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How have the people with genuine food addiction/eating disorders coped with this diet?-This is long.

Okay, seeing as I have a certain amount of anonymity on this website, and since every one here so far has been so unbelievably kind and encouraging and supportive, I have decided to raise this personal topic, despite the vulnerability and shame I feel in acknowledging it…

I have learned extremely poor eating habits since childhood. Junk food was an ideal childhood snack, prepackaged frozen dinner trays were regarded as an appropriate meal at least several times each week (when I would visit my father, who couldn’t cook), and my home cooked meals consisted of meat and bread. My father was obese, and as a child with no other means of learning, I picked up on his excessive eating. A 5-year old doesn’t know that having four Twinkies in one sitting is bad, especially if the parent sports this behavior as an example, she just knows that the Twinkies taste good. Both of my parents have addictive personalities and would self-medicate, whether it was with food, alcohol, prescription drugs, or men (on my mothers part). So, naturally, I learned to soothe my emotions with food. I’m not going to go into lavish details about my emotional, physical, mental, and environmental struggles. Just simply, like many, I have had my share of challenges in life. I was never shown any example of what being healthy was like. I spent basically the whole of my childhood in this bubble of naivet

Comments

  • Oh my goodness. What an amazing post. I’m not sure where to begin.

    First of all, let me say congratulations to you. You clearly have an insight into the root of your challenges and you certainly appear to have the motivation to work towards a healthier you. Your introduction to raw seems almost like destiny – if you believe in that kind of thing.

    What stands out the most to me while reading this post is your cry for help. I would love to send a cyber hug out to you and tell you that everything’s going to be alright but I don’t think that this is being helpful to you. I feel that I want to recommend professional help. You have touched on a several serious issues that you have been dealing with since childhood. You deserve to have these issues addressed, by someone who can help you, properly.

    You will hear time and again on this site that the journey towards health has all the elements of physical, emotional and spiritual growth. This is not just about what you eat – it’s about healing all of yourself.

    I believe that the inability to control what you eat stems from other issues and that until all of the issues are dealt with, we will continue to struggle with food.

    Big cyber hug coming your way – I hope you look for someone that can help….you’re worth it. :)

  • Wow, I can so relate. Let me share my story. I was just what you described until a little while ago. I would eat tons of food one day, then work out a ton and hardly eat. Very rarely I would throw it up. I just recently woke up and started on the road to proper eating habits. I still eat alot some days, but not nearly as much as I used to. If I do have a “binge” I will wait until my stomach feels emptier, (I usually have my relapses early in the day, so I guess that would be evening), and make myself a big green smoothie(I don’t know why, it just makes me feel better). Then the next day I just try to get back on track by eating normal portions and exercising, usually running for an hour(around 6 miles) and pilates.But any way, you see, the reason I got this way is because I am in the modeling business. I had been trying with no success to get into some agencies. I wasn’t fat, just bigger than a rail thin model. I started to get desparate that all my so-called healthy habits were not working. Everyone else was ten pounds thinner than me. So I started binging, then feeling awful and trying to compensate by working out alot and fasting for a few days. The vicious cycle went on. I was getting smaller. It was “working”. I started having successes with modeling and I was getting compliments and “you’re so skinny” from people. I felt good. So superficial, I know. Oh, btw, I’m 16, my mom never knew. She just thought I was being healthy and eating smaller portions, having a good workout schedule, etc. I never got scarily skinny either. So no one ever knew and no one does know now. I never told any one and I don’t think they need to know. It’s over now. I haven’t even thought about going back, even in times of stress. It hasn’t been long, I know. But I have gotten past my insecurities by myself and I am better now. If they don’t want me for what I am, I’m not going to kill myself to live up to their standards. I know that I am healthy and I am happy with me. I’m tired of food and my body controlling my life. I am done with hurting myself to be something that I’m not. You are so right about it being an addiction. Food is no less dangerous than a drug. When you abuse it, it hurts you.

    I’m sorry if that was lengthy, I just had to let it out. Thanks for starting this, rawbeginner. It was good to hear that someone else was going through the same thing as me.I feel what you are going through, really. I’m not the best at giving advice, but something that works for me is to eat fruit. It’s high-volume, mostly, and relatively low in calories. I can eat alot of it, but not so much because I get really full alot faster than if I was eating junk. Also green smoothies have really been so helpful. I know what you mean about nuts and dried fruit. I think that because they are so small and concentrated, it’s easy to eat too much of those things. Maybe at first it would be best to cut them out entirely, but I find that going to hard in the way of discipline just makes me go crashing back to my old habits. I know my issues came from something superficial and stupid. Yours were real and deep inside. It may be different, but I really feel for you. I know what a trap it can be and how hard it is to get out. I sincerely hope you get past this. I give you all my compassion and best wishes. Big HUGS from me too. It’s great that you are trying to beat this. K (:

  • newbienewbie Raw Newbie

    Once I started to read your post, I couldn’t stop. You have a beautiful way of writing. If you’re not a writer, you might want to consider it :-).

    I don’t have any experience with the struggles that you mention and don’t suggest that my opinion should replace any professional advice that you might seek, but I did want to offer 1) my support and encouragement and 2) what has helped me with combating my ongoing struggle with junk-foods.

    You sound like an amazing person. To realize at such a young age that you needed to change your ways and take your life into your own hands takes an unusual amount of self-awareness and courage. Bravo!!

    I continually go back and forth with my cravings for chocolate, ice cream, and

  • rawbeginner, I have similar issues with binge eating. I have always been addicted to sugar. I always thought it was just a “sweet tooth” but I am realizing now that it is an addiction. I go through phases where I quit sugar completely and I think that is the best thing I can do to deal with it (just like an alcoholic can’t have even one sip of alcohol or it sets them off). I definitely agree that certain foods trigger binging like sugar, nuts, and grains. I try not to have too many things around the house that will trigger binges so if I feel like I need to binge there are only veggies and fruits around and that just doesn’t work. But it’s so hard to resist the brownie recipes and stuff so I usually give in to my cravings. It’s a daily battle for us. Just take it one day at a time and do the best you can. You’re on the right track and you KNOW what you have to do it’s just a matter of getting through all the emotional stuff and making it easier for you to stick to your goals. (By that I just mean surrounding yourself with healthy fruits and veggies and trying to keep binge foods to a minimum in your house -or not at all). This is the kind of thing that even with help could take awhile to get totally over. I know it’s been a long time for me working to get a grip on my addictions and trying to work through underlying emotions….. best of luck to you and congratulations on all the obstacles you have overcome.

  • Hi rawbeginner. We share a lot of the same experiences, and I am still working on my relationship with food. When my bingeing was the worst, I ate the worst, most unhealthy food that I had avoided for years when I was vegetarian and vegan. What really helped me is this: I made an agreement with myself that I DO deserve wonderful, healthy, organic food despite my bingeing. So no matter what, I would buy natural and organic. I stopped trying to stop myself from bingeing outright, and if I felt that I needed to, I would allow myself high quality food. This has worked for me. Since discovering raw foodism, I have turned this into: no matter what STAY RAW! It’s just not worth it. I think I got this idea from The Rawfood Detox Diet. It has really helped. In those moments of crisis, I tell myself (if I am craving something in particular) there is a time and a place for everything; there IS a raw way to satisfy this craving. This has been important for me, because, like you said, junk food, cooked food, SAD food, is addictive, and I will just fall further if I eat those foods in a binge.

    That you posted here is testament to your determination AND strength to begin to pull yourself back. You deserve to reclaim your health :)

  • Karuna, thank you so much for your words. I do sort of feel as if my unintentional discovery of raw foods was an inevitable fortune I was meant to find. Perhaps it was destiny or perhaps it was just sheer luck… or perhaps my destiny is constructed of luck, a propitious happenstance that is only perceived as destiny based on its favorable application to me. It’s amazing how one tiny, seemingly infinitesimal, decision can be the basis for an evolution. I have considered the possibility that I may need professional help. I know this will sound like the quintessential thing that some one with a problem who’s in denial of the severity of the problem will say, nevertheless, I believe it and it’s how I feel: Right now, I feel as if this is a problem that I am capable of overcoming on my own. Maybe I’m being stubborn and maybe professional help is the only thing that will truly help me, but I am going to give dealing with this issue on my own a try. I’m going to try with as much might as I can summon, and if it’s not enough, then I will definitely seek professional help. I’m aware that to be genuinely healthy I will have to improve more than my physical health. And I have actually been working hard at finding balance in all the aspects of my life. I completely agree, my inability to control what I eat does stem from other issues, and I’ve come to the realization that all these different issues are not going to magically disappear after existing as a huge part of me for the whole of my life. Some times I feel as if I am more willing than other times to put forth the right amount of effort in achieving my goals… blame it on unfair mood fluctuations. There’s obviously alterations I must make to my current state. So, I’m working on it. Thank you for the cyber hug, never doubt any kind of hug, even invisible hugs are comforting.

    superkat92, one thing I have learned from dealing with these issues and researching these eating disorders, the struggles we face with food ALWAYS have emotional significance. The preoccupation and obsession with weight and appearance and food may seem as if it’s merely superficial and is bred from vanity, but it’s authentic form is that of a psychological and emotional affliction. Our brains are wired differently. Our notion of rationality is distorted. Our behavior is compensatory. Our tendency is to self-annihilate. This is all based on how we’ve learned to perceive ourselves (externally and internally; externally being the superficial aspect of it, internally being the psychological and emotional core of it) and the world… and how we perceive the world to perceive us. I am very glad to hear that you’ve been able to help yourself with your eating disorder. It’s awful that you’ve been subjected to the rigidities of an industry that is so overwhelmingly infected by these idealistic notions of perfection only achievable through sacrifice. You are a 3-dimensional person, living one life in your one beautiful body. Don’t ever feel as if your worth is based on a 2-dimensional portrayal of yourself in a photograph; a photograph will fade and disintegrate with time, but the legacy of living an existence to it’s potential will thrive along with time. It certainly sounds as if you’ve changed your perceptions and altered your feelings to better suit a healthy-you, which is great and I am so happy for you. I feel the same way, I am so tired of letting food and my body control my life. It’s exhausting, having to constantly fight with yourself. And it’s even more exhausting to feel like a perpetual failure. As you know, the words “binge” and “fail” are synonymous to us. Thank you so very, very much for the best wishes and compassion and encouragement. To being healthy and flourishing!

    newbie, your complimenting my writing and suggesting that I could suffice as a writer literally made my heart leap. Coincidentally, being a writer is my greatest aspiration. So, thank you, for that. Thank you for your support and encouragement, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Obviously, I know the evilness that is disguised within the ‘harmless’ “first few bites” or “small tastes” of problem foods. I know better, but some times I convince myself that all I really want is a small taste and that small taste will be all I eat and I’ll be perfectly satisfied… and that is NEVER the case. That small taste turns into a small nibble which turns into small pickings that end up equaling that of a big portion by the time I stop myself. And then, of course, I feel bad about eating it at all, and the guilt leads to me eating more… because by then I’m in the mind state of “I already broke my “small taste” promise, I failed, so why not continue to fail…” It’s vicious, it truly is. I find it so strange that I can think a certain way and have no comprehension of it.

    awillow, at first, I didn’t make the sugar connection either. I slowly realized that eating sugar was an enormous problem for me after realizing that I put far too much emphasis on “deserving” and “being entitled to” desserts every day. I also realized that I never felt satisfied when I ate sugar… I always felt as if I could easily eat more of it… and more of it. Oh, I totally agree… I have to do the exact same thing, I have to decide to cut out sugar entirely. Moderation does nothing to support my composure. I could never indulge myself with those small allowances, because the urge to delve into excess would ALWAYS be there and I would have to resist it. It is similar to an alcoholic needing to avoid all alcohol. Thank you so much for the well wishes and the support!

    shrk_byte, thank you so very much for the encouragement… I concur, I do deserve to reclaim my health. As I said, these struggles reemerged as I attempted to transition into raw foods. At first, I did just as you suggest to me now, every time I had a craving, I attempted to satisfy it with purely raw foods. Even the raw foods set off the binge. I would start eating too much of the raw food, and then feeling like a thorough failure, I would start on the SAD junk food. I have felt so repulsed and disgusted and discouraged by my actions, that it has just further contributed to my binging. Trying to lessen the bad foods available to me, over the last couple weeks, I have literally thrown out practically all of the crap that was in my kitchen. I’ve had to resort to throwing out stashes of junk food that I would normally never, ever crave or eat. (Oh, by the way, all this junk food is in my kitchen because my mother and sister eat it) There is no longer any of this food for me to eat. I’ve thrown it all out- the last of it, some semi-sweet chocolate, earlier today after eating some of it and feeling as if I could easily continue to eat it. I’m ready to start over and to stop berating myself for my past fumbles.

    Thank you, all of you. Every single one of your responses has given me hope and supplied me with inspiration and I really can’t describe how grateful and appreciative I feel for all of your words. Thank you.

  • Hi!

    I have exactly the same problem as you. I have struggled with bulimia for nearly five years. My binges are SCARY, I eat so much and honestly feel suicidal afterwards I hate myself so much.

    Sugar triggers binges, nuts trigger binges, starches trigger binges. If I stick to raw I am OK, but one mouthful of something else and off I go bingeing for days.

    To me, the only solution is to stay 100% raw …but I don’t seem to be very good at that!!!! Don’t know why, I genuinely love raw food. But somehow I always manage to convince myself that I can handle a mouthful of something else. And I can’t.

    I don’t know what the answer is and I am becoming increasingly desperate. I know what needs to be done (stay raw!!) but somehow I just can’t keep up with it.

    I just hope I get there someday because spending half your life with you fingers down your throat is not much fun.

  • rawbeginner-Yes, healthy and flourishing! It’s the only way to go. Thank you for your kind words.

    Hey Claire. I know what you mean about binging and then hating yourself. You feel like a complete failure..why should I live? I just stuffed two day’s worth of crap down my throat. But don’t feel that way! I think you should get someone to help you with staying raw. Your life will be so much better when you have broken free from this disorder. The sooner you stop the better. I hope you get ther (: K

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    rawbeginner – Thank you for posting! this topic resonates with so many people. Although I haven’t experienced what you’ve gone through, i wanted to express my absolute support and compassion for what you’re going through. It is so difficult to face the emotions surrounding food – I believe that you will overcome this because you are willing to step up, acknowledge what’s going on, and try to change. You’re doing so much more than many people I know – so many folks have given up on their health. Just by making an effort, you’re closer to your goal than ever. So here’s my suggestions, if they help you. I’ve had some minor problems with overeating, and I’ve found these things to be useful. -Take a few months to transition to raw. -Always have raw snacks on hand. -Try eating some raw food before eating cooked (ex a salad) -Make enormous plates of greens topped with avocado or any veggies/fruits – you can safely eat as many greens as you want -Perhaps join a support group or see a counselor if it’s helpful -Get excited about raw recipes, so that you can make a raw taco if you crave mexican, raw pasta if you crave starch, etc. -For me, the best thing was going 100% raw because when trying to be 80% raw i binged on cooked more than usual, and wound up eating very little raw. It’s been 10 weeks at 100% – it’s working! But it took me a year of trying to go raw to be ready. -Probably the most important thing is to treat yourself like a queen! Get a manicure, spend hours in a bubble bath, go for long quiet walks, stretch out luxuriously with candles and soothing music. Keep telling yourself that you’re WORTH it. don’t look in mirrors. Think of all the positive, incredible attributes/talents/skills you have. Most of all, don’t give up! You can overcome this… I believe it.

    Here are some related posts on other raw forums: Spreading the help A Little Rant Started 100% yesterday Eating Disorders in the Raw Community

  • rawbeginner – I feel like your parents who nurtured you as you grew up have a tremendous sway on you psycologically! Even parents who do not care for thier children properly have a tremendous effect on the resulting adult. My parents are kind of health nuts, and that has been a bolster to my resolve in this new found raw eating expedition! Just the effect of the idea that they will approve is a help! And I have not even talked with them about it at length, yet! (They are in transit at this time from Fiji.) Anothter thing that is healping me, is that my overweight son is depending on me to help him stay raw through proper food shopping and prep. I agree with the others, you need support. I must say that yeasterday I ate 3 cookies and then gave myself a few hours and went back raw. It has not effected me other than making it harder to get out of bed this morning, and my cough which the raw had cured, started coming back! So, yea, just keep trying! Good luck, and don’t go away!

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    You are amazing, rawbeginner! A lot of what you said hit home so hard, I still have goosebumps! Since I was a kid I’ve starved and binged my entire life, going from weights as low as 86 pounds to as high as 256 and done it several times, back and forth to both extremes. This is what led me to the raw food diet, part for health and weight and part for emotional and physical healing. But when I was young, most docs didn’t know what anorexia nervosa was and families tended to not want to disturb girls who dieted, so here I am and I’m surprised I”m not dead yet.

    Don’t apologize for what you call a long post; my own belief is that a post is never too long unless it’s without merit! OOXX

  • newbienewbie Raw Newbie

    rawbeginner, I just wanted to check in to see how you’re doing. Are you hanging in there? :-) Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts

  • I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been doing as well as I would hope for, but it’s certainly an improvement. I got myself in a really catastrophic mind state, so of course I can’t expect myself to be perfect and feel perfect in just a night’s transformation. But, all in all, I have been doing much, much better. I’ve been able to exercise some restraint. Mostly, I’ve been trying to find balance. I’ve been listening to my body, trying to figure out how my body reacts to different foods. After I wrote this post, I told myself that I was only going to drink green and fruit smoothies for a while… but I found that my body didn’t react very positively to that… I started to feel dizzy and nauseous. So, I had to have some cooked food. But, the beauty in that is, now I’m more aware of what my body needs. I still plan to fill up on smoothies though, they’ve helped me so much the last few days. My cravings have diminished considerably. Any time I would have a craving for crappy, junk food I told myself “all you’re allowed is a green smoothie, if you feel like you want to eat then it has to be a green smoothie, no exceptions…” and with that, there has been no room for me to think “well, may be a little of this won’t hurt, or may be a little of that…” I have to be pretty strict with myself. I can’t leave any room for exceptions. I’ve decided to continue to make up my day with green smoothies, I’ll just have them with every meal… like on the side of a salad. I’ve discovered I can’t have food in the mornings, however, it has to just be a smoothie and a cup of tea. For some reason, any solid food in the mornings increases my urge to binge. And along with dried fruit, sweeteners, and nuts, I have also added coconut to the list of foods I need to avoid. Like I said, I’ve just been listening to my body, seeing what foods perhaps trigger emotional/physical responses and which raw foods best compliment my abilities. So, I’ve been doing well.

    Thanks for all the well wishes!

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    bunny berry had a great vlog today or food addiction.

    http://bunnyberry.blogspot.com/

    it really hit home for me.

  • deborahanndeborahann Raw Newbie

    I did the same thing with the cravings when I went raw. You describe it so eloquently and it’s dead on! I did great for 2 wks then started binging on food I hadn’t eaten for years(I’m 42).My raw journey began 9/19 07 and I didn’t get back on track again until 1/1 (Thank God for New Year’s Resolutions) I spent the month of Jan binging on all things fatty (nut, nut butters, etc) and dried fruit. I had gained 10 lbs, at least, going raw but I wanted to try and settle into it because healthwise, I know it’s the way to go. I did a juice feast through most of lent but the cravings busted that at about 34 days. I am still struggling at 1-2 wk cycles as I detox. I am doing the rawdiva 7 day detox now which involves a lot of fruit. I had previously avoided a lot of fruit due to candida issues and a general avoidance of sugar, but I am feeling pretty darn good these last couple of days. I agree with all of the advice above and I’ll also recommend Angela Stokes’ book Raw Emotions. It is aimed at food addiction and has some really good self exploratory exercises and a good resource section. Also, make sure that elimination is happening very regularly. Your body is dumping toxins into the bowel and if things aren’t moving out on a timely basis, you’ll reabsorb,possibly causing or exacerbating your symptoms.

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