Do You Binge Eat Like Me?

January 16, 2009 · 26 comments

Pizza
Creative Commons License photo credit: NathanaelB

I’m wondering if I binge eat like others do. When I hear about binging I read stories of people eating a gallon of ice cream in one sitting, a whole pizza or an entire box of oreos. Other than the pizza (who hasn’t indulged in an entire pizza?) I don’t think I have ever binge eaten one item like that.

My binge eating in different.

My binge eating is all about tastes, textures, contrasts and cycles.

When I binge eat it starts with a desire to have some sort of taste, be it salty, sweet, sour, bitter or umami. For whatever reason I get in my head that I need that taste and I find something that satisfies it. Let’s say I craved salty – so I’ll eat a bowl of salted in the shell sunflower seeds. There, that wasn’t too bad.

But that’s where contrasts come in. When I am in a normal mood I can eat the sunflower seeds and that is that. When I am in a binging mood I need to eat something else and what I will go after is something that contrasts the taste I had previously eaten. So I’ll eat a bowlful of pickles, for example.

What’s that taste in my mouth? That’s sour. What I need is something to contrast that – let’s say some sweet Oreos. OK that was a fine dessert but my mouth is full of all these crunchy bits, let’s switch the textures up a bit and have some smooth yogurt or ice cream for dessert too.

If I am lucky things will stop there. I’ll brush my teeth, pop in a stick of gum, or just get otherwise preoccupied with something else besides food. If I am not lucky I will start the process over again, and cycle back to salty. The concept of having something sweet for a dessert is completely lost when you follow it back up with something salty – and it usually doesn’t stop there.

I am confident the behavior I describe is binge eating but I don’t know if it is normal binge eating.

I hope you don’t but if you do, how do you binge eat?

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{ 25 comments }

myweightylossjourney January 17, 2009 at 12:03 am

I binge. I have been known to eat a whole packet of Tim-Tams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Tam), especially the Black Forest Fantasy. In fact, I have been known to eat two packets in one day. I also binge on Maltesers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltesers), and last year at easter, I don’t know how many Crunchie Easter Eggs I bought (probably about 20). I would put them in the fridge, and then when they were cold, sit down and eat one, then another one, then another one. I binge on chocolate. I haven’t eaten chocolate for almost 2 weeks, except some weight watchers desserts. I don’t know when the next desire to eat chocolate will come, but I know it will. The question is, will I be able to ignore it….

I can understanding the chocolate binges, I’ve gotten myself in trouble before with extra large bags of peanut M&Ms…

Andrew is getting fit January 17, 2009 at 12:36 am

I’m more of a keep eating something till the box is empty then find more kind of guy. I’ve never heard of a cyclical binge like yours.

That’s definitely part of my problem as well once the box gets low (but well above a single portion remaining).

hanlie January 17, 2009 at 2:07 am

I don’t binge anymore, but I used to have to go out and buy my binge-food, because there was nothing like that in the house.

I would go to the supermarket’s hot food section and get something like:

– a large portion of lasagne
– 4 chicken portions
– a large portions of the pasta of the day
– a bacon and egg sandwich
– packet of jelly babies

Or I’d go to the nearest take-out place, just a block away and get:

– an egg burger (no fries – I don’t like fries)
– a steak kebab roll
– a family portion of pasta salad

I’m actually appalled now, but back then I used to do it all the time. I still get the odd craving for those foods, which aren’t really part of my diet anymore, but then I’ll just have one portion of one of those things and be done with it.

Promising to hear this behavior can be unlearned!

Healthygirl January 17, 2009 at 6:43 am

I don’t binge so much anymore. I don’t eat stuff in one setting, but I go through cycles like you. I eat something and find that is not satisfying I move to the next food, ending up with a lot of unhealthy food.

Thanks for sharing, looks like I am not alone!

JC January 17, 2009 at 7:28 am

When I first began my journey down the fitness/bodybuilding road, binge eating was very familiar to me. I was so OCD about my food choices that I NEVER had anything “unclean.” I usually picked out 2-3 days a month to eat something in this category we might label “unclean.” It didn’t hurt my body composition efforts but I was constantly stressed out about it. I would wait so long to partake in eating these “bad” foods, then once I did I felt guilty for days and then overexercised.

I then began to experiment with simply controlling my calories but started including lots of food I wouldn’t normally eat. Food like ice cream, pizza, fast food etc. I found that a calorie is only a calorie and no food deemed “unclean” will have any negative imact on your body composition as long as calories are controlled. Then I began a stint of intermittent fasting.

I also noticed that when I lowered my meal frequency from 6-8 meals a day to only 2-3 meals a day my urge to binge altogether vanished. I wrote about this in my Meal Frequency Article here:
http://jcdfitness.com/2008/11/meal-frequency-how-many-meals-per-day-should-i-eat/

Interesting – that seems the opposite of what you read about where people say that 6-8 meals a day is better.

laura January 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

i used to binge on something once a day- not always with unhealthy things. i love lentils and muesli and fruit salad, but once i get started i have the craving to get the perfect mouthful, with all the textures and flavors i could want.
Say i started with a plain carrot cake – a pretty healthy one, no icing. then i would sprinkle some sugar on, then dip it in cream straight from the carton, then get the yogurt out for some reason. i completely surrender myself to the impulsive cravings of food.
luckily, that time in my life is over now – that is to say – 5 days ago. i went to the Adam Waters blog and now i take a picture every day to show my progress. i’ve been good so far…
it is possible to resist the cravings! relish the thought of having control over your body and mind and tell it what to do! – don’t be told.
Take action NOW

Thanks Laura, I like the idea of “relishing the though of having control” over my body and mind.

Joe S. January 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I’m a sucker for pizza and ice cream. Now that I’m trying to lose weight I don’t eat pizza much anymore but when I do you can bet your rear that I eat the whole pizza. Before I started to lose weight these “binges” happened pretty frequently. I still eat a whole pizza ocassionaly but thankfully it doesn’t happen very often anymore

Those are certainly a couple of classic standbys!

GeorgieGirl January 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm

For me it’s not about one thing. It isn’t pizza or ice cream. I’m looking for variety of flavors and textures when I binge. It might be sweet or it may be something savory.

It’s been awhile since I binged. I try to remember how I feel if I binge. The emotional guilt as well as the physical feelings. YUK. I also write in my journal. It helps me be prepared for the next time I might feel like going on a binge. Having an activity to go to instead of eating is a big help for me. I can’t scrapbook and eat at the same time. I will not allow food around my scrapbooks. So that is my go-to activity when I’m on the verge of a binge.

I can see the headline now – “Scrapbooking My Way to Weight Loss” 🙂

Sabs January 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

I binge like you:-(

Israel January 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I can definitely relate…

I’ve binged on ice cream, and then went and bough pizza to contrast it but never really though about it like you described. Hmm.

Good thing I don’t binge like mad anymore. The last binge I had was a sugar cookie and a baby-size bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Not bad as compared to my previous binging exploits of whole pizzas, chocolate bars, and Taco Bell.

A sugar cookie and a baby-size bowl of ice cream sounds like a modest, well sized dessert to me. Sounds to me as though you are cured!

John January 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm

My binge eating food….

Girl Scout Thin Mints. They are tools of the devil!

Yep, I’ve eaten a sleeve of them.

Greg Hayes January 17, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Actually, I do both. I used to be bad about eating an entire box of Oreos, or ice cream. Now, I’m less likely to do that. However, if I have something very sweet (like a chocolate bar) I always want something salty to follow up. Then, it becomes an unbreakable cycle.

Yesterday, I came home from work and had three “Whoppers” (remember those?), then I needed a handful of potato chips. Then I needed more Whoppers, and so forth. I went through that cycle about three times before I grabbed a bottle of water and walked outside (1 degree) to break the cycle. Better if I hadn’t started it at all…

Yep, that sounds exactly like me.

Steve v4.7 January 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I don’t know if you’d call it binge eating but there have been times when a bag of cookies, nuts, or something small and snack-y would somehow end up empty during the course of a movie.

Back in the day though, I was a power eater when it came to burgers, ribs, lasagna, Ben&Jerry’s, etc. Even when I was full I somehow found the strength to power through it and get it all down.

I don’t do that anymore and make it a habit to pay attention to what I’m eating.

That’s certainly something I will have to learn to be successful as you have been.

Abimars January 18, 2009 at 4:56 am

Carbs Carbs Carbs, the higher the carb content the faster I eat it, I’ll start with a plate of rice, then a bowl of pasta then a really sweet cereal and then the guilt!

I would say that’s a good description of what I go through too.

Scale Junkie January 19, 2009 at 6:41 am

I binge eat and for me its all about the texture and the taste. If just chocolate taste would do, I could have a 25 calorie sugar free hot chocolate but sometimes the taste needs to be wrapped up in triple chocolate fudge ice cream. There have been times when I’ve wanted something and wasn’t sure what I wanted and I’d eat my way through the house trying to find it. For the most part I’ve found that I don’t really want to binge eat I’m happy with just one or two bites but I want one or two bites of everything on my list of the moment, kind of like my very own personal smorgasbord.

I’m working to retrain my brain and I’m working to get binge eating under control but yes, I’m a binge eater and I learned to hide the evidence.

I’ll bet texture plays a bigger role than people realize…

Eric John Tan January 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Most of the time I actually binge drink… not AA style though… I can drink two 2 liters bottles of Pepsi in a sitting if the crave is on. It’s bad when I get the crave for both Pepsi and Pork Rinds… super bad combo… but its tastes sooo good…

That’s interesting, I don’t think I have ever had an urge to binge on pop…

jason January 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Oh ya, that sounds all to familiar. You are doing great though man. Keep up the good work. Maybe you could share a binge story secret on my secret confession page. Anyways. Keep up the great work.

I’ve got plenty to share that’s for sure. Great idea for a site, by the way.

health and wellness - sixwise January 23, 2009 at 4:35 am

I also binge. what i like most is tobleron chocolates…I can eat 2 of the regular size box but now I’m trying to control my self from 2 its now 1/2 box…

tory February 2, 2009 at 9:01 pm

YES!!! this is exactly what i do!

im tortured by it how do i stop!

Sheri February 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I have the same kind of binges. For me, I think it is related to my body not getting the nutrients it needs or being dehydrated. So, I crave sweet…no iron there..salty?…nope…sour?….nope…some other kind of salty?…still nothing. Eating a variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains, etc. and getting enough water almost completely eliminates those kind of binges for me.

Don’t get me wrong–I still eat for emotional reasons, and ’cause I like chocolate 🙂 but I don’t do that “going from item to item” thing.

from-anorexic to binge February 20, 2009 at 1:14 am

i’m a recovering anorexic and i guess being deprived of food for so long has now caused me to become a big time binger… i can eat an entire box of cereal, jar of peanut butter, gallon of ice cream, whole bag hershey kisses, whole can of chocolate frosting then i go to salty/savory things like an 8 oz block of full-fat cheese (melted), hummus by the spoonful, etc. yeah, i get HUGE sweet & chocolate cravings. it’s baddddd.
i binge once a day and eat whatever im craving in one sitting. i have never been able to throw up afterwards but i always have feelings of guilt and end up at the gym doing cardio for over an hour and tell myself “ill never binge again”….but somehow, it happens again…
i need to learn self control!! (then maybe i wouldnt spend my life on the elliptical or treadmill everyday)

katie February 24, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I AM EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.
its scary and i want it to stop =[
any body have news on how to make it go away?

i can eat really healthy and count calories perfectly for about 2 days at a time..and then bad. i crash but i dont notice it until after i decide to stop, and by then ive eatten way to much.

it sucks.

marilyn willows March 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

yup im the same

usual binge is crunchy biscuits/flapjack/chocolate followed by ice cream/yogurt followed by cheese followed by salty crisps follwed by bread follwed by chips/pizza followed by cereal followed by alcohol

and finally followed by depression and annoyance!!!!!!

Petra Weiss May 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

My binge eating starts slowly, later in the evening. I usually had the resolve to be good today. Then I just eat the one piece of chocolate in front of the TV. Just the one, because one is ok!! I am strong enough to resist more. But suddenly I have eaten 2. And a short while later the whole block of chocolate is gone and I hate myself and feel miserable. Then I think I have stuffed it now, might as well keep going. So I move on to anything with carbohydrates, because that is what I crave when I get these binges. It’s awful! And you know, I just know how quick the weight would fall off if I could stop this eating at night. WHY can’t we stop?

Kristine July 24, 2009 at 7:35 pm

I do that too. I hear about people eating nothing but sweets when they binge. But after a while of eating sweets I start to feel like I’ll be sick if I eat one more sweet thing and then I switch to something with a different taste. I thought I was the only one who did that.

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