Non emotional bingeing.

I’ve been reading a book on a starvation experiment, which I will talk about when I finish it (quite interesting, actually) and it got me thinking.
I have never been a real emotional binge eater. I do eat from emotions sometimes, but not necessarily in a binge way. It would be more like just saying – “I want something comforting, let’s go out for ice cream”. Then I would eat that and be done.

However, I do have what I would term as physical bingeing, where I just can’t seem to get full. Without any emotional trigger or stress or anything like that. I had one of those this weekend with cashews. It was like I could not physically stop myself from eating them. I know someone who doesn’t binge can’t really understand what this is like, but those of you that do know exactly what I mean. I would walk away from the jar, then come back, walk away, think about them, come back. Until I got really full. I can’t even get away with saying that it was a healthy binge – a term I don’t like anyway because a binge is a binge.

So anyway, reading this book made me think it was actually just my body forcing me to eat. When we restrict calories, we literally are trying to starve our bodies into submission (i.e. weight loss). Calories in, calories out. However – the body itself does not comprehend that what you are doing is supposed to be good for it. It just requires x number of calories to function and isn’t getting them – so it sends signals to the brain to find food. I wonder if prolonged calorie restriction taken on by those of us with a significant amount of weight to lose doesn’t create this effect in the body. Like the body just pushes and pushes you to eat more, and since there is food available (as we aren’t in a rationed or famine situation today) the biological urge is too strong to resist. Not that that means weakness by any stretch, but a survival mechanism. Does maybe give some credence to a high-calorie day, I suppose.

Sometimes I wish I were a scientist that studied weight loss, there is so much we don’t know.

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7 thoughts on “Non emotional bingeing.

  1. Kelly W

    I went through this very thing on Wed. All through the day I could not get to a point where I was comfortable. I was hungry all day long. Ended up being a high calorie day (2,300) but I woke up this morning and had lost a lb. Guess like you said it’s just our bodies fighting back!

    You’ve done an awesome job btw. I just started reading your blog…keep it up! πŸ™‚

  2. Cynthia

    If you haven’t read it, the book ‘Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle’ by Tom Venuto is the BEST book I’ve ever read on the subject of weight loss. He doesn’t have a ‘plan’ you follow. He isn’t a weight loss guru type- not too much anyway. Rather, his book is filled with really interesting information.

    One thing he recommends is to do what he calls ‘Zig Zag’. That means that for 3-4 days, you’ll eat at a 30% calorie deficit (whatever that is for you- 30% less than your base metabolic rate).

    On day 4 (or 5) you ‘zag’ and increase your calorie level so that you only have a 10% deficit. The higher calorie (must still be quality calories- just more of whatever healthy thing you’re eating).

    He says it keeps your body from getting a starvation signal and will increase fat loss. It makes sense to me. When people he is training hit plateaus he makes them increase their calories to break it (not decrease). Interesting.

    Anyway, your observations match with his findings.

  3. debby

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean, Lori. I haven’t had many of those days lately, because, well probably because I am eating too mych for my brain to need to tell me to eat more!

    Once when I went on one of those ‘monitored starvation diets’ the doctor told us that when we came off of it our bodies went into ‘food seeking behavior’ on a cellular level. And I really believe that is true.

  4. Lynn Haraldson-Bering

    I thought I was the only one. I have days like that when i can’t get filled up. And I’m not an emotional eater, either, most of the time. I understand what you said about eating for comfort and that’s it. But man, there are days when I want to just eat. And it’s not junk I want to eat. Just food in general because I’m hungry. It usually happens on days I don’t exercise. Hmmm…I wonder if there’s a correlation there, too?

    Thanks for the “food” for thought.

  5. Susan

    I find I’m always waaay more hungry on my days off from the gym. I always figured it was because my body has a delayed reaction πŸ˜› Personally, I think your body is very adaptable to what you put it through, that’s why it will go into “starvation mode.” It’s just surviving. That’s also why you may see the scale go down after a day of heavy eating. In my experience, going off my regular routine has worked better than my routine!

  6. NewMe

    I think that you’ve written a very interesting post. Here’s my take on things.

    I’ve been following the Paul McKenna system for weight loss. It’s based on 4 “rules” (I hate that word):
    1. Eat when you’re hungry.
    2. Eat whatever you want.
    3. Eat consciously (very slowly, with no distractions like TV, books, radio)
    4. Stop when you’re full.

    Sounds easy, but it’s not. However, it makes a lot of sense. Our bodies do not want to be starved. When we consistently starve ourselves, our bodies will fight back. That’s why the vast majority of people gain back all the weight they’ve lost–again and again.

    I’m not implying that you are trying to starve yourself and I salute you for the extraordinary work you’ve done.

    I do feel, however, that by regimenting ourselves, deciding consciously what we should eat and when we should eat it, whether or not we are hungry, is not something that works in the long run. At least I personally cannot do this to myself anymore.

    Following McKenna’s rules has resulted in my losing 8 pounds since the beginning of January. This may sound like nothing, but as someone who is well under 5′ tall and cannot do cardio-vascular workouts due to arthritis and back problems, it is amazing that I’ve managed to get this far and not gain the weight back immediately, as I have always done in the past.

    I am not a classic emotional binge eater and generally eat healthy food, so there is no huge change that I can make in my eating habits, making the challenge even more difficult.

    Thanks for letting me voice my opinions. You’ve got a great blog and I’ll definitely visit again.

    Please visit mine too!

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