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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blog MOVED!

This blog is now located at brainoverbinge.com.  

*I've decided to leave all old content here for now, but for new content (as well as the older posts) please go to the new location.  Thank you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Blog Location (on www.brainoverbinge.com)

I want to let everyone know that I've moved my blog to my website (finally).  For the new location, simply go to brainoverbinge.com and click on the Blog tab.  I will be posting all new content there.

If you wish to subscribe via email, enter your email address in the "Follow Blog by Email" box in the sidebar. Even if you are already subscribed to the blog here, you'll need to re-subscribe in the new location if you wish to continue following.  I apologize for any inconvenience!

Next week, I will be removing content from this site so everything can be in one place.  I've also moved the forum onto the brainoverbinge.com website, and I hope this integration will be helpful.


 



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Much Should I Eat?

This is a big question - one that I can't answer thoroughly in one post, and one that actually doesn't have a right answer because everyone is so unique.  However, I want to share some thoughts on this topic because I think that not eating enough can undermine people's ability to resist binge urges.  This post will give you some basic, broad guidelines to work with, and is meant especially for those who feel unable to fully rely on their hunger signals / intuitive eating.     

(Since I'm talking about nutrition, I will again remind you that I'm not a nutritionist or medical doctor, and to please to seek the guidance of health professionals if you feel you need it.)

Many recovering binge eaters already have a feel for what constitutes a satisfactory quantity of food per day, but some don't. Some people think that a banana for breakfast, a couple hard boiled eggs and an apple for lunch, and a grilled chicken salad for dinner should be plenty. In reality, that amount of food wouldn't even be enough if you were lying in bed all day. Many women I’ve spoken to believe they only need about 1300-1800 calories each day...or at least that's what they think they "should" be eating in order to lose weight. Even though that's not extreme starvation, an energy intake that low is going to keep the body in “survival" mode - keeping you focused on food, plagued with cravings, and making binge urges much harder to resist.

     Your resting metabolic rate - what your body needs just to support it’s basic functions at rest - is approximately ten times your body weight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs, you need about 1500 calories a day if you lie in bed all day and do nothing...not walk, not talk, not brush your teeth, not chew food, not go to work, not exercise...etc.  Is it any surprise that a 150 pound woman might not be able to stick to a 1400-calorie-per day weight-loss diet?  That’s not even enough food to support her basic life-sustaining functions! 

I personally believe that anything less than 2000 per day isn't usually enough for people, especially people with a history of calorie deprivation and binge eating. A range from about 2000-3000 usually works best for people, depending on their level of activity and metabolism. I realize that's a wide range, but everyone is truly different in their needs.  I don’t believe in getting overly mathematical with eating, or counting calories for any reason except to make sure you are getting a normal, nourishing amount of food. Don't feel like you need to monitor your calorie intake closely, and don't get obsessive about making sure you are getting the "right" amount; but it can help to loosely monitor your intake for a short time to get a feel for what is normal.  

     The culture of weight loss is thankfully beginning to shift away from calorie deficits, but it's been that way for so long that it can be hard for someone to believe that eating 2000 or more calories per day isn't excessive at all. If you truly think that 1500 calories is enough for you, I would recommend buying a simple electronic monitor to estimate how many calories you are actually burning. If you have hard proof of how many calories you are using, it can help you realize that upping your intake isn't being excessive - it's actually cultivating a healthy metabolism. I think the reason that over 2000 calories can seem like too much for some people is leftover from the unhealthy low-fat craze that's also (thankfully) ending. Yes, 2000 calories of plain rice and salads with non-fat / low-cal dressing sure seems like a high volume of food; but if you instead focus on adding some nourishing, calorie-dense foods like proteins and healthy fats, you will be eating normal-sized portions that are also satisfying.  

As I've said before, my book is not a method to become a better dieter. Please do not use ideas from my book or workbook to resist all urges to eat more than your calorie-restrictive diet allows, or to ignore real hunger signals. Trying to resist urges to eat over, let’s say, 1600 calories per day is the opposite of the intent of Brain over Binge. Limiting food intake while trying to resist urges to binge would be extremely difficult, and is simply not compatible because of survival instincts.

Something to note is that increasing calories can sometimes blur the line between normalcy and binge eating for those whose binges were small. If you were eating 1200 calories per day on your "diet" (and binge eating on top of that); and now suddenly you are nourishing your body with 2200 calories per day, you may feel like you are giving in to your lower brain. This is not the case at all. You are giving your body what it needs. For example, let’s say you are doing a very challenging exercise regimen and your body is needing around 3000 calories per day to support your routine, but you are subjectively considering anything over 2000 a binge; then you can see how that will be problematic. Eating the extra 1000 calories per day might feel like you are indulging, but you aren’t. The goal is not to banish your appetite or desire for food completely, but to restore your lower brain to its normal function in your life. 

One last argument against calorie restriction is that dieting weakens the prefrontal cortex...

Remember the part of your brain that allows you to resist the binge urges - the prefrontal cortex?  The rational prefrontal cortex gives us self-control - a function that happens to be unnecessary for your immediate survival during a food shortage. When you are starving, what do you think is going to be the first part of the brain to be shut down?  Definitely not your primitive brain that is in charge of keeping you alive! This is another reason why dieting leads to binge eating.  When you are starving, your prefrontal cortex is in an energy-depleted state; so you'll feel more out of control and less capable of resisting binge urges.  

Eating a satisfactory quantity of food ensures that you have a proper functioning prefrontal cortex that is able to resist binge urges. If you are tempted to keep starving yourself, know that it will only hinder your progress. If you’ve gained some weight from binge eating, and you are impatient about losing it, know that another diet will just ensure a slower metabolism, more binge urges, and likely more weight gain in the future.    



Sunday, June 1, 2014

New Workbook for Sale (Advance Copy, on Blog Only)

I mentioned in the comments of previous posts that I was writing a workbook, to help people better understand and implement the 5 Steps that gave me freedom from binge eating. Several people have inquired about the workbook recently, and I truly apologize it's taken longer than expected.

All of the workbook's content is now complete, but I'm still waiting on a cover design and for the table of contents to be "linked" (meaning you can click on a chapter title and you will go to that chapter). Since these are details that don't affect the content, I decided to go ahead an put an advance copy for sale exclusively on my blog for half price ($1.99). Once the workbook is officially complete (hopefully by June 15th), it will be on my website  for $3.99.

The workbook is designed to help you create your own insights, so that you will better understand your binge urges and how to avoid acting on them. You'll work on changing your perspective when the urges arise, so that you can find your own power to resist in a way that works for you. Brain over Binge was my personal story of recovery, and this workbook can help you create your own path to freedom from binge eating.  

Both the advance copy and the completed version will be PDF files that you can download. You can print the workbook or use a free PDF form filler program like PDFescape to complete it. I do hope to have a paperback and possibly a Kindle if all goes well, but it's going to take more time.  I wanted to get something out as soon as possible (because I've had many people asking for extra help/tools). The PDF version was the quickest/best option for now.  I will post when the workbook is available in other formats. 


I want to thank Cookie Rosenblum of Real Weight Loss for Real Women who encouraged me to create the tools and exercises in this workbook, and gave me valuable guidance.        


**Update:  I had requests from several people to add editable fields to the workbook, so that you do not have to print it or use an outside program like PDFescape to fill in your answers.  This is a great idea, but making this change will delay the final version until June 25th.  The half price version will still be available until then.**

**Update #2 (6-24-14):  I truly apologize, but due to a technical problem, I unfortunately have to push the release date of the final workbook back yet again. I will post here as soon as it's ready and available on my website.  The sale of the half-price version will be extended until then.  I'm sorry for any inconvenience. ** 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Intuitive Eating or Not?


If you're a binge eater trying to recover, you've likely come across the term "intuitive eating." Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that uses hunger and fullness - as well as the way foods make you feel - to guide what and how much you consume. In theory, your body intuitively knows what foods are best for you, and how much you need to eat; and if you can just be in tune with your body's sensations, you'll be able to effortlessly maintain a healthy weight. 

Intuitive eating is about trusting your body's innate wisdom. It involves following your tastes and cravings, but it's not just about eating what you desire in the moment.  It's also about being connected to how certain foods make you feel, and making food choices based on that. The result of intuitive eating should be a good diet that fits your lifestyle and fuels your unique body in the best way possible.     

Intuitive eating does work for some people, and I do see some value in this philosophy - provided it's understood properly, and not simply thought of as an "eat whatever you want whenever you want it for the rest of your life" approach. Intuitive eating can and does help some binge eaters give up the dieting mentality and food rules. 

Even though some aspects of intuitive eating may be useful, I think it presents several challenges for recovering binge eaters. Hunger and fullness, as well as food preferences and cravings, aren't usually very reliable after prolonged periods of binge eating/overeating. Stomach stretching, "addiction" to certain sugary/processed foods, digestive problems, and other physiological imbalances caused from binge eating can render your body lacking much innate wisdom. I know I could not have relied fully on my hunger and fullness when I first quit binge eating.  

Even those who aren't binge eaters should know that many of our modern foods make our body's natural hunger/satiety mechanisms less effective. As I talked about in my Listen to Your Body? post a few years ago, I don't think the appetite is completely dependable for most people, which is why we also need to use our higher brains when making food choices. 

If you want to explore more on this topic, the best source of information (in my opinion) on why intuitive eating might not be working for you is Gillian Riley, author of Ditching Diets, and Eating Less. She has a free e-book titled What is Wrong with Intuitive Eating? available on her website, if you sign up for monthly updates. The e-book is a great little summary of some of the pitfalls of this approach.     


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Paperback Now Available in the UK

   It is now possible to get a paperback version of my book through Amazon's UK store.  Here is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brain-over-Binge-Conventional-Recovered/dp/0984481702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395846983&sr=8-1&keywords=brain+over+binge.

I want to say thanks to all of the international readers who purchased the Kindle version. I appreciate your patience and continued support. I hope the paperback is helpful for those of you who like to have an actual book in hand.  


Monday, March 17, 2014

Busting the Binge Group Coaching Program

I want to let everyone know that there will be a group coaching program starting April 9th, for anyone who feels like they need additional support quitting binge eating or overcoming any type of problematic overeating.  

Amy Johnson and Cookie Rosenblum.- both life coaches with experience helping women overcome binge eating and other food/weight issues - will lead the group.  They will discuss methods that are in line with Brain over Binge, but Amy and Cookie also bring their own unique expertise, experience, and methods to help you in areas you may be struggling.

To learn more about the Busting the Binge Coaching Program, click here:  http://dramyjohnson.com/busting-the-binge-group-coaching-program/

As a free bonus for this group, I will be doing a Q&A with the participants on May 7th at 8pm EST (after the conclusion of the regular group sessions).