How I Slayed My Monster [Part 1]
I want to share with you guys a story over that I wrote over a few days on my facebook wall in regards to a monster that I used to constantly fight within my head.
It was the monster of binge eating.
When I was 16, I decided to start trying to lose weight and I went on a strict “bodybuilder” diet and ate only “clean” foods.
I was weighing food constantly, I was eating 4–6 small meals a day and I was working out in the gym for over two hours a day.
At first, I had the willpower to push through and every day was a struggle, but I was determined to make it work. I managed to lose weight while doing it.
There was one problem though, after about 10 months of restricting myself I couldn’t take it anymore.
I decided to have a bit of a binge, nothing crazy but I just let loose.
I felt like crap afterwards and said I’ll never do that again.
When I tried to get back on track, I couldn’t.
Every night after dinner there would be this little voice in my head that told me to look in the fridge for something else.
I knew I was full but that voice kept telling me to have a little bit more. I just wanted something sweet and something tasty something to satisfy the sugar cravings.
I’d rummage through the fridge until I found something that would hit the spot. Sometimes it would be a small chocolate but most times, I wouldn’t stop at just one.
My biggest weakness was ice cream. If there was ice cream in the freezer it wouldn’t be there for very long at all, I’d end up shovelling it down as fast as I could to satisfy my cravings.
As soon as it was all gone, I’d be standing there feeling guilty, embarrassed, ashamed, hating myself.
Afterwards, as I lay in bed I would say “that’s it, starting tomorrow I’m only eating healthy”.
It might have lasted a few days, maybe even a week here or there but the monster would come back every night taunting me again and again and again until I would crack.
The whole cycle would repeat itself and I was in this loop of “clean eating” then “binge eating”.
I wound up putting on the weight I had lost and I was at a plateau.
I never told anyone about it because it was embarrassing, but my family wasn’t stupid, It’s not like fairies were eating all of the ice cream we bought.
This unhealthy relationship with food went on constantly and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t control the urges.
I struggled with this for a long time until I decided to try a new way of eating that I discovered which helped me stop this bad cycle.
How I Slayed My Monster [Part 2]
I used to google “how to stay full while dieting” and “how to avoid binge eating”. I would go to the online forums of bodybuilding.com and listen to how the “pro’s” did it.
“There’s got to be a better way.”
This thought kept running through my mind, day after day after day. I was sick of feeling guilty and ashamed, I was sick of feeling hungry all the time and I didn’t know how people could do it.
Then, one day as I was going through the forums I stumbled across a post called “food porn”.
All of these guys were posting up photo’s of amazing meals they were eating while still being able to keep lean and fit. They were going completely against the grain of the typical “clean eating diet” and I wanted to know how they did it.
I spent hours reading about this term called IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and I started to discover what all food was made out of.
All I had to do was measure out all of my food (which I’d already been doing) and log in all of my food into an app.
As long as I kept under the number of calories I burnt during the day I would lose weight.
At first, I was extremely scared to try this because I didn’t want to put on any more fat, I didn’t want to go further down the rabbit hole.
But I was more scared of the place I was in at that time just bouncing back and forth day after day of clean eating and binge eating.
So I decided to give it a try.
For two weeks I tracked every gram of food I put in my mouth and I made sure that it “Fit my calorie limit”.
After those two weeks, I lost some weight.
Another two weeks went by and I lost some more weight.
I couldn’t believe that after a month I’d lost a few kilos and I didn’t have to restrict myself from the foods I loved.
I thought I’d found the golden ticket but I was wrong.
The first few months following IIFYM were fine, I got to eat “naughty food” all of the time but then the hunger monster started to kick in again.
I was going backwards, the monster was rising again but this time I wasn’t going to let that happen for long….
How I Slayed My Monster [The Final Part]
I had gone from eating clean and healthy meals 6 times a day to eating foods full of sugar and fats.
All of the processed food I was eating had been satisfying my sweet tooth but I still couldn’t kick the hunger cravings.
Back again I was on the bodybuilding forums trying to figure out how to manage hunger cravings.
I came across a topic randomly called “Intermittent Fasting” and this was becoming a hot trend at the time.
Apparently, I didn’t have to eat 6 small meals a day or even 4 meals a day. Apparently, I wouldn’t “lose my gains” if I didn’t eat breakfast.
Again this “diet” was going against what people were saying but it was working.
All had to do was skip breakfast, eat fewer meals throughout the day and only eat in a certain time frame and I could lose fat.
I didn’t think about whether or not to this, I just did it the day after I read it because I was desperate.
The only thoughts that were in my mind at that point were “I don’t want to go back to the old Tyson, I don’t want to let that binge eating monster beat me and I’ll do anything”.
The first day I skipped breakfast it was tough, my stomach was grumbling and I was sure I was going to ‘lose my gains’, but I pushed through.
I ate three big meals within 8 hours and I was stuffed.
I did this the next day and again at first it was hard skipping breakfast, but it was stopping me from overeating.
Two weeks later and this had become a habit. Skip breakfast, have a big lunch, a big meal after my workout and a big dinner and the voice was slowly vanishing.
The longer I followed this approach the easier it was for me to stay on track.
Then one day I just went off the wall, I ate so much food and made myself nearly vomit just from eating so much, I can’t remember what triggered it, all I remember is that I felt horrible.
I went to be hating myself as usual and thinking OH GOD IT’S BACK, THE MONSTER IS BACK!
The next morning I woke up and decided (on a whim) not to eat for 24 hours. I just skipped eating food the whole day.
Nothing bad happened to me, I didn’t die and it helped keep that voice in my head quiet because I knew that if I didn’t eat that my calories that day it would “balance out” and I would be fine.
It was fine, I didn’t put on weight and I got straight back on track with my new way of eating following Intermittent Fasting.
Month after month I was getting better and better at controlling my cravings and quieting that monster inside my head.
It’s now been 4 years and there have been blowouts along the way. To be honest I still have blowouts once every 3–4 months and my most recent one was about two weeks ago. but I no longer beat myself up for it because I beat the monster.
It’s no longer a daily struggle of trying to avoid overeating.
I’m no longer worrying if I can control my appetite every day.
I still have that negative voice of guilt inside my head when I do binge but I just fast the next day and that shuts him right up.
After four years of trial and error, I have found what works for me and I’ve taught that method to my clients to help them beat the monster.
Don’t do what I did and go down the road yourself because it’s tough, it hurts and every day is another battle. If you’re someone who needs help slaying a monster that’s stopping your goals of losing weight, please send me a message so I can help you kick it’s ass together.