binge eating |
Currently viewing the tag: "binge eating"

One of my fabulous clients described her journey towards permanent weight loss this way:  “It’s like I was on a rollercoaster when I was dieting, now I’m in the driver’s seat, driving change.”

I thought this was a great metaphor for dieting v. lifestyle change.

Let’s think about this.

When you are on the diet rollercoaster:

1.  You feel out of control.

2.  It’s scary.


3.  Emotions rage with good days and bad days.  Emotions always lead to emotional eating and comfort food.

4.  The number on the scale can send you on a binge.

5.  Disappointment, sadness, anxiety and other daily occurrences set off eating sprees, followed by food restriction and new promises to diet all over again tomorrow, next Monday, or next month.

6.  You follow someone else’s plan – might be a diet, a book, a program.  These plans never address your personal body’s needs, but are generalized approaches.

7.  You “wake up” with an empty plate, a candy wrapper, a cookie box, or other container in front of you and no idea how it got there or where the food went.

8.  You try to control the crazy momentum by counting something (calories, aerobic output, anything at all).

9.  You think poor choices say something about your personal character.

10.  You struggle.  Struggle diminishes your effort, your success and, ultimately, your dreams.

9.  You constantly fluctuate between weights, yo-yo-ing up and down the scale.  Ultimately, you wind up back at the beginning, where you started, at the “loading zone” of the rollercoaster ride.

You know you are making a lifestyle change, and you are driving change, when:

1.  You are the authority on what food is the best fuel for YOUR body and you know exactly what makes great energy for your unique physiology.

2.  You consistently fuel your body for optimal energy.

3.  You make decisions easily, without mental combat occurring.

4.  You address any emotion, obstacle or event DIRECTLY, without buffering it with food.

5.  You never make excuses, but OWN every decision and action.

6.  You feel empowered.  You are driving.  You are choosing the route you take.

7.  You treat yourself with respect and love in all circumstances, no matter what you ate that day.

8.  The ride leads to new places, new discoveries, and wide-open vistas because you aren’t on a “track”, you’re in ever-changing life.

Getting off the diet rollercoaster isn’t just about losing weight.  It’s about quality of life.  It’s about living a fully empowered life, instead of giving power away to a plan, a diet, or anything that’s not organic to your amazing physical body.

Non-diet weight loss is the kind that lasts too.  Isn’t that what we ultimately want when we think of lowering the number on the scale, anyway?


Sending a son off to college is a challenge.  I expected that.

You expect emotional impact on your “momself.”  The cost is astonishing!  Then, there’s the uphill climb through amazing hills of paperwork, applications for everything from residence halls to scholarships to individual study programs.

What I never expected was the guilt-evoking barrage of sales packages, all suggesting ways to spend money to alleviate the “momguilt” of sending junior from his childhood home into the big, bad world.

Get this one, which arrived today:

After a long lead-in about how lonely and bereft DS would be at the big/intimidating university,  and the assurance that the big/intimidating university will be doing their part to help the student assimilate, I am reminded that most students don’t get enough encouragement from home!


However, in our foodcentric and food focused society, there is really only ONE answer!


Continue reading »

The popular movie, The Hunger Games, is raking in the profits after capitalizing on the word-of-mouth from readers of the popular teen book and a boatload of publicity.

I wish I had come up with this name for the book I am writing.  The Hunger Games – doesn’t it sound like a self-help book for pulling yourself out of food addiction?

Well, here are some REAL Hunger Games we play.  Which one’s your favorite?

1.  Diet/Avoid Food All Morning and Binge the Rest of the Day

This is the surest road to excess weight.  I did it for years.  I thought I was “saving up calories” for the rest of the day and exercising my willpower muscles, but I was creating more hunger and programming my body to store fat faster and more efficiently.  I was also losing touch with what real hunger felt like and teaching my body I would not respond to its natural hunger cues.

2.  Plan Days/Events/Activities Around Eating

OK, my bad on this one.  It’s still my favorite example though.  I used to choose an Overeaters Anonymous meeting because it was near one of my favorite restaurants.  Since I was the one doing it, I can cop to it now.  It’s so counter-intuitive, it’s amazing.  Many of my clients tell me they hit goal weight in Weight Watchers and have already planned their “reward binge” or mapped out the directions to the nearest fast food restaurant.  Yeah, it makes no sense, but it happens.  A lot.  It’s a sign nothing has changed.

Do you choose events or movies because you like a restaurant nearby?  Does “being in the neighborhood” sound like a good excuse to hit a favorite type of food?  Or do you say, “Who knows when I’ll get a chance to eat this again?”  That’s not a real reason to eat, just a Hunger Game.

3.  Eating as Entertainment (Food Focused or Foodcentric Lifestyle)

When you get together with friends, family or a partner, is your main focus eating?  A movie is entertainment.  A bike ride is activity.  Eating is functional.  It’s the gas station.  Fuel.  It can taste great and transport your taste buds, but if it’s your main source of entertainment, it’s time to branch out and see more of life.

4.  Fear of Hunger

Many of my clients stash food in their cars, offices, gym lockers, computer cases and bedrooms so they will never be without a fix.  What’s so scary about being hungry?  Well, it’s usually not hunger we really fear, but the needs underneath.  These needs, often subconscious and unexplored, are darker and usually created long ago, in childhood.  However, it doesn’t matter if it’s unlikely to happen (running out of food or not being able to get to food in our society???), fear loves to run our behaviors.

5.  I’ll Fix it Later

This is my favorite.  We live under the illusion, reinforced by the diet industry, that choices today are unimportant because we have the ability to fix our weight later.  Have that rich, fat-laden five course meal and promise to run every day next week to make up for it.  Turn into the drive-thru – it’s OK because you’re going to the gym tonight.

This is simply untrue.  Dieting rarely works, and reinforcing this negative belief (or LIE) of the “quick fix later” just makes it feel true.  The truth is, once fat is processed, it’s more difficult to remove and resists dieting and excessive exercise.  In fact, the longer you work out, the less fat you will burn every minute.

Understanding how the body works is the key to ending the Hunger Games in your life.  Being consistently healthy is simpler and more effective than playing games too.

If you (or anyone you know) is ready to end the Hunger Games in life, share this post with them and check out my next enLIGHTen Your Life! class starting soon!  Click here for information.

Working out at the gym today, I heard a personal trainer tell her client, “If you want to lose weight, you just gotta learn to deprive yourself!”

Oh, brother!

I used to be surprised when a “fitness professional” said stupid things.  Now, I don’t even blink.

Continue reading »

This month’s book contest features the “Just Tell Her to Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders , by Becky Henry.


This fascinating book offers a different perspective on eating disorders.  If you have experienced disordered eating, or have children who might be susceptible, it’s a must read.  Parenting a child in today’s world, which is focused on controlling food, food addictions, setting up bizarre behaviors with food, binge eating and food struggle, isn’t easy.  It’s a food focused and foodcentric world.  This book helps you understand the struggle for control.

Two ways to win!

1.  Go to America’s Weight Loss Catalyst Facebook Page by clicking here and hitting the “Like” button.  You’ll be the bonus of tips and motivation every morning from the facebook page!

2.  Visit any other blog post right here on this site and post your comments, opinion or questions.  We’re always happy when you share the blog posts by using the buttons at the bottom of the page too!

You get one entry for every action you take!

Share the Catalyst experience on social media and you’re automatically entered to win this month’s book:  Just Tell Her To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders by Becky Henry!


My two favorite things are change and commitment.  It wasn’t always that way.  In fact, I’m laughing out loud as I write those words.

Before I learned what it took to alter my weight permanently, change felt really scary and even threatening.  I never committed to anything.  Oh, I said it did, but I wasn’t reaching any of my goals, so now I know I wasn’t committed to anything.

In those days, I usually decided to diet in the evening, after eating too much all day, and, by 10 a.m., I’d have blown my diet.  Every day began with hope and ended in regret.







I liked to gather all my willpower for the latest fad diet, then lose 10 lbs and regain 15.

I studied books, diets and nutrition advice, then wonder why they didn’t work long-term.

I used various food avoidance behaviors, sometimes going most of the day without food, then binging at night.

Continue reading »

One of the primary reasons the American woman’s body image is distorted is the virtual lack of REAL role models in our society.

Most of our role models come from the fashion industry and Hollywood films.  If we only viewed French or Italian films, we’d see a wide range of sizes, shapes and ages among the actresses looming on the big screen.  (We’d also see less cookie cutter beauty and much more interesting types of beauty.)

But, time after time, I find myself watching an American movie and wondering “Why does she have to be so thin?”

She looked like this, primarily due to bulimia.

What We’re Comparing Against Example 1: Boomer women are reeling over Jane Fonda’s admission that she was bulimic when she starred in Hollywood films and exercise videos of the 70s.  Nice of her to admit it now, I guess, but millions of women did those stupid videos until they were blue in the face and then beat themselves all the way to the bakery because they didn’t wind up looking like her.

What We’re Comparing Against Example 2: Actresses in two current hit films have admitted using body doubles in their nude scenes.

Continue reading »

A few weeks ago, my husband offered to go out for ice cream after dinner. He rarely wants dessert. In fact, I used to be the one sending him out for ice cream.

“What do you want?” he asked.

“Ummmm, nothing.”

“Really?” he said. “I’ll get your favorite. Coffee.”

Don’t you just love it when someone pushes food at you?

No! I don't want any!

No! I don't want any!

(But, actually, I’m pretty impressed he knows my favorite, so I considered it a moment.)

Continue reading »