Friday, February 10, 2012

Calorie Restriction/Binge Thoughts

I've been around the blog world about 3 years now.  Needless to say, I've learned a lot.  We are all so different in so many ways, and at the same time, we also have a lot in common.  I've read I don't how many times on different blogs about how calorie restriction leads to bingeing.  I wasn't sure if I agreed or not...I don't guess I had really paid attention to whether it was true for me or not.  I know it isn't true for some Sean Anderson. 

Sean started at 505 lbs.  Finally decided to get serious about losing his weight once and for all, set a calorie cap of 1500 cals and whatever exercise he was able to do...and just kept going.  He never looked back.  He reached his goal weight, wrote a book about it, and is still maintaining quite nicely.  I met Sean online very soon after I started blogging 3 years ago and consider him a good friend.  I've followed his journey pretty closely and after restricting his calories to 1500/day...bingeing never became a problem for him.

I've followed a lot of other blogs, too, though...and I'd say that's not true for the masses.  I have found that way more people end up bingeing at some point after restricting for some amount of time.  Some do it infrequently, and some seem to only make it a week or two with restricting, then binge, get back on track, and a couple of weeks later they're bingeing again. 

The guilt, remorse and feelings of failure go without saying.  All anyone wants is to break the cycle.  Lose the weight, stop the bingeing, and just be NORMAL.  But how do you do that?

I really don't know.  I've spent the last couple of weeks thinking about this, and I truly can't come up with the answer.  I've only been doing Chris' challenge for 2 weeks...capping at 1500 calories, and I've noticed that I've had binge thoughts 3 days already.  I haven't given into those thoughts, but I've really been paying attention to them.  It's unbelievable how strong they are.  It's you don't have any control over your own actions.  Now of course, we all have a choice, me included...and so far I've won out over the binge.  But it's damn aggravating to be wholly consumed with those thoughts that, if you give in to them, will do nothing but harm you and set you back.  They are obsessive and controlling, and if I may say so...EVIL. 

Some seem to struggle with them way more often than others.  I wonder why.  And some react differently after they give into a binge than others.  Some will wallow in it for days, with the binge going past 24 hours, and covering a few days.  Then they'll lament over what a failure they are and maybe there's just no hope for them.  Others lose control, have a binge day, or maybe just a couple of hours, and when the sun comes up the next morning, they just forgive themselves and move on....right back on track with the calorie counting.  I find this so interesting....these responses.

I don't really have a point to this post, I guess.  Well, no solutions, rather.  Just something I've been thinking about.  I think food addiction is a lot like alcoholism.  Once an addict, always an addict.  Food being different though, in that you can't set it down and walk away forever.  Wouldn't that be a dream!  Somehow, us food addicts have to find a way to tame the binge monster, and manage our addictions so that we can learn how to eat as closely to NORMAL (there's that word again) as possible.  Sean says we need to stop fighting the wrong battle.  The battle isn't with's with ourselves.  He's absolutely right about that. 

So...let the learning continue.


  1. I hear you...loud and clear my friend!
    Hang Tough! I'm in this with you. (((hugs)))Pat

  2. i truly believe from what i've read and personal experience that calorie restriction long term DOES lead to binge eating and yo yo dieting. I have only found success through moderate periodic calorie reduction, only down to 1800, and lots of activity and weight training. Recently been doing the Abscal Way anti inflammatory diet with lots of success, and i m never hungry. If I get hungry, I AM SUNK!!!
    Everyone is different, but i think eating so low is not sustainable, but that said lots of people lose weight that way!! Good luck however, you do it, it is all about eat less, more more!

  3. I've been watching this show - Fat Chef, and I watched this one guy lose 100 lbs in 16 weeks - he has to taste food - he's a chef - so when he started a new job and he knew not tasting was not an option, he compensated with a harder workout.

    It is all calories in calories out - if you eat a lot one day, work it off. If you want something that is outside of what you think your calorie range is, just work it off once you eat it and don't give it another thought.

    I guess it should be like anything else - everything comes at a price, so you should pay for the extra calories with extra movement. Still working on all of this myself, mind you ; )

  4. It takes time to retrain our minds and get used to feeling hungry as begin okay.

    The fact that you've both had binge feelings, but didn't act on them is the true victory. You have learned...and you are showing the strength to fight through these to a new mindset.

    Looks like the student is becoming the teacher!

  5. I linked back to your blog for a post it inspired today because of my typo in the comment.

    Lets Play Boggle!

  6. Great post on a subject I have often wondered about as well.
    Here's another question for you, how does it differ for people that are dealing with a relatively recent weight problem versus those who have had weight struggles their entire life? Or the people whose busy lives made the calories in/calories out ratio get out of whack versus those that truly have an eating disorder? I believe that each one of these issues can be solved but each would require a different approach, no? So, the first step is to figure out for ourselves what works and to let go of the rest. Or at least I'm hoping, because this is my current approach.:-)

  7. I agree with Kyle that is about retraining ourselves about food. It's good that you pushed the binge thoughts aside and didn't act on them.

    It also helps if you aren't surrounded by others that eat the things you love. If I had to watch someone else eat chips and salsa...well, that would be too hard!!

    Stay strong! Food is just fuel :)

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