Can A Whole Foods Diet Help With Binge Eating Disorder?
One of the things I wondered was if a whole foods diet can help with binge eating disorder and I wanted to test it out.
Binge Eating Protein Bars
To give you a little bit of backstory, one of my first binge foods was protein bars, specifically whey protein bars.
And I used to go through a lot in a very short span of time. And given the price they are compared to other foods, it was quite an expensive choice.
Anyways, at some point, I started to get really bad acne and I couldn’t figure out why. For an adult male in his thirties who leads an overall, fairly healthy lifestyle it was a very odd thing to happen.
And I couldn’t figure out what was causing it.
There wasn’t anything that I could see from my lifestyle, which was causing it. So it must’ve been something from my diet.
Long story short, I did a version of an elimination diet where you just eliminate different food groups to see how you react.
And it turned out whey protein was something that was probably causing my acne. Since I stopped having it, my acne disappeared pretty quickly.
It doesn’t seem to happen with all dairy.
Whey and low-fat yoghurt, especially, seems to be an issue. So I don’t have them. I don’t get acne anywhere near as badly now.
But the thing is that what’s weird is that it used to be one of my go-to binge foods. But as soon as I found that I was getting acne from it, literally instantly my cravings for those foods disappeared.
I don’t think I’ve ever missed them even once.
It’s a bit weird that one of my go-to food that I couldn’t seem to get enough of just, I suddenly instantly had no desire for anymore.
I was still prone to bingeing on other things. And this got me thinking about whether I could take it even further.
Trying A Whole Foods Diet For Binge Eating Disorder
In my head, I thought:
Okay, if I have some kind of rules or structure in place that tell me, no, I definitely can’t have this food or this ingredient, then I’m not going to be tempted by foods that have that ingredient anymore.
And I realised that almost all the foods I binge on, have some kind of processing in them.
They have some, I guess you would call it artificial ingredients. I don’t know what the correct term is, but they’re basically if you’re following a whole foods or a paleo diet, you wouldn’t be having them.
So I was curious to see if a whole foods diet would stop me from bingeing because I couldn’t have any of the foods that I was prone to binge on.
My theory was that if I have these rules or a structure in place or a diet in place, or an eating plan in place that says ” you cannot have these foods”, then I just wouldn’t be tempted to binge.
What I Ate On My Whole Foods Diet
So I tried a whole foods diet, and it lasted about three to three and a half weeks.
My diet was generally fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, eggs, poultry, and fish.
Nuts, oats, some beans, lentils, that kind of thing.
I allowed myself natural flavourings, and natural seasonings. And yes, I did have honey and maple syrup. It wasn’t a low carb diet. It was a whole food and paleo diet. So I still get the carbs in.
But my rule was that if the list of ingredients on the packaging had more than the ingredient itself, then it wasn’t part of my diet.
Whole Foods Diet Binge Eating Disorder Results
Actually, it did kind of work. There are some pros and cons and you can tell by the fact that I already said, I only did it for three to three and a half weeks that I haven’t stuck to it that much since then. But I’ll go through what went well and what didn’t.
What Went Well
So what went well was, yes, I was actually very rarely tempted to binge.
It happened very occasionally. I think in that three and a half weeks, maybe three times. And this was at a point where it was every couple of days for me before that.
I was feeling fuller and I was probably getting better nutrition. I think when you’re getting entirely natural ingredients, that is going to have an impact on your overall health.
And I lost weight.
I think it was about four or five pounds. I guess if you’re having a lot more fruit and vegetables, that’s going to be getting you a lot more volume of food for fewer calories.
So you’re actually eating fewer calories overall during the course of the day. So that’s going to have a knock-on impact on weight.
What Didn’t Go Well
So what didn’t go well, and I did some kind of thinking about why.
Number one is that I got bored of my food and my meals very quickly.
I think that’s just down to my own lack of experience and lack of planning and not really knowing how to cook when most of the foods I use or most of the ingredients I use, I’m not having. And I could have probably done some more research on that.
The binge cravings that I did have actually hit me much harder than when I wasn’t following the whole foods diet. Probably because I was telling myself, I can’t have those foods at all, which kind of made them not more appealing that much more tempting.
And the binges that I did have during that time were probably bigger than the binges I had when I wasn’t falling the whole foods diet.
I think that’s probably because I felt like I messed up not only in terms of the number of calories but then also in terms of the ingredients I was having.
So then I kind of said “I’ve messed up. Let’s just make the most of it today. And then just get back on track tomorrow”, which is a very unhelpful way of approaching things, which if you are prone to binge eating disorder, you probably already know as well.
Did My Whole Foods Diet For Binge Eating Disorder Work?
Overall it did work in the sense that I got fewer temptations to actually binge.
And it didn’t work in the sense that my cravings were more intense and my binges were bigger on average than when I wasn’t following the whole foods diet.
Having done it for that much time, I can see the benefit and I can see how much it can change your health.
But it is a very strict way to try and live and eat. And I just felt like I couldn’t sustain it.
I can see the benefits and I have a huge amount of respect for the willpower and the people that do follow that diet and stick to it. And also the people that can follow that diet and then moderate any foods you have that aren’t part of that plan.
But for me, I just couldn’t get around that last step.
It didn’t really help with what I needed it to. And so I stopped doing it.
It’s a great way to improve your health. It can help reduce the frequency of your cravings if you settle into that plan.
For me, it was just a bit too tough to stick to and didn’t entirely cover what I needed help with. But as I said, it’s got health benefits, so it might be worth a try if you don’t get stuck in the same pitfalls I did.