Struggling with SE

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vivienne's picture
Struggling with SE

Hi all,

So I've been a member of this site for about a month now and am still struggling to get my head around Structured Eating!! It's as if as soon as I decide I'm going to start SE i automatically begin feeling like im about to start a new diet and I freak out and can't even make it one day without b/p!! Also the thought of not being able to binge also freaks me out! I feel ashamed at even admitting that but being able to binge then purge has been such a huge comfort to me for over 15 years that the thought of never being able to do it again is terrifying! Yet at the same time I hate that I can b/p, it literally has destroyed my life and my body is slowly dying from it but that's not enough for me to stop!! I'm constantly exhausted and have stomach pains and am moody and irritable all due to the constant b/p but when I think of living without it I can't cope with that either! I feel so incredibly stuck right now!!! I want to feel healthy and full of energy and not have food rule every decision of my life but I can't even manage one day of SE!!!! Feeling so incredibly depressed right now! Any advice anyone has would be greaty appreciated! Thanks xx

Rose16841's picture
Hey :) I'm really sorry to

Hey :) I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling at the moment. And I totally know where you're coming from with SE....I hated it at the beginning and kid myself into thinking I could skip that step and recover. I had gotten so used to just snacking my way through the day and not eating proper meals that the thought of change was terrifying!
I think I adopted the SE routine differently to some. I didn't write a list of times to eat and exactly what I was going to eat because I found it too difficult. Instead I wrote a list of safe food choices that I could choose from at breakfast and lunch and decided at the time what I wanted. They key principle I took from SE initially was this idea of eating every 3 hours. For me that was the most important step in recovery because even if I wasn't eating a structured meal, I wasn't giving myself the option to restrict and let hours and hours pass without eating.....I believe this is what helped to reduce my binge urges initially. It also helped me get my appetite back and get familiar with proper hunger signal again.
I also really struggled with having a proper dinner as I hated being full in the evenings and often found it triggering. This is something that took me a while to adjust to.....I kind of just accepted early on that I wasn't always going to achieve 3 main meals a day.....and by doing that I made sure I wasn't being too hard on myself or feeling like I was failing. Recovery is all about the baby steps, you don't have to make loads of massive changes all in one go. As long as you're making small positive changes you are doing well and making progress :) so remember that and be kind to yourself!!
I guess basically what I'm saying is that SE is really individual to the person and we take our own approaches with it. I reckon for now the most important thing is to make sure you eat something every 3 hours. Don't feel like you have to plan ever meal and every snack....if choice is what works for you then that's fine :)
(ps: once I got more confident with eating every three hours I actually started to love the idea of SE. I would never have thought it to begin with but SE turned out to be so easy!)

Angel333's picture
SE isn't a diet plan as such

SE isn't a diet plan as such - . It is more of a healthy eating plan, encouraging you to eat the essential food groups in the appropriate quantities in order to refuel and re-balance your body back t its optimal best and teaching your brain and body to understand it doesn't need to binge because more food will be available to it within a few hours, so you don't need to panic and have a full on binge - your body only wants you to binge as it thinks it will go long periods of time without fuel. So by eating often your brain and body will learn it doesn't need the binges any more.
As Rose said above, SE is individual to the person, we all find different methods of what works best for us, I personally struggle with the snacking as im a 3 square meals a day kinda person, however even though majority of the time I don't feel hungry for it, I still snack mid morning and gradually my binge urges have reduced, I snack mid afternoon as well but it is my morning snack I struggle with as I could quite happily wait until lunch. I do find though when it comes to lunch, I get fuller quicker, possibly due to the fact my body doesn't want as much as it snacked earlier.
All I can recommend is have faith in the programme. You may struggle for the first week or so but I promise, as in my case, you will see results, recovery isn't going to be instant! You have suffered for many years, you need to learn how to eat properly again, your body chemicals need to re-balance themselves...this takes time. It wont happen overnight. Be patient and have faith.

Wishing you all the best....and by the way I notice you say you have been on here a month...well to give you some comfort, I took a good 4 months after joining before I really started showing an improvement and noticing the difference and today marks my 16 week b/p free. For some it happens instant, for others it takes longer, It is individual to everyone. Plus please don't give up, stick to it and I hope to hear in the near future you being at the same stage as me.

Have faith in the programme, but more importantly - have faith in yourself


'We are each of us angels with only one wing, so we can only fly by embracing each other'

vivienne's picture
Thank you so much Rose and

Thank you so much Rose and Angel for ur replies! I guess I'm just fearing that this won't work for I'm too far gone to ever get better! But I know there are people who have battled this illness longer than me who have recovered so I just have to keep reminding myself of that!! I am going to attempt SE again and try and see what works for me! I have to get that perfectionist thinking out of my head cause that's a big contributor to me not being successful with SE so far! Thanks again really appreciate ur advice and support xx

Angel333's picture
Not sure how long you have

Not sure how long you have battled this, but I have battled for 14 years and its now im on this programme im finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel . . .you are never too far gone. Ever. You say your a perfectionist? Then be perfect with SE!
Best of luck and here whenever u need advice or support x

'We are each of us angels with only one wing, so we can only fly by embracing each other'

vivienne's picture
Hey angel, I've been battling

Hey angel, I've been battling this for over 15 years now so about the same as you!! I take immense inspiration from hearing that ur seeing results and today has been day one of SE and so far so good!! Thanks again and I hope I can offer u support too as you have done for me!! All the best on ur recovery journey! Speak again soon xx

freakyblonde88's picture
I'd have to say I agree a bit

I'd have to say I agree a bit with Rose. The most important thing I took from SE during recovery was to "keep feeding yourself".

No restricting, no starving, no snacking or stuffing.

So I ate something, anything every 3 hours. Sometimes it could be what i would have binged on, but since it was "time to eat" it slowly became ok, like it was part of what I should be doing. And I'm not saying it went perfectly at all. Sometimes an SE meal turned into a binge in small or big proportion. When that happened the most important thing is still to eat SOMETHING in three hours anyways, even if you feel full or even if you purged.

You need to make your body get used to the fact that it will get food, and consistently. And take your time when you eat.
make sure each snack takes at least 5 mins and each meal a minimum of 10. (best is of course snack=10mins, meal=15-20) But we gotta start somewhere :-)

It's hard, but I know you'll get through it, it's only been a month, it's take time and tears and a lot of fight. But I have faith in you, no matter what happens along the way.

Life is too short to not be happy

sk8tr's picture
thanks for posting this,

thanks for posting this, Vivienne and thank you for the responses... I couldn't wrap my head around SE at all for the very same reasons - definitely helps to know that it's individual, as I've always had a rebellious streak and whenever I try to institute new "rules", I tend to get resentful - especially if they are not rules I came up with - I've got plenty of my own 'rules' which got me to this point....

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
Jim Rohn

vivienne's picture
Thank u all so much for ur

Thank u all so much for ur support advice and encouragement! Today I completed 3 days in a row of SE and I know that's not huge but for me it's massive! I know I have a long road ahead of me but this small win gives me hope! Thanks again xx

gosoonersjc@yah...'s picture
I'm brand new to this program

I'm brand new to this program and this site, so I immediately related to your concerns about SE. It was very encouraging to read all the different posts. Perfectionism is a huge issue for me. So hard to accept that baby steps are ok. I want to get it all right RIGHT NOW. I'm willing to follow the plan and believe that we will have a new way of from bulimia. Have a great day.


vivienne's picture
Hey Jamic Welcome to the

Hey Jamic
Welcome to the site!!!! I too feel like I want to get it all right straight away but its just not realistic unfortunately! i have definitely taken on board the advice about making SE individual and doing what will work for me! But most importantly Im sticking to eating regularly and no longer than 3 hours without food! I know for me, being too hungry is a HUGE trigger! So i cant let my body get to that point! so far ive manged 4 days in a row of SE and am feeling more positive each day! But i know its a long journey and there will be ups and downs but the wonderful people on this site inspire me and have shown that this program CAN work!!! Good luck Jamic you've come to the right place!!!

gosoonersjc@yah...'s picture
Thanks for the welcome! I'm

Thanks for the welcome! I'm on day 4 of SE. Most of the time I'm ok with it, but I still find myself worried about too many calories or eating too soon. I'm the type of person who loves a schedule, so I really do enjoy having SE, but the rest of the world doesn't cooperate with me, so I have to be pro-active and set boundaries.


vivienne's picture
Hi jamic I worry about too

Hi jamic I worry about too any calories also but I have to trust that my body can handle the good! Well done on 4 days of SE!! Im on day 5 now! It's good that you like schedules as SE fits in really well with that!!! Would live to hear how u progress!! All the best! Be kind to yourself!

vivienne's picture
Feeling sooooo extremely

Feeling sooooo extremely disappointed :-( I had a work dinner tonight and I thought that I could choose a 'non safe' food off the menu as I wanted to try and test out the idea of “having two fun foods every day” and it was a huge mistake!!! After 4 and 1/2 days of SE I had a lapse tonight and ended up b/ping after dinner. I just couldn’t sit with the feeling of knowing what I had eaten for dinner!!! As soon as I had eaten it the urge to turn it into a full blown binge just completely took over!!! So it wasn’t that I was hungry as I had been eating every 3 hours and not restricting but as soon as I ate something that I wasn’t comfortable with, my mind just went crazy and that mentality of “well I’ve blown it now so I might as well eat all my ‘bad’ foods now and start again tomorrow” just took over. I just don’t know if I will ever be able to eat certain foods without it triggering me into a binge/purge session!!! Feeling so deflated and so ashamed and just want to cry! :-(((((

reese1's picture
hi Vivienne please don't feel

hi Vivienne please don't feel like a failure, you've already made good progress with the 4.5 days so you know you can make it that far. this is just a setback and just means that maybe you're not ready to take on trigger foods. trust me I know the feeling I often go out to eat with friends and drinking is ALWAYS involved so it's hard for me to not bp when I get home. Im not at the point where I can eat trigger foods ad not binge purge when I get home but I do find that if I can eat foods that are safe but I still enjoy (seafood, grilled meats etc) then it's not as hard to not bp. my coach has told me to prepare for these nights by having something to enjoy when I get home (im typically out for a few hour so by the time I get home it's reasonable I can feel a twinge of hunger again), good tea or a small snack or something to sort of still feel like I can treat myself before I go to bed.
in any case please dont come down on yourself (which yes I know we are all very good at but that's why we come on here for support!), just brush yourself off and try try again. let us know how you're doing.


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