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I CURED MYSELF – EVERYONE SHOULD READ

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I CURED MYSELF – EVERYONE SHOULD READ

Postby Happy_go_Lucky » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:20 pm

Hi guys this is my first entry on this, although I could let this phase of my life disappear forever, before I do I want everyone to know how I successfully beat the binges. I want to do this because I know how soul-destroying it is trying to deal with binge eating, and I would have done anything to have known the information I now do.
I have never really been overweight, in fact I’ve always been physically fit through playing sports, I have always taken pride in my appearance, been very sociable and have worked hard to achieve a good engineering degree. Sounds like I had it all, right? Well being a perfectionist is a double edged sword, and the downside was it turned me into a binge eater.
Although I cant remember my first real binge, I know that it started when I was about 18 and a half years old, by that age I had moved out and was in a high pressure, time consuming training course, involving full time university study and full time work placement.
I first noticed that something was wrong with my eating as the way I ate started to change, and this change affected my life. I was living away from home and renting a place of my own, I was effectively my own boss with regard to what I ate.
Priding myself on being slim and physically fit all my life, I strived to keep it that way. Although, pressure, stress and no time for exercise resulted in weight gain. To counteract this, I started to really control what I was eating, which with hindsight is where it all began.
Living on my own, meant that no one could see my eating. One of the features of binge eating is the secrecy of it. I never binged in front of anyone else, never. During a binge I would eat a simply mind-blowing amount of food, I once wrote down all the things I ate in one binge (which lasted about 30 mins) and it really shocked me. Chocolate bar after chocolate bar, each taking just seconds to eat, thinking about the next piece of food before I had even finished the piece I was stuffing into my mouth. I had a list of about 30 items of food. And rather frighteningly that particular binge wouldn’t have even made the top 20 all time binges! My binges started occurring once every month, but at its worst it became once every day.
After completing my training course and graduating, I decided to ‘take some time out before becoming a full employee’. Although the truth was I had to sort myself out. By the time I completed my studies; the eating disorder has manifested itself and was dominating my life. It turned me from the heart and soul of the party, to a complete recluse. I moved back home and I refused to go out until I was ‘normal’ again.
I was a full stone heavier than the once sleek, fit guy I was before it took over me, with time on my hands I set out to lose the weight, making full use of my sporting roots. I would exercise all week and eat the bare minimum……..and then devastatingly binge, and then exercise all week, eat the bare minimum and binge again etc etc, it was a soul-destroying cycle, and even with all the exercise I was ending up putting on even more weight! I couldn’t get out of the cycle and it persisted for months, still refusing to go out until I had conquered it, it drove me to a near breakdown.
My parents noticed a big change in me, that I was always opting to stay in, and acting very depressed. Eventually I confessed all to my mum, the day after a top-10 binge, but of course she didn’t understand. She took on board what I told her but didn’t give it the respect it deserved. She saw that binging was just a small part of my life, but the reality was that my life was a just a small part of binging, it was bigger than me. I think it was because I was an expert binge eater, a stealth, and I didn’t look as if I was overweight, but my weight was only controlled by the binge-starve cycle.
After another binge a few days later my mum saw how it affected me, and booked an appointment with the doctors.
This forced me to get my act together. I started to use my qualities to my advantage. Without sounding arrogant, I have always been an intelligent person, I excelled at school and university as well as excelling in sports and partying lol (my perfectionism again!). Being an engineer I am an extremely logical person, I decided to use this logic to study and analyse myself and see if I could ‘cure’ myself from the disorder.
I started by keeping a diary of daily events, what did I do that day? Did I exercise? How do I feel? Bad skin day? Bad hair day? Lol, stress levels? Did I skip meals etc etc. and of course, did I binge that day?
Within 2 months I had enough data on myself to start analysing. I binged about 6 or 7 times in that time, but these binges were so important, it was crucial to study these days and work out where things went wrong, and to find those all important binge triggers.
Two or three triggers hit me instantly; I noticed that nearly all of my binges started on the same day of the week. I also noticed that I was more likely to binge the day after another binge. I noticed that on the days I exercised I didn’t binge. After completely studying myself, I discovered 10 clear cut triggers, which I am quite happy to list, of course everyone has their own triggers but theses were mine:

• A weekend (I was most likely to binge on a weekend)
• Exercise (I was more likely to binge if I hadn’t exercised)
• My outlook (If I felt good I wouldn’t binge)
• My skin (If I woke up to find a blemish on my skin I was more likely to binge)
• Being alone (I never binged unless I was on my own)
• Food (You can’t binge unless food is available)
• Stress (I found that stress caused me to binge)
• Binge the day before (If I did binge the day before, my chances of a binge were increased the next day)
• Time and boredom (being a temporary recluse gave me unwanted time to think about food and dieting, which isn’t good!)
• Skipping meals (I found that if I skipped one of my three meals then this could cause a binge)

Armed with all this information you can then set out to tackle the causes of binges and prevent them from happening, rather than trying to deal with a binge, because I’m sure you all know once you are in a binge, you can’t stop. This way you can avoid reaching that stage altogether.

I worked out that 7 was my magic threshold number, when 7 or more of my 10 triggers were present (assuming each has equal magnitude) a binge was imminent. I created a simple spreadsheet with the days of the week in the first column then the next 10 columns headed with each trigger. The 11th column recorded the total triggers for that day. If the trigger is present, for example if I was under stress I would put a ‘1’ in that trigger box for that day. If I wasn’t stressed then I would put a ‘0’ in the box. I set the spreadsheet up so that the 11th column summed up the number of triggers present in that day. I then programmed the 12th column to display ‘BINGE ALERT’ if the value equalled 7 or more and ‘NO BINGE’ if the value was 6 or less. This way I started to manage my eating disorder by tacking the problems that were causing it.
I know that I am aiming for zero triggers in any given day, and that if I go over 7 then I am in danger of binging, but once you understand why you’ve reached that stage you can stop a binge. You can forecast and foresee a binge by entering a particular scenario into the spreadsheet and see if it would results in a binge, and if so you can put measures in place to reduce the numbers of triggers by targeting the ‘1s’.
It is possible to counteract pretty much every trigger I have listed above, for example, don’t skip meals; get rid of boredom and time by taking up a new hobby; exercise; distress by learning relaxation techniques and enjoy yourself more; socialise; don’t keep stacks of junk food in the cupboards, which could tempt or allow a binge to develop; try to make sure your not alone (if you’re on binge alert).
You will start to see it is possible to manage this disorder and eventually free yourself like me. I targeted my triggers, I now play football every weekend and make sure I enjoy my weekends with friends (the time I was previously in most danger). I’ve been in control for so long through using my spreadsheet, that I have naturally adjusted and no longer need it. I broke the cycle, I eat healthily and exercise moderately, and naturally I lost that extra stone (it took longer than I originally hoped, but I did it properly, you cannot crash diet and expect not to binge). I’ve now got my life back, I’ll never forget that first night out again with all my friends, I was back to my old self, and I don’t just mean weight-wise, but more importantly by far and a way, I was binge free! It’s such a relief, and anyone can do it, believe me, you have no idea what happiness awaits you when you are binge free. I no longer think about food, I have my three full nutritious meals a day and lead an active and fun lifestyle and my body and mind has returned to its normal pattern. And you know what, life can be so so good. No one binges for no reason, look at yourself, find your triggers and address them and that happiness you deserve so much will be waiting for you. I believed in myself and I believe in all of you, you CAN do it, but it will take time! I hope you wonderful people out there can take on board what I have said, and use it to your advantage. I have all the time in the world for you, and the greatest respect, from a former binge eater. Just always hold on to that self belief, you have the power.
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Postby penelope13 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:33 pm

That is amazing!!!
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Postby dubdoll » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:35 am

Wow, congratulations! That's really inspiring.

I admit havent read many books on battling binge eating, but that is the best-described method I have ever come across. I can really relate to your story as well - I'm even an engineer!


Thanks for the advice - it's so good of you to share your experiences to help us all.

dd
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Postby bluemonday » Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:42 pm

Hiya

Thanks for taking the trouble to write that post. It really is inspirational and I'm sure will make a big difference to a lot of people.

It has certainly helped and inspired me. I have read through it loads of times and am trying to take on board what you have said. I have read up a bit on treatments for binge eating, so issues like identifying triggers are not totally new to me, but hearing your story has really made it seem so much more realistic and possible.

I would like to write more about this (and I probably will ramble on again at some later point), but for now thank-you so much! And well done on your achievement. It's wonderful to hear you say you have freed yourself and that your body and mind have healed, I want that for myself too.

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Postby bluemonday » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:33 pm

Hi Happy Go Lucky

If you're still around, I wonder if you could explain a bit more about how your spreadsheet worked? What time of day did you fill it in, did you find you needed to have a pc to hand all day or did you have some time of day you sat down to look at it?

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Postby Happy_go_Lucky » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:28 am

Hi there,

I'm still around don't worry, its very pleasing to see my post has generated very positive feedback. And its even better to see that people are using it to their advantage.
The 'Trigger Tracker' spreadsheet is a way of logically tackling binge eating, it helps you to see what could be causing you to binge eat. By being able to see in black and white where things are contributing, it makes the job of returning to normal and healthy eating so much easier. It can initially seem systematic but it will reset your system and gradually retrain you and give you back the control. It certainly did for me.
If your happy to give your email address (through the private message facility) then I could email you a sample copy of the spreadsheet I used. You could then play around with the spreadsheet to give you a clearer idea of what im talking about. You could then modify it to your own personal triggers etc.
In terms of the time of day you fill out the spreadsheet is again a personal decision, about 99% of my binges occurred in the evening and so there was a need to fill out the spreadsheet before then. Typically i would fill out as much as I could after midday, by then boxes such as stress levels, wellbeing, bad skin days etc could be filled out. Boxes such as 'is it a weekend' or 'did i binge yesterday' can obviously be filled out from the onset of the day. The boxes that were left over I made sensible assumptions, such as if i knew i was going to the gym at 7pm then that would be put down as a '0' (i.e. not a contributing trigger). I never skip meals anymore and so I can put a '0' in that box confidently everyday. Filling out the spreadsheet half way through the day also allows you time to manipulate the rest of your day if you need to. If with the facts and assumptions you are on binge alert, you can then make a few changes to the rest of your day and combat any potential binge sessions (i.e. target the '1s').
The next day you can then change any boxes that were different to what actually happened. Its all important information at the end of the day and the more data you have on yourself the better. As I say the system worked for me, as long as you are 100% honest then it can really set you on the path to success. The spreadsheet will only be useful and effective though after it has been completely personalised, i.e. the self study stage which preceded this stage is vital. So if your going to make use of the spreadsheet then hopefully you are keeping track of daily events as I described in my first post.
I hope i've given enough information here, remember that where there is a will there is a way. I get a real sense of determination from you and positive feeling about your destiny, keep on top and its all good.
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It really works...

Postby Bee » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:51 pm

Hey Happy Go Lucky,

I read your message last week and realised that this could also be mý escape from those horrible binges. I'm using your 'system' for just over one week now, and I did not have óne binge since. Sure, I don't know whether I'll have one again next week, next month or even next year, but right now, I'm just really happy to not constantly think about eating, binging and dieting. I'm already starting to feel better about myself.

I've used the same ten boxes that you've used, because they were also the most important reasons why I binge. What I'm trying to tell you through this message: thank you for helping me getting closer to being the person I want to be! Hopefully more binge eaters will read your message and be inspired by it. Thanks!

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Postby MrBrightside » Tue May 08, 2007 9:57 pm

I hate to be the party pooper but... what about the undelying causes? the subconcious causes? the root of the problem? :P

I have mild binges sometimes, just a couple days ago I started eating really bad, 3 muffins, veggie sandwhich, more bread, chips, popcorn, cookies, all in a couple hours. But that doesnt scare me that much. I am fit now, i went on a surf trip last week, and i ran 5k every other day last month, my diet was good. But i am more focused on why I do that, rather than checking everything i do everyday, because ive discovered i dont have to, i can focus on the reasons and asimiliate them, then the symptoms (binges, addictions, depression, etc) go away.

Well, its really good to have this kind of tools, they never work for me because i stop using them at some point, but im just suggesting not to forget the deeper issues that cause the binges in the first place.

Good luck. :lol:
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Postby Happy_go_Lucky » Wed May 09, 2007 1:24 pm

Hi there MrBrightside,

I'm not sure you have fully understood my original post. You are correct, and the first post actually emphasises the points that you make. The whole focus IS on tackling the 'deeper issues' of which you mention, and rectifying them. Rather than trying to deal with the consequences of them (the binges). Identifying the triggers of the binges is in effect the first step in discovering the deeper issues involved (the root of the problem).
The daily check is a way of addressing these triggers and alleviating the issues that are present. This in turn will positively change eating habits. It is a systematic way of initially getting you back on track, and by no means something you have to rely on for the rest of your life. It is hard to change certain habits without any 'tools'. The spreadsheet I used set me on the correct road, I got there and no longer need to use it at all. If it worked for me then it can work for anyone, it shouldn't be discouraged, it really does work.
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Wow

Postby ladydestiny » Thu May 17, 2007 1:19 am

Great Post and you obviously worked through your issues.

Thank you for posting in such depth.

Sincerely
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Make me strong in spirit,
Courageous in action,
Gentle of heart.
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