Friday 19 April 2024

Things I learnt to control bingeing (March 2024)


Problem

Since Christmas, I have had trouble with bingeing when ever I tried to restrict my intake.  I would be OK for a few days, but then binge.  As a result, I was not losing weight gained over Christmas.

Research

I did a few online searches and spoke to people in similar situations to get advice.  I also read books in the library about how to stop bingeing.  Although the books were aimed at those with bulimia, I still found the content useful. 

Solution

The books on bulimia were clean in stating that a normal eating pattern of 3 meals a day and snacks was the way to go, but obviously this was too much for me.  Bearing in mind that I just want to get back to 50 kg by summer, I used an app called Pigly to calculate the daily calorie intake to achieve my goal.  This worked out to about 850 calories per day.  Using this information and the advice from the bulimia books, I decided to try 2 meals a day, breakfast, and dinner with no snacks.  I then make an accountability chart based on this information and information I had previously read about zigzagging, the process of eating different calories amounts in the week to shake things up a bit, see figure 1. 

Finished diet plan to take me up to Pentecost.

Figure 1, weight loss plan.

Please note that this plan only goes up until Pentecost.  The first day of summer is on the 20th of June.  This is just the first part of the plan; as for the rest, I will reevaluate after Pentecost.  

Result

So far, I have not binged and this plan of two meals a day at <800 cals is working well, but it has been hard to not snack; sometimes I did snake, but only on cabbage or carrot.  I also worked in two days of fun where I allowed for drinking alcohol.  These days are St George's Day and Pentecost.  

What I learned

  • I can lose weight on 2mad
  • Min cal restriction is working at preventing a binge
  • Zigzagging makes dinner time more fun and stops weight loss from stooling. 

Resources 

Friday 5 April 2024

When faced with disaster, fight back!

By M Parker

Last night I found a bag of dates. I ate a lot of them, resulting in me gaining weight this morning. Fortunately, the weight gain was only 300 g; however, this has affected my daily intake I require to reach my ultimate goal weight (ugw) by summer. See figure 1.

New intake calculation from Pigly.

Figure 1, New calculation gives 720 calories a day.

My options

  • I stick to the new calories count
  • I reduce the calories even more in order to catch up
  • I exercise a lot more to burn extra calories
  • I do a combination of reducing calories and working out.


The last option sounds like the best.  If I reduce the calories too much, I run the risk of starting a binge cycle.  Doing a lot more exercise is likely to create excessive hunger, which I then have to deal with. With this in mind, a small reduction in calories and a little extra exercise sounds like the best way to go.

Risk Assessments

Risk of overeating.  The problem here is feeling hungry, so I can use:

  • Vinegar trick, sipping a small amount of vinegar to take away hunger.
  • Ground cinnamon trick, to take away hunger.
  • Ground ginger trick, to take away the hunger.
  • Distraction by doing housework, which will also burn calories.

For now, I think that sticking with 2mad is best, along with the revised plan of limiting calories to 700 a day and extra exercise to burn an extra 100 calories at least. 

 

Conclusion

I screwed up, but I can still rescue the plan. Burn 100 extra calories a day and reduce intake by 100 calories a day in conjunction with the revised risk assessments should get me back on track. Once, I am back on track, I can increase the calories back up to <800 per day and drop the extra exercise.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

The ABC Diet

 

 

By M Parker

What is the ABC diet?

ABC stands for Ana Boot Camp.  This diet usually lasts for 50 days. 

How to do the ABC diet

The idea of this diet is very simple.  Once you get to 800 cals you must fast the next day.  For example:

Monday: 350 cals

Tuesday: 100 cals

Wednesday: 250 cals

Thursday: 100 cals 

Friday: fast

The fasting day is a water fast, so cals should be 0 for the whole day. Once that day is complete, cals are reset and you start again.  There is no set rule for the amount of cals you consume in a day, although many anorectics will state that you can't consume all the cals in one day and fast the next. If you do, this just ends up being an intermittent fast.   

In addition, I have seen planned out diets for the entire 50 days, see image below.  This planned out diet has different rules and is the one I ended up following.



My experience of the ABC diet 

Surprisingly, I found the first 25 days pretty easy.  What's more, after a while I stopped feeling hungry and seemed to have more energy. Once the sugar craving stopped, it was so much easier to control my hunger. However, I then started to get headaches, which I think could be down to the sugar withdrawal.

How difficult was it?

Ironically, the fast days seemed to be easier than the low colouring days. I found that eating little resulted in tortuous hunger for hours after. The first week was not as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, it was easy. The second week was not too bad either as long as I kept occupied. 

How much weight did I lose?

After 4 weeks, I lost a surprising amount of weight. The weight loss was steady and at one point I seemed to put on weight.  I put this down to food weight, the weigh of food eaten after fasting and not much food is in gut.  However, weight loss quickly restarted. 

At this stage, weight was 51.2 kg, BMI 17.3.

Baring in mind, I still had 3 weeks to go at this point I began to worry about losing too much weight or worst still putting it all back on again! For this reason, I started looking at suitable diets to ease me back into normal eating patterns.  This led me to the get worse diet that if I did in reverse might be the answer I was looking for with a few alterations. 


Unfortunately, I ended up with a disastrous last few days.  This resulted in my final weight loss being only 8.1 kg.  In addition, I quickly returned to regular eating patterns and volumes.  I must admit, this led me to feeling fat, awkward and uncomfortable.  As a result, i increased my workouts and even thought about reintroducing running to get the weight back down.  I really didn't want to lose the progress I have made in the last 50 days.

What did I learn from the experience?

Chiefly, I learnt that sugar will lead me to eat more. As a result, I learned to live without sugar in my tea and coffee and only adding a teaspoon in a coffee if I felt particularly weak after weeks of extremely low calories. Notably, sugar was not the only food I gave up: bread I also learnt to give up.  Being someone who is concerned about gut health and nutrition, I learnt about probiotics and prebiotics.  Furthermore, I rediscovered the joy of simple unprocessed foods and living without condiments.  

Another important lesson I learnt was how I felt better in myself during the first 25 days. Not only did I seem to have more energy, my gut seemed better in that I had a lot less pain, bloating, and wind. This led me to look again at FODMAP foods, an acronym for carbohydrates in our food, and to make more notes about whether the food I just ate was high in FODMAPs.  From this, I noticed I seem to react to polyols, alcohol sugars that are not alcohol. Polyols are the P in FODMAP and are mainly in foods sweetened with sugar alternatives. Notably, they are also in some vegetables, including cauliflower.  Cauliflower can give me gas, but the sweeteners result in pain, bloating, and smelly gas!

What did I eat?

Except for the first few days, I excluded any and all processed foods such as mock meats.  My diet consisted of vegetables and little else.  If you are really interested in what I actually ate, this playlist will explain all. Click the link below.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_qTmL-WzStiYJJXOaEd4tznkHONNeKJC&si=-vVPWZCcTDhewcNv

I quickly learnt to drink more water to avoid feeling ill, and it seemed to reduce food cravings. I learnt from the books in the library that food contains a lot of water, so when fasting or reducing food intake, it is sensible to drink more water.  I also leant to avoid sugar, which also help end the food craving.

What would I do differently?

On two dates during the diet, I realised I had little calories for the celebration days: Halloween and Bonfire night. Next time, I will plan to avoid celebration days that I don't want to miss. In addition, as the weather became colder, water fasting days became harder because only drinking water made me feel so cold!



Wednesday 9 August 2023

Why diet to extremes?

By Mike Parker

Sometimes people ask me why I do it as if it is a choice.

It's not to be frail

It's not to be tiny

It's not to be like a child

It's not to punish myself

It's not to punish anyone else

It's not to be noticed

It's not a cry for help

I like the feeling of lightness

I like the feeling of goodness

I like the way everything slows down

I like the way my mind stops thinking

I like being thin

I feel we must consider control and how we learn a lot of behaviours from people around us.  In addition, there is genetics, although the evidence comes from mice and there is the way the hunger blots out all other thoughts.  For instance, Maslow, if we have a need that is not being meet and it gets to a critical stage, we can't think about anything else. In other words, restriction becomes like a shield holding back reality and creates a safe zone to function. Somewhat like a divergent reality.

For many it is a coping mechanism in response to the question: what do I with my life?  Once this question is pondered, people either tell themselves: I'm going to do this, insert the dream, or if they can't find a suitable answer, they panic. They then catastrophise, people won't like me because of x, y and z, and build a wall to shield them from unmanageable levels of distress. 

However, I'm not always consciously looking to be thin.  Sometimes, I just want to avoid foods that are unsafe.  I want to avoid greasy skin, so I avoid greasy food.  


Friday 14 July 2023

How to stop binge eating


By M Parker

Have you ever just started to eat and then felt that you lost control and engaged in some sort of eating frenzy only to realise what you have done sometime later?  Did you feel disgusted with yourself and maybe even attempt to compensate for your actions? 
If you have, could it be that you have an eating disorder?

Why do we binge eat?  What is binge eating definitions?  How do we stop?  What we need is a plan for dealing with difficult times.  I will not cover studies for eating disorders, neither is this a diagnostic tool nor a replacement for therapy.  
Instead of coming up with a plan for you, I will show you how to make a plan for yourself.  With this in mind, I will define binge eating, show you how to identify key danger times and discover alternative actions to bingeing.  This post is for people struggling with binge eating - This can include anyone with an eating disorder that involves binge eating. 

What is binge eating?

Have you ever felt so hungry that you could almost eat anything?  Well, a binge is when someone eats a large amount of food in the space of a few hours.  The person may shove the food in without chewing it properly.  It might start with just a bowl of cereal and then turn into two or three bowls followed by eat chocolate cake and prepackaged sandwiches, crisps, and pizza.  OK, so this is just an example, but it gives you an idea of what it is like.  The binge is likely to cover all the food groups: carbohydrates, protein and fat, but the volume of food is huge in a small space of time and can be as much or even more than 6,000 calories!  Some people will eat food they found in the bin or off the floor.

Types of binge

Objective, this is sometimes known as a true binge. These usually consist of bulk foods which are filling, high in calories, easy to make and easy to eat such as fear foods, foods people regard as fattening and which they are attempting to exclude from their diet.


Subjective, consists of a smaller amount of food consumed, but the person feels out of control and eats when they don't want to or planned to. 


Overeating, this is just eating a little more than expected and the person knows what they are doing. 


Who binge eats?

Anyone can binge eat; however, it is typically associated with an eating disorder. Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) will involve bingeing.  There is even a type of Anorexia Nervosa called AN subtype binge/purge.


Why do people binge eat?


People will binge eat for many reasons, but once people get into a binge/purge cycle, it becomes difficult to break out of that cycle. 

Figure 1, the binge cycle

The problem is that strict dieting and fasting directly leads to binge eating.  Although everyone is an individual, most people's bodies will rebel at going without food for long periods of time, causing them to binge eat.  If this happens to you, you then feel guilty and ashamed and attempt to restrict again, which inevitably leads to another binge.  Once you realise your type of dieting is leading you to binge, you stop that diet and try a different tactic.  However, some people keep making the same mistake over and over again because they look at people with AN and think they should be able to do the same. This thinking is flawed because unless you have anorexia, you will never be able to restrict food in the same way; you're just setting yourself up to fail if you try.

How to stop binge eating

In order to stop binge eating, you will need a plan made specifically for you that will in reality need to include a proper meal plan.  Everyone is an individual, and so what works for one person will not work for another.  First, let’s spend a bit of time thinking about the following.

Alternatives to bingeing

This is going to be what you do instead of bingeing.  Try to choose things that you like doing and that you will likely do, rather than something that you are unlikely to do or don't like doing.  Spend time thinking about your list and critically evaluate it for each item and how likely it is to work for different situations.

Danger times and places.

Spend a little while thinking about when you feel more tempted than others.  Many people report feeling more tempted at certain times such as just after eating something, late in the evening and when alone.

Likewise, think about where you were when the binge has happened before.  Usually a binge is done in secret and some report using their car as a place to binge.  People will buy lots of food and eat it in the car because it is easy to keep out of sight from family and friends; they buy food and then binge in the store car park.

Once you have identified the key danger times for you and where you might binge, you can get to work on building an intervention plan.

Coming up with a plan that suits you.

Now we have looked a little at what binge eating is and where it is likely to take place, we can think about creating an action plan.

Look at your list of alternative to bingeing and see what is most appropriate for each of your danger times.

Look at the graph below and examine the stages as hunger increases. Note the graph peaks at crisis point, which is a binge taking place.

Figure 2, hunger esculation.

As time goes by, our hunger increases and at some point we recognise hunger indicated by the labels on the left of the curve in the graph. Just before and after can seem surreal with many reporting feeling an out-of-body experience and everyone reporting feeling out of control like they are watching helplessly.

Let's look at this graph again, but this time we will put in some alternative, which should be implemented at each stage. 

Hunger chart with intervention points.
Figure 3, thinking about alternatives

Since everyone is different, the alternatives to bingeing will be different although some tactics might be common if they work for most people. For that reason, we must now examine how to choose alternatives that suit you.  In order to do that, I will show you how I selected my tactics.  

This is my list of alternative actions to bingeing.  You will have to come up with your own list that suits you.

First signs: feeling hungry

At this stage, it is usually easy to continue with what I’m doing and put the feelings of hunger out of my mind.

Feeling distracted

At this point, I realise I need to do something.

  • Drink water
  • Drink tea
  • Remind myself why I’m not eating
Let's look at the last one in the above list in more detail: remind myself why I’m not eating.  This is not as obvious as it might seem. For instance, you might think that is about looking and being thinner, but it is not as simple as that.  For many, it is about control and for others it might be about managing feelings as well.  Many people with anorexia state feeling better or free from worry when starving. Now look at the diagram below.

Figure 4, what if I binge?

It has been noted that bingeing is an attempt to push down feelings that we don't want to deal with. What ever the reason the result is the same: difficult feelings, which leads to more countermeasures.

However, you will have to make your own list and spend time thinking about how practical your alternative are at different times and locations.  For example, let's go back to the first to items on my list: drink water and drink tea.  Given the location, these might not be practical.  What if I'm out on my in town?  If I get a drink in town the place I get it from will have food too and the temptation might be too much. If I'm at a friend's, the fact that I'm drinking large amounts of water could invite unwanted questioning.  Even if I'm at home and I drink tea, there is the temptation to add sugar.

Besieged by ideas of food

  • Eat a small amount of ground ginger or/and cinnamon
  • Brush teeth
  • Have a shower
  • Look at thinspo
  • Workout out
  • Go for a walk
  • Go out on my bike
  • Play a game
  • Drink water
  • Drink tea

Again, not all the items on my list are going to be suitable in or circumstances. For instance, brushing teeth or taking a shower are not possible if I'm away from home.  However, if I am in town, I'm less likely to binge because I have nowhere to eat in secret and I leave my bank card at home so I can't buy fast food. 

Just before a binge

By this stage, It seems too late to use an alternative. My hunger has already begun to take over and is giving me the idea that it will just be one sandwich or one bowl of cereal, which inevitably opens the door to a full on eating frenzy!  My mind is full of feelings of entitlement to food.  All I can do is try to think about healthy options such as bingeing of fruit and sandwiches rather than chocolate, cake, biscuits and ice-cream. 

With this in mind, we can see that just before a binge, deciding on what and where to eat is being made.  Since I know I will not be able to stop the binge, I decide on healthy food and an appropriate place to eat.  For myself at least, being at home is the most likely place i will binge.  I'm alone and have access to food and money. I also, however, have greater access to counter binge tactics and I can choose to get out of the house taking me away from the food and money until it feels safe to return home.

Last ditch attempt to avoid a binge:

  • Sip malt vinegar
  • Think about my progress and how I would feel if I gave in
  • Sniff water from the toilet cistern 

If a binge is going to happen:

  • Choose healthy foods such as fruit, veg, and wholefoods.
  • Choose to sit at a table
  • Choose to eat slowly

The wisdom of a regular meal plan

Yes, this does involve eating 3 times a day!  Wait!  Hear me out.  If you are caught in a binge cycle, it is because your fasting is not working for you. 

This is a meal plan:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch 
  • Dinner
  • Plus 2 snacks 

Yes, that's it!  Now decide on cals per meal, which needs to be between 500 and 600 cals per meal. As long as you keep under 2000 cals per day and do exercise, you will lose weight.  This works because if you are not anorexic, you we just not be able to go for long periods of time on low calorie intake or fasting for days. If a doctor has told you that you are anorexic, this meal plan can seem terrifying, and you will need support that goes beyond the scope of this post.

Obviously, you will need to think about your dietary needs, such as are you allergic to anything?  Do you have IBS? Have you been told by a doctor to eat gluten free foods? For the rest of us, the rainbow diet is a great diet to follow.  Without going into detail, the diet calls for eating whole foods and a full range of fruit and veg.  In addition, eating more roughage/fibre will keep you feeling full for longer and supports a healthy bowel.

At this point, I want to point out that I have AN subtype restrictive, which means that I can and will go for long periods of time with very little food.  This is not because I'm super human and you are not, it is because the very idea of putting on weight or losing control terrifies me to the point that I physically can't eat.  Let me explain, in psychology there is the thing called fight or flight, which is a part of the fear response.  Basically, the body gets ready to either fight or run like a bat at of hell from the perceived danger. 

Appetite suppressants that I actually use

  • Malt vinegar (sip this slowly or it will likely choke you, so be careful!)
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Drink tea or coffee 

On the whole, I find drinking a lot of water throughout the day is essential. 

Alternative activities I find actually work 

Since hunger cravings come and go and last about 5 – 20 minutes, the trick is to find activities that either involve your mouth or take 5 – 20 minutes and are engaging enough to take your mind off eating.

  • 
Brush teeth
  • Playing an interesting video game
  • Go for a walk or bike ride (light exercise, or I will be even more hungry when I get back and will likely talk myself in to eating something because I think I earned it.)
  • Pray the rosary
  • Try to learn something new, even if it means rope learning, the process of repeating something again and again until it can be recalled at will.


To conclude, if you are bingeing, it is a sign that your weight loss tactics are not working.  Fasting and very low calorie intake will lead to a binge eating cycle of more or less everyone, with this in mind spreading calories at regular meal times such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snacks will stop the bingeing.  Eating healthier foods such as wholefoods, fibre, fruit, and vegetables, keeping to the daily calorie intake and getting regular exercise will help you lose weight at a steady pace. In addition, it will prevent bingeing allowing you to escape this cycle of self destruction.

Bibliograghy

Dr Fairbon C.G (1995) 'Overcoming binge eating' [Book] 2nd ed, The Guiford Press. (Accessed on 20/06/23)

Prof Hubert Lacey J, Craggs-Hinton C, Robinson K (2007) 'Overcoming Anorexia', [Book] Sheldon Press. (Accessed on 01/07/23)


Wednesday 24 May 2023

Soup Fast

 

This week, the week leading up to Pentecost, a Christian festival, I have decided to omad, one meal a day, on soup.  I have done this before, so I know what to expect.  I hate being of normal weight.  This week I plan to lose 4 kg through fasting and working out.   I can't describe the feelings I have around my weight.  It just feels logical to lose more and feel the reward in my mind for the achievement.  

Ana has been with me all day again today helping me plan out the soup.  She wants it with very few ingredients, so I will use butternut squash, red lentils, an onion, and spices.

Monday

It's the first day and I have done well.  No major craving, but I did drink a lot of tea.  Workouts were OK. 

  • Workout complete
  • Ride out on bike complete
  • Fasting complete

Tuesday

Still easy, not much in the way of rebellion from my stomach. In fact, hunger usually starts in the mouth.  My stomach complains when I eat too much.  Made a batch of soup from the rest of the week.

  • Workout complete
  • Ride out on bike complete
  • Fasting complete

Wednesday

Although I did a longer workout and an extra workout, my hunger remained manageable throughout the day. My omad was butternut squash with red lentil soup. I enjoyed this light soup; because, although it is filling, it was not heavy or bloating. 

I seemed to have a lot more energy today.  I was really going some on that bike!

While body checking, I became distressed at the fat around my waist.  Not only that, my weight is not coming down as much or as fast as I had hoped.  I might have to workout more and eat less. 

  • Workout complete x extra
  • Ride out on bike complete x extra
  • Fasting complete

Thursday

Today I have woken up early and feel a little hungry.  Not only that, I feel drained and torn between wanting to workout and rest. My eyes sting.  To complicate matters, I can't stop thinking about food and have started to plan my next batch of soup.  After Sunday, I plan to make vegan egg mayonnaises using tofu and vegan mayo.  Following this I plan to go back to a soup fast where I intend to have homemade cheese and broccoli soup.  

Despite feeling drained today, I still got out and put a good workout in.  While in the supermarket, I felt light and shaky, and I noticed only people and their bodies.  It was like I was comparing myself to everyone.  I noticed a few very thin shoppers and thought they must be pleased with themselves.  On the way home, I felt energised and really pushed those peddles on my bike hard.  I felt so free!

  • Workout complete + extra
  • Ride out on bike complete
  • Fasting complete

Friday and Saturday

 I was busy on Friday, so I added together with Saturday.  I was out on my bike pretty much all the time over the two days. The fast went well, and I completed it without too much trouble. Lost just over a kilo, which is not that much.  After Pentecost, I'm definitely doing more of this.  I will have to use up some food in the house, and then it is on with the soup fast. 

  • Workout complete + extra
  • Ride out on bike complete + extra
  • Fasting complete


 

 

 

Sunday 2 April 2023

Two Days A Week Fasting

By Mike Parker

Recently, I read in a book that I could lose weight and not muscle by fasting two days a week.  I decided to put these to the test.  However, the first week didn't seem to go that well and eating three meals a day the rest of the week was hard.  If I eat, I tend to eat more and more.  If I starve, It seems to be much easier.