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I can't stop eating...

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:14 pm
by Skelton
Just that really.
Was doing well, but now I seem to be back in the binge cycle. Actually it's not even bingeing, it's more "inappropriate constant eating" accompanied by seemingly unctrollable urges to eat and eat.

Any suggestions ?

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:55 pm
by oolala53
First, try to stop saying "I can't stop eating." It ends up being counterproductive. If you have to, say "It might be uncomfortable and frustrating to stop how much I'm eating, but it's probably possible to decrease it. I don't have to do it all at once. I'll take it a few hours at a time, if I have to."

If you haven't already, write down your reasons for wanting to be a moderate eater permanently. (Being able to avoid the discomfort you feel now is a good one. I mean, even if you could be thin and healthy eating like you are, but would still felt driven and uncomfortably full all the time, would you want to continue? Probably not.) If nothing else, read that list at least once a day. Habit theory tells us that people who stick to new habits either consciously or unconsciously are able to keep their reasons in mind when needed.

If you have to, just try to make it from only one meal to the next without eating for a few days. Just one gap instead of three. Don't worry about the rest of the day. You might still overeat the rest of the day, but you will start a new pattern.

Or purposefully choose to eat 5 or 6 or even 7 times a day for a few days, say for the rest of this week. Then cut down to fewer times next week.

Also, see that you're often magnifying how great it's going to be to eat that next bite, and minimizing how cruddy you'll feel a bit later. Use some mental energy to reverse that. You might say to yourself, "Yeah, that would probably taste good and even feel good to chew and swallow, but I'll feel too full in a little bit. I just ate awhile ago, and I can again in X hours. I can tolerate this urge without giving in. I'll be fine."

In other words, try to find a way to break the task up into smaller chunks for a bit, rather than trying to go straight back to vanilla.

You can do this! What you're doing today isn't a good indicator of what you could be doing a few weeks from now. You can get your rhythm back.

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:44 am
by ironchef
oolala has some great advice.

The only think I would add is to do things that are incompatible with eating. E.g. if you graze when you're home near the kitchen, plan to be out as much as possible. If you grab lots of snacks on the go, don't carry any money unless you need it, or change your route so it doesn't go past the food places you like. For myself, I find it almost impossible to graze / overeat at the beach or pool, while gardening, in the bath, so those are my go-to activities if I'm in a rough patch.

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:06 am
by oolala53
Love your very action-oriented, practical suggestions, ironchef. Brief doesn't come naturally to me!

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:04 pm
by Skelton
oolala and ironchef, thank you for your replies.
I'm still not back on track. That's pretty much all else I can say right now, but I'm not giving up on No S and your suggestions and support mean a lot to me.
Thanks again both :)

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:47 pm
by oolala53
Just curious. Did you try any of the suggestions?

Even if not, sometimes there's not much more to do than wait for the deluge to be over. I know I had many times in my life when I would wonder, WHAT is going to get me to stop? One part of me wanted to, and the other acted like the stop-part didn't exist. At some point, it just became possible to do things differently. I sure wasn't someone who adopted perfect Vanilla and never went back, but I did reach a point at which I knew I was in for the long run. I'm basically still there.

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:08 am
by catservant
I'm right there with you, Skelton...for what feels like the thousandth time. I needed this post this afternoon and the advise and suggestions from oolala and ironchef. Thanks to all three of you!

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:24 am
by CuriousAT
Good advice from everyone. But I have a different suggestion. Try and answer these questions.

1. When did you start to go off track?
2. What were you feeling, overall, when you started to go off track?
3. Are you constantly frustrated, under a lot of stress, undergoing a major change in your life, or anticipating something new (bad or good doesn't matter)?
4. Had you fallen ill recently?
5. Other than feeling hungry, are there any other physical changes that you underwent at this time?

The answers to these questions would help you determine why you are feeling these cravings or urges to eat. Keep your answers brutally honest and you will find out why you are feeling all this.

Helped me. Once I was going with a friend to locate a shop and wanted to return home before 8 PM. It was already 7:30 and we were unable to locate the address. During that time, I was very cheerful, no stress. Yet, I was feeling supremely hungry, hungry enough to eat a horse. Ate through a packet of fried snacks. But as soon as we located the shop, I felt full, even satiated. Then, I realized that being nervous made me feel hungry. Urgh!

That realization helped and now whenever I am nervous, I simply call a friend or play a game to distract myself. The urges didn't go but I feel a lot more in control.

Hope this helps.


Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:06 pm
by noni
Warm weather calls for ice cream novelties. They have good sales, and every time I go to the store I give in to the temptation. I have a husband and 3 sons at home yet, and they told me it's okay to skip the novelties, but they still want the cartons of icecream. So no one else to blame. Cartons are not the problem. Too much work, IMO.

My next move is not to look in the freezer cases or even past by them (what genius!). It seems I am unable to grab just one box. If it's not in my freezer available for instant gratification, I won't think about them and I do much better.

Mentioning this because maybe there is something that calls your name but you shouldn't answer.

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:56 pm
by oolala53
Noni, even today after all these years, I sometimes have to say to myself, "Just walk away." The miraculous thing is that I now do it.

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:20 pm
by Skelton
I'm back with something of an update.

I took Oolala's suggestion to try eating 5 times a day. I ate 3 meals and 2 snacks and tried to stick to a schedule for eating them. That worked to break me out of the binge cycle I was stuck in - I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted but kept portion sizes sensible. I have a book by Dr Christopher Fairburn called 'overcoming binge eating' which is a self help book, and this is pretty much the protocol he suggests in the book.
As I say, it got me out of the binge cycle pretty quickly, eating that way. I've only binged twice in the last month and the volume of food I consumed during them was much less than previously.

I'm now stuck trying to get back to No S, ie to take the steps to cut out the snacks and get back to 3 meals a day. I find it relatively easy to lose the mid morning snack, but the afternoon snack is proving tougher to cut out. I don't allow myself to eat junk for that snack, I usually have a small piece of cheese and some veggies, or celery and peanut butter etc.
I already had in place a mod allowing myself 2 small snacks on two days of the week when I'm at the office, and will keep that mod as I ease back into No S. (I've written about it in detail on my check in thread so no need to repeat the information here).
I'm finding it difficult to eat enough at lunch time to keep me going until dinner time but I'm working on it and I'm still committed to no more silly diets ever, and getting back to complying with No S.

Once more thanks again for the support, it means a lot to me.

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:35 pm
by oolala53
Skelton, it's good to hear from you. Try t let yourself off the hook for now on getting down to three meals. Many people use an afternoon snack for quite awhile. I know of at least one who let it go and then went back to it, though she is religious about what and how much she eats for that snack and she has a lot of discretion over her time. Not sure how long your meal gap is. You'd be surprised how long a gap you can train yourself to last through. It does seem like the quality of activities you have to do during that time makes a difference. It seems the more onerous the tasks and the more discretion over one's time, the harder it is to let go of the food!

I know a lot of the binge disorder literature recommends eating more often, but I found it never stopped me. When it comes down to it, the number of times is rather arbitrary. Each person must come to the conclusion of how often she wants to eat and how much she wants to eat at a time. The more often she wants to eat, the less she can eat at each event. Having a set number and a relatively easy way to limit the food helps take the attention off and that is definitely a need for bingers. And it 's just true that many slim cultures go with 3 meals for the masses.

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:56 pm
by Skelton
Thanks Oolala. I think I'll leave the afternoon snack in there for a while longer. I'm trying to experiment with my meals to find my 'sweet spot' for how much I need to eat in order to get through the 5 hour plus barrier. Most days I seem to be unable to go longer than 6 hours between meals, because around the 6 hour point I often get a headache and feel quite shaky, eating seems to resolve that. It's ironic that I seem to be unable to eat enough at meal times to see me through to the next meal, yet I can sure chow down a vast amount of binge food when it suits me!

Yes, I've also noticed that a lot of the binge disorder literature suggests 3 meals plus 2 or 3 snacks and suspect that may be partly based on the idea of eating regularly to 'keep up the metabolism'. I believe that more recent research has shown that eating every 2-3 hours actually has little impact on metabolism.
I did read a book by Becky Lu Jackson, whose recovery model is a mixture of OA/12 step programme and an eating plan based on 3 meals a day. I can do without the 12 step stuff, I was in and out of OA for about 20 years and it helped me not one jot, but I was pleased to see that she's unknowingly a No S'er :)

Thanks again.

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:09 pm
by ironchef
Thanks for updating, and well done for getting things back in hand. Remember that No S doesn't specify number of meals - most people assume 3, but it isn't written that way. If 4 (with one of them being very small) suits you for now, I wouldn't worry too much.

Is there a way to change your schedule so you don't have to get through the "5 hr plus" barrier? I know sometimes work makes it hard to mix things up. I recently changed my eating schedule so I now rarely go more than 5 hrs between meals. I find it's ok if I'm just sitting around, but when I'm cycling to and from work or doing other exercise I struggle with what used to be an 8 hr gap lunch to dinner.

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:56 am
by oolala53
I went to OA for a short time decades ago. It changes but when I went it was "three moderate meals a day, no eating in between." There were no restrictions on what you ate. I thought it was impossible! But it didn't have the safety valve of S days. And I heard much later that even years before I went it was "Three meals a day and LIFE in between." to emphasize how much people were eating while avoiding much of their lives. That's not everyone's issue, though it certainly plays a role in my life.

I don't often have to go more than 5 hours more than once a day. And I will have a latte or mocha, if I really want one. I know if I get caught up after work in shopping and errands, I can go 6 hours or more.