Binge eating disorder and weight loss.
These are two things that don’t normally go hand in hand. Binge eating disorder normally involves the consumption of a large volume of food in a fairly short span of time, until you’re at a point where you’re feeling uncomfortably full.
And weight loss generally involves some kind of food restriction.
So they are kind of polar opposites.
But, is it possible to lose weight while dealing with binge eating disorder?
The short answer is, yes. I am living, breathing proof of it. But before we get into how I did it, I’m just going to add a quick disclaimer.
Disclaimer about eating disorders If you're concerned about binge eating disorder or any other disorder,
please consult a professional. The internet is not a substitute for their experience or qualifications.
Back to binge eating disorder and weight loss
As I said, I did manage to lose weight while dealing with binge eating disorder.
In fact, technically I am
still dealing with binge eating disorder.
So, yes, you
can lose weight but whether you should be thinking about that right now if you’re dealing with binge eating is a whole separate issue which I come on to shortly.
But before that, I’m just going to explain what happened to me.
My Experience with binge eating disorder
So this will give you a little bit of background in terms of my own history of binge eating disorder.
In terms of the scale of binge and how many calories I would have, I think I’ve seen accounts on Reddit and YouTube and other places that a binge for some people is somewhere between five and 10,000 calories, sometimes more.
Generally, for me, binge eating was – if I had a binge in a day – it would have probably brought my calories for the day up to somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 in most cases.
So it was still in excess for me. And it was still to the point where I was feeling uncomfortably full, but in terms of scale, it’s something that within a few days felt comparatively easy to overcome, compared to something like, 6, 7, 8, 10,000, or more calories.
Also, apart from when my binge-eating was at its worst, my binges have tended to be once a week, once every three or four days at most.
So it wasn’t a sequence of several days in a row. It was usually a one-off, then I’d be fine for two or three days, and then it would happen again.
As I had that space between binges, I could allow my body to recover a little bit.
Also factor in that, even while my binge-eating was at its worst, I was still quite active. I was still doing 10, 12, 15,000 steps a day, I was still doing strength training 3-4 times a week.
I still am. I’m still very active, and on a day-to-day basis, my body was and is burning a decent number of calories anyways.
How I lost Weight While Dealing With Binge Eating Disorder
With binge eating, I did gain weight at first, but then
it peaked at a certain point. I was around 75kg (165 pounds) when it became a regular occurrence and my weight peaked at around 83kg (183 pounds).
My body was set up pretty well to burn calories fairly quickly and overcome the side effects of binges quite quickly as well.
What really made the difference for me was finding something that gave me more fulfilment and more enjoyment than any binge I’ve ever had could.
For me, that happened to be running.
It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the same for you, but running just worked in my case.
I used to run a few years ago regularly when I was a bit younger and I got back into it recently.
I guess the plus side of using running as my tool against binge-eating disorder is that I know physically how I feel after a binge.
And I also know the endorphin rush, I feel after a run.
And that sense of fulfilment starts to outweigh that sense of comfort that I used to get from binge eating.
It hasn’t stopped my binge eating entirely, but it slowed down my thought process because I had something else to fixate my thoughts on which was giving me a lot of happiness, joy, and fulfilment.
And it was enough for me, when I felt the cravings for a binge, to hit the brakes and say, “Okay, you know, you’re going to go for a run tomorrow. Do you really want to feel, you know, lethargic and heavy and not be able to put your best effort in?”.
More often than not, that thought process is enough to get me to not binge.
It’s not foolproof and it doesn’t work every time, but I’ve gone from probably a weekly binge or maybe once every 10 days to once every three weeks. The scale of my binges has come down as well.
My Weight Loss Results
I have lost a good amount of weight, and certainly, more than I thought possible while still prone to binge eating.
I think it’s from two things working in synergy.
One is that running burns a lot of calories for me by default. So that’s going to help me reduce my weight.
And the other thing is that because I enjoy running so much and I know how binge eating directly impacts it, it stops me from putting the extra calories in.
So on the one hand you have this tool that is stopping the excess calories from going in and on the other hand, it’s also burning off more calories itself.
Combining those was enough to slow down my binge eating and actually helped me lose weight.
But I do still binge. I can’t say I’m completely past it.
My last binge was maybe five days ago. But then when I stepped on the scales yesterday morning, I was 0.1 kilograms off the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life.
So, I’m making progress, I’m getting control of my binge eating and it just seems to be going well at the moment.
Should You Think About Weight Loss While Dealing With Binge Eating Disorder?
Coming back to my original point about binge eating and weight loss.
Yes, it is possible to lose weight while dealing with binge eating disorder. But if you look at how it happened for me, I needed a lot of things to align.
It was how many calories I had in a binge. So for, like 5,000 was probably the absolute most I ever had.
It was how frequent my binges were because at my worst, they were generally two to three times a week. I don’t think I’ve ever had any like consecutive days.
It was the fact that even with binge eating disorder, I was still relatively active. So I was still getting that calorie burn.
It was finding something that gave me more fulfilment and more enjoyment than binge-eating ever did.
And it was getting that deeper understanding of what was causing my binges and using my running as kind of my tool to slow me down on that front as well.
So there were a lot of different things that kind of came together to make it happen for me.
Should You Think About Weight Loss While Dealing With Binge Eating Disorder?
As I said, it is possible to lose weight while dealing with binge eating disorder. But, the question of whether it’s something you should be focusing on or not is completely different.
Binge eating disorder can typically be associated with stress, some kind of emotional trauma, and a whole host of other mental health issues.
So then if you try and add a goal around something which can be as triggering or as much of a sensitive area as weight or body image, you might just end up doing more harm than good for your mental health.
If that sounds like you, I would recommend working through whatever’s causing you stress, or whatever’s giving you those emotional triggers first.
Whether weight loss is something you should be focusing on or not, it’s not my place to tell you.
My recommendations come from my own experience. It can help to focus on whatever is causing the stress or emotions that you’re currently going through first. When that is resolved, then you can look at other goals.
When you feel like you’ve addressed those, then it can be easier to give yourself another goal to work on.