9 Simple Ways I Overcame Binge Eating and Lost 50+ Pounds
August Weight Loss Weigh In
I’ve lived with a secret for many years. The kind of secret that hurts not just you, but the people around you. I have an eating disorder and I’m not entirely sure it’s something I can just “recover” from. But I’m not alone. There are many of you suffering right there with me and you may not be ready to admit there is a bigger problem at stake.
I’m a binge eater. And a secret eater. And I’m really good at hiding it.
These habits started at a very young age. My first recollection of a binge included not just overeating, but swallowing a tooth in the process. I was so ashamed that I never told my parents I lost the tooth and for obvious reasons the tooth fairy never showed up. The very next morning, I learned the tooth fairy did not exist along with Santa and the Easter bunny. It wasn’t a good day and my binges did not stop.
In high school things got worse when I had access to my own car and had my own money. I often had double breakfast or double dinner. Or sometimes both. I’d eat my packed lunch, then grab Basco Sticks (cheese filled breadsticks, omg those were good) and/or a giant cookie.
I broke my first cell phone in the middle of an overnight binge. I literally dropped my phone in a glass of milk, attempting to dunk my oreos in the dark.
As an adult the same things just kept happening. It was fast food lines on the way home from work before making dinner for my spouse. It was stopping at a gas station just to throw away “evidence”. It’s late night binging on anything and everything I can get my hands on.
This played a MASSIVE role in my weight gain - all 125 pounds of it. Read more about my journey gaining weight here.
When I decided this was it, that this was when I was finally going to get myself right by focusing on health and drop the pounds that were holding me back made me nervous.
I KNEW I could change my regular eating habits, the public ones, the ones that look and appear normal.
What I was nervous about was if I could get the binges under control and I stop the hiding. I needed to be honest with myself and be more conscious about what I put into my body.
But how do you face an issue like mine when you’ve been just getting better at it for decades? (You might also like: 10 Things No One Tells You About Needing to Lose 100+ Pounds). I do not claim to have the end all be all solution. I’m not a doctor or medical professional. But this was my experience and what helped me get my binge and secret eating habits in check.
You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Remove the temptation by clearing out your fridge and pantry of your favorite binge foods.
I’ve never met a binger who binged on fruit or veggies.
Not to say you can’t have snacks in your house, but avoid anything that would be a trigger for you to overdo it.
Never Go Hungry
This sounds counter intuitive, but if I think about the times I’ve overdone it (not in hiding), almost all those times I went into a situation where I was crazy hungry.
I make better choices when I’m satiated. Including making a meal. The moment I’m starving attempting to make dinner I make worse choices - I pick foods higher in calories and that are more convenient. Quick before I get hangry!
This is a HUGE reason why I meal plan. Grab your first 12-weeks of meal plans free here.
Pretty sure I walked around dehydrated for the last decade of my life. When my desire to eat (or eat more) comes up, I try to check in with myself. Am I truly hungry or do I just desperately need some water?
You’d be shocked at how many times you confuse hunger for thirst.
Stop Carrying Cash
I get it, most millenials never carry cash in the first place. But if you’re a secret eater, you know the easiest way to hide transactions is cash. And trust me a $20 bill can go a long way when you frequent the $$ menu or convenience store.
I don’t think I carried ANY cash for the first 6 months.
Imagine you are mid-binge and you decide that bag of chips is your next victim. The fastest way for you to throw off your game is to actually count out a serving. You are much more likely to stop if you only have 15 chips in front of you and the rest of the bag is already put away.
WIll this work every time? No. But, it may be just enough of a disruption for you to stop and consciously think if this is really something you want to do.
No More Diets
The fastest way to spiral a binge eater is make them feel deprived. This is why diets never worked for me. It’s not that I didn’t have a desire to lose weight, I just felt like I was missing out. Counting calories, points, macros, any of it - it made me feel less than. If my best friend could have a milkshake and lose 5 lbs (true story) - than why couldn’t I have whatever I wanted?
Diet culture has spread crazy unhealthy habits and expectations on our society. If you have a desire to seek and make change it has to be forever. Do I still have incredible treats? Absolutely. But they aren’t all the time.
The way I eat now is the way I plan to eat for the rest of my life.
The higher the stress, boredom, tension, anxiety - the more likely I am to binge. The best relief I’ve found from any and all of that is moving my body. Yes, as in exercising.
This coming from the biggest coach potato you’ll ever meet. I could binge eat and binge watch TV at the same time. I’m just that good.
What I had to do was find movement I enjoyed. The thing that actually got me liking it again was dancing. For months I did country line dances daily - this will sound lame to many I realize - but it got me up and got me going.
You have to find movement you love. Because even when you love it, you will not want to do it everyday. But you are way more likely to do something you love on a day you aren’t motivated than do something you never liked in the first place.
I realize this sounds obvious. But I spent way too long believing exercise had to equal pain. And it simply doesn’t have to.
Go To Bed
Most of my binges happen between 10pm and 1am. If I can feel one coming on even if I’m not tired, even if I’d love to stay up and catch a show on TV. I need to go to bed.
This is all about breaking the cycle. And the more times you can disrupt your often unconscious and powerless behavior the more you gain control back.
You do not have to do this alone. You do not have to suffer in silence. You might think you are really good at hiding it, but those closest to you know something is up - even if they haven’t pinpointed it as this.
Please talk to someone. I recommend starting with someone you love. Depending on where you are at in this journey you may need to talk to a professional. The longer an eating disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated, the more difficult it will be to overcome.
You are worthy. You are beautiful. You can get through this.
I’ll be the first to admit this month did NOT go as planned. Dealing with grief and loss after losing our grandfather is not easy. Add on outside stress that we’re not quite ready to talk about. It felt like one thing after another. This challenged me to battle the bingeing I’d hid from for years.
At one point during the month I was up nearly 10 pounds. I had to refocus. I had to over communicate. I had to make some conscious decisions.
I’m really proud of turning things around. It wasn’t easy.
Now the moment y’all have been waiting for, here are our numbers at the end of August:
-2.6lbs for August (-54.2lbs Total Since 1/1/19)
-1.5” for August (-58.75” Total Since 1/1/19)
-0lbs for August (-38.8lbs Total Since 1/1/19)
-0” for August (-34.75” Total Since 1/1/19)