Binging has always been more of a problem than purging - does anyone else find this?

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Anmie's picture
Binging has always been more of a problem than purging - does anyone else find this?

Reading these forum posts it often seems that many bulimics start off with restricting and dieting, rather than binging.

For me, binging was a comfort for me in times of great mental stress; I then got very healthy, with exercise and healthy food, and loved my body; I then tipped too far into obsessing over nutrition, started restricting, and then fell back into binging when life got stressful again; and that's how the purging started.

This means that I find it quite easy not to purge, as it's a fairly recent habit, but I am struggling to kick binging. The method here celebrates not purging but I feel that I latch onto that as an excuse to carry on binging. I've put on 7 kg over the past 3 months :/ and am feeling pretty crap.

Is anyone else in the same position, and do you have any tips?

J_chem's picture
I hear ya. Bingeing was a

I hear ya. Bingeing was a total problem for me. I'm over 10 month B/P free and have found that after I stopped purging (aug 11 2013). I binged like crazy. It was super comforting for me. This goes all the way back to my childhood. I used to eat a lot as a child and never thought of it as a problem until my mother noticed I was a curvy teen. Then the insecurities and restriction started. I binged from highschool all the way up until last year. I binged for about 3 months because my body was so used to throwing everything back up. I told myself "atleast I wasn't throwing up"..... Then as time went on and I saw my picture at my job, I couldn't believe my size. I gain a lot during recovery, but contined to excersise through it.

My body was all over the place. Binging is a lot harder for me to stop because I was comforted by it. It numbed the pain. I realized the weight I gained put my health at risk and really buckled down. (No dieting, just stopped the binges once and for all). I used to feel horrific guilt after eating so much, and I was just sick of the feeling of eating too much. I went to a nutritionist, slowed down on my exercising and lost 20lbs out of the 30 I put on in recovery. Just by eating good foods for me.... The are not kiddin when they say you return to your real weight and you can loose weight in the recovery process...I was overdoing it with exercise and food. No wonder I was gaining. I started taking medicine and I've been on track. I no longer have guilt when I eat and the binging has subsided immensely. You WILL get there. It takes time. Everyone has a different speed. Purging keeps the cycle alive. Once one part of the cycle has been elimiated, it turns into something completely different. You'll be able to see what you need to work on once your body adjusts to not purging. That's really the first step. Stopping purging eliminates bingeing. maybe not right away, but I promise it does :D xo

Anmie's picture
Hey, thanks for your

Hey, thanks for your encouragement! It worked, kind of - I had another binge day, and purged, twice, then binged again..... and then didn't purge. I thought of what you said about purging just makes the habit continue, so thanks.

Did you manage to cut back gradually on binging? and were there any tricks that help you?

I find myself unable to stop eating unhealthy foods, even when I don't enjoy them. All my good instincts about eating lots of veg, protein etc have been taken away and I just eat anything that is carbs, fat, and sugar or salt (i.e. huge bowls of pasta with oil and salt, or cereal with cream, ugh).

The trick is just to pplough on with the structured eating though, right? No matter what happens in between....

faye713's picture
I had an awesome recovery

I had an awesome recovery mentor who told me, "every purge ends in a binge." When I realized that, exactly like J_chem says, the purging is what keeps the cycle alive, it gave me the motivation to stop purging.

however, since "every purge ends in a binge," I have to think about all that purging I did during the peak of bulimia -- and how not all of it was 'accounted for' during the subsequent bingeing.

My body was in a deficit caused by restriction (and metabolism will definitely adjust for that), and so recovery did mean balancing out that deficit. it's not like I could just go back to perfect-portion eating after years of bulimic restriction (even if that restriction included binges).

Also, I find -- and they say on some of the tips here on Bulimia Help too -- that good carbs are extremely important to reducing binge urges. I used to be very carb-wary, and this in itself was a form of restriction, which only fired up my desire for 'unhealthy" foods in large quantities.

I now eat a lot of good carbs (fresh, non-acid fruit like bananas, whole grains, and even potatoes) early in the day and it really really helps. During the first months of my recovery, I was still afraid of carbs and my 'bad list' of foods, and I think this contributed to slips and also a bit of weight gain. Now I preemptively eat a lot of good carbs and have way less cravings and have gotten to a good weight / size (it seems! I live abroad and don't have a scale).

I think for me the key was understanding where those cravings were coming from, and preempting them by eating sufficient, healthier / whole foods in those same categories.

LeaLea's picture
Hi there. I can't help you

Hi there. I can't help you with the specifics of stopping binging as I've never been a bringer, just a terrible purger and purged everything I ate, even my fluids. But I do want to talk about what you binge on.
You seem keen to stay with healthy eating, but lean towards unhealthy foods when you binge. Maybe it would help you to get a set of bloods done, in particular, cholesterol. Knowing that each time you eat foods high in fat will likely increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and many other nasty, chronic illnesses, might help you make those healthier choices.
I look at food in a clean/unclean eating kind of way and think about each foods effects on my body. I don't want to increase my risk of diabetes and heart disease, so I am mindful of everything I put in my mouth.
I'm a vegan and probably at the extreme end of eating healthy which isn't for everyone, but I really enjoy what I eat now because I know what I'm consuming has a positive, not a negative, impact on my body. Thinking in terms of reducing your risk of chronic illnesses might be the kick you need to start eating healthier. Eating healthier certainly reduced my urge to purge and it might do the same for you, positively affecting your binge urges, too.


Anmie's picture
Thanks LeaLea - that's a

Thanks LeaLea - that's a great idea about the tests. I used to eat really well, pretty vegan, lots of wholefood, I got into the Food Doctor and really liked his approach to fresh cooking. I think I took it a little far and got obsessed with reading nutrition blogs and cutting wheat etc, while also binging. now I feel a little lost and just want to get to a place where I don't think about food when I'm not eating.

I can't help feeling that it's a form of self-harm though, especially when I don't even enjoy the food often. I guess I need to work on what that's about... sigh. Just strong habit formation, and a way of hiding from difficult things, I guess.

Faye, thanks for your tips on carbs, I think you're right! I'm living with my family and trying hard not to dissect every meal we have. Everything is cooked from scratch and is healthy enough. Important not to let perfect be the enemy of good!

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