Hi, Bridget, how are you? I like your blog and it's contents. I'd like to know how could you get rid of eating disorder and become vegan? I have a friend who became vegan and said it led her to binge-purge cycle. And some time ago I read a post that you said a little bit of it. I found very kind and empathic what you answered that time. And I saw you don't have sweet cravings in a interview!! But how, girl?
Peace and love to you ✌💕💕❤
Hi! Thank you so much 😀 I enjoy writing this blog!
First off, I am not a doctor. Second off, I have never had an eating disorder. I have definitely had my share of disordered eating, and evil, commanding voices in my head, but thankfully never a fully blown eating disorder. So I can’t really speak from experience too strongly here, only a little - but I can certainly tell you instinctively what I feel in your situation.
First off, to get an eating disorder under control is a very personal thing. Usually it requires identifying the underlying cause, and this usually involves the help of a therapist or doctor. It is never about food, it is about control and trauma. Food becomes the coping mechanism; a way of grounding yourself against a life that seems too much. So I would definitely not recommend becoming vegan as a way to control your food. First off focus on why you feel the need to behave the way you do around food, and work to untangle that mess.
Binge-purge cycles tend to occur when you are depriving yourself of something you really want. If you become a vegan for the wrong reasons (to lose weight, for control etc) you are simply depriving yourself. Eventually the desire for what you are refusing to eat will overcome your convictions, and you will binge. If you have the mental state primed for it, you will then purge. So if your friend is trapped in this cycle, she should not be a vegan. She should be focusing more on eating foods that nourish her physically and mentally, and spending time working on why she feels the need to control her food through under and over eating.
Regardless of your dietary preferences, you can binge and purge. I definitely used to do “treat days” that were binge days with a hat on. I never purged, but I would go all out and eat all the vegan treats that I was denying myself, until I felt sick and could barely move. It was not healthy for me physically or mentally. This occurred because I spent the rest of my time eating a far too restricted vegan diet – I was refusing to eat anything that was a carbohydrate that did not come from vegetables. So after about a week I would just go nuts, and eat everything I could. After integrating healthy wholegrains and fruits into my diet, this binge cycle slowly faded out. Every now and again I do eat more than normal, but it isn’t accompanied with a feeling of being out of control and needing to eat ALLTHEFOODDAMNIT. It is more because in the moment, it feels like a treat.
So for you, I would advise you to first identify why you want to be a vegan. I don’t feel deprived of animal foods, because I have no desire for them anymore. When I made the decision to go plant-based that was the end of that, I felt no cravings or desire for animal products. It suited me. So decide why you want to be vegan. If those reasons are bigger than your desire to eat animal products, then go for it! But if they are to just lose weight, that probably isn’t the best way to start. I know plenty of vegans who started that way, and stayed because it felt so good – but it can be rough going at first. Next I would recommend you to ensure you are hitting all your macro and micro nutrient bases. Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Do not be afraid of any group of foods. Don’t buy into the low carb noise, it just sets you up for an eventual binge. Eat a little bit of everything each day. Make sure your meals are delicious and satisfy your taste buds. Eating cardboard every day sets you up for a binge – and life is too short to eat foods that suck!
And funnily enough, this is how I beat my sugar cravings. Honestly I have never had a very big sweet tooth – but when I eat a little fruit each day, healthy whole grains such as quinoa or wild rice, good fats from nuts and avocados and the damn ice cream if I want it, my feelings towards those foods changed. No longer were these healthy choices off limits, so I stopped feeling so out of control around them. By allowing myself to eat them if I wanted them, I stopped craving them so strongly. And often when I do eat a treat, I don’t end up eating the whole thing. It has become a lot easier to follow my satiety signals. I used to just wolf the whole thing down and order a second one. I still sometimes do that. But maybe 25% of the time I eat it slowly and savor it. Progress?
So most importantly, if I want dessert I eat it. If there is something on the menu that is apple based, I will get it. Ice cream is at least once a week. I have let go of the desire to be as small as possible at the expense of truly living. This is an ever evolving process and one that has really taken a long time to take hold. But it makes me sad to think of all the time I wasted on dieting myself to a personality-less state. Life is too short to be the one always ordering steamed vegetables after training for two hours straight.
So eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. Don’t deny yourself one of the joys of life that food and good company can bring. Life is short, so bring happiness to yourself every day, however that looks for you. I love to eat! It just took me twelve years to be able to be truthful with myself about this. And twelve years to throw out all my fucks to give about societies concept of how I should look. Join me 😀
Peace and love,