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“I’m trapped on a restrict/binge eating cycle”

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"I'm trapped on a restrict/binge eating cycle"

I remember the first Halloween I spent with my husband when we were dating.

We had gone to Costco and got a GIANT bag of mini-sized candybars (you know the packs that have like Snickers, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, Milky Way all mixed together? MMMM!)

At the time, I had “food rules” in place. I established basically a list of foods I was allowed to eat, and foods I was not allowed to eat. To me, this wasn’t a “diet” it was my way of making sure I ate in a way that would help me lose weight/not get fat.

On my do-not-eat-list was candy. It had sugar and artificial bad things in it, and even though I didn’t really know much more than that at the time, I KNEW it wasn’t going to help me look and feel good now or long term. So I deemed it unacceptable for myself to eat.

"I'm trapped on a restrict/binge eating cycle"

Normally, I would have never thought twice about getting a candybar. I didn’t think about them, I didn’t buy them, I didn’t have them in the house. So I didn’t think I felt deprived even with my rule in place.

BUT, this time it was different. We had this magical jumbo bag filled with all of my old favorite chocolatey candies from when I was a kid sitting right in the house, in plain view.

All of my unknowing deprivation of not eating food I really wanted came crashing down. Maybe it was avoiding candy for so long, or avoiding everything on my list, but I knew I was about to snap! The temptation of the candy sitting there was starting to get to me, and I wanted to eat it, LOTS of it, so bad.

I felt wrong about feeling this way for some reason. Like I didn’t want my boyfriend to see me eat it because he’d judge me or think less of me or think I was fat for doing so.

So what did I do?? I waited until he left the room (maybe went to the bathroom) and ran over to the candy. Standing up in the corner of the room, I secretly binged on as much candy as I could unwrap! I hid the evidence while finishing shoveling my face with as much candy as I could! All this while also keeping an ear out for when I heard him coming back so I could stop.  

I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and confused.

Why was I doing this??

Why did I care what he thought?

Did I even really care what HE thought, or was it more on me, in my head, and how I judged myself?

Why did I put such harsh rules on myself?

I did start to realize when he started getting suspicious at how the bag of candy was mysteriously emptying that my deprive-then-binge way of eating was not ok.

It was a form of self sabotage, like a grenade that suddenly exploded in my life.

I had been stuck in a deprivation based mentality around food for yearssss at that point. It was engraved into my brain from trying lots of diets, my own diets, and what I saw/heard in magazines, on TV, and online. How I was SUPPOSED to eat. I felt like I had to control myself around food, and that was the best way I knew how.

The alternative was that I would binge eat all of the foods I knew I shouldn’t be eating. If I let myself eat a little of a food on my do-not-eat-list, I wouldn’t be able to stop eating it. I’d be out of control.

The emotional toll of this extreme eating is huge.

While we’re restricting we feel deprived, anxious, and controlling.

After binging we feel guilt, remorse, and ashamed, not to mention physical discomfort.

The solution to the restrict-binge cycle is not learning how to restrict better.

To start breaking free from this, start asking yourself those types of questions to dig down to the root cause of why you’re finding yourself doing things like that.

I didn’t even know I had a “problem” with food for a long time. To me this was just life and how everyone lived! Once I started realizing what was going on, I could work on overcoming it. Moving past my food rules and restrictions. Developing a normal, healthy relationship with food that didn’t include secret binge eating.

Remember too that the deprive-then-binge way of eating isn’t going anywhere. It will always be there for you if you need it and want to go back to it after trying something new. Restrictive plans and “quick fixes” will always be around if you just feel like you prefer the comfort of the familiar over trying a new way. No issues and no judgment.

But hopefully knowing that you could go back if you wanted to, makes you feel a little safer to try this new way.

I started questioning all of my food choices.

I lifted my rules and yeah went a little crazy on certain foods for a little bit, but soon it got out of my system and I didn’t NEED to have those things. They came down off their food pedestal and lose their allure to me.

Often we think that the binge represents failure on our part, that we were weak and just needed more willpower. We might not realize that what we were thinking of as success in this scenario – the act of restricting – is actually the primary cause of our binging behavior to begin with! Oye…


I am a hard-core chocolate lover, and proud of it. I find that since I stopped restricting myself from eating it, I can truly savor and enjoy eating it.

Some of my favorite chocolatey recipes: 3-ingredient chocolate bar, raw chocolate brownies, avocado chocolate pudding, chocolate covered nuts, and jumbo dark chocolate tart.

Is this something you struggle with? Would you like help ditching your restrictive mentality and developing a better relationship with food?

Click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.

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