How I gave myself a food addiction through... - Weight Loss NHS

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How I gave myself a food addiction through dieting

mfbx9da4
mfbx9da4

Growing up, I never struggled with weight or food. I never thought about food. I simply ate the food that was put in front of me and ate as much of it as I could. The more calories the better. Stuffing myself during school lunches. I would eat a lot but I would burn a lot. However, I would never eat more than I needed. I remember feeling disappointed that I could not finish cake or other delicious food because I was already full. At university I was so "un-addicted" to food that I would see food as a chore. I would feel inconvenienced that I had to interrupt my studying to go and eat! I was under 10% body fat until age 25.

At age 26 this all changed. During a surfing trip in Portugal filled with pastries, I started to become aware that I was becoming a little overweight. I made a decision for the first time in my life to go on a diet. For one week, I ate no sugar. It felt good, but looking back it also kick started an unhealthy relationship with food and a cycle of binging and fasting. Next I decided to go vegan, then raw vegan, then 8 hour intermittent fasting, then 3 day 24-hour fasting cycles, then vegetable juice fasts, then one bowl per meal, then calories-in-calories-out on MyFitnessPal and so on ... During every diet I was able to maintain the diet for 2 weeks to a month but then I relapsed and binged. And binged hard. I would often eat way beyond full. A couple of times I at so much I felt physically sick and threw up.

I tried removing all the restrictions and listening to my body but that just resulted in more bingeing and gaining weight. The only conclusion is that I have developed a food addiction. Over last three months I have gained 2kg every month and almost doubled my fat percentage. During which I was cycling for about 2 hours and doing gymnastics for 1.5 hours every single day. I don't know where to go from here.

14 Replies
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BridgeGirl
BridgeGirlAdministrator

Good morning mfbx9da4 and welcome to the weight loss forum.

You give a very good description of the effects of dieting and how it leads to us losing a proper sense of appetite and what our bodies need. I would recommend reading Ditching Diets by Gillian Riley. It's only a small book but full of thought provoking content which I think will make sense to you.

You need to find a healthy eating pattern that can work for you for life. It may well be that you're eating too little and not having enough rest between exercise, leaving your muscles in a permanent state of repair, thus retaining fluid.

Check your calorie allowance at the NHS BMI calculator and aim for the upper end of the scale, and consider reducing your strenuous exercise to alternate days to allow your muscles time to rest and repair.

To help you find your way around, we’ve put all the information you’ll need in a Newbie pack and here's the link healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh... Please take time to read it so you'll know what the forum has to offer

We also ask that you read this important information about internet privacy and security, especially as you've left your post unlocked healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh...

Wishing you all the best and hoping to see you around the forum

By the way, it would be interesting to know how you found your way to this forum :)

mfbx9da4
mfbx9da4
in reply to BridgeGirl

Thanks for the recommendation. I think I found this site when I was fishing for free things provided by the NHS while researching a competitor.

I calculated my BMI. Although I've got different BMRs / TDEEs from different places and my activity level doesn't really fit the descriptions of the calculators.

My current weight is 74 Kg [2], 16.5% body fat [3]. My ideal weight is 65 Kg, 8% body fat and to stop thinking about food.

NHS [0] says my caloric intake should be between 1941 and 2496 kCal and that a healthy weight is between 51.6 Kg and 70 Kg. Which seems reasonable to me.

Sailrabbit [1] estimates my BMR to be around 1738 kCal and my TDEE to be between 2693 and 3041. To reach my target of 65 kg in the next 6 months I should eat around 2270 kCal per day. Which seems reasonable and aligned with NHS.

From the above two sources, the exact calorie intake target is still not clear. I checked out my heart rate Garmin watch. Garmin reports that I use an average of 3900 kCal (+/- 840 kCal) per day, given 33 days as data points. Which seems a little excessive.

So maybe I should aim for 2200 kCal and aim to log everything I eat for the next 6 months?

[0] nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyw...

[1] sailrabbit.com/bmr/

[2] scontent-lht6-1.xx.fbcdn.ne...

[3] scontent-lht6-1.xx.fbcdn.ne...

BridgeGirl
BridgeGirlAdministrator
in reply to mfbx9da4

Oh heck mfbx9da4 , that's a bit of an overload for me!

Why not go with the 2700 which is supported by two of your sources? You need some starting point and isn't it as good as any? Sometimes we have to go for "good enough".

Then work on getting those calories into 3 meals to reduce and eventually eliminate eating between meals. Have a look at the Daily Diary to see how others are using their calorie allowances and join in when you're ready.

Finally, try not to be so self critical and accept that this is something to work on, in a concrete way, step by step, change by change. You're not lacking in knowledge and awareness: now's the time for applying some of that :)

And, again, I recommend Gillian Riley's book, Ditching Diets. You clearly do a lot of analysing so I think her approach would interest you

mfbx9da4
mfbx9da4
in reply to BridgeGirl

Thank you very much for your support I will check out the Daily Diary and the Ditching diets book for sure!

Bungiecat
BungiecatWorking at it
in reply to mfbx9da4

Yes you need to take small steps and work on one thing at a time and you will see a change I did Gail

I too have a binge eating disorder, personally I have never purged. My addiction (affection) with food is so unhealthy that I am morbidly obese. In fact I am heavy enough for 2 persons. Food has for most off my life been my comfort, companion and safety net. I have tried every diet, fasting, weight loss tool to no avail, like you it only lasts a few weeks then I’m back to the binge. I am determined today to forget dieting infact, I am removing that word from my vocabulary as it’s extremely damaging. I am going to try this sites advice , take all the support I can and take one day at a time. I joined sometime ago but was not prepared to give it my full attention. I lied to myself. I will take one day at a time. I hope you can take heart that your not alone and that you too find strength and encouragement to take it one day at a time. The very best of success to you.

BridgeGirl
BridgeGirlAdministrator
in reply to leither55

Good morning leither55 :)

From what you say, I would seriously consider looking at what you're eating, not just how much. It is likely that, like many of us, your metabolism is pretty messed up and calorie restriction is not the way to go.

Please read this post from our wonderful moreless , including the links she has added. Take your time, think it over, come back with any questions and start making the changes healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh...

Thank you I will

Welcome mf - you will find many likeminded and supportive people here. I think binge eating is very much related to the different (sometimes extreme) levels of deprivation that you put your body through when you follow all those different diets you mention. So instead of seeing it as binge incident that you have to sto, try to see it as binge eating cycles. In that way you can change things by changing what you do before you binge.

mfbx9da4
mfbx9da4
in reply to PippiRuns

Thanks for the advice. I recognise I go through cycles of over exercising, fasting, and binging but I feel like I'm in too deep now, I have tried to get out of this cycle by not forbidding any foods and not tracking stuff. But with no rules, I just ended up overeating. I have a habit of grazing all day long as it is a habit of mine to eat when I need a break from work. I can't hold back at the prospect of free food. Food is now the first thing I think about in the mornings, I go straight to the kitchen. I sometimes even jump out of bed at 6am to eat even though I am still tired.

How do I remove the rules without abusing my freedom?

I feel like abstinence is the only way with addiction?

derrygeel
derrygeel1 stone

Hmm that's a lot of thinking! And you know, looking at the figures I'm not sure what the issue is. Are you actually overweight? Is your BMI more than 25? Yes i know it is a measure that is discredited but it is still a yardstick.

What I'm wondering is, is it your food that's the problem or your thinking about food?

mfbx9da4
mfbx9da4
in reply to derrygeel

Definitely my thinking. I am officially overweight but only just at around 26/27 and around 17% body fat. I know what it feels like to have 8% and I miss it. I wish that the thoughts of food would stop plaguing me.

derrygeel
derrygeel1 stone
in reply to mfbx9da4

Apologies for saying this, but is this the right place for you? Have you considered going to a GP and seeing someone professional about either your food or your thinking?

Concerned
ConcernedAmbassador

You've identified that you developed an unhealthy relationship with food before. Please be careful; 16% body-fat is a healthy level.

Eating everything can be a risky strategy. Some things can play havoc with our hormones insulinandmore.com/2018/01/... . Is there a pattern to your bingeing? Does your appetite run away within hours or even minutes of starting eating for example? Have you seen Dr. Lustig's videos regarding how what we eat affects our hormones?

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