Send Your Replies about Binging to Dottie

Dear Dottie:

I am Type 2 diabetic with high blood pressure and too much weight and I really struggle with a sweet tooth. I have found that cutting down on carbs and treating myself to manageable portions of chocolate works. For example I will eat just protein and vegetables for supper and then reward myself with some chocolate.

I also find that one or two slices of light whole grain bread and an egg for breakfast keeps me quite satisfied until at least 11.00am. Then I push myself to wait for lunch until noon. I keep roasted almonds and dried cranberries on my desk at work. I have learned that if I am going to have something sweet it is best to accompany it with some protein. I try not to eat until I am full and slowly my stomach shrinks and my portion control is easier. But as soon as I go out to dinner I overeat and then I am more hungry the next day. It is so hard not to overindulge when I go out.

I have discovered chocolate flavored peanut butter, not exactly health food but a teaspoon on some wheat crackers is a good between meal treat that involves chocolate, protein and grain and fiber. In the same vein peanut m&ms are better than plain chocolate. I know it's not exactly good eating but, you know, we can't deny oursleves all the time. I hate fake sugar. I never use it. Luckily I don't crave soda. If I want fresh friut I keep the portion small. I rarely drink fruit juice, but sometimes I crave OJ and I will cut it with diet 7 up or just water.

I refuse to commit to dieting. If I tell myself I have to diet I just cheat more. And my whole life becomes a diet. I know it must be so much more difficult with DID. I have a taste of how that must be when I take Ambien. I once ate all the caramel crunch pieces out of a gallon of icecream without remembering the next day -- until I saw the refrozen flat mess of iced milk that was left. Ha ha.

Good luck.



Hi Dottie,

I like the answers by other people already. It's a real common problem, and especially over these holidays!

I sure identify with you, as I've had many decades of binge-eating, sugar and carbs as instant "comfort food." I’m still in recovery from it and better but not perfect. I'd mostly boil it down to emotional eating, as it was what I did ever since early childhood instead of feeling safe and protected emotionally. I know for a fact that in dissociated states I've done lots of bingeing that I couldn't control until I got better with skills to grounding, slowing down, and staying tuned in to my body and feelings in the present.

Here are two resources that have been lifelines for me in my recovery: The self-help Food and Feelings Workbook, by Karne R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. She's a psychotherapist, the workbook helps you identify the connection between different feelings and responding with eating. I found her approach to feel very soothing and validating. And, I have benefitted from joining Overeaters Anonymous almost two years ago. There are tons of people like us in that fellowship, lots of folks, especially women, who have had severe trauma, dissociate a lot, and have overeating/ bingeing, especially on sugar and carbs. I have found in many of the meetings, there's a depth of sharing and understanding that is very healing. Because of the way the sharing is set up, it feels to me a safe, nonjudgmental group. I've been in different states at times, and it is just accepted as "different ways of being" me (us).

Both of these resources are emotionally supportive approaches that don’t use calories, charts, punishments, etc.

Best of luck, and remember: Progress not perfection is the goal.



Dear Dotti,
I struggle with all of the issues you outlined. Here are two resources that have helped me:

An iPod a weekly program by Renee Stephens called Inside Out Weight Loss - It is accessible on iTunes. However, only the most recent ones are there. You can access the archives (150 since Sept. 18, 2007) for free through her website and -- if you are not on iTunes -- you can get mp3 files to download, too, through her website. Click on the Inside Out Weight Loss butterfly image. Be sure to download the first 20 because they explain her outlook and basic techniques. She does talk about ego states. I have found it helpful. She used to have a downloadable workbook on the site that accompanied those early audio lessons. She has taken it off, however, and plans to do a print workbook for purchase.

A vegan diet. Access Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.. It is a good place to start for guidance and recipes. Information for diabetics on the site, too. On January 2 they are starting another free 21-day Vegan Kickstart that will offer a lot of help. I discovered that the cravings that drive me to eat even when not hungry are greatly reduced on a vegan diet. This is not for everyone because it requires pulling yourself off of all meat products but worth a try.
PS: Thank you, Lynda Wisdo for your response. I will check out those resources, too!
John F.

Hi Dottie,
I truly sympathize with your struggle with sugar cravings...I had the same thing for many, many years although I was hypoglycemic and not diabetic. Like you, I found the holidays to be extremely difficult and could easily consume an enormous amount of sugar in a very short time. As I was a "health food, junk food-ie", I tried to convince myself I was eating a large box of raisins in one day and spoonful's of orange juice concentrate. Unfortunately, the sugar content of these items is even higher than many baked goods or frozen treats. I know now that my cravings were related to the serotonin levels in my brain...a way my body worked to keep these levels elevated in order to avoid depression. You can check out an article on sugar and insulin at the website for Women to Women-

You might also want to check out the book Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaison. Both of these resources offer not only some of the reasons for sugar cravings but also some excellent ways to deal with them and improve the quality of your life.

I find it interesting that since working to release a lot of the energy related to my abuse I no longer have sugar cravings. In fact, except for the occasional Edy's ice pop in the summer and some agave nectar, I have been sugar free for several years. As you are also struggling with diabetes, it is important that you discuss your diet and cravings with your doctor as well as with a nutritionist trained in this area. Also interesting to note, Dottie, is the link some studies have found between diabetes and childhood abuse

So be sure not to feel guilty about your cravings as they are more than likely related to your body chemistry. With the proper guidance both in your diet and in healing from your abuse, I'm sure you'll be able to move past your cravings and into a place not of restriction but of balance and wholeness in your diet as well as in your life. I truly wish you much success in your efforts!



Dear Dottie,

The best book I ever read about managing food and dieting is "If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight" by Brooke Castillo. It's available for about $15 on Amazon and elsewhere. We reviewed it awhile back in MV -- August 2006, to be specific. The author lists many different ways to approach weight loss, and control eating, but my favorite was her -10 to +10 scale of hunger vs fullness.-10 is starving, +10 is painfully stuffing oneself at Thanksgiving dinner. Castello recommends monitoring how you feel inside, and keeping your body at a level of -2 to +2 at all times. With this approach, there are no diaries, food charts etc. It just involves paying close attention to your hunger level (she teaches you how to do this) and eating ONLY when hungry. You train yourself to stop immediately as soon as you reach +2. This usually means several quite small meals per day. It also means leaving food on your plate, scraping it into the garbage or whatever. And NOT "tasting" all the way through a session of cooking. This method helped me lose 25 lbs without any real "hunger" at all. Plus, I've kept most of it off for the last 3 years. I can't stand food diaries either, so I strongly suggest this approach for people like us. The mindfulness aspect is especially helpful for those of us who dissociate, since it helps "bring us together" working cooperatively.
Hang in there. I'm sure others will have good ideas too.

Best regards,
Lynn W.