In my casual internet browsing, I spend a lot of time reading comments from people who seem to be obsessed with this thing called BINGE EATING.
To them, binge eating is a bad thing. I think it’s fantastic, but we probably have different definitions of what the phrase even means.
To them (and maybe you), binge eating means smashing a box of chocolate chip cookies and washing it down with some chocolate milk. Then you think to yourself:
“Shoot, I already messed up my diet. Might as well go berserk now and eat a ton of OTHER unhealthy food, because TOMORROW for sure I’m going to get back on track and eat a salad when I have lunch with Stacy so she doesn’t think my sudden weight gain is a symptom of a character flaw.”
How can binge eating be a good thing?
Kind of sad when you think about it, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience the same thing.
To me, “binge eating” is just another way of saying my evening refeed.
Literally every single meal I binge. Even now living in Tokyo, without access to a legitimate gym (and the resulting increase in appetite that resistance training gives), every night I eat the following:
- 300 grams of raw pork
- 6 hardboiled eggs
- 200 grams of peanuts
- 5-8 mochi balls
- A bag of rice crackers
- A jar of black caviar
- One ice cream cone from Family Mart
That’s a “standard” meal for me – and this is with minimal resistance training.
Those of you who have tried OMAD before know that this isn’t such a remarkable meal, probably even on the lighter side for a 6′ male who weighs 80kg.
But if you are still on the 3 meal a day schedule, then eating this for ONE of your meals suddenly seems like a lot.
Your binge eating definition is all messed up
The modern world we live in is obsessed with “disorders” and “diseases.”
We love to classify things according to scientific and medical terms when in reality, most of it just comes down to results from our poor life choices.
Do you really “have an eating disorder” – or are you just in the habit of buying UNHEALTHY food when you should buy HEALTHY food?
Are you really “struggling with bulimia,” or are you just voluntarily sticking your finger down your throat after every meal?
Is it really the case that you have a problem “binge eating” or did you just choose to get in your car, drive to McDonald’s, purchase $10 worth of trash food, and voluntarily eat it?
It’s tempting to hide behind scientific and medical terms to disguise our poor choices. It’s human nature to not want to believe that we are at fault for anything.
And while it’s entirely likely that there are environmental factors that CONTRIBUTE to the sometimes poor decisions that we make with regards to health, the final decision always ultimately lays with us.
- You are choosing to drive to the store.
- You are choosing to buy the unhealthy food.
- You are choosing to put it in your mouth.
- You are choosing to swallow it.
How on God’s green earth can you possibly claim that is a “disease” or a “disorder?” Those are all choices that you made. Take some responsibility for yourself and call it what it is: your bad choices.
Sadly, this seems to be most common with women. Not to pick on them, but when compared to men, women seem to have a habit of denying agency of their actions. This is most commonly seen in the sexual marketplace (in the West at least), where women have to maintain plausible deniability when hooking up with a date in order to not seem like a slut.
I don’t know whether or not this is a biological trait or what, but men are much more likely to openly say things like,
- “I’m a fat blob who is fat because I eat bad food.”
- “I totally let myself go and weigh 400 lbs. It’s completely my fault.”
- “I haven’t been to the gym in years and don’t deny myself anything when it comes to food.”
Not saying women don’t do this as well and men do sometimes make excuses for their weight blah blah blah. But GENERALLY you hear a lot more women making excuses like “Oh I had kids and it ruined my body.”
To go just a little deeper into this tangent, I think this has to do with the more literal way that men see the world when compared to women. Men are more likely to speak in literal and practical words, whereas women are more likely to dress things in pretty little metaphors.
If you think about it, this relates somewhat to how men and women live the rest of their lives as well.
Men dress practically, women like to dress up. I’m sure you can think of many other examples where this plays out in real life.
Getting back to the point, if you actually want to “fix your eating disorder,” then I encourage you to just call it what it is: you actively choosing to do things you shouldn’t do.
The solution is very simple: just don’t do it.
Your binge eating “disorder” isn’t a disorder at all
I’m a fan of repeating the Hermetic proverb, “All truths are but half truths.”
I believe this applies to binge eating as well.
If we are able to examine binge eating in a detached, unemotional way, we can see that there are several advantages to eating massive amounts of food in a short period of time.
The most obvious one that comes to mind is the management of our insulin sensitivity. This is the wrench thrown into the machinery of CICO – calories in DO NOT equal calories out if insulin is accounted for.
Insulin, the hormone that causes our body to enter anabolic mode (very simplified explanation), is the difference between losing weight on 2000 calories and gaining weight on 1500.
It always cracks me up when I see CICO-advocates on Reddit posting pictures of their “healthy” meals that always inevitably include whopping dollops of store-bought sour cream and talk about having a protein shake for dessert.
Despite the fact that sour cream doesn’t have much nutritional value beyond some fat, I suppose you could make the argument that that isn’t so bad. Plenty of people have protein powder and look alright as well. But if you want the Big Boy Results, then you have to do Big Boy Things. If you only want alright results, you can do alright things.
Again, not to say that it’s impossible to achieve your fitness goals AND eat sour cream at the same time. If you take another look at my daily binge meal above, you’ll see that I eat things that are WAY worse than sour cream and protein powder and I still manage to stay lean.
But then again, I have almost 20 years of experience doing OMAD and even more than that in the gym. When you have that level of knowledge, you’re allowed to cheat more because you know how to get back on track (and have the discipline to do so) within a day or two.
If you’re just starting out and think you can get away with a certain food because it “fits your macros,” then I believe you are in for a bad time. CICO is total nonsense and a solution only for people who want to pretend that they’re being pedantic about their health but are actually too lazy to think one step further and consider the effect that insulin has on weight gain.
But getting back on track, you have to understand that binge eating is the way human beings evolved to eat.
When we were out in the savanna, we didn’t always know when we’d have our next meal. Food was scarce until modern civilization, and that meant that you had to gorge yourself on whatever animal your tribe killed while you could.
Of course I wasn’t there so I can’t tell you that’s EXACTLY how it happened, but if you look at most wild animals, this is also how they eat. And if you can find a fat wild animal that is removed from humans, I’ll give you whatever you want.
Not only is insulin controlled for during the time in between refeeds, but the sheer amount of benefits of fasting FAR outweigh any potential weight gain from eating an extra 500 calories during your binge.
How to turn your binge eating into a guilt-free activity
So let’s get down to it: how do we turn this binge eating thing from something you lie about to something you’re proud about?
When I first started the Warrior Diet, I was doing hypertrophy-heavy workouts in the gym. If I recall correctly, Hofmekler recommends super-slow and super-heavy weight training in his book. I had never done this before, but when I combined it with eating one meal a day, the results were incredible.
For those of you who are curious, the workouts were like this:
When choosing an exercise, pick the heaviest weight you can and do 5 super slow reps. 5 seconds on the concentric movement, 5 seconds isometric at the top of the movement, and 5 seconds on the eccentric movement.
Those were the general guidelines which I combined with your typical “bro-split” of 2 body parts per day, 4 exercises per bodypart. Yes, I was in the gym for a long time, but I was jacked and looked fabulous. Kind of makes me want to go back to doing that again.
Anyway, they say that muscle growth is directly correlated to time under tension (TUT). So if I am essentially spending 15 seconds per REP, let’s look at what that would look like for a workout:
15 seconds x 5 reps x 4 sets = 300 seconds per exercise
300 seconds x 4 separate exercises = 1200 seconds per bodypart
1200 seconds = 20 minutes time under tension per bodypart
20 minutes x 2 bodyparts per day = 40 minutes TUT per bodypart
Every workout started with sprints and ended with an ab routine that emphasized vacuums and leg raises, further leaning me out, giving me a nice narrow waist and what’s known as an “Adonis Belt.”
Add to this the fact that super slow training virtually eliminates any momentum from swinging the weight around, and the effect is compounded even more.
Long story short, these workouts were incredible intense and I packed on muscle like it was my job.
Anyway, the point of this little story is that after hardcore workouts like these ones AND fasting for 24 hours, I was absolutely RAVENOUS when it came time to eat.
It wasn’t at all uncommon for me to order 3 meat-based dishes at a restaurant, finish them all and then finish the leftover food on any of the plates of other people I had gone to eat with.
I never counted calories, but to me that sounds like a lot.
However, when that is your ONE meal of the day and you are making an effort to ensure that 80-90% of your calories are in the form of lean protein, you literally can’t go wrong.
If you’ve got an unhealthy definition of binge eating, then YOUR problem is that you’re just eating the wrong foods.
You have to understand that CICO is totally nonsense and that there is a MASSIVE different between eating 2000 calories of beef and 2000 calories of sugar.
How anyone can deny that makes me seriously consider supporting a government-sponsored sterilization program where people need to pass a test before being allowed to have children.
Raw meat: the only binge eating medication you need
Not to sit up on my fitness high horse too much, but the fact that people would even consider turning to medication to curb their unhealthy binge eating makes me wrinkle my nose in disgust.
Seriously: how pathetic is it that people are SO out of control of their own behavior that they think they need medication to stop themselves from making the 10-20 microdecisions required to take the food from the grocery store and have it eventually end up in their stomachs.
That said, I take a ton of medication myself (which I credit for allowing me to maintain my work ethic), so how’s that for irony?
Anyway, let’s talk about ACTUAL medication for binge eating and why it’s raw meat.
I know it seems like I’m talking about the Warrior Diet a lot, but after practicing it for almost two decades, I credit my time on that eating schedule with the depth and breadth of varied knowledge that I believe I have when it comes to fasting and OMAD.
One of the major lessons I learned while on TWD was that when you’re starving, you’ll eat literally anything and think it’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten.
This is what made the case for starting off your nightly meal with raw vegetables.
Back then, I mistakenly believed that if I ate a massive salad and filled myself up on raw veggies, that I would somehow be healthier than if I filled myself with more nutrient-dense foods.
And while this was definitely better than slamming a large pepperoni pizza, it definitely led to some long trips to the bathroom the morning after. While it did help to keep me lean, I often found myself overeating to the point of stomach pain, I believe because my body still felt that it needed more nutrient-dense food.
In fact, I think this is one of the reasons why people find it so easy to binge on unhealthy processed foods. Yes, there are calories in that stuff, but there are no nutrients in the traditional sense. No vitamins, no minerals. Just salt, sugar and fat.
I believe that our bodies can instinctively determine if we have the nutrients that we need, and that once we do, they turn off the hunger switch WITHOUT us feeling full to the point of stomach pain.
Anyway, the other thing that I learned on the Warrior Diet was that if I stuffed myself on salad and protein, it was harder for me to binge on unhealthy trash afterwards.
Yes, I would still snack afterwards for the reasons I stated above, but logistically speaking there was less room in my stomach to fit all the extra food I was trying to eat. It simply was not physically possible to binge on unhealthy foods past a certain point when I was so full of indigestible fiber and lean protein.
Nutrient-dense food: the only real binge eating treatment
The point I’m slowly getting to is that in order to curb your binge eating, you need to fill up on as much nutrient-dense food as possible.
In my many years of experience, I have never found anything as satiating as raw meat. Specifically raw beef and liver, although lately I’ve been eating a lot of raw pork.
You may be thinking: “Raw meat? That’s gross! I’ll get diseases!”
I’ve been doing this for over six months and have never once gotten sick. Furthermore, I feel lighter and less full after eating raw meat than I do eating cooked meat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still have cooked meat here and there, but the raw stuff just makes me feel so much better.
I often hear the argument, “but civilization started to expand only when humans started cooking meat! That must mean it’s better!”
So first of all, correlation does not equal causation. Just because two things happen at the same time does not mean that one caused the other.
For example, the rise in sales of ice cream also correlates with the number of child deaths in swimming pools. Does that mean that ice cream causes kids to die in pools? Or that kids dying in pools causes people to buy more ice cream?
I suppose you could make that argument. But doesn’t it seem more likely that a third variable that has not yet been identified (such as the rise in temperature during the summer months) is responsible for both of them?
Bringing it back, my personal bro-science theory that I’ve done no research on but makes sense to me is that cooking (and otherwise preserving) meat allowed people to store greater quantities of it for longer periods of time. This made it so they needed to move around less and could create more permanent living situations for themselves instead of having to be on the move.
In other words, when you have access to unlimited food, you can chill and work on stuff that will help get you laid. Like building shopping malls.
The point I’m trying to make is that in order to prevent yourself from binge eating, you’re going to want to fill yourself with as much nutrient-dense healthy food as possible. And the most nutrient dense healthy food that exists on the planet is raw meat.
Yes, you can eat cooked meat. Or chicken. Or bacon. Or whatever you want really as long as it came from an animal.
But again, in my experience I have the least desire to “cheat” when I am full of raw meat than when I eat anything else, even cooked meat.
Can binge eating be fixed by good old fashioned discipline?
I’m always a little wary of suggesting that people just use discipline to fix any of their problems. And binge eating is no exception.
The reason for this is that I believe discipline is a myth.
Not only that, but I believe that it’s used by experts and professionals as a placeholder to try and explain something that they really have no idea how to explain.
Instead of thinking that you need more discipline, I would encourage you to think that what you REALLY need is to come up with some more powerful reasons to do what you want to do.
If you have no real-world negative consequences for binge eating on unhealthy trash, then why would you stop?
Sure, it may be inconvenient for you to be 300 lbs and have to special order a size XXXXXL. You may be somewhat embarrassed that your pants look like the sail of a small boat. And you may even experience some background irritation at the fact that you need to buy two airplane seats if you want to fly somewhere.
But if we think about it, how much do those things REALLY influence your life?
How often are you really shopping for clothes? Maybe once every few months?
How often do you experience shame at the size of your pants? When are other people really seeing them? Probably not that often.
And how often do you actually fly? Also probably not that often. And even if it’s a lot, like once a month, that’s still not a majority of the time compared to the rest of your waking hours.
So in the grand scheme of things, you’re really not experience enough pain often enough for you to be motivated to change.
If, on the other hand, you had gotten a new job that required you to wear revealing or tight-fitting clothing and everyone around you was fit and good looking, you’d arguably be embarrassed for 40+ hours a week. That level of pain is enough to induce a change in behavior.
This is why I always tell people that the easiest way to lose weight and get in shape is to move to a city with a strong beach culture.
Assuming this to be true, how would we use it to our advantage?
This is where you’re going to have to get a little creative and look at your own life. You’re going to have to figure out how to create enough leverage over yourself that you have no choice but to change. The pain of not changing needs to be stronger than the pain of changing.
Unfortunately, we humans are MASTERS at structuring our lives in a way that will keep us shielded from these painful moments, so it’s likely that you’re going to have to give up some of the things that you love in order to fix this problem.
One thing that I’ve found helped me in the past was making before and after videos about Snake Diet fasts.
While I was recording those videos, I always had it in the back of my head that I couldn’t cheat because I would be publishing the results on the internet for everyone to see. I didn’t want to post results of me looking like a fat blob, so I was sure to train extra hard and follow the protocols to a T.
This is what the accountability pictures in the Snake Diet Motivation group accomplish, albeit to a lesser degree. The amount of emotional investment required to post a few pics online is way less than shooting footage over a 72 hour fast, spending several hours editing it, and then posting the entire video online.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. Do I want to do it again? Not really.
For the time being though, I am still uploading videos daily about fitness and health. So I have to keep my weight somewhat under control in the meantime. But admittedly, ever since I started filming my videos wearing the Legendary Suitjamas, I have less motivation to stay fit when compared to the times when I was making videos with my shirt of.
The reason is simple: if there are no real-world consequences for me not looking physically impressive, then I am less likely to do it.
The final word on your binge eating disorder treatment
Don’t expect to just get in shape “because you want to” or some other reason.
The only way you’re going to get in shape because not being in shape hurts like a mofo and you don’t want to deal with that pain anymore.
You need to use your binge eating to your advantage in your fitness journey. This means fasting for extended periods of time, filling up on raw meat, and resistance training to help boost your resting metabolism.
But most importantly, stop looking to the medical community to provide you with excuses for your poor choices. You are fat, bulimic, anorexic, or whatever the eating disorder flavor of the month is for one reason and one reason only:
It is YOUR choice to buy the unhealthy food.
Is it YOUR choice to eat it.
It is YOUR choice to do it again and again, day after day, week after week and now you are stuck with the result.
It isn’t society. It isn’t Cosmopolitan magazine. It isn’t because fat women aren’t represented in the modeling industry and it isn’t because your mommy and daddy made you feel bad about not eating the extra food on your plate when you were a kid.
You are presumably an adult now and responsible for buying your own food. Meat is cheap if you go to a butcher, and if you’re squeamish about eating it raw then go buy a pan and some oil from the 99 cent store and cook that schnozz up.
Eggs are 99 cents a dozen. Eat some of those too. Start with 12 of those during your refeed – THEN I give you permission to eat the unhealthy food.
At the end of the day, like the solution to so many of life’s problems, the solution to binge eating on healthy food is simple:
Just don’t do it.