Ask the Dietitian How Do You Break a Cycle of Overeating


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Being aware of your triggers is the first step toward breaking the cycle. (You can use the “Notes” section in your MyFitnessPal food diary to jot down your triggers.) Plan three snacks and three light meals for a total of six meals daily. What Is Overeating? Lauren calls herself the “Feel Good Dietitian,” and she doesn’t want you to associate guilt and shame with food.She spoke with us via email to elaborate more on this cycle.

Cut out all the foods on that list, and don’t expose yourself to situations that promote the cycle of overeating behavior. Stay away from restaurants that layer and load meals, and at the. Registered dietitian Lauren Cadillac talks about the cycle of overeating.

She explains what can cause overeating and how to stop doing it at night. Over time, you come to associate these foods with comfort and the foods themselves may trigger overeating. The best way to address both issues is to make a clean break with as many triggers as you can, including removing problematic foods from the house. 3) Have an Alternate Plan.

Karlene Karst, a registered dietician, the author of books like “Belly Fat Breakthrough,” and a head nutritionist for the product Safslim, has several tips for women who are trying to break the depression-obesity-overeating cycle. Continued. For many people, compulsive overeating is part of a cycle that starts with a restrictive diet.

May calls it the “eat, repent, repeat” cycle. You might begin a diet because you feel. The day persists and so does this cycle.

What Is Overeating? Lauren calls herself the “Feel Good Dietitian,” and she doesn’t want you to associate. Overcoming Overeating.

Experts say there are things you can do to make yourself more likely to stop eating when you are comfortable. They include: Eat slowly. If overeating is especially frequent or extreme, or if you have health problems related to overeating that you don’t know how to manage, seek the help of a coach, nutritionist, dietician, or counselor who specializes in disordered eating behaviors.

There’s no shame in receiving support.

List of related literature:

If you believe that your body is hibernating, and you believe you eat less than you “deserve” to eat given your exercise level, the solution is to increase your daytime calorie intake to an appropriate level, stop living in calorie deficit, and curb binge eating.

“Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook” by Nancy Clark
from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook
by Nancy Clark
Human Kinetics, 2019

When the cognitive resolve to maintain these restrictive habits is abandoned in response to emotional and external disinhibitors, the subsequent overeating can lead to weight regain, which then triggers the cycle to begin again.

“Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition” by Victor R. Preedy, Ronald Ross Watson, Colin R. Martin
from Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition
by Victor R. Preedy, Ronald Ross Watson, Colin R. Martin
Springer New York, 2011

Furthermore, these overeating and/or binge episodes can intensify the guilt and shame that accompanies the eating patterns of those with food-addictive behaviors and can “reinforce the erroneous notion that restrictive eating is a solution” (Herrin, 2003, p. 156).

“Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment” by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, MD, Laura Curtiss Feder, PsyD
from Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment
by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, MD, Laura Curtiss Feder, PsyD
Elsevier Science, 2014

Patients struggling with bingeing and purging may need to pay particular attention to eating meals and snacks that include a mixture of carbohydrate, fats, and proteins, rather than primarily carbohydrate, to help the meal be more physiologically satisfying and to prevent bingeing resulting from inadequate intake.

“Treatment of Eating Disorders: Bridging the Research-practice Gap” by Margo Maine, Beth Hartman McGilley, Douglas Bunnell
from Treatment of Eating Disorders: Bridging the Research-practice Gap
by Margo Maine, Beth Hartman McGilley, Douglas Bunnell
Elsevier Science, 2010

So start with a 1-2 day period of highcarbohydrate/high-calorie overfeeding as per the guidelines last chapter and then scale back calories to maintenance levels for the duration of the break (or long-term maintenance).

“The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook: A Scientific Approach to Crash Dieting” by Lyle McDonald
from The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook: A Scientific Approach to Crash Dieting
by Lyle McDonald
Lyle McDonald, 2005

Clinicians should ask about current dietary patterns, including a restrictive pattern ofeating (e.g.,fasting, meal-skipping, calorie restriction, or evidence ofrestricting intake ofspecific foods) and overeating (e.g., binge-eating, grazing, or nighteating).

“Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry” by Theodore A. Stern, Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, Maurizio Fava, Joseph Biederman, Scott L. Rauch
from Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry
by Theodore A. Stern, Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008

Thus, for example, with patients who have BN, treatment commonly needs to focus on more than simply stopping binge eating; it also needs to address the patient’s dieting, the patient’s ability to deal with adverse events and moods without binge-eating, and the patient’s overconcern with shape and weight.

“The Treatment of Eating Disorders: A Clinical Handbook” by Carlos M. Grilo, James E. Mitchell
from The Treatment of Eating Disorders: A Clinical Handbook
by Carlos M. Grilo, James E. Mitchell
Guilford Publications, 2009

An important part of breaking this cycle is to get the individual to monitor his or her intake through completing a food diary.

“Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition” by Benjamin Caballero, Lindsay Allen, Andrew Prentice
from Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition
by Benjamin Caballero, Lindsay Allen, Andrew Prentice
Elsevier Science, 2005

Psychologists Peter Herman and Janet Polivy devised a boundary model of eating that explains how dieters (people who restrict their food intake in order to prevent weight gain) and nondieters (people who do not engage in such behaviors) eat (1984).

“When Perfect Isn't Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism” by Martin M. Antony, Richard P. Swinson
from When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism
by Martin M. Antony, Richard P. Swinson
New Harbinger Publications, 2009

A good way of doing this is to ask patients to visit a local supermarket and write down all foods they would be reluctant to eat because of their possible effect on their shape or weight, or because they fear that eating them might trigger a binge.

“Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders, Fifth Edition: A Step-By-Step Treatment Manual” by David H. Barlow
from Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders, Fifth Edition: A Step-By-Step Treatment Manual
by David H. Barlow
Guilford Publications, 2014

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • I totally agree with you. We have to listen to our bodies and give them kinds of food they need. Sometimes we eat more, other times we eat less, but that is perfectly fine if we do it because we feel we need to but not for slimming or flattening purposes.

  • I wish there was an eating disorder where people restrict and binge constantly. I feel like a lot of people struggle with that including me.

  • My doctor was no help when I told her about my b/p/r cycle. She prescribed me Zoloft and called it a day. I never took it and just sought out a therapist. I’m amazed how many doctors don’t know how to respond to eds outside giving you drugs.

  • ive been going to a phycologist for a year…0 results              my dream is not to eat for 3 weeks…lose all this shit, let the body reset and redo. shame I never get past day 1-2 then the cycle goes again binge, purge, shame, say its the last day. and 7 hours later back to it

  • I love watching your videos, but I was so disappointed when I saw this. I don’t have access to a specialist eating disorder dietician & my therapist openly admits she doesn’t understand EDs.

  • I’d love to check out your workbook and see a therapist but unfortunately my ED wouldn’t even allow me to do that right now because part of me doesn’t want recovery

  • “Eating disorders are sneaky motherfuckers.”

    So true! This video actually has helped quite a bit. I’ve been working on stopping eating disorder thoughts/behaviors for around five years and this video has been more informing than most other resources I’ve read/watched. I’ve been a longtime fan. Keep on doing your amazing work, Kati!

  • Hey Kati! thank you so much for these cannot imagine what big of a difference it has made in my life just to know that I can come here and listen to makes me feel understood and less lonely so thank you! I have a small question regarding this binge eating cycle. With me it is so that I know that I am going to binge. It is just certain that as soon as i am on my on and there is food, whatever it is as long as it is edible, I am just going to eat it and I won’t stop until there is no more. It is very emotional so whether or not I had a completely normal meal plan or even if I had just returned from dinner, I will still find myself binging. So I basically feel trapped. How do I get out of such a situation, i.e. when the binging is emotional? because i feel that having a normal meal plan won’t make a difference, it has really nothing to do with hunger and most of the time when I am binging I feel absolutely full and awful but i has come to a point where i am basically afraid to eat when i am out or with people just to compensate for when i get home. do you have any advice on this? or just someone please I would appreciate it so much!

  • Hi Kati,
    Thank you so much for sharing unflitered, real advice on eating disorder. I’m a recovered Anorexic but have been battling Bulimia and Anxiety disorder for the past 6 years. My health has been affected by this ED so much that i have chest pain and panic attacks almost everyday now. unfortunately i’m on a waiting list to see a psychiatrist and dietitian. I seriously want to free myself from my ED, and i fight it everyday, and so if i don’t binge or purge, I eat minimal and lose weight and then i get physically very weak and panic and therefore i eat a little more and the cycle keeps going. I’d like to ask if you can help me with a positive reinforcement or method to fight the negative thoughts of putting on weight (as it’s my biggest fear, to not be accepted if I’m not thin enough). Because even though i wakeup every morning to fight my thoughts and remind myself of my priorities which is gaining my health back, I somehow repeat the same routines and go hungry and tired. I really appreciate your input and advice.

    Thank you


  • You know the ED voice is strong when hearing “you need to eat every 3-4hrs” sends you into a panic attack…:) one moment at a time, one day at a time.

  • Wow I had no idea that exercise is a form of purging. I won’t self diagnose myself completely but I guess it’s quite possible I’ve been struggling with a binge/purge type eating disorder for some time now without even knowing it. Thank you so much for your words on this. I’ve started just today keeping a food journal to help myself see my patterns. Your videos have been so helpful xoxo.

  • It’s all in the brain. Food is like a drug and it will kill you. Whats the point in eating more since you already know how it taste like.

  • I’m at a healthy weight and eat extremely healthy!!! I eat a perfect diet of fruit veggies and lean proteins with healthy snacks but addicted to the feeling of being full and then throwing up.

  • I couldn’t imagine life without my favourite foods! But i want to live long and healthy too so in my own journey I’ve definitely found that 90% clean eating with consistent exercise combined with 10% cheat allows me to gain the results i want, stay healthy and fully energized and enjoy life.

  • I take stimulates for ADHD and one of the side effects is loss of appetite so I can go all day without food and I’ll feel fine. But once I eat I get starving, wanting to eat everything. Does anyone else have a similarly experience?

  • I never make myself vomit but I restrict for a week or two, then I have a binge (like an actual binge I can’t stop it from happening) and then the next few weeks I will exercise and eat barely anything. Anyone else have that type of thing here?

  • “Glucose, the sugar found in your blood, is usually the brain’s main fuel. Unlike muscle, your brain can’t use fat as a fuel source” Also, physicians don’t have a clue about food. They rather prescribe you pills for heart disease than advice to avoid saturated fats and eat more fruits and veggies.

  • I have a very addictive personality and used sleeping tablets and OTC painkillers for many years. I also battle Binge eating disorder. I was able to get off the sleeping tablets and painkillers quite easily. I do crave the codeine daily and my body and brain is in constant pain, but I am able to resist not taking the pain killers, but boy, I can’t adapt the same discipline for food. That’s because when you reach a certain weight, everything in your cells are hormonal, it’s too strong to fight against.

  • i wish mental health advocates would stop misinforming people on diets. u don’t have to eat every 3 to 4 hours. intermittent fasting is perfectly fine.

  • For myself, these things are still the hardest things to give up after 12 years. I restrict all day and then end up binging my life away and shortly after I will purging my guts out. I have taken the initiative to check myself into a treatment center but I know physically stopping these behaviors will be hard.

  • I wish I was one of those girls who is normal and doesnt have to worry about binging, i binge on fucking healthy foods thats how bad its getting

  • hello i really need a help i ‘ve been binging purging restricting for about 3 years i stop one week and return again what can i do

  • Oh my goodness, 100%! You described my binge eating experience completely. The various reasons for it, science behind it, the phases, detachment from body, etc., etc. I wish I had your video back in the 80’s:)

  • The three to four hour tip BLEW MY EFFING MIND I never do that, going to try and snack a little bit more on satsumas between meals. Thankyou so much Kati, you’re the best!:) xxx

  • Thank you so much for this,from tomorrow I’ll try and fight my bulimia back! Make it stop forever! I actually have all of the symptoms and risks are really high I could die from a heart attack if I keep doing this. What I do is after every meal overeating I just vomit everything. I’ve come to the point where I even vomit water. My period is gone since three months ago.. Wish me luck in this whole new journey,I’ll keep you updated if I remember it

  • it sounds like over eating not binging and purging but not able to stop because of being addicted to the way food tastes and then the hate of it after because she wants to do good

    i will give her the same advice i gave a youtuber that has this and sort of realizes he does but not really

    if you have a food you really love dont have it around the house if you cant stop eating it if you have a healthy food that you eat to much of it cut it and dont go to the other part of the food keep it in the fridge and walk downstairs with the portion you have

    then do the check in with yourself and is it do i want more because i like the way it tastes or am i actually hungry and figure out if you should maybe have something else like carrots as a side thing if you are still hungry or maybe some fruit

    that way you dont over eat and you are getting different vitamins in your body and always cut to smaller portions

    thx for this ha bisky vid

  • I just want you to consider one thing. People who binge often do it for more than one reason. Eating is actually very triggering. Because we don’t eat to get nutrition we eat to stuff ourselves. So every time you eat you trigger your binge behaviour and you can’t stop until you’re completely stuffed. I find it way easier to not eat at all than to try and eat normally.

  • Hey Kati, I know this is an old video and you probably won’t see this…but I wanted to let you know that youtube is playing ads for weight loss programs at the beginning of some of your ED videos (including this one). I’m not sure if you have any control over what they play, but I did want to let you know just in case. 

    Also, I’m really thankful to have come across your channel; I have an eating disorder (along with all that other fun stuff like anxiety/ptsd/depression/ADHD) and your videos have really helped me feel less isolated and given me a better understanding of what I’m dealing with. Thank you for all that you do!

  • 1 year ago I was anorexic and then I started to eat again. And now Everyday, everyday I’m binging and purging and exercising. I can’t stop��

  • I NEED to stop bingeing because I purge afterword. I swapped anorexia for bulimiaI need it to stop. I want to stop I feel even more helpless and hopeless than when I was deepest into anorexia. I’m trying with my therapist but I am scared to tell them about it. I don’t know what to do

  • My psychiatrist, social worker and even my doctor don’t take it seriously because I have BPD and I am overweight so they don’t give me help for my ED.. I keep binging and purging 5 times a week…

  • I agree, definitely sounds like an ED. The preoccupation, the struggle for control, avoiding eating with friends all of that is how it started for me.

  • I just wanna say that at the beginning, when you try to stop the cycle, you’ll still overeat. It takes time to learn how to listen to your body. The main thing is to stop the purging mechanisms. And i know how hard is to stop the purging mechanisms one you overeat, but keep pushing. You got this ♡

  • I am anorexic but since 2 month I‘ve lost control completely and it‘s the absolute worst. Like I KNOW I should stop eating and stuffing food in my face that isn‘t even worth it ( because I eat everything we have in the kitchen even stuff that I would usually never eat) but I can‘t. It‘s like having no control oveR your own body. Like a zombie.
    Now I‘m struggling a lot especially because of my eating disorder. I don‘t feel anorexic anymore and people still treat me as such. That makes me feel bad because I don‘t deserve to be seen as something I‘m the absolute opposite of.

  • “Maybe it needs more sugar…”
    Majority of humans don’t ever need more sugar unless they have very high levels of physical activity. Even then, fat seems like the more sustainable option.
    “Eat every three to four hours”
    Eh..wut. That cant be right, unless it happens within an 8 hour window of time or less.

    I agree sticking to a schedule and not indulging to the just this one time mentality helps. I really appreciate everything this channel does.

  • Does this apply if you’re in recovery from anorexia and have extreme hunger to where you eat everything in the house (even family’s food) and have to go to the store every day? I feel NUTS and like there isn’t any hope

  • I just can’t get out of this circle. It is not working. It feels like my brain is gonna explode. I was diagnosed with Anorexia(and have Depression for 9 years now) last year, got therapy and manged to eat again and gain some weight. But I don’t no how to eat normal. I want to lose weight than I eat healthy meals through the Day. I realize i did not lose weight I’m feeling fat so I restrict this healthy meals until I’m in “anorexic mode” and eat nothing. Then Depression kicks in tells me I don’t care how I look doesn’t matter no one will see it you got no social life either so just eat. And that’s what I’m doing. I over eat so much until my stomach hurts and I wanna puke it all out but it does not work. The next day the circle continues. I don’t know what to do anymore I have no control over my brain.

  • I’m desperate that’s why I searched for this video… I feel gross when I binge because i feel so bloated and like I’m gonna vomit but I’m scared I’m gonna get addicted to purge which is even worse

  • When she said she can’t concentrate because all she can think about is what she is going to eat next. She sounded exactly like my partner when he was giving up smoking. And the other symptoms correlate also. I think it maybe as simple as food addiction. Food has become people’s drug of choice and stress reliever. Obviously we can’t stop eating. So I think the answer is to eat less enjoyable foods, so you retrain your brain to (as the saying goes) eat to live rather than live to eat.

  • I cant stop binging when i see food then ill purge. I purged 6 times so scared i wont be able to stop and hurt myself. Ive been bulimic since i was 8. I dont even know how to start

  • I wish i could stop my binge eating. It makes me feel sad and disgusting. And disappointed.. Like… Why? Ugh.. I wish B.E.D didn’t even exist ����

    Ill update on my no-binging.. And i hope it also helps you guys to try and help your binge.

  • It legit started after a month and I would purge after every meal I had untill this one day at school we were talking about eating disorders and the teacher said: bulimia can cause loss of hair,rotten teeth and then she ended it by saying this is a mental disorder.
    Since then I complety stopped purging I eat 3 meals a day and don’t overeat.
    When I’m full I’m full.
    Concider it yourselfs 2. Bulimia can have serious health problems

  • It really rings true with me that the relationship with food needs to be healthy before focusing on what food is eaten, because that’s what I’ve been obsessed with and it never helps in the long run.

  • Excellent video I have been struggling with a diet all year binge eating has thrown me off thanks a lot I met you through Sunny and you def have anew subscriber

  • Meredith I Iiked your point about the consequences of cutting out certain food types which in turn causes you to crave them more and binge eat. I know that has happened to me in the last when I’ve cut out sugar too quickly.

  • I don’t diet nor do I restrict but constantly overeat and food is basically my life… I just don’t relate when dietitians say the root to binging is restricting… not everyone is like that!!

  • i don’t even binge a lot. i restrict. and eat at night. then purge. but i don’t even eat enough to count it as a normal sized meal. but i still feel guilty and hate myself so i work out a lot. i guess it’s a different problem than over eating

  • I just restrict and purge, Binging terrifies me to the point where if I think about it or look at a large amount of food makes me sick or makes me purge even if I didn’t eat anything.

  • I am struggling with anorexia but am not underweight, sometimes I feel like the doctors made a mistake because I feel too fat to be anorexic. no one really understands it, I don’t either. I don’t listen to my dietitian anyways. least I haven’t self-harmed for 4 months. eating every 3-4 hours feels like it would make me gain weight.

  • This definitely describes me. I went to an IOP program earlier this year but I have relapsed into behaviors/thoughts. I’m going to download the workbook to see if that will help me in conjunction with my therapist. Thank you for putting these resources out there for all of us need help.

  • It wont stop you know why? Iam stuck in this cycle since forever. I went to a therapist,nutritionist and….Last week i was abstinent then i got a strong craving and ended up binging on penuts and i gained alot of weight in just 3 days������ ughhh am so tired of it
    Ps: am so active,healthy but I swear i gain weight so so fast my metabolism is so low according to my nutritionist:(

  • I was so proud of myself today because it was Canada Day and my mother in law made delicious pullet pork and strawberry short cake and I ate just enough to be satisfied and full but not more (I usually go for seconds even if I am no longer hungry)

  • Can someone help lead me in the right direction.. (this might get very emotional) so right now I’m 5’2 and 187 pounds, and last year at this time I was 137.. I gained 50 pounds in one year. And I’m noticing the fat weight gain. This has completely sucked motivation out of me. Im embarrassed to go to a gym because I feel everyone looks at me, and I’m so out of shape now its hard to workout.. because of the low self esteem I have I started becoming a non purging bulimic. I cant eat a single serving of anything, healthy foods, or junk foods. I have to just eat and eat and eat to the point my stomach will hurt for days, just to keep my mind happy at that moment when I have such bad cravings. I signed up for so many $30-$50 memberships to help me get back on track with diet and exercise but its not working.. im always falling back.. does anyone have any advice? Please? ��

  • I wish I could find that workbook but the link seems to be not working anymore:(
    Anyway, thanks for your videos, they really help!

  • Well then how do you feel about fasting? Not eating between 8pm and noon the next day? That is actually way better for you than constantly snacking and eating

  • I binge and binge and binge. I do not purge per say, but suffer from IBS and will have huge flare ups and my body binges on its own. I’ve always struggled with food. I was both over fed and underfed as a child. I was shamed for my body type. I wouldn’t eat in front of people. I used to starve myself everyday and then binge at night. I gained so much weight. I’ve never been at a healthy weight, since childhood. I was blessed to lose weight postpartum, but I am now gaining it back on. Breastfeeding is no longer burning as many calories and now I’m faced with the demons of my eating, which I’m now realizing definitely fringes on disorder.

  • I restricted and then binged and then restricted and binged, etc. I finally decided after a bad binge that I was gonna stop restricting and just eat like a normal person. That was a week ago. Over the past week I’ve not been eating like a healthy person that I planned to do. I’ve been binging every single day on super unhealthy foods because I decide to finally allow myself to go back to food and I didn’t know how to act. My pants have already gotten smaller and I’ve gotten bigger and bloated. I feel disgusting and just terrible I don’t know how to act or what to do at this point I just subconsciously binge and then feel super bad and I’m gaining weight help

  • I wonder if I have those. Like every since I read up about anaoexic and bulmia, I get scared about becoming it. Like thoughts of running into the bathroom. Now I get nervous to eat for the first time and I just want to eat without obbessive thoughts or thoughts of it. Do I have a disorder?

  • When you started intuitive eating, how long did it take to not “go crazy” with all the foods you’ve been wanting?! I just started intuitive eating and I’m eating everything in sight..

  • Josie, thanks for the video. I relate to a ton of stuff that you talk about in your video. Im currently battling binge eating and I am creating videos chronicling my battle. Did you notice that when you started binge eating that the binges would gradually occur more and more often?

  • I’ve been cutting calories for a couple of months now and have been in and out of this cycle. Today was the first time after binging I thought “I should gag myself to throw it up.” Wow! It didn’t even cross my mind that I could be setting myself up for an eating disorder. I’m legitimately freaked out right now.

  • Excellent information Josie. I was on the restrict/binge cycle for a couple years and once I stopped restricting, the late night binging stopped too. As you said, overeating at times exists, but so happy to not have those insane sugar binges and be able to maintain weight while still eating sweets almost every day. Great advice. Happy New Year!!!

  • I can’t express how thankful I am to have stumbled across this video. At first it was a bit spooky how much every statement hit the nail on the head, but by mid video I was bawling my eyes out because it’s not a topic I’d ever discuss with people close to me. Thank you so much <3!!