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What really is binging?

Hi Heather, and thank you so much for all your smart, witty, practical advice. I have gotten so much out of listening to your podcast over the past few years. So...I am a binge eater. I started when I was about 8, after my parents divorced and I was left at home alone often, sometimes overnight, which I found very stressful. I quickly figured out that food made me feel both loved and soothed, and like there was some benefit to this awful situation--I could eat as much as I wanted unobserved. It was one of the few things i had the power to do for myself. I'm 51 now, and weigh 362 lbs. I've lost and regained about 730 pounds over the last 20 years. I love the advice you've given Karolina to pre-track binge foods and eat them, and I was intrigued by her saying she did not enjoy the fast food as much because she was not able to eat it tucked up on her couch in magic binge mode. I am worried I will not be able to stop myself from binging by doing this because it feels like magic binge mode is more what binging is than the actual food. The desire is to feel comfortable, safe, and cozily fed--for the mind to go elsewhere--almost a disembodied, dissociated feeling. Was it like you for that? Anyway, I saved enough calories today due to sleeping late that I only needed two meals, so I pre-tracked a whole bag of BBQ pop chips and ate them. I still came in under my 2000 calorie target for the day, but I feel like a binged, and it worries me. Is it ok to go into that mode when you are not, in fact, overeating and it doesn't result in you reaching for more food afterward? It feels like it's not ok, and that binge euphoria is what needs to be stamped out. Also, after eating all that salt and starch, I felt dried out and cruddy--another sign of a binge. Ugh. I hate my brain. Thank you for reading my question! Katie T.

Wedding weight loss advice, please

Hi Heather, Hope you're doing well! Thank you for the awesome work that you do; it's so inspiring. It has helped me stick to my core habits, and, as a result, I have lost 6.3 pounds since the last month. I make healthy food choices, mix up walks (3x a week), cardio (2x a week), swimming (1x a week) and strength training (2x a week). I lost 66 pounds in 2018 and maintained it for two years, but gained it all back in 2021 after contracting COVID. Suffering through long COVID symptoms for 9 months left me spent, with no energy to eat well or train hard. But I finally feel like my energy levels are back and I'm working hard once again to lose the extra weight for my wedding in December this year. Any tips you could offer to help me see this through so that I could fit into my dream dress will really help! I love seeing the weight trending down but get disappointed with fluctuations after a heavy leg training day or a cheat meal. Thank you again for the lovely work you do! Regards, Evita

Planning around social events

Hi Heather! I am a proud premium podcast member! I love having access to all the shows and have learned so much. Thank you! I have been working on my habits and have had a lot of success talking to my lower brain about unplanned treats and delaying gratification. I am ready to tackle my next issue which is social events. I am having trouble pre-planning a social event and identifying lower-brain chatter. I want the freedom to eat what the host is serving or to eat what the group is ordering at a restaurant for the table. I just do not know where to set limits. I have set an alcohol limit of one drink but when it comes to food, I am having trouble identifying what would be normal eating versus what my lower brain would like me to eat,. I budget calories for social occasions but frequently go over the budget. I get caught up in the celebration and things seem to get out of hand from there. On occasions when I am super careful and I limit myself, I find myself going home and eating more. Any tips on how to plan around this and how to talk to my lower brain during these occasions? I am a pretty social person so this is an area I need to work on to have sustainable weight loss. Thanks for your insight.

Overcoming health related fears

Hi Heather! I lost about 20 pounds last year, gained 5 back, and then got stuck there for about 10 months. I've been listening to your podcast for a few weeks and I'm finally making progress again. Your advice about the lower brain has been really helpful to me. Something I have noticed is that I am fearful of losing weight because of a past illness that caused uncontrolled weight loss. I am now on medication and am very stable, and have been for several years, however, I find my brain bringing up this fear of what if I don't have enough extra weight to lose and I relapse. I am about 25 pounds overweight, and I know it would be best for my long-term health if I can maintain a lower weight. Do you have any suggestions of good strategies to deal with these types of thoughts?

Moderation vs. Abstaining

Hi Heather, thanks for the great podcast. Currently I am having health issues that would get better if my eating quality is better. Especially around sugar, fat and meat. For the last month I did the paper and pencil journaling and put in a treat every day (either a can of soda, one serving of chips or something sweet, mostly soda). This already made my eating way better, not completely out of control than it was before. Although I have my days where I still eat/drink more than planned. However I still have my health issues and feel like I need to eat more clean to fix those. Especially I struggle with drinking soda/caffeine. I abstained from it for over 4 years till the pandemic and a very stressful work period. I feel like abstaining is the only right way for this particular thing for me and obviously once I am in I can abstain for years. However, I struggle to completely abstain now for the last 4 months. So I am unsure how to go from here. Whenever I am unmotivated at work or especially tired I want either caffeine or sugar. I can abstain from one of those but not both it seems. How do I go from here? Should I find treat substitutes that are not soda and/or not sweets and use this instead for curbing the cravings? Should I clean up the rest of the diet and not worry about one can of soda? Should I first fix my health issued by eating as clean as possible and then re-introduce treats? Is there ever a point where you would say better abstain from this extremely addictive substitute than moderate? My current way is just not working and my health issues seem to get worse. Thanks a lot, Michaela