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Old 04-19-2011, 04:25 PM
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Binge Eating

For the last several nights I have been binge eating. Just eating junk, preferably high salt stuff and sweets. Gotta love that sweet and salty!! I know it is just my addictive behavior expressing itself in another form.

I dropped 13lbs when I was in the hospital (btw, not a recommended form of dieting, quite uncomfortable and very expensive!!), but I have gained it all back. I was feeling pretty good about myself when I got out, looking better, feeling better, but I seem to have backslid a fair bit. Part of it is probably due to my job, as I have discussed elsewhere. I was able to "escape" that while in the hospital and not really have to deal with anything other than myself and what was right in front of me. Now that I'm back in the "real world" I am struggling. Today was a decent day, I was off work, and I got some yard work done as well as cleaning around the house. I don't feel like binging tonight. Tomorrow it's back to work and I don't know how I'll feel.

I know I need to treat the binging just like my drinking or drug use, just don't do it. Easier said than done as are most things. I'm not massively overweight, but I did look and feel better without those 13 lbs. I have a lot of self esteem issues anyway, and I know keeping the weight would be helpful towards that. Anyway, I just thought I'd throw it out there if anyone else has this issue and how they deal with it. Take care.
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:21 PM
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Hi Tyler,

Not to be a smartass here, but just like anything I have had a problem with, drinking, overeating etc, I quit doing the thing that was causing me problems. I lost over 70 lbs, by quitting binge eating and modifying my diet. I stopped being an alcoholic by quitting drinking.

I could sit and eat 3 cans of Pringles, after eating 3 Big macs and a large fry, just like I could sit and drink a case of beer in a sitting. I just never felt satiated and I always wanted more. Quitting both things has been hard, but it has taken mental strength to first realize it was a problem, and then to make my brain realize I am killing myself with food and drink. We have to be able to learn to control our urges. I started doing it by working out and replacing the crap I was eating with better choices. As I grew healthier it had a positive impact on my brain and it made it easier as time went on.

Do I still eat tooo much crap sometimes? Yes, but I will skip my next meal and workout extra hard when I do. Learning self control is what keeps me successful and the more I practice the better I am.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:36 PM
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Not being a smartass at all, just keeping it simple, something I struggle with. I frequently try to over complicate things. Just as I tell myself that it is not a good idea for me to go to the liquor cabinet and drink some whiskey, the same needs to go with the binge eating. Thanks for pointing out a simple solution. Take care.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:10 PM
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I started thinking about this thread today as I was driving around LA and seeing overweight people.

I am getting to believe drinking is alot like having a compulsion to overeat. Many people have trouble controlling their eating habits and I myself have been known to polish off a half gallon of ice cream in a sitting or 2 bags of chips, or going back for 3rds at Thanksgiving. When I have done these things in the past it almost feels like I have no control over myself as I continue to stuff my face. This is very similar to the way I drank. I know I had my fill, but for some reason I wanted more and would continue.

I am curious to see if anyone else feels this way. Basically while driving around I saw numerous people who were at least one hundred pounds over weight. Are these the "foodaholics"? The only major difference I see between a "foodaholic" and an alcoholic is alcohol injures your brain and we become physically addicted. So although alcohol affects us mentally are we really that much different than someone who overeats? Dieting for a overeater is much like moderation for an alcoholic, we might be able to pull it off for a while, but the only real way to get thin is through a total lifestyle change, where the overeater doesn't cheat at all and incorporates other physical actions in there plan to completely change their eating habits.

If this is the case would you ever consider over eating a disease, or is it just a compulsion that can normally be fixed with a plan and by taking action? I am not trying to say that alcoholism isn't a disease, but after sitting on the couch and eating a whole box of girl scout cookies even though I wasn't hungry is there really much of a difference? I am curious to hear thoughts.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:00 AM
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When I stopped drinking I became addicted to chocolate, I had always loved chocolate but I became addicted to it. I would buy 4lb bags of M&Ms at least twice a week and eat the M&Ms by color in addition to chocolate cake/brownies/fudge...I lived alone so didn't have to share with anyone...many nights during the first few months of sobriety my "dinner" was just chocolate with maybe popcorn or chips...I physically felt horrible but I just couldn't stay away from the chocolate and other junk food. I had always been thin, when I drank I regularly passed on food and just drank, I gained 25 lbs during the first yr of sobriety which was a 20% weight increase. I had cravings for chocolate more intense than any alcohol cravings I ever had, I'd wake up in the middle of the night craving chocolate; I'd fall asleep eating chocolate (and trust me it's not pleasant waking up with chocolate smeared all over the sheets...) if I was home in the evening and realized there was no chocolate or very little chocolate I'd go into a full blown panic attack (at the time I was afraid to go out after dark). After having many stomach problems I started eating healthy and working out regularly and lost all the weight, I now am trying to live sugar free. I personally don't consider alcoholism to be a "disease" but I would put compulsive overeating in the same category as alcoholism.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:20 AM
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Yes, good topic, these things are related. Food can be abused to alter feelings, just like alcohol. Just like some people have a problem with the brain mechanism that tells normal people to stop drinking, some people have trouble knowing when to stop eating.

I struggle with this. It's possible to cut out alcohol entirely, but with food, you must eat. There is no black and white with it. I've found that long periods of restrictive eating make me a miserable person (obsessive, grouchy, making poor decisions) so I don't want to go down that road (again). Just as it was necessary for me to deal with some internal problems to stop abusing alcohol, it will be necessary to work on them to keep improving my eating habits (dealing with stress, taking care of myself, not eating for emotional reasons). Even with all that considered, the body will still crave enough calories to maintain its current weight--even if you're overweight--so I'm not sure what the answer is. I've lost 25 pounds since I quit drinking and that was through the type of restriction that doesn't work for me long term. I would like to lose more and I am trying to apply the things I've learned from alcohol recovery to the food question -- taking it one day at a time, practicing acceptance and gratitude, etc.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:12 AM
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"I've found that long periods of restrictive eating make me a miserable person (obsessive, grouchy, making poor decisions) so I don't want to go down that road (again)."

So would this be considered a "dry drunk" but with food?
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:48 AM
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I keep exploring healthy alternatives for junk food. Like baked BBQ chips ain't to bad. Salsa and baked potato chips are better. In fact I'm using salsa on cooked long grain rice and anything else that is good for me to eat and is bland in taste.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Supercrew View Post
"I've found that long periods of restrictive eating make me a miserable person (obsessive, grouchy, making poor decisions) so I don't want to go down that road (again)."

So would this be considered a "dry drunk" but with food?
Yeah, I guess that sort of works. It becomes an obsession, which isn't cool, for me at least. I don't feel that way about alcohol, thanks to my recovery, and I don't want to feel that way about food either. So I need to apply recovery principles to food.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:27 PM
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That's what I was getting at AG. I know we like to think that being that we consider ourselves alcoholic, we seem to think we are different than everybody else. But really many of the things we might call "alcoholic thinking" is really just human thinking. When someone relapses we tend to say that our alcoholic brain made us obsess or pushed us over the edge, but the reality is much like cheating on a diet, or eating that ice cream or choclate we swore not to. Oviously the implications of over drinking can be far more severe than cheating on a diet, but the cause goes back to us being human trying to gain pleasure, nothing more nothing less. The more I realize that these are self control issues and not some some urge I will never be able to control the easier it is for me to combat the problem.

As far as the "dry drunk" with food, I just think when we feel we are depriving ourselves of comfort evryone tends to act this way not just people with alcohol or food problems. We just have to find a way to be happy in life, and by realizing we are really making ourselves healthier by not drinking or overeating is the foundation to finding this happiness imo.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:19 PM
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I've never really considered myself an alcoholic, but a problem drinker. When it comes to marijuana, I am most definitely an addict. Once I take that first hit, you better watch out because it I can't get more, I'm gonna take yours and do whatever I need to do to get more. With alcohol I could go out and drink socially without getting hammered just fine. The problem would come up when I decided I wanted to get drunk, which I would do at home, alone. I binge eat in much the same way.

I would only drink abusively at night, same with the binge eating. Of course the eating doesn't have the same effect on me, but it seems like it is something to do with filling up an empty space inside of me, both emotionally and physically. When I was young, and still to this day, my mother would make cookies or fix food for me when I was feeling bad. I have dealt with depression for 30 of my 42 years and this was the only way she knew to help make me feel better. I'm not blaming her for anything, it's just how things are. So, for me, I think there is more involved than just liking the food. I will eat to the point of being uncomfortable. I would probably be bulimic except I really hate throwing up, though there were many a hung over morning that I did anyway.

I've been doing a bit better with it since I started this thread, though tonight I stuffed myself with a whole bag of microwave popcorn, with extra butter, even though I had a huge lunch and wasn't hungry in the least. At the same time I have to look at the whole picture. I've been clean and sober for about 5 weeks now and I can only take on so many "issues" at a time, but it is definitely something I want to keep an eye on and work on. Take care.
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:20 AM
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I agree that drinking too much can be like eating too much.
Alcoholism is a disease, but I don't know if that was the 'only reason' I drunk a bottle of nice wine most nights. There are degrees of alcoholism. I lived with a chronic one years ago and that was frightening to witness.
Like any addiction I think it was trying to escape from myself, 'change my state'

We need to address what the discomfort is we are trying to escape and once we face it head on you might find out that's a lot easier to do than trying to avoid it
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:41 AM
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I don't feel as if I was trying to escape from a discomfort as much as I really enjoyed the short term gratification of drinking and overeating stuff that tastes good. It would put me in a comfort zone that I didn't want to end.

Maybe some people are trying to fill voids, or escape, whereas I didn't have a problem in a sober state, I just liked the way drinking and eating made me feel more.
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