something negative… losing instead of gaining. One thing that I help people do in their recovery is to focus on adding  instead of subtracting and gaining instead of losing.  Like adding healthy, life affirming foods instead of taking unhealthy foods away, like gaining strength and health instead of losing pounds, like adding positive behaviors instead of subtracting negative behaviors away. The hope is that the positive behaviors and thoughts will eventually crowd out the less desirable behaviors and thoughts… and it works! And it’s so much more enjoyable to feed yourself healthy, loving foods, thoughts, and actions than punishing yourself, criticizing yourself or restricting yourself. 

What would it be like if you took JUST ONE WEEK and decided to not focus on weight loss at all, to not even think about it.

It’s my one week challenge to you.  See what happens and then report back. 

What are some things you can focus on instead of losing weight? I’m glad you asked: 

1. Gaining strength
2. Gaining inner peace and calmness
3. Being self loving
4. Going toward health and well being 
5. Filling your evenings with self-soothing rituals (ie: baths, good books, foot massages and cuddles)
6. Breathing into your belly or meditating when you are feeling stressed or anxious  
7. Getting more sleep

There. There are seven things you can focus on for the next seven days. Each day choose one and by the end of next week, see how you are feeling, see what it was like to spend a week totally not focusing on weight loss. 

I ate a Donut for Breakfast Today

how to find balance with foodI ate a donut for breakfast today. I don’t eat a lot of donuts. But this morning I wanted a donut. So I went and I and got one. And it was pretty good. It wasn’t the amazing thing that I thought it would be, but it was good.  Perhaps it wasn’t amazing because I didn’t prohibit it and tell myself that I couldn’t have it, then get into a battle where my compulsive self finally took over and just bought it and sat in a dark corner and forbiddenly ate it.  No, it wasn’t that high pleasure of “sooooo good” that comes with anguish and emotion and stress and relief after winning or losing a battle with desire and food. It was good. It was a doughnut. Nothing more. Nothing worth life or death or orgasmic  or thinking about too much about. It was just a doughnut. Without any emotion tied to it. And so, it was fine. It was a freaking doughnut.

And then at lunch, I had some avocado and turkey slices over a bed of spinach, because that’s what I wanted.

About 15 years ago, if I’d gotten a donut for breakfast, it wouldn’t just be a donut. It would have been an emotional event. I would have fought with myself and fought with myself and fought with myself about it. I would have asked myself what I was really feeling, why did I want this donut? What was I really hungry for? And I would agonize and try to keep myself from eating the donut and this war would last for awhile. And if I gave in and ate the donut, I would be so angry at myself. And then the rest of the day would turn into a binge day. I’d dive into cakes and cookies and bagels and pasta and bread pretty much all day long.  Because I felt that one “indiscretion” with food ruined the day and it would then be filled with foods that made my body feel unfed and uncomfortable.

I would be so anxious that if I had a donut in the morning that it would set the tone for the day that it would.

But today, I ate a donut without a whole lot of self protesting. Because I knew that just because I had one donut, it didn’t mean that I had to spend the day eating food that made me feel bad. I knew that the donut was not going to throw me off balance and that I could balance it out with a healthy lunch. And I did. And I did it without thinking about it too much.

I thought that I would mention it because today I noticed that my body and my mind were so integrated with intuitive action around food that I was no longer trapped thinking about it all the time. Eating the donut for breakfast and eating the salad for lunch both just happened because it was what my body asked for.  People ask me if you can ever truly be cured of your food issues and not have to think about it constantly for the rest of your life.  My answer to that is yes. There will come a time when you can eat a donut for breakfast. There will come a time when eating a donut for breakfast won’t mean that you are having a “bad day with food,” or that you are undisciplined or bad. There will come a day when  donut (or any other “forbidden food”) doesn’t taste like the most amazing thing on earth, that it just tastes good because food is no longer the center of your universe. Recovery is possible and full recovery, where you are just eating without worrying too much about it, is completely possible.

It’s okay to eat a donut. It doesn’t make you bad or shameful or naughty like some may have you believe.  When you are on the other side of recovery for your food issues, eating a “trigger food,” becomes possible because it won’t set you off because you will be in a place where you have balance with food. The food won’t have power or control over you. It will just be a donut. Nothing more, nothing less. There won’t be meaning or a moral value attached to it. 

 

Ten Myths About Binge Eating Disorder

Ten Myths About Binge Eating1. All binge eaters are obese

Completely untrue. In fact most of the people I see in my practice are considered a “normal weight.”  Food is their drug and bingeing is something they do in private and something people will go at lengths to hide, including maintaining a normal weight. In fact, I’ve  had clients who were downright skinny but who binged on food often and felt completely out of control with it.

2. All obese people are binge eaters

Actually, binge eating affects 8% of the obese population. Which means that 92% of obese people are NOT affected by binge eating.  In fact, despite the media’s belief that all fat people are unhealthy, there are many, many people who are both fat and fit. 

3. People who binge eat need more will power and self-control

People who binge eat usually have incredibly amounts of will power and self control. And though this is not true for every binge eater, for the most part, people who binge eat tend to be extremely high achieving and controlled in many aspects of their lives, including controlling their food. It’s this control that tends to sometimes backfire causing an all out rebellion against  the person’s inner critic. What a person who binge eats actually needs is more self compassion and support, not more rules and self control. Learning to support oneself in a positive way, not in a pejorative way will empower the binge eater feel more comfortable around food and less likely to be overpowered by an all out binge.

4. People who binge eat purge by vomiting

Not everyone who binge eats purges by vomiting. Some people compensate by over exercising, some compensate by fasting, some compensate by dieting, some compensate by taking laxatives, and some don’t compensate at all.

5. Binge eating is a bad habit and not a true disorder

Binge eating is more complex than simply a bad habit, it’s actually an impulse control issue, although it is not technically classified as and impulse control disorder.  However, using similar techniques as are used in certain other ICDs (like compulsive shopping) binge eating can be healed.  I’ve seen wonders done with DBT and mindfulness training.


6. Men don’t binge eat

Actually, Binge Eating Disorder affects 2% of men.  However, men don’t tend to get help as often as women. In fact, it’s stigmatized as a woman’s issues, so men tend to shy away from support and feel that they have to just stop or do it alone. In his blog about healing from binge eating, Alan Standish says, “Guys, Binge Eating Disorder affects us just as much as it does women. Don’t be embarrassed.”

7. Binge eating is incurable

It’s really not as grim as it’s made out to be. In healing from binge eating, you really heal your life in so many different ways. You become more organized in your thinking and more thoughtful and mindful. You can come to a place where you are able to let go of your feelings and fears about food. Food becomes nurturing instead of the enemy. I’ve seen it happen over and over again with my clients and that has certainly been my own experience.

8.Binge eating is caused by chronic emptiness

Just because you are binge eater, it doesn’t mean that you are broken. It doesn’t mean that you have a bottomless pit that you will never fill. However, having binge eating disorder can feel hopeless and you might feel as though you are totally out of control and a total mess. But you’re not. You need support, you need compassion and you need some help to get you passed it.

9. Drinking a glass of wine can help curb binge eating

Sometimes people will have a drink in order to calm down the urge to binge eat. But it often backfires. This is what I call “the solution becoming the problem.” If you drink to feel more in control, your problem might then become the drink. And more often than not, people wind up bingeing if they have drank too much- if not that night, then certainly the next morning to deal with a hangover and the shame that often accompanies it.

10. Quitting carbohydrates can help stop binge eating

No. It doesn’t. It really doesn’t. I’m very much a proponent of eating whole foods as much as possible and eschewing processed foods for the most part. So, eating lots of foods out of a box, probably not the best idea for overall health, however, unless you have sugar issues (as in hypoglycemia or diabetes)- it is not advisable to give up fruits and vegetables- even yams and potatoes. Your body runs more efficiently when you are eating a variety of whole foods. If you wind up on a very low carb diet, it’s likely that you might find yourself bingeing on carbs. It’s not because you have no lack of control, it’s because your cells are screaming for glucose and your body will push you into getting what it  needs for survival!

Another Study about Why Diets Don’t Work

A pair of female feet on a bathroom scaleThis article,Why Dieter’s Tend to Regain Weight showed up in yesterday’s  LA Times.  A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has proven that certain hormones stay active in dieters to keep them exceedingly hungry for at least a year after weight loss has been achieved. 500 people were put on a very low calorie diet. After a year, most of the dieters had a rebound in weight gain.  ” 52 weeks after subjects had completed their crash diets and were struggling to maintain their loss, that cacophony of hormones was sending a single message, loudly, clearly and after every meal: Eat more.”

It’s funny because there have been several different studies out there that disprove the efficacy of dieting, and for so many reasons, diets trigger binges, they trigger eating disorders, they slow down metabolism, they limit nutrition, they create food obsession and psychological distress… but this study proves that they actually work against your body and cause rebound weight gain, so the dieting cycle becomes vicious. It becomes addictive. You wind up right back where you started.

But so then what should you do if you feel that you need to lose weight for health reasons? Seeing a board certified nutritionist  to help you learn proper nutrition and appropriate portion sizes is a start. Working with a group or therapist to help you deal with stress eating and emotional eating issues can also be helpful. Read through this blog for several tips on dealing with binge eating, emotional eating, stress eating, etc. Give your body love and respect without trying to punish it for simply being what it is. Care for it and nurture it without depriving or punishing it with either restriction or bingeing.

 

 

How To Stop Binge Eating? – Top 20 Ways to Stop Binge Eating

Quick Tips on How to Stop Binge Eating

How To Stop Binge Eating

 

Here is a quick little round up of different tips on how to stop binge eating and how to heal from binge eating disorder. Several of these tips are longer posts in other parts on this blog, so you can bookmark this page and come back and read more when you are ready or just go through the tips quickly. Enjoy!

1.)Eat a balanced, healthy breakfast with protein every morning. Starting your day off with a solid meal will stave off hunger and mindless eating during the day that can trigger binge eating.

2.)Give up Dieting. Diets actually cause binge eating. Instead begin to adapt healthy eating patterns by adding a healthy habit instead of subtracting a kind of food or food group.

3.)Get Support. Binge eating is a disease of isolation and secrets. When you attempt to recover in private, you perpetuate the isolation that drives the disorder. Getting support helps you to be accountable and helps you to talk it out with other people who are going through the same issues. Good places to go to for support: A therapist, a 12 step group, an online support forum, online or telephone meetings or the Recover From Binge Eating online program to help support and teach you how to stop binge eating.

4.)Don’t let yourself get very hungry. When you let yourself get very hungry, your blood sugar drops which in impairs cognitive skills. Your body just needs glucose and it needs it now, so instinctively, you will start to grab for anything you can to raise blood sugar. Instead, use the hunger and satiety scale to help yourself eat what your body needs. One of the tricks that people use when they are figuring out how to stop binge eating is to eat protein first, at least 30 minutes before a meal to help stabilize their blood sugar.

5.)Learn intuitive eating. This is the opposite of dieting, where your body is the wise one that lets you know what, how much, and when you need to eat. Your body wants to be healthy, so learning to listen and respond to it, will help you to find peace with food and with your body.

6.)Exercise Daily. This doesn’t mean spending arduous hours at the gym or running 5 miles a day. This is about moving your body. The more you move it, the more aware of it you are, and the better you begin to treat it. This can mean anything from 30 minutes of walking each day, to doing yoga, or going on a jog, or lifting weights or even just window shopping. But moving and being out in the world is crucial. Need some motivation to exercise? Try this.

7.)Learn Mindful Eating. Mindful eating is the act of slowing down and actually noticing, tasting and being with your food. Mindfulness is about being in the here and now. Binge eating is about chasing the taste. You don’t necessarily taste your food when you’re bingeing because your waiting for the next taste, the next bite, and this hunger is insatiable. When you incorporate mindful eating, you learn how to stop and interrupt a binge. Mindful eating is peaceful, yet it is an amazingly effective tool in fighting binge eating. If you would like a free mindful eating meditation download, click here! 

8.)Add more protein. Nutritionally, protein will feed your brain, keep you feeling fuller longer and it will help your brain to function better so that you can make better choices about what kinds of food to eat.  This doesn’t mean eschewing carbohydrates, but eat your protein first so that you can make better choices about the next bite.

9.)Set a timer. When you feel the urge to binge, set a timer for 20 minutes, in that time, do something different other than binge. Let yourself know that you can binge if you still want to in 20 minutes. Often the very act of interrupting the compulsion will stop it.

10.)Meditate. Daily meditation will help you to slow down so that you can think about what you’re doing. You don’t even have to do it every day or make a big deal about having a practice. You can spend a few minutes each day breathing. Even in the middle of a work day, you can escape to the bathroom, close your eyes and breath for a few minutes to help slow down and ward off stress. You might want to download meditations to stop binge eating.

11.)Eat by the clock. If you are too entrenched in binge eating, the when part of intuitive eating might be difficult. So, at the beginning of learning how to stop binge eating, when you are first starting to recover,  you might want to set some parameters around when to eat. Example. Breakfast 8am. Snack 11am Lunch 1pm. Snack 4pm. Dinner 8pm. Or whatever feels right for your. Don’t forget to include at least three meals per day.

12.)Give Up Diet Coke.  A lot of people who suffer from Eating Disorders are addicted to Diet Coke. There are some theories that postulate that diet drinks cause weight gain. That may or may not be true. But what is true is that many binge eaters attempt to substitute food with diet soda. This causes bloating, discomfort and lethargy, all of which contribute to body disconnection making  binge eating more palatable.

13.)Remind yourself “I can always have it later.” Because binge eaters view food as so black and white (this is a special occasion, I have to eat it now) they tend to justify their binges. Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to eat Pumpkin Pie. Seriously. You will not stay up all night regretting what you chose not to binge on. This isn’t the last time that you can eat ice cream, it’s not black and white, it’s not all or nothing, that pumpkin pie will always exist. But do you need it right now? Can you have it tomorrow instead? Think about what your body needs in the moment.

14.)Know your triggers. Does going to the movies make you binge on popcorn? Does Halloween make you binge on Almond Joys? Does going to your parents house make you binge on bread? Does looking at Facebook cause you to binge on candy? Does looking at fashion magazines cause you to binge on pasta? Get to know why and when you binge and intercept these events at the pass. Find ways to deal with the binge before it happens. For instance, if you know that going to the movies causes you to binge on popcorn, get there without time to go to the concession stand.

15.)Get more sleep. Being tired can cause binge eating. Again, being more cognizant and mindful of what you are doing can help you to extinguish these behaviors.

16.)Treat yourself with Love. Remember to do nice things for yourself at least once a day. This could be showering, taking care of your nails, your hair, your skin, making your bed.  Being self nurturing will remind you of your own value so that you can feel better about yourself.

17.)Don’t compare yourself to others. You have your own path and your own dharma. Comparing yourself to others takes you off your path and stunts you. Try to look forward and move forward on your path rather than stopping yourself by looking longingly at other people’s paths.

18.)Be kind to your body. Learn how to love your body.  Don’t say mean things to your body, don’t call it fat. Don’t engage in fat chat with other people. Don’t bond with others by discussing how fat you are or what different diets your going to go on. Don’t talk about other people’s bodies no matter what they look like. When you think about how to stop binge eating, a big part of that is letting go of negativity and bringing more kindness into your world.

19.)Learn how to fight the urge to binge eat. Remember that wanting to binge isn’t enough of a reason to binge. Even if it feels overwhelming. Remember that you are stronger than the urge to binge.

20.)You are not perfect. If you have a slip, just start again. You don’t have to wait for the next day, you have millions of moments to start over. Start over immediately. Wash your hands, wash your face, take a shower and just recover from the binge. You can do that in any given moment.

 

Friday Q&A– I went from calorie counting to binge eating

i went from dieting to binge eatingThis question comes from Elizabeth in New York City.

Q:  I went on a diet last summer. I lost 40 pounds from June to November by eating exactly 1200 calories each day and running on the treadmill for 45 minutes every morning. Starting around Thanksgiving, I lost it all. I started bingeing at the Thanksgiving meal, and I tried to get back to calorie counting, but I haven’t been able to. I’ll go like one day but then I’ll binge again. I’ve gained back most of the weight that I’ve lost and I can’t seem to get a hold of my eating, and I’m barely even exercising anymore. Can you help me? I feel so out of control. How can I stop bingeing and get  back to my goal weight again? I’m miserable.

A: Hi Elizabeth,

First off, I’m so sorry that you’re on this roller coaster ride. I know how awful and out of control it feels.  Unfortunately, your case is pretty classic. Binge eating disorder almost always starts with a diet. Ironic, huh? I would encourage you to:

1.)Stop counting calories immediately.

2.)Eat at least three healthy meals each day.

3.)Learn your cues for hunger and satiety. Check in with your body and understand if it’s hungry, full, satisfied, neutral.

4.)Eat slowly and mindfully and as you’re eating, continue to check in with your body and see what it needs.

5.)Don’t let yourself get too hungry, don’t let yourself get too full. Try to satisfy your hunger gently.

6.)Bingeing and restricting are both very harsh, almost violent acts that you commit toward your body. Try to be very gentle and give it what it needs.

7.)Don’t restrict any particular food. This doesn’t mean that if you can’t figure out if you want pizza, or tuna fish, or a hamburger for dinner that you should have all three. Remember that there is always a next meal, and always another opportunity to eat. Often, the impetus behind a binge can be the rational, “I’m starting a diet tomorrow, so I’m not going to be able to eat this for a long time…” if you take that out of the equation and remind yourself that you can eat what you want to eat in a moderate and healthy way, you will find that the temptation to binge, the all or nothing mentality can shift a bit.

8.)As with your food, don’t let your exercise be black and white. Allow yourself to exercise 3-5 days per week even if you’ve had a challenging or a bad day with food. If you don’t feel good or are injured, let yourself rest.

9.)Recovering from an eating disorder is all about giving your body what it needs. That can be so hard. Self love and body respect are integral parts of recovery. Even if you don’t feel it at first, that’s okay and that’s normal. But that’s what you’re working toward. So even asking yourself, “if I loved myself and respected my body, how would I honor it right now? How would I treat it? What would I feed it?”

10.)Stop weighing yourself! Don’t let the scale dictate the way you feel about yourself. It’s incredible that we can allow arbitrary numbers (ie: 1200 calories, 120 pounds, size 2) tell us how we’re supposed to feel about ourselves. I blame the school system. But that’s another story…

As you find a middle ground between bingeing, restricting, and exercise, your body will find it’s healthy weight which will be comfortable and pleasing to you. I hope that this answered your question. Good Luck.

If anyone has any other answers, please do feel free to contribute in the comments.

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.

 

Rats, Stress, Restriction, Oreos and Binge Eating

I recently came across this study done in 2002.

They were trying to replicate dieting and stress in rats to see if they would acquire eating disorders. They began by giving the rats 66% of the amount of food (Rat Chow!) that they usually ate. That’s like going from a 2000 calorie per day diet (normal) to a 1300 calorie per day diet (restrictive). They had the rats on this diet for 4 days. After 4 days, they lost 7-9% of their body weight. After the days of restriction, they were allowed to eat freely for 6 days. At the end of the 6 days, most of them they’d gained back almost all their weight and in some cases 5% more. This finding is not significant.  After day 6, the rats were exposed to stress (shocks). They were then given access to their rat chow and ate a normal amount, the same as they had eaten after the four days of restriction.  They then, created 4 new groups, one group that was unrestricted and unshocked (control group), one group that was on a restricted chow diet, one group that was shocked (stressed) and one group that was restricted and shocked. They then introduced Oreos into the picture.  After the shocking and restricting was completed, the rats were given as much access to Rat Chow and Oreos as they wanted.

The results:

1.)The control group (no restriction no stress) maintained their weight and their food intake with both the Rat Chow and the Oreos.

2.)The restricted group gained back what they’d lost during the restriction.

3.)The stressed group maintained their food intake/weight.

4.)The restricted stress group, though they were neutral on the Rat Chow, ate as much as they had previously had, however, they binged on Oreos. Their intake was almost 33% more (entirely on Oreos) than it had been.

Interesting! What does it all mean?

The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that when  caloric restriction and stress come together, it causes an increase in food intake.  This hypothesis was guided by the idea that dieting is the strongest predictor of stress induced binge eating disorder in the human population.

Even rats don’t do well on diets!

One of the ways to work through binge eating disorder is to really get a handle on stress. Some things that I’ve found incredibly helpful in alleviating stress are writing, reading, running, acupuncture, meditation,  yoga and talking to friends.  Others find knitting, sewing, walking, drinking tea, watching TV, seeing movies, getting massages, and deep breathing can be stress relieving.  What are some things that you do to relieve your stress?

 

Going Toward Health Rather Than Going Toward Weight Loss

It’s not news that being thin doesn’t equate to being healthy.

However, did you ever think about the fact that aspiring to be thin can also be unhealthy? It can both mentally and physically detrimental. When the end goal is thinness, the means by which to achieve that end  can often be incredibly unhealthy. Some people live on cigarettes and red wine to reach their goal of thinness, some people go on restrictive diets where they just live on meat and diet coke to get thin, others exercise hours a day and restrict their calories or purge there food. They might be thin, but they’re certainly not healthy.

Unfortunately, when the only goal is to be thin, the road can be very challenging. Even thinking of the inherent goal is negative,  the goal is to lose something– you are focusing on getting rid of something. Shouldn’t a goal be positive? Shouldn’t a goal be going toward something, like health, vitality and longevity, shouldn’t you be trying to gain something rather than lose something?

Those who’s focus is to lose weight tend to become frustrated, either by the scale or their inability to stay on a restricted food plan. A woman I knew decided to go on a “no carb” diet. Each day she would eat nothing except meat, eggs, and bacon. However, every couple of days, she’d “fall off the wagon,” and add milk to her coffee or grab an apple or an orange between between meetings or grab a latte from the coffee vendor in her office building. Every time that happened, she felt as though she’d failed and would binge on donuts, cakes, cookies, chips, etc, then vow that she’d go right back on her diet the next day.   Had she been going toward health instead of thinness, she would have realized the insanity of believing that there was something inherently evil about a piece of fruit or some milk.

When you go toward health, you create a shift in your thinking. You begin to think of food as something that is loving and helpful for your body. You choose an apple for energy instead of a diet coke, you exercise to the needs of your body rather than pushing your body to injury, if you find that you’re eating something that you’d prefer not to, you stop eating it and love and accept yourself rather than continuing to eat and purging.

When you go toward health, your body finds its right place. You slow down a bit and give yourself what you need.

Linda Bacon, the founder of the HAES movement, published an article (Weight Science:Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift) this week in Nutrition Journal challenging the assumption that in order for overweight people to find health, they must  diet.  If the “obesity crisis” is truly at epidemic proportions, why the consistent push for diets, when they clearly lead to more weight gain and disordered eating?

Rather than depriving yourself in order to try and lose weight, add something new each day like a support call, a piece of fruit, or a nice walk in the sunshine in order to go toward health.

 

Friday Q&A- If I Can’t Diet, How Can I Lose Weight?

how can i lose weight if i don't diet?Question:

Submitted via email by Jen in Glasgow, KY

On your site, you say that dieting is a bad thing. But what about those of us who actually have weight that they need to lose? How the **** am I supposed to lose weight without dieting?

Answer:

Hi Jen,

I understand why you are confused. On one hand, the whole world is encouraging all different kinds of diets, yet a small contingent are telling you not to diet. My question is, how do you know that you need to lose weight? Is it because you believe that you weigh too much as, or is it because you feel that your weight is negatively impacting your health or your quality of life?  These are questions to think about.  I think it’s important to reframe the concept of dieting to lose weight to the idea of going toward health to improve your quality of life. Your body is your most valuable possession and therefore it deserves to be cared for impeccably. This doesn’t mean spending hours each day at the gym and polishing your muscles and kissing your biceps in the mirror. This does not mean spending money on plastic surgery or botox or liposuction desperately trying to change what you have. This is about embracing what you already and  have and taking really good care of it.  It’s like, if somehow you had possession of an original Picasso, would you paint over it to make it look like an Andy Warhol?  Or would you make sure to get it insured, keep it out of sunlight, store it in a climate controlled environment, and really truly allow yourself to enjoy it?  Taking care of it will keep it beautiful for a very long time, despite how much it ages. In fact, age enhances its beauty. It’s the same thing with your body.  Rather than trying to change it into something different, rather than disliking it the way it currently is, let yourself love it, no matter what size and shape it is. Your body deserves love no matter what it looks like. It’s your body, the only one you got. So take care of it. Feed it healthy food, don’t feed it too much and don’t feed it too little. Give it healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables and limit the amount of processed foods that you put in it. Exercise it, stretch it, wash it, floss your teeth, drink your water, be kind to it, rest it, give it adequate amounts of sleep, take it outdoors to get fresh air and sunlight, bring it into nature, be grateful to it for whatever it gives to you, limit alcohol, tobacco, diet sodas, and other “foods” made with chemicals, but don’t freak out if you eat them every once in a while, relax your mind, listen to music, dance, be kind to yourself and to others.  Rather than going on a diet and actively trying to lose weight, go toward health. When you do, you will find more peace and happiness than you will when you are actively looking for it from a scale.  When you take care of your body and your mind in a deliberate and loving way, you will find that your body weight naturally finds its right place. This isn’t a diet, this is thinking about the rest of your life and your body in a positive way. Strengthening it for the long haul!

So, in a nutshell, my answer is, try not to focus on the weight loss, it’s hard to focus on losing something. Change your focus to health, it’s much easier to gain something, in this case being health and well being.

Be Well,

Leora

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.