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How Do You Distract Yourself From the Binge?



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Binge eating is the reason I got to my highest weight of 315.4lbs, and it was all emotional. I ate because it was what made me feel better no matter what- I was mad, I ate. Sad? food. Bored? Food. Even happy, you celebrated with food.

Now that I've had VSG... I have no binge eating. My head is trying to convince me, but I have been journaling and going to therapy to help with that. It's helping, but it's feeling like it's not enough. I am hanging in there the best I can- I am practicing calligraphy, cross stitching, knitting, going for long walks (can't exercise fully yet), playing video games, etc., but I'm still coming up with the head thoughts of "YOU NEED TO EAT WE NEED FOOD FOOD FOOD."

It's hard and I've got a good support system, but your head can be your own worst enemy. What do you guys do to distract yourselves? How do you handle your emotions when they fluctuate? My emotional state has been varied, but it is getting a little worse as I go.

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You've identified a critical issue and reached out, but I'm sorry to say that unfortunately this is not a venue that can provide the knowledgeable, meaningful, consequential long-term advice and support that you may well need.

If you read bariatric boards and blogs, you'll quickly realize that the keys to overcoming disordered eating and successfully losing and maintaining over the long term are committing to changing behaviours and developing new emotional coping strategies. I'm not talking about knitting and calligraphy. If you have an eating disorder, you won't be able to do this without professional help. Seeing a therapist regularly over the long term, reaching out to whatever mental health support programs you may have available, reading self-help and addiction books, actively engaging with self-help workbooks each day, and joining a professional online addiction food recovery program are all options that will likely need to be used in combination.

If you put the time and effort into getting help to address your inner demons and learn how to make different choices, then you will have a successful outcome. If you are not able to do this, then you likely will not. Surgery only takes an hour, but for some it takes a lifetime of mental health support to achieve and maintain weight loss. Sometimes it may take hundreds of hours of introspection, therapy, and mental health support to be able to change the behaviours that lead to obesity.

Surgery will help you lose weight, but it doesn't keep you from gaining it all back. A person could have 20 weight loss surgeries and still end up being obese. For many obese people, myself included, the real reasons behind becoming obese have absolutely nothing to do with how much - or how little - they can eat.

Please reach out to your team and let them know that you're struggling. They're there to support you, and they have access to both internal and local community resources that can help you work through this. And please don't stop talking about how you're doing here - it may not be much help, but connection is better than isolation. In the meantime, here are a few books that address the mental health aspects of disordered eating to get started with:

  • Weight Loss Surgery Does NOT Treat Food Addiction by Connie Stapleton
  • The Emotional First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery by Cynthia L. Alexander
  • Bariatric Mindset Success: Live Your Best Life and Keep The Weight Off After Weight Loss Surgery by Kristin Lloyd
  • The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Weight Management: A Step-by-Step Program by Michele Laliberte
  • Overcoming Binge Eating, Second Edition: The Proven Program to Learn Why You Binge and How You Can Stop by Christopher G. Fairburn
  • The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook: An Integrated Approach to Overcoming Disordered Eating by Carolyn Coker Ross

Edited by PollyEster

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8 hours ago, Sammi_Katt said:

t's hard and I've got a good support system, but your head can be your own worst enemy. What do you guys do to distract yourselves? How do you handle your emotions when they fluctuate? My emotional state has been varied, but it is getting a little worse as I go.

First things first - Congrads on realizing your head is fu@ckin with you! Simple way is i get away 0 Go outside take the dog for a walk, Go wonder thru a store. Also keep a photo of your pre surgery on your phone, Look at it and see how unhealthy and unhappy you were, So why the hell would you binge it again!

I have littel emotions also a male and a ice cold one, So someone else will get on that!

Bottom line you can not get mind F@#cked - You take control and this is your journey. Nothing can stop you!

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Sorry to hear that I guess I've been lucky I'm over 3 months out and still barely get those thoughts or cravings really at all...

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My therapist and I are working on coping mechanisms that I can use to both distract myself and use to replace the mental things that my brain tries to do to me.

It's just nice to know that I'm not alone, ya know?

Journaling has been the best thing for me since starting all this... writing down and getting those "demons" personified so I have something to basically wanna punch when I can exercise again lol.

I'm also looking into some of those books, @PollyEster They seemed pretty interesting from the previews I read.

And @AJ Tylo, it's been great getting out and wandering. I was cooped up in the house so long recovering from my complications and gallbladder surgery that I forgot how nice it is just to pace around a grocery store. That was a great idea. ❤️

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Hi Sammi-Katt, I rarely log in here, but just checked in today to see how you're doing and am so glad you're feeling a bit less alone and worried at the moment, and am especially pleased to learn that you're seeing a therapist. Journalling is such a great exercise for awareness and self-realization, too. I have read all of the books listed and found much that is useful and beneficial for both myself and others in them, and hope you do, too. I'm wishing you well in every way...

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You've created those grooves in your brain that say "I need food for comfort" but once you remove the ability to binge your brain will create new neuropathways. It has to. You will adjust over time but just think of it this way. Every time you say no or don't turn to food for comfort or boredom or whatever you're training your subconscious to stop asking for it. I used to DREAM about food right after surgery but now I'm used to using food for fuel rather than to fill a void. Sure I mess up and I have eaten things I shouldn't but I dont stress about it anymore because it's not the norm. Trust me...over time you'll adjust!

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