400 calorie meals... 2500 calorie binge...
Does this sound familiar? - You are really GOOD throughout the day. Perhaps you have a 400 calorie breakfast, a 400 calorie lunch, a 400 calorie dinner...you are on track to hit your 1200 calorie goal and feeling good - but then you have one biscuit and then 3, and before you know it you have finished the packet and moved on to other foods... the GOOD day just turned into a 2500 calorie binge...
Binge-eating is actually incredibly common. Many of the people that I work with that binge-eat feel a lot of shame and embarrassment for feeling so out of control around food. However binge-eating is actually a very common side effect of food restriction. Imagine you had a pet dog - and you decided to just feed him 4 or 5 small pellets of dog food every day - what do you think he would do if suddenly you then put him in front of a giant pile of dog food? - He would of course devour it all - even if he wasn't hungry - making sure he stocked up on extra food in case you ever starved him again. We as humans do exactly the same thing.
There is a reason that dieting often leads to eating disorders. Our brain and body interpret a diet as famine or starvation. Often the eating disorders that develop after a diet are binge-eating-disorder or bulimia. Often diets also lead to obsessions around food, a slowed-metabolism and persistent food cravings. Yet when this happens your brain and body are just doing their job - they want you to eat to keep you alive.
Many people tell me that they have been running their bodies on as little as 1200-1300 calories a day - yet this is the amount that a 3 year old should be eating. No adult should be running off so little food - unfortunately running off so little food has the effect of slowing down our body's metabolism and long-term it has detrimental effects on weight too. As soon as that 1200-calorie dieter tries to eat "normally" again, they may notice that they put on weight again quickly - because their body has adapted to living off just 1200 calories. It is also why many people experience a weight loss plateau after a while on a diet - their body has just adapted to living off less food and so stops losing weight.
This is why achieving weight loss in the long-term is much more complicated than just eating less calories and exercising more. Eating too little can be detrimental for your metabolism and also can drive binge-eating too. When I work with clients, I want to help to improve their metabolism so that they can eat more food and yet get to their health goals. Starvation and extreme restriction is never a good long-term solution - if nothing else because of the devastating impact it can have on your mental health.
If you would like some support in re-setting your metabolism, rebuilding your relationship with food or managing binge-eating, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a free telephone consultation.
“You don't have to be emaciated or vomiting to be suffering. All people who live their lives on a diet are suffering.”
― Portia de Rossi