T Nation

Eating disorder

Guys, I need your help desperately. This is something I didn’t share with anybody yet.
I changed my appearance pretty drastically over the past two years. I dropped a lot
of body fat, ended up disappointed in how I look with a lot of excessive skin all over
my body and started building muscle. I gained more than 30 lbs of pure muscle along the way.
I look fine in my clothes, but when I am naked…that’s another story. Anyway, the problem
is that I am really obsessed with food. I have constant cravings, even when I am eating
a lot of food, and when I am over 3000 kCal for example, not only when I am dieting. I
became almost obsessive about food and can’t wait to eat again - and I eat every 2-3
hours! I am not physically hungry, it’s my mind playing tricks on me. Another thing is
that I don’t give up, I don’t cheat and that’s what is the worst part of the story
because I don’t have a “blowoff” valve, so I constantly feel like shit because I
subconsciously think I am missing something… I simply don’t “see” pizza or chocolate as
something I might eat, but OTOH I guess I feel like I am putting limits to myself. I don’t
know how to deal with all this because it started interfering with my everyday life. I just
think about my next meal, that’s all. Stories about guys who can’t eat enough seem so
funny to me. To give you some more info, I am eating approx. 300 g carbs, 100 g fats keeping
MUFA/PUFA ration towards PUFA and more than 3 g/kg protein in a range of 3100 kCal par day.
Does anybody know anything about how to fight this stupid situation I seem
to be stuck in? Thank you for your response. Sometimes I think I am going crazy - I guess
that some girls who start feeling this way slip into bulimia very easily…Please, share your
eating disorder stories if you have any, I’d be very interested to hear them.

I have no knowledge or experience with eating disorders, but I know if I am taking E/C I can sometimes forget to eat one of my scheduled meals. I have to be careful not to starve myself when I am on a diet and E/C.

Im almost on the same train bro… When I finish a meal, I can’t wait for the next one to come. I almost count the minutes, eventhough I’m full… I also never cheat and never have cheat days! I feel this is interferring with my social life a bit since I’m so eager to gain more weight (I went from 123lbs to 150lbs now and eating around 3000Kcals/day spread over 6-7 meals)…
Well, I think time and patience will help us control these cravings, hopefully.

How about giving yourself a cheat meal per week. Not necessarily a whole day, but one meal to have whatever you like. Say Saturday evening. You can have pizza and cake. After you have it you may be more motivated to start back to your good diet. Don’t feel guilty about it though. It can be a planned part of your diet. Take that time to really eat what you want. Another suggestion is to get something more important in your life. Food should not be a driving force in your life. Go out and have fun, really throw yourself into bodybuilding, whatever it takes. Good luck, I think you will be fine once you institute a cheat meal and occupy yourself with something else.

oh my God Don…you almost described me…I was 220 pounds at 5 foot 6 or 7 at 14 years of age…i am now 18 going on 19. the lowest i got was 166, pretty muscular at about 8.5 % Body fat. I 'd estimate that i used to be in the thirties. I entered a powerlifting competition and realized i needed to eat to get strong.well i put water weight back on and got to 175 (166 was during football season)and eventually up to a smoother 184. I have a large amount of loose skin. I look fine in clothes but I am almost ashamed of myself naked.I have a good deal of loose skin around my stomach, that looks like fat, I also have big pecs but the worst case is that it seems that i have a bit of gyno from the obesity. I dieted back down to 171 last summer. my cals were a paltry 1800 a day. I was trying to build muscle at 2200-2300 calories this winter. never had a cheat day , everything is clean. Then i came to the realization That i might have a disorder. i wouldn’t go out w friends to eat.(I still try not to). i still don’t cheat but John Berardi’s massive eating has allowed me to work my way up to 3500 cals a day. Its ok I think to wnat that next meal because when you drop calories to cut , your metabolism will be flying. although I tend to put weight on in my stomach easy because of the pre existing fat cells, i’m trying to continue the diet. I know the feeling,my friend.please don’t quit, and work hard. I have talked to a plastic surgeon who said he can do an abomnioplasty on em fro 4500-600)$. I am only going to be a sophomore in college though and I can’t afford it. believe me i know your troubles. I have dated many beautiful girls, but i have trouble taking it any further because I am ashamed of how I look. i mean they think i look big and they see how i eat and assume i’m very muscular , but, it hurts to look in the mirror some times.I don’t like to go swimming with alot of people i don’t know because i’m ashamed to take my shirt off. I never get very exteremely defined because of how stretched my skin is. It is tough but you have to keep at it. I’m very sorry for the long post but i just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one and taht its very important to work your balls off .Also i’m up to eating 7 times a day, if you want to lower your calories,stretch the meals to 3-3.5 hours between and drink tons of water. Best of luck, Mike

My guess is we are about to experience this on a grand scale. The reason? We have completely shot in the opposite direction when it comes to carb intake and body image. In the early nineties, even the late eighties, every muscle magazine was filled with nothing but weight gainer ads. Bodybuilders used to have articles explaining how they were eating 8-10,000 cals in the off season in order to put on size. Now the pendulumhas swung the complete opposite direction, everyone is trying to stay ripped year round and I have definitely seen a difference in the physiques at the gyms. People are not gaining much size anymore because they are afraid to eat. You have some that are so scared that they may lose their abs for a few months, that instead of eating enough to grow, they would rather stagnate or lose muscle by jumping on the treadmill for an hour a day whether they really need to or not. You aren’t shown in the magazines what these competitors look like in the off season so you walk around thinking that they are getting to that size while maintaining a low bf%. That is pure bullshit. Without eating enough food in the form of carbs fats and protein, you will not grow more muscle! You wrote that you are eating 3gr per kg. Why the hell are you doing this? Of course you are getting cravings. Your body doesn’t give a damn whether you look like a cover model. It wants to keep you alive. That means using the most efficient form of energy…carbs. You are having no cheat days and you don’t even know what your true maintanence is, you are just afraid to get fat again. Without carbs, and enough of them, you will not grow muscle at the optimal rate for your genetics, and without a stable mental state, you can forget acheiving the body you are looking for. My advice is for you to eat whatever you want for a couple of weeks and avoid the gym for about a week. You have to regain stability above all else. That doesn’t come by continuing to do what you are doing now.
Professor X

Do you happen to be responsible for what resides in your fridge? That could be part of your problem.

Donald, my man, I feel like I just posted under a pseudonym. Very similar sitch going on myself. If I examine it seriously, bodybuilding and the lifestyle (especially food) rule my life. I’m 20 and a college student and really have no social life because I’m too damned worried about missing a scheduled meal. The only time the thought of getting my grub on really isn’t on my mind is when I’m training. I could go on and on…but the important thing is, you have admitted that you have a problem, buddy. The next step is to take action. If you are seriously concerned and want to take care of the eating disorder, which is also an OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in our case, you need to seek some professional counseling–a psychiatrist. You also need to make time for other things in your life…that is, if you truly want to get out of the hole that you’ve dug. It’s much easier said than done. I’ve personally had some counseling in the past, but I just couldn’t let go, bro. I am slowly trying to become more active, but it’s tough and a lot of people will not understand. That’s okay, my man, you have to take it slow. But you won’t make progress unless you truly want to change! It takes a lot of balls–big balls, baby–to progress out of this type of situation. I’m here to help you, big guy, if you want or have any questions.

Donald, some scientists theorize that people with intense cravings for food (or alcohol, sugar, nicotine, etc.) are those that have low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Now, I don’t know if you suffer from depression, but many people seek to spike serotonin levels with food, and other addictive substances. Therefore, they have intense cravings for sugary foods, fatty foods, and other things like caffeine, nicotine, etc. I know it’s not very ‘T-man-ish’ to admit, but if you suspect that you may suffer from depression, there are meds that help block the reuptake of serotonin at the nerve cells. Things like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil are examples of SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). They work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin in the sending nerve cells, thus allowing more to be absorbed at the receiving nerve cells. Of course, you can’t just go to a psychiatrist or MD and say that you like to eat too much, and can you please have some Prozac. But if you suspect that your intense cravings for food may be related to depression, help is there bro…good luck. And no, I DON’T watch Oprah!!! :wink:

Anytime something like this causes dysfuntion in your life it should set off warning bells. It sounds like some of you guys are really aware of what you’re doing, but you still can’t control it. If eating habits are interfering with you daily life, you are at risk for an eating disorder. It’s not just anorexia and bulemia anymore. At this point, counselling is a good idea. Usually, the eating disorder is about alot more than just eating. Self-esteem, depression and many other things could be underlying issues. Don’t mean to be overanylitical, but it never hurts to really be honest with yourself and find out why you do what you do.

Thanks for the support, it’s good to see that there are people who understand what I’m
going through. I will really have to reconsider my goals. If somebody is serious about
all this body altering game, it is very possible that something might go wrong along
the way and a certain disorder could be developed. I really started worrying about
myself lately, being obsessed with food, calories, gym etc. I guess the key to success
is both in determination but also moderation.After all, it’s pretty clear that I will
not be the next Nasser or Shawn, so excessive “minutia” management might be detrimental
in the long run and not beneficial. I ought to relax a bit more.

I hear some of you guy’s talk about cheat meals. How do you control yourself when you do this? Like yesterday for example, I ate two of the greasiest sausage and pepperoni pizzas around(mmmm there so good!), 4 of the new snickers candy bars, 4 snickers icecream bars, 2 peanutbutter cups, a peanut butter cup icecream sandwich, a jumbo size raisinets and a few cups of icecream. And all this was within a few hours. I mean, once the food hits my mouth I’m done. However, if I stick with all planed meals I am just fine… That is until I go out with familly or friends to a restaurant or party, then I have a really hard time, I can’t even enjoy myself. So I know how you feel.

There is a good chance that your problem is
related to your brain chemistry.

Here is a ref for an article that may help you. It is about how foods can effect brain chemistry.

Braz J Med Biol Res, December 1998, Volume 31(12) 1517-1527
Title: Food, mood and health: a neurobiologic outlook

Free Extropian…way cool article. Thanks for pointing it out. It’s amazing how much of our mood, ambitions, etc. are rooted in the neurochemical makeup of our brains. Also kind of scary!

Bri…I hear ya straight up, bro. I’m not a big fan of cheat meals or cheat days because I just go buck wild, man. I would have done the same damage you just talked about. That’s why I plan things out and just stick to it. Seems like once I stray just a bit…it’s like, okay now you have to go all out!

I had the same problem 2 years ago. i was doing a low fat body-for-life type program and I craved every meal. I was always hungry and I’d often-times give in and have a cheat meal, feeling like total shit about myself afterwards. I couldnt help it, I can be very disciplined but I was always unhappy. Well Once I adopted a low carb, higher fat diet I rarely even enjoy cheat foods anymore. I’ve been on the Anabolic Diet for a while and am considering dropping the carb up. I feel like shit during it and i’m always hungry. Thats another important point, eating carbs lead to carb cravings, even a small amount from starches, grains, or any refined carbs, etc. Keep the carbs from greens, eat a lot of protein and fat and you’d be shocked how satieted you feel. BTW, I believe fat is the only Macronutrient to make your body release CCK, a chemical that tells you that you’re full and stop eating. Carbs don’t cause a release in CCK and actually cause a greater craving for more sugar.

I have a fair amount of experience in deal with eating disorders and all of the underlying emotional issues(masters degree in clinical dietetics, if it matters). When you realize that a problem exists it is time to look inward and find out what the underlying emotional cause is. Often times obsession over food is the mechanism the mind uses to bury past emotional traumas that are hard to deal with. These could have stemmed from teenage powerstruggles with parents or being picked on as a kid etc. I suggest finding a counsler to help deal with these issues. They can be obscure and not readilly appearent. I do not recomend antidepresents because they are just another patch and do not solve the problem. This lifestyle should be about improving the quality of life and when it becomes counterproductive it is time to step back and look at the situation differently. Good Luck, Stay positive and you can turn this experience into a life changing awakening. Peace

Anyway, thank you guys, you’ve been very supportive. I never thought I’d get so much support from you. You see, I’ve been a fat boy for most of my life and somehow I thought I will look “normal” when I lose weight. I lost 123 pounds in 6 months and I was almost a walking skeleton… 5 ft 11", 154 lb, all muscle burnt off from my body. And I was still fat! No, I wasn’t anorexic or anything, it’s just that I had a very high bf%. I was far from lean, not to mention a fold of skin around my waist. I wasn’t exactly looking like a cover model. From that time, I gained a lot of muscle, more than 30 lbs and maybe 10 lbs fat. I still don’t look good without my clothes on. I look like “bulky” in my clothes though - I am close to 200 lbs now. Extropian, I will try to find the article online. Big his and hos to Mike M, we are in the same wagon. I am not considering plastic surgery because I can’t really afford it right now - and guess what - underneath all that skin around my belly I have rock hard abs, all the way. Btw. the surgery is a real horror and very painful, the recovery is long, I talked to a woman who had it / but the results are impressive. You see, I was as low as 7 % bf @ 198 lbs, but I still looked like shit with all the excessive skin. I feel like I live in 4 size bigger skin, all over my body. Yes, Timbo, I am obsessive about all this, and yes,Maclar, I am depressed,on top of everything, the life hasn’t been exactly kind to me in the past and I am dealing with some serious shit right now. I’ve been doing that my whole life, I am not in denial when it comes to problems, I know I have them and I’ll be damned if I don’t solve this problem even if it takes ten bulking and cutting cycles and putting on another 100 lbs of pure muscle to fill all that loose skin. Yesterday I had an eating binge and ate 6000 kCal… something close to Brian V’s description, it’s just that I don’t eat junk food when I go on a binge and I did it maybe two or three times in the past year and a half. Anyway, I think I am too strict when it comes to diet, like I said, I don’t eat pizza, ice creams, fast food, chocolate bars etc. so it all comes with a revenge back at me and my mental health. I am in the middle of Delta diet right now, I will go back to maintenance for ten days, do 4-week dieting by the July the 1st and then I will stop dieting even if I stray away from bodybuilding and have to become heavyweight powerlifter. :slight_smile: There is another thing, when we fuck with things that nature controls like food and hunger, this is what we can expect. I know chemically assisted bodybuilders from my gym whose life revolves around getting money for the food and roids, eating, vomiting from time to time, shitting bricks and training. I like this concept of body alteration but I am not really into becoming confined to a nuthouse. Thank you again for your support, (thanks Professor X!) and keep sharing your experience with us…

Hi Don, just a few questions for you…how much did the surgery cost…how long was recovery, 6 weeks?. The surgeon told me 6 weeks and i could try out for the NFL if i felt like it …haha…he said i might be able to get away w a mini…i I think this is something that would boost my sef esteem greatly…just need $

My bad …that was me before