Have you found yourself thinking:
Along with this have you been wondering why:
👉 you're binge eating at night or still overall hungry at night even after eating during the day and what the remedies are,
👉 is your binge eating disorder associated with obesity that runs in your family and is binge eating disorder genetic (whether you're at a healthy normal weight, you're skinny or you're overweight)
👉 you feel hungry even when full and even after eating (aka you're not satisfied after a meal) , you never feel full eating healthy and it feel like an insatiable ravenous hunger, not satisfied after eating
👉 what causes binge eating disorder, how does it develop, can it be cured and how is it treated
👉 binge eating disorder vs overeating vs bulimia vs chronic dieting vs disordered eating vs anorexia vs food addiction
...then you're in the right place!
In this post I am answerering this question from a reader:
"I’m 29 , Canadian and work in long term care helping seniors. I’m an aunt, a sister, a friend, a girlfriend. And I’m also Anorexia and Bulimic. Six months ago I put my career on hold to enter a treatment centre. And to be honest it was more of a feeding clinic with very limited therapy or education offered . I’ve suffered for a few years with this, and it all started with “healthy” dieting and exercise. I’m now underweight , but eat upwards of 10000 calories a day In one sitting .then vomit afterwards. Before this I had binge eating disorder I believe. Which I think is genetic. Coming from morbid obese family on both parents . My little brother got gastric bypass last year as he binge ate too I’m having such a difficult time determine when I’m to eat or if I’m just binging because my hunger cues are pretty much non functioning at this point :( I’m under the care of a family doctor who is at a loss of what to do . Medications have not worked. At this point I am trying to allow myself 2000 calories a day give or take of relatively healthy food with odd treats. But am still “hungry” at the end of the night- my binge time. Any advice you could offer , would be deeply appreciated . God bless you for your videos they give me hope :)"
Alright, let's get into it!
Firstly, I would have to question the obesity in your family history.
Because what I see a lot of is people are on low-calorie diets.
People who are what you would call 'obese' are typically on an 800 calorie diet.
Yep, people who are obese often eat the least amount of food!
Obesity CAN occur without eating or overeating.
A lot of obese or overweight people find themselves thinking:
"why am i gaining weight when I'm eating less and working out and I barley eat? I keep gaining weight but I don't eat much and exercise?"
So a lot of these people were, for example, put on Weight Watchers as a kid.
And from there, then perhaps they yo-yo dieted for so long that they’ve raised their set weight point into the obese category.
This happens because they continue to lower their metabolism over time from restrictive eating.
So they binge eat, then go on a diet, lower their metabolism, binge eat, gain weight, and diet again.
So they binge-diet-binge-diet, and they continue to gain weight because their body never feels safe.
Alright back to the question:
“I’m having such a difficult time determining when I’m to eat or if I’m binging because my hunger cues are pretty much not functioning at this point. I’m under the care of a family doctor who was at a loss of what to do. Medications have not worked at this point. I’m trying to allow myself 2,000 calories a day, give or take, of relatively healthy food with odd treats, but I’m still hungry at the end of the night, my binge time. Any advice you could offer would deeply be appreciated. God bless your videos. They give me hope.”
When you say, “I have such a difficult time to determine when I’m to eat or if I’m just binging because my hunger cues are pretty much not functioning at this point,”
... well, that’s the inevitable result of being bulimic and anorexic (as well as being a chronic dieter and restricting calories and food in ANY way not just for people with eating disorders) for so long.
Your body is asking for how much food you need, which is the 10,000 calories plus.
But because you’re vomiting and you’re not keeping that energy in, it keeps your body in starvation mode because it’s asking for that much food, and you’re giving it to it, but then you’re throwing it up.
Or you’re compensating when your body’s asking for that much food because it very well needs it.
Your body needs it for all of the past that you’re coming from, from being bulimic and anorexic to not giving your body the food it needs.
Of course, your hunger cues are going to get messed up.
If you’re trying to determine when and what to eat, it’s to listen to that hunger that says, “Eat 10,000 calories in one sitting.”
That’s how much you need, whether early in the morning, in the middle of the night, again later on in the day, multiple times in the day, etc.
Listen to that hunger at every point and keep it down by:
And by this, eventually, the more you eat, your hunger cues start to function properly.
They’re already functioning because that’s why you’re able to eat 10,000 calories.
So you can sit there and eat 10,000 calories in one sitting.
A normal eater that is not coming from passive restriction or recovered, someone can’t even fathom eating 10,000 calories anymore.
I personally used to eat 10,000 calories in one sitting before I went through a diet recovery process and healed my metabolism and minds response to food.
Now, I couldn’t fathom it.
It would make me so sick.
You can get there too.
Your body balances out, to where your hunger cues are functioning properly.
Currently, it's just that your satiety has lowered, and your hunger cues are raised because that’s what your body needs.
Your body has done that on purpose to allow you to eat as much as it needs and is asking for right now.
As time goes on, the more you listen to this, and you eat those 10,000 calories.
Then you keep it down, and the more you do that, as time goes on, your body starts to sense, “Okay, we’ve got a lot of calories in, we’re starting to feel safer, so let’s start to lower the hunger just a little bit, raise the satiety just a little bit.”
Then slowly, over time, your hunger and weight all goes back to normal and rebalances.
I also want to touch on bulimia because some of you may know this already, but I suffered from bulimia at one point in my disordered eating journey after competing in bikini competitions and going through contest prep.
Now, I also want to mention that bulimia is not just characterized by purging via the mouth.
Bulimia is also considered:
~ with the intent to purge calories ingested and prevent weight gain.
I want to talk about how damaging all forms of bulimia can be on our systems because understanding the real effects on the body is what woke me up to it.
I had to go to cold Turkey to quit bulimia.
I didn’t go back and forth.
One day I was fed up, done with purging via the mouth, and I stopped overnight and didn’t go back.
(although I kept excessively exercising because of the guilt associated with eating at this point)
Some of the side effects and damage that can be done from bulimia are things like:
👉 tooth decay from hydrochloric acid coming up consistently
👉 damage to the esophagus and your throat, and eventaully can cause esophagus cancer
👉 you can also face acid reflux as a consequence because over time, from vomiting, the sphincter, which is the lower esophageal sphincter, acts as that doorway between the stomach and the esophagus that opens to allow stomach contents to move back up into the esophagus.
Over time this gets weakened, and you can start to face uncomfortable chest pain or just the feeling that you’re regurgitating things without even trying.
That constant burn can eat away at your esophagus, and it can lead to bleeding and scarring.
It can even change your voice.
You could develop this hoarse voice because the acidic hydrochloric acid that keeps coming up, which when it shouldn’t, can damage the vocal cords and your throat.
👉 It also can cause dehydration.
The weight loss that comes from purging is not even like fat loss.
It’s often just dehydration and water loss, and an electrolyte imbalance.
Dehydration in itself causes then another host of problems such as kidney damage, confusion, or even loss of consciousness.
Perhaps you've fainted after purging for so long.
👉 This also causes an electrolyte imbalance.
Sodium, chloride, and potassium keep those electrolytes in balance, which are crucial for heart health, kidney health, brain health, and just everything health.
This can even contribute to heart problems or cardiac arrests.
👉 Then obviously, or maybe not obviously, but to me, it can cause intestinal damage or just problems.
👉 If you’re purging with laxatives or diuretics, this can cause constipation because you’ve become dependent on those laxatives.
After all, your small intestine, large intestine, it’s made out of muscle tissue.
So when it’s constantly just being pushed through, and they don’t have to do their job, and they’re weakened from the malnourishment, then they just become weak, and so they’re not able to function on their own.
Then you become constipated, and it’s hard for you to get off of them.
But like I’ve talked about in other posts, I show you how to get off of enema dependency, laxative dependency, and all of that because I was able to do that, too.
So these are just some of the side effects of bulimia and purging.
*This article doesn’t go into exercise purging, but I’ve talked about that and so much in other youtube videos as well as my book Damn the Diets.
You can watch those about the stress that is caused by purging via exercise on the body.
The recovery process from exercise abuse could be one of the most painful joint pains, swelling type recoveries coming from exercise abuse.
I hope this has helped clear up some things about the detriment on your body from bulimia.
Knowing this helped to be a wake-up call for myself that it just wasn’t worth it anymore, just wasn’t worth it.
I’m not a doctor, I am a Holistic Nutritionist, but I’m not going to go against what your doctor is saying.
Still, unfortunately, there’s not a lot of understanding in the medical community on the effects of starvation on the body in particular and how semi-starvation (from dieting) influences bulimia behaviors.
There are studies done, but these aren’t taught.
It’s really unfortunate, and that’s why so many people struggle today without knowing what's really going on.
There’s not enough education on starvation and what the body has to do as a result of starvation to heal.
That is, you’re going to eat a lot of food, you’re going to gain some weight, and you rest completely from exercise.
What’s going to work is eating all the food you’ve been trying to eat but keeping it down.
That’s what’s going to work—eating those 10,000 calories, keeping it down.
Do not vomit.
Do not "burn it off" after with exercise.
Do everything that you can in your power to not allow yourself to purge because you have to convince yourself that you need this because you do.
You need all of those calories.
You need them desperately for your survival.
If you ever want to overcome this, you’re going to have to eat all those calories, and you’re going to have to keep them down, and you can’t compensate, and you can’t burn them off or get rid of them with laxatives.
At this point, you’re “only trying to allow yourself 2,000 calories a day with healthy food and odd treats.”
But, see, that’s still restriction, you’re still restricting.
You can eat 10,000 calories in one sitting, but you’re only allowing yourself 2,000 calories.
This is a huge problem, and this is why you continue to binge eat because you’re not giving your body exactly what it’s asking for.
Right now, 2,000 calories, not even the minimum guidelines, Mini-Maud minimum guidelines of 2,500 calories.
That’s a minimum.
A minimum, not a maximum.
You should be going for what your body’s asking for, and that is the 10,000 calories a day.
(If this causes a lot of fears, that's exactly what my program "Find Your Balance" is for, to help walk you to successfully go through the process and overcome the fears step-by-step)
And if you’re still restricting, thinking of healthy foods vs unhealthy treats, this will only make you feel more obsessed around food - not free, not at peace.
Instead, all food right now has to be on a neutral playing ground - the bagel and cream cheese, the brownie, that ice cream, the donuts, the pizza, the burgers, the rice, the chicken, the dairy, the eggs, the yogurt, the fruit, the potatoes, the french fries, everything.
Everything is the same.
That is if you want freedom from this.
There can’t be this good and bad list, or else that food will always have this control over you because the more you try to control food, the more that the food controls you and continues to be ever consuming, all-consuming.
That’s all you can think about is food, food, food, food, eat, eat, eat.
You want to get over that—the only way to overcome that is like I talk about so much.
Many of you guys are probably sick of me talking about this, but the only way out of this is to eat all of the foods, and then eventually, they lose their novelty.
For example, peanut butter, I used to have a jar of peanut butter every single day.
I would spoon it out of the jar and amongst all the other food I was eating, like loaves of bread.
I would have that every single day for months and months.
Now, peanut butter often repulses me.
It always did as a kid, but I could have peanut butter.
Sometimes I might want peanut butter, but now it’s just, Nah.
I’d rather have a bagel and cream cheese or butter on my toast.
But at one point after heavily restricting, peanut butter was all-consuming.
It was like crack cocaine for me in the beginning.
And it wasn’t because I developed a food addiction to or habit of overeating on peanut butter..
It was simply that my body desperately needed the fats and the proteins in that, and it needed the nut butter, not just peanuts, but the processed form, the peanut butter, because it was easily digestible.
It was already pureed and processed for my body to digest that easily.
At one point, after months and months of eating a jar of peanut butter every day, it slowly lost its novelty, and I still liked the peanut butter.
It’s just a whole different experience now.
How it used to feel:
“Oh my gosh, peanut butter, that’s my crack.”
How it feels now:
“Meh, peanut butter, pizza, fruit, salad, burgers, rice, and chicken. Eh, they're all the same to me now."
So that’s the point that you want to get to too.
But you can’t get there by limiting yourself, by only allowing yourself to have 2000 calories a day or even 3,500 calories a day when your body’s asking for 10,000—or only having predominantly healthy food and just a couple of treats here and there.
You have to let go completely.
Remember that the people that recover the quickest and most efficiently are those people that let go the quickest.
They let go of exercise completely.
They let go and given to all their restrictions as quickly as they could.
It’s not a race.
However, some people do have to go slower, and maybe one week they focus on one or two fear foods and then the next week they introduce another fear of food and then the week after that.
It’s a slower process for some people, but it’s still constantly focusing on where you can challenge yourself to take you to the next level.
So rather than saying, “Okay, I’m going to challenge myself here and then stay safe there for a long time. Then maybe I’ll get enough power to challenge myself once more, and then I’ll get really safe there.”
(This is similar to the reverse dieting approach to recovery, where you slowly add in a hundred calories once a week/month. That’s going to prolong your recovery for so long. AND it's going to feel mega torturous)
But that’s probably why you have the nighttime eating or nighttime binge time is because you’re only allowing yourself to eat the bare minimum calories during the day.
That’s why your body’s like, “Oh my gosh, we got to make up for all the calories that we missed throughout the day.”
Because if you could, I’m sure you would probably eat the 10,000 calories in the morning, but you’re not allowing yourself to do that.
Therefore by nighttime, you’re just ravenous.
So I would suggest focusing on eating more food throughout the day.
Then even if you’re still hungry at night, that means that your body needs all of that.
Some people don’t even have their hunger or extreme hunger.
Your hunger cues are working, and that extreme hunger is from your body is a sign that you need to be eating more.
Even just the mental hunger, just constantly thinking about food.
That means you need to eat.
If you see something that you want, eat it.
None of these replacing type behaviors such as: "I want the Brownie, but I should have the apple."
No, eat the brownie because you’re going to eat the apple in an attempt to compromise, and then you’re going to have a protein bar, and then you’re going to end up eating the brownie anyway, typically.
So then, if you would’ve just ate the brownie first you wouldn't have eaten more than your body even wanted in the first place.
You could've eaten the brownies and moved on.
I used to think that because I had obesity within my family, I thought that I just had the obesity gene as well and that I thought that I was doomed to a life with this bottomless-pit-type hunger forever.
Through recovery, I found out that that was just a lie.
It was just because I was restricting myself for a lot of my life, and so that’s why I was just constantly hungry, always hungry.
And the same goes for my family - most of my family (even the obese ones) had an ongoing history of restrictive eating, body shaming and guilt around eating!
If you really have given a full chance and you allow your body to do what it’s designed to do, then you’re going to find that that’s this all is the case for you as well.
It’s not that you have binge eating disorder, it’s that you’ve been restricting yourself, vomiting the calories that you do eat.
Probably, I don’t know if you over-exercise, but if you do that too, all of those take away from the energy that you need.
It doesn’t create binge eating disorder.
It just means that binge eating is healthy for you.
We have this misconception of binge eating, but binge eating will be the healthiest thing for you right now.
Don’t fear the binge.
Give into the binge.
Embrace the binge, listen to the binge.
I know there’s a lot of fear around binge-eating, but this is what gets you recovered.
When you have "an urge to eat/binge"
...Go eat, damnit!!! 😜
mhmmm I went there... ;)
I hope that this has helped clear things up and helps!
To your freedom and quality of life,
P.S. I’m hosting a free masterclass specifically for people who want to stop feeling obsessed around food and truly heal their metabolism, and you’re invited! Click here to sign up.