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JLD

Binge Eaters/Compulsive Eaters and Paleo

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Hey,

I've been a chronic binge-eater/compulsive-eater since I can remember. I was wondering: is there anyone on this forum who has found switching to a paleo lifestyle has helped them a lot with their binge-eating/compulsive-eating? Or do they find they manage to maintain a healthy weight simply because they're over-eating paleo foods, making it hard to create a surplus in their calories?

Thanks,

Joey.

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Switching to Paleo/Primal in terms of my eating habits was not necessarily a "cure," but it did teach me about how my hunger/cravings functioned in different situations.

The good and the bad of it is that everyone's body is different. What might work for your binge eating may not work for me and vice versa. However, giving different things a try is generally worth the trouble.

For me personally, I've found cutting out ALL sugar and starches gives me a huge advantage over my cravings, but it doesn't completely quell them. I'm experimenting with BCAAs (branch chain amino acids), which are anecdotally said to keep you very satiated.

In general, I find that getting a complete amino acid profile also helps quell cravings, which generally means either grass fed beef/variety of meats, or supplementation.

In terms of pure hunger, going keto is perfect. I feel very little hunger on keto, but I still get cravings, so it's not so much a solution more than another advantage.

Some people turn to artificial sweeteners like Stevia or Erythritol. To be completely honest, sometimes I find stevia to be a perfect sweet tooth fix. Other times, it leads to binge eating. A lot of anecdotal evidence suggests that some people can handle it, and some people's insulin sensitivity/resistance is thrown so out of whack that stevia just makes sweet cravings worse. Personally, I keep my stevia intake to a minimum whenever I can. I'm thinking about quitting it entirely just because at times it can be such a huge trigger.

I've heard that supplementing with Zinc and Magnesium helps cure cravings completely. Going to try that myself this week and see if it helps, I'll let you know etc.

Tl;dr: Everyone's different, so play around with some of these ideas and see what helps you. I promise you there's more to it than just EAT MORE, STUPID.

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Ive only been transitioning to Paelo for maybe three weeks. Giving up sugar was probably one of the toughest things to give up. I would often binge, eat a whole block of chocolate or find it very hard to just stop after one muffin. Hell, it's how i got over-weight in the first place i am positive.

I think going Paelo has done two things to help quell my cravings. The obvious one is once over the hump, that god awful week where you feel like poop and just want to go back to eating the things that make you feel 'happy'... Once on the other side of that, my cravings dropped right off! I actually suffered some guilt for not wanting the things i used to depend on. Weird i know. I kinda still want these things, but not really. The other one, is mainly how AWESOME i feel. I think my binging was related to my depression, and eating Paelo makes me feel so good, just so healthy.

It's bloody hard to binge on Paleo food in my experience (EXCEPT NUTS! Careful of those little devils!). I could scarf half a cheesecake, but a cup of veggies and some chicken fills me up for so much longer. :)

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I'm also a binge-eater and I have found that I am just not one of those folks that can allow a treat every now and then. For me, it's all or nothing. If I allow myself a piece of cake, making the excuse that it's just a one-time deal for so-and-so's birthday, then I will inevitably eat more than I should and use it as an excuse to binge on non-Paleo foods the rest of the day. In order to be successful, I must commit myself wholly. Others seem to be more successful when they allow themselves a treat, and maybe when I have reached my weight-loss goal I can make more allowances, but for now I have to walk the narrow path to avoid future binging.

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I've never really been a binge or compulsive eater, but I've tended to be a mood eater, especially when I'm slightly bored. I've found that since I transitioned to mostly paleo (about 3 weeks ago), even when I'm bored I haven't been snacking. I think part of it is that my "I'm full" switch has started working again (hooray!) so I just have no desire to eatmore. Also by taking out all of the grains that I was previously eating too much of (I could down a huge bowl of noodles and still want more to eat) and replacing them with vegetables, some meat, and some fruit, I'm actually finding myself not even finishing amounts of food that even a few weeks ago wouldn't have been enough - for example, I could barely finish by bowl of zucchini, onion, garlic, tomato, and ground beef in tomato sauce at dinner last night, but had that same bowl been full of pasta I would have finished it and wanted more.

So a slightly different perspective, but I really do feel a difference.

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I've only been doing paleo for about two weeks or so. I probably still eat too much sometimes, but at other times I don't get as hungry. I used to want to gorge every meal. Definitely not doing as much snacking, either.

I'm one of those people who can't have one cookie without having the entire package. I'm also one of those people who has to finish their plate. And on top of all that mess, I'm not a very good cook. I did find out, however, that if I make paleo soups I do ok as the spices help redeem my butchery. And when all else fails, there is Tobasco. As PJ O'Rourke said, 'Tobasco is to bachelor cooking what forgiveness is to sin.'

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I've been having a bit of trouble stopping myself from gorging on dried fruit and nuts since going no wheat and then paleo a few weeks back, and I've found a good way to stop overindulgence is to store your snacks in roughly portion sized containers. I went out a bought a whole bunch of tiny little containers to portion out my macadamias and dried apricots and found it creates a stronger awareness of how much I'm eating. Hope that helps! I'm a pretty bottomless pit of hunger myself, and I'm yet to work out whether this is physical or psychological but I can be prone to binge sometimes.

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Compulsive over eater here. There's not a whole, whole lot for me to add, but I do have a couple of things.

First of all, I've noticed that by going paleo I was completely cutting out the foods I was binging on: chips, french fries, bread-based products. This is because, in addition to my stress-and-emotional eating habits, those foods also raise your dopamine levels, moreso than most foods do. So you eat them and you feel better. This is one of the components of binge eating, at least for me. With paleo foods, I enjoy them, but I don't necessarily get that "food high" like I do with stuff when I binge.

It's almost impossible to overeat on paleo. Starchy carbs (particularly wheat and corn) expand your stomach so that when you digest them you're hungrier than before. But paleo foods don't do this. Products with a lot of protein will also make you feel fuller faster. It's also a different kind of full than when you're binging. When you're eating crappy stuff, you get "full" but it's not satisfying, so you keep going. With paleo foods, you get full and become satisfied at the same time.

Finally, even if you do eat too much (I am guilty of forcing myself to finish bigger and bigger pieces of steak...yum!), your body uses all of that. This is in contrast to starchy foods, which spike your blood sugar and trigger your body to store fat.

So, as a compulsive over eater (cause, are you really "cured" of something like that?), paleo has helped me greatly. Highly recommend.

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On my third week now. I'm very much a "I'm eating because I'm bored". And lots of sugary stuff, or bread based stuff.

Now my body craves for me to eat something sugary. (just now this happened actually) and then I stuff my face with nuts. My body is all, no no I want sugar, and then I feed it some more nuts.

Pretty soon I'm full and shove the nuts aside. Because I don't have other eating options, I can only stick to the nuts. They leave me full before I finish all of them and they keep me full.

Maybe nuts aren't the most healthy option, but it definitely helps. My stomach is even struggling a little right now, because I ate more than needed. But I feel it teaches my body to stop sending these signals to eat stuff as it'll only get healthy foods.

I would recommend staying away from dried fruit and probably only eat fresh fruit in moderation. I wouldn't be with these cravings if I didn't eat a ton of that stuff last night/this morning (lots of sugar!). Before today cravings had been getting less and I was okay with eating less and not indulging in anything. (my nuts tactic got me to that point in my opinion)

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I'm one of those people who can't have one cookie without having the entire package. I'm also one of those people who has to finish their plate. And on top of all that mess, I'm not a very good cook. I did find out, however, that if I make paleo soups I do ok as the spices help redeem my butchery. And when all else fails, there is Tobasco. As PJ O'Rourke said, 'Tobasco is to bachelor cooking what forgiveness is to sin.'

Me too. However, even though I'm not super creative, I can follow a recipe. I just got a copy of Everyday Paleo, and not only are the recipes all amazing so far, they're easy. I was getting seriously bored with sauteeing veggies and meat together. This has helped immensely. Just a thought...

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While diet plays a major part in binge eating habits, with me it was more of a behavioral thing. I'd do it because I was bored. By switching to paleo I also removed the majority of the stuff I would binge on (fast food and ice cream were my crack). I know I still have a weakness for nuts though, so if I buy anything other than pre-packaged individual serving nuts, I will eat the whole jar in a day and a half. (Same goes with almond butter). I've been paleo since 1/6/12 and I've noticed my craving to binge has gone WAY down as my activity level has gone up. The first month or so was tough, but I kept a bunch of celery and carrots around. When I felt the urge to eat, I asked myself if I was truly hungry. If yes, I ate a meal. If no, I munched on carrots and celery to satisfy my craving for something crunchy. Just be honest with yourself about what foods are your "Weakness" and eliminate them from the house. Also be honest when assessing your actual hunger level before eating each time. Switching to paleo and following those 2 steps should drastically curb binge eating desires.

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The first month or so was tough, but I kept a bunch of celery and carrots around.

I've often said to myself that my life would be a lot easier if I liked celery (unfortunately I can't stand the stuff except for maybe in soup). I've tried carrots but haven't found that they can entice me to eat them over anything else I might have (nuts, boiled eggs, fruit, etc) - but I am on the hunt for a stockist for prepackaged baby carrots. I turn to dried fruit, apricots in particular at the moment, and I know this must surely be spiking my blood sugar they do tend to be satisfying in small quantities.

Also try adding some IF to your paleo lifestyle: by compressing the feeding window you cut out a lot of potential snacking time automatically.

I'm unfamiliar with the term 'IF' (a Paleo newbie) - can you explain? Are you talking about fasting, or ketosis?

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I will probably be one of the few who says it didn't help, but in fact took what was an unhealthy relationship with food (which included binges) and turned it into a full blown eating disorder. Too many rules, too much expectation, too much guilt. I'd screw up, feel guilty, and then on top of binging found myself purging. Or if not that, I'd end up binging more because of the pressure and guilt from screwing up.

I did paleo/whole30 for a month and then things went progressively downhill from there until I was referred into an eating disorder treatment program.

I'm probably rare, but its not something I can do healthily. :(

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Also try adding some IF to your paleo lifestyle: by compressing the feeding window you cut out a lot of potential snacking time automatically.
I'm unfamiliar with the term 'IF' (a Paleo newbie) - can you explain? Are you talking about fasting, or ketosis?

Ya, IF = intermittent fasting. Just means you have a set window where that's the only time you consume calories. Leangains.com and rippedbody.jp are good places to start ...

Potential benefits include appetite regulation (via gherlin, the hunger hormone), improved insulin sensitivity, nutrient partitioning, satiety, and other cool stuff.

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I will probably be one of the few who says it didn't help, but in fact took what was an unhealthy relationship with food (which included binges) and turned it into a full blown eating disorder. Too many rules, too much expectation, too much guilt. I'd screw up, feel guilty, and then on top of binging found myself purging. Or if not that, I'd end up binging more because of the pressure and guilt from screwing up.

I did paleo/whole30 for a month and then things went progressively downhill from there until I was referred into an eating disorder treatment program.

I'm probably rare, but its not something I can do healthily. :(

That is how I felt on Whole30, just not to the extreme you were at. I am doing OK following the Primal rules, but there is still an obsessive tendancy that I need to keep in check.

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The best part about Paleo is that you don't have to ever say no to a snack. You have to watch and make sure you're not eating a pound of nuts but besides that, it's pretty easy to snack. My suggestion would be to have stuff prepared and ready for snacking. Maybe some veggies and dip? Always a favorite, easy, filling, delicious.

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YES

On paleo, I feel myself get satisfied and full, and then don't even think about food again till I'm hungry. So weird, yet awesome, 'cause I'm a big eater.

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JLD - I've always been a compulsive eater. I would eat when I was bored, upset, stressed, in the presence of chocolate, you name it. Paleo has seriously reduced my urges to snack since my meals leave me so full, but I also do at least one self check before I actually eat something. Before I eat I either drink a glass of water or chew gum for a while to help weed out the actual hungry moments from the compulsive eating moments.

I'm two months in to switching to a Paleo lifestyle and I still struggle with it, so I would say that the diet itself isn't a solution, but it can help cut down on actual hunger pangs. The real challenge is learning to train your body out of the habit.

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Hey there, I am another binge/compulsive eater. I turn to food when I am happy, sad, or bored! (I am a hair stylist by day, gamer by night, so I have a lot of cravings to face.) I am not 100% paleo (I'm one of those "everything in moderation" people), however I have really pushed more of the greens and meats and natural things into my diet. Since then, I have really noticed a difference in my eating habits. I don't get hungry as often and I think twice before getting myself a treat. For instance, today I ran out of the house without breakfast (I like to sleep in on my days off) and I was going to get a chai with espresso from Starbuck's to wake myself up and get some energy for my day. Then I stopped and realized that I should probably eat something more nutritious to really keep myself going. So instead I opted for spiced chicken and veggies at a nearby Chipotle.

If you really push yourself to stick with it for the first few weeks (in my experience) you will start developing good habits which really are your keys to success. I hated cooking for myself and I wanted take-out every night. Now I realize that I can make some damn delicious meals that I KNOW are great for me. I've also saved myself tons of money by cooking for myself 6/7 days a week.

My cravings haven't totally subsided. But now instead of going to get ice cream every night or chowing down on some homemade cookies, I keep iced coffee in the fridge or I make myself a soy chai. Or, I eat some strawberries.

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Me too. I am currently tracking my macros to realign my eating with reality. Again. Trying to increase the percentage of fats, and decrease carbs, to see if it helps me with the cravings.. they aren't really cravings, for specific things, but just an insane urge to munch all the time.

Here is today's macros. Yesterday's were very similar:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]5305[/ATTACH]

post-5976-13567244826059_thumb.jpg

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If you really push yourself to stick with it for the first few weeks (in my experience) you will start developing good habits which really are your keys to success. I hated cooking for myself and I wanted take-out every night. Now I realize that I can make some damn delicious meals that I KNOW are great for me. I've also saved myself tons of money by cooking for myself 6/7 days a week.

I completely endorse this. It's all about getting into a rhythm that you can fit into your life. Once you build good habits, the junk food simply isn't around the house, and you know what you're going to cook ahead of time, so dinner's can still be quick and easy. And as you mention, cooking for yourself is almost always cheaper*.

(*wild-caught seafood and grass-fed beef aren't particularly cheap - but then again you don't find them often at restaurants either)

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I'm probably rare, but its not something I can do healthily. :(

I haven't tried paleo. Looked at it, but I don't think it's for me. Because making foods "forbidden" makes me want them more. I want to be able to eat unhealthy/treat foods in small controlled quantities, or else I can feel deprived, which leads to then an overindulgence in crap foods. And when I do officially "allow" foods, then I don't need them as much any more.

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I just had a really horrid 4 days of binge eating. I tried to stick to paleo foods, and to be honest, it was probably a lot better than most of my manic eating in the past. However I felt old habits creeping back and taking over. The big thing it made me realize is that it was a mental issue that made me binge in the first place. An emotional response to physical changes I was seeing.

I guess my point is, for me, having the paleo foundation perhaps minimized the damage i did when i fell off the wagon. Instead of eating a bucket of icecream, i destroyed nuts and fruit. I ate dark chocolate and nut butter instead of a big bowl of cheesey pasta. Not good for my weight loss goals, but it's something. Working on what made me feel this way in the first place is going to become my main goal i think. It's all well and good to start out on a diet, but for someone like myself who has had an unhealthy relationship with food for so many years, it's not going to last long if I'm not in the right place to begin with.

tl;dr Perhaps consider the reasons behind your binge eating and implement paleo to help, not as a cure :)

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