National Eating Disorders Association

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Binge/Starve Cycle


So this is my first time to try to write anything (to ANYONE) about my problems.

Lately, I have been caught in a serious binge/starve cycle. I do not know what to do. My stomach feels so terrible, I feel incredibly guilty, and even though time and time again I tell myself that it will get better the next day, I completely prove myself wrong and go back to my terrible habits.

I keep telling myself to stay strong, to just go back to normal eating patterns, but psychologically it's scary for me to even pick up my utensil because I know I won't be able to control myself.

I really want to go back to the old days when eating was something I could do without fear of going overboard, when food didn't control my life. I am scared of myself and what my body is doing.

I'm really sorry that this post is just me venting out my fears, but I had nowhere else to turn. Without a doubt in the world, I want to recover. I just don't know where to start.


mqm567 you are so brave and courageous to tell us about your issues. I'm an over eater and I'm afraid too. I''m hoping the resources here will help me out; and I'm longing to vent to a caring group of people who have a better understanding. I think I've found it here and I think that is what these forums are for. Below is one of my favorite quotes that sums up why I'm here.

"Hard to see the light now
Just don't let it go
Things will come out right now
We can make it so
Someone is on your side
No one is alone"
-- No One is Alone from "Into the Woods" by Stephen Sodhiem

Thank you so much.

Wow, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean the world to me right now. I cannot tell you enough how much they have changed my perception. I'm so glad that I have found someone with whom I can share these feelings, because up until now, I've just been afraid and ashamed to tell anyone.

I am trying to take it day by day. I have yet to have a day in which I have not binged, but I am still wishing for that day, and working towards it. Thanks so much for your kindness-- the quote brought tears to my eyes.


Hi there,
Thanks for finding the courage to reach out; it was so brave of you to share what is going on in your life right now...
You have definitely made the right first move by doing so. I think that a constructive next step would be to reach out to the NEDA helpline (1800-931-2237); their trained volunteers will walk you through the process of getting the help you need while maintaining your confidentiality and providing support all along the way.
Additionally, I would encourage you to peruse the NEDA website for articles of hope and encouragement, and some shared ideas and inspiration.
Tons of luck and stay connected!

Hi mqm537!

Hi mqm537!

I have struggled with this issue in the past as well. For me, the "Step Workbook" by EDA (eating disorders anonymous) really helped, as did the book called "Life without ED" by Jenni Schaefer. Living in the present moment really helped me to overcome the binge/starve cycle, and realizing I didn't have to feel absolutely horrible everyday (from over eating). I am by no means a professional but this is what I did: starting off from a night of binging - the next day I would eat only smoothies, & fruits/veg all day - to get me back on track & feeling good. The next day begin "normal" eating of carbs/protein/fat. If you can do just one or two days of not overeating you will see how good you feel, and that will hopefully be the motivation you need to keep going with it. I began a note in my iPhone called "peace ED" where everyday that I do not restrict, or do not over eat, I write the date in the note. Others have also done this with a calendar, and stars, but I like to keep mine relatively private locked in my phone :) Hope this helps, and best of luck!!!!

love the advice

i saw your advice and decided to give it a try and it worked out very well for me :) obviously i still have my bad days but giving my body a day to reset and feel good again is a life changer i have in my back pocket

Thank you!

Thank you so much for your comment, it's always helpful to know you're not the only one. Do you find that you binge when you are feeling down and then just make yourself feel worse and guilty? Good luck with the psychologist, I am seeing the doctor again on Monday but I don't think she's really going to be able to help and I'm meant to be starting CBT but I've been on the waiting list for 2 or 3 months now and nothing's happened. I know what you mean about the exercise. I think I just need to find other ways to cope with feeling down or depressed and not turn to food, exercise or starvation. I realised how bad it had gotten recently . I agree with you that it's both problems that need to be tackled and you can't over come the ED without overcoming the depression and vice versa. Tell me how your appointment goes on Monday. Good luck!


I wouldn't say that all my binges happen for the same reason, but yea, a lot of the time it's because I'm feeling down and compulsively turn to food. Then afterwards it's regret-city. Also a lot of the time the regret leads to more binging: like if I overeat at lunch and know i'm not going to be hungry at dinner, I'll binge again at dinner because I can't stop thinking about how i binged at lunch (end of rambling).
The appointment on Monday was good. The time flew by, so I scheduled another appointment for next monday. I hope you get into CBT! That's definitely what I'm aiming for too: something behavioral, not just talk-therapy alone (although the appointment went well, I binged the day after, so right now I need something more).


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Binge/starve or Starve/Binge?

I'm sorry you are going through this. Bingeing is a scary thing with all the weight stigma in society, and starving can not only be a response to the binge, but a root of it. This came to mind when I saw this line in your post,

"'s scary for me to even pick up my utensil because I know I won't be able to control myself."

I've read something very useful for me for after a binge, which is rather than to compensate for the binge with restricting afterward, to resume eating normally or per one's meal plan, so as not to set oneself up for another binge by getting overly hungry again.

My best wishes to you.

I've been on the binge starve

I've been on the binge starve cycle for about two months. I've attempted to purge several times, but end up with little or no success. I always cry after I binge, and then I set new goals and do some new motivational technique that I think will work. But they never end up working. I always come home from school or from a long day and am all of the sudden fine with my weight and throw all my rational thoughts out the window and binge. After this I weigh myself around frequently and compulsively work out. I try and consult my parents and find help, but they are very stubborn and close-minded and just start telling me about how I could just start cleaning up around the house more or how I'm only acting like this because I stayed up too late or it's just hormones fluctuating. About 7 months ago I had attained my perfect weight and was happy with how I looked after having switched to a healthy lifestyle, but now I am struggling. please help


Jnr123, I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling, but you're not alone! Sometimes it takes some outside help to get out of these frustrating cycles of behavior, and I really encourage you to get some. I know that your parents aren't taking you seriously, but there are other people you can turn to. Have you considered talking to your doctor, a school nurse, or your school counselor about this? I know it's scary to reach out to people for help, but some issues are too big to tackle on our own and I think this is one of them. You could also call the NEDA helpline (Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST) at 1-800-931-2237) to get all sorts of info about treatment options and therapists, etc. in your area. Maybe if you talk to NEDA first, and collect some information, you can present your concerns to your parents in a more organized way that will cause them to take things more seriously - perhaps they simply don't understand the extent of the emotional pain this is causing you.

Please keep posting on the forums for support or advice if needed - we are here for you!! Good luck with everything

dealing with the same thing

i'm having similar problems; my parents have seen the clear signs of my eating disorder as my mom has found me throwing up my food, im crying almost every single day, and how i've starved myself throughout the day and then binge eat at night. for some reason though this was only concerning for them when i was not eating at all, but now that im in a starve/binge cycle it's okay because im putting food into my mouth despite this affecting my mental health to the point of suicidal thoughts. parents denying their children help over something so serious is disgusting to me. if i had to offer any advice, i would really talk to your parents and this time stress the straining mental effects something like this can have on you. the first time i asked my parents for help with this eating disorder they said, "ok" and then never put any legitimate effort despite me consistently reminding them. this changed, however, when i had a serious talk with them that must've lasted at least an hour stressing about how horrible this eating disorder is making me feel and that i feel neglected as their kid. i really hope this helps and i am so sorry if it doesn't because i know the pain of feeling like im completely out of control of my entire life in terms of my eating disorder.


Hi virgovogue - we’re so sorry to hear you’ve struggling with these feelings. You mentioned some concerning feelings, so we wanted to make sure to post information about resources if you need support:

Please take care of yourself. You are not alone.

I hope that things got better

I hope that things got better for you. I want to point you and anyone in your boat to some resources and studies. Mainly, one concern is that what you and many others experience may be a response after starvation (due to natural disaster famines or self-induced) called recovery eating. Studies show that when animals are deprived of calories for a period of time, then their body is notified of access to calories by the animal eating, the body then resumes eating at a much more substantial amount of intake of calories than typical amounts in a non-starving situation. I bring this up because I think the studies are an important resource due to my research and personal experience of this phenomenon not being understood by patients, caregivers, and medical professionals sometimes which can lead to side effects and cycles such as the one you are seeing. For example, some medical professionals see the restriction but do not see the binge as a biological response to food deprivation that regulates the body and returns it to health, so they may give a diagnosis of binge eating disorder in combination with anorexia nervosa or the unspecified eating disorder diagnosis (which is contradictory). It may be helpful to find a medical professional trained in making the distinction and if they need more information, to bring the studies to your appointment. You can find a variety of information by doing a quick search such as “recovery eating” and “recovery binging” which explains the situation and how to manage it to make a full recovery. Research suggests that interrupting the required increased need for caloric intake after starvation can lead to complications such as your symptoms and interrupted healthy weight distribution. I am not sure if your symptoms are coming from starvation or from inadequate nutritional requirements, but it sounds like many of the people responding may be struggling with that so I wanted to share the information. Misdiagnosis can be common in early stages of an illness, misinformation, miscommunication, lack of research or emerging research, social constructs, and other reasons so it is important to have due diligence. For example, some people have responded that they have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder but they also state that they are restricting (even though binge eating disorder diagnosis relies on having no restriction) making diagnostic avenues something needing re-examination.

Hi Freakveeks, we would like

Hi Freakveeks, we would like to inform you that we edited your post to remove the link. As per our community guidelines, sharing outside links is not permitted on the forums. Thanks for your understanding and please continue to post!