The Binge Eater’s Brain: When Health Problems Affect Your Diet


overcoming binge eating with jackiSince coming to Green Mountain two years ago, I have given myself permission to eat. A taste of anything and everything here and there, beautifully wrapped in “normal” portions and topped off with zero guilt. But now my binge eater’s brain is being challenged once again.

For the past couple of months my stomach has not been working properly. Let’s throw some humor into the mess – so WARNING! Too much information to follow, ladies and gentlemen.

As a recovering binge eater, I’ve shared my deepest bingeing thoughts and darkest moments, so I feel no need to hide the gruesome details of my latest body challenge with you.

I am constipated. All the time. I don’t mean “Woe is me, it’s been a day and half.” I’m talking about, “You’ve got to be kidding me – it’s been four days and no one is getting off this ship anytime soon.”

Then let’s throw in some nasty cramps (a type of pain that makes me question if I have a stomach or a punching bag in my midsection), tornadoes of gas and embarrassment, heart burn that no dissolvable tablet could conquer, and 24/7 bloating as if I might give birth any day… to a bowling ball.

How’s that for a visual my friends? As a recovering binge eater, I’ve shared my deepest bingeing thoughts and darkest moments, so I feel no need to hide the gruesome details of my latest body challenge with you. And I thank you for that.

So, here I am… still on a journey of learning how to manage health and food fun and I’m being punished, or at least that’s what it feels like. After 8 hours of swallowing chalky liquids, countless X-rays, and 22 hours of fasting, the gastroenterology department told me, “Hey, you’re young! You’re fine! You just have sluggish bowels!” Oh, hey thanks for that, Doc. I feel so much better now that you’ve reassured me of my age and given me absolutely no answers. Glad we had this chat. Oh, and that I paid you. For NOTHING.

Since I’ve been on an awkward “diet” of less gluten, less soy, less dairy, less FUN, my bingeing brain has been roaring.

I share this with you as another challenge that is completely intertwined with my bingeing thoughts. Since I’ve been on an awkward “diet” of less gluten, less soy, less dairy, less FUN, my bingeing brain has been roaring. It’s been a daily struggle, searching for the answers to my physical pain while taking care of my mental frustration.

I’ve even had moments of “Did I do this to myself during my bingeing days? Did I ruin my belly for good?” (Signs point to “no,” but my guilt has pointed to maybe more than once…).

Deprivation has never been a buddy to a binge eater, but I’m trying to seek out the silver linings where I can. I’m learning more about nutrition that I ever have before and I’m trying foods that never much appealed to any of my senses (cashews are AWESOME).

I’m also getting stronger mentally and physically with each new challenge I must face. Does this suck? Abso-freakin-lutely. But will I come out on the other side with new knowledge and a better understanding of my body and my mind? You betcha I will.

If you too struggle with other health issues along with any type of eating disorder then just know that you are not alone. Don’t settle for answers that aren’t actual answers, don’t go back to the same doctor if you feel that he/she isn’t on your side, and don’t rule out some seemingly nutty paths to health.

Next on my plate? Digestive enzymes, a liver cleanse, and gut bacteria killing fun! Until next time, I thank you for giving me a safe place to share my stories and I hope that you get a giggle and a sense of community out of this post in particular.

13 responses to “The Binge Eater’s Brain: When Health Problems Affect Your Diet”

  1. Marsha Hudnall says:

    Jacki, we MUST talk when you are here. 🙂 I’ve got good experience in this area and glad to share with you. But it is individual so getting into details here on the blog is probably not worthwhile. Suffice it to say that “sluggish bowels” can usually be helped!

  2. Krista says:

    Oh my goodness! I have literally the EXACT SAME issues and I’ve been struggling with them for almost 10 months or so now. Thanks so much for posting this, it gives me some hope. I feel like western medicine completely let me down so I’m trying a different approach using meditation, massage, and mindful eating to try and fix some of these issues. Keep us updated on how you’re feeling!

    • Jace says:


      Thank you so much for commenting! I apologize for my late response! Good for you for trying different things. That’s awesome that you’re thinking outside the box. That’s what I’m trying to do, too! So far, I’m pretty much the same. I’ve added some supplements to try and help my stomach, but I’m beginning to think I might have some food sensitives that I’m unaware of and that need some tackling. I’ve read lots of stories about people who received no “western medical fixes” but who figured out what kinds of foods (soy, gluten, sugar, etc.) weren’t working well their bodies and eliminated them and now feel so much better. I hope we both find some answers soon! Thank you again for commenting 🙂

  3. Sandy says:

    Hi Jacki, I think I can recommend a possible item for you to try…..Oatmeal (not the instant stuff). Eat a cup a day and everything should start moving again. I find it works for me.

    • Jace says:

      Hi Sandy,
      Thank you so much for commenting and apologize for my late response! Thank you so much for your suggestion, I’ll be sure to give it a try!

  4. Hi Jacki..I hope you get some … relief.. in every way soon. It’s amazing how when something is “off” with our bodies how much discomfort, even beyond the physical there can be.. Wanting to figure it out and trying to find answers can be hugely frustrating especially with traditional medicine. I know for a lot of women, including myself and women that I work with, there are often underlying food sensitivities that don’t show up until adulthood. You probably already know the common ones (gluten, dairy, soy as you mentioned). I used to eat yogurt every morning for years and years until one day I was doubled over and had no clue why. No more yogurt (ultimately had to give up most dairy.. but not butter.. never butter!). So great that you can reach out.. somebody may be able to help guide you in ways that you hadn’t thought of yet.

    • Jace says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Thank you so much for commenting and I apologize for my late response! Yes to the food sensitivities! That’s where my research keeps directing me. It’s incredible how something that can be so healthy for one body, can be so harmful to another body. We surely are complicated creatures! Thank you again for commenting and sharing your dairy story with us 🙂

  5. Dominique Baker says:

    Hi Jacki, I read your article around the same time that I was looking for answers to exactly the same symptoms minus the heartburn. After months of trying to find a common denominator between the foods that I eat around the time the symptoms are the worst, it turns out that the true culprit may be coffee. I’m curious to know if your coffee drinking habits have changed in the last couple of months (that is if you drink coffee 🙂 ).

    • Jace says:

      Hi Dominique,
      Thank you so much for commenting! Coffee, how interesting! I am not much of a coffee drinker myself. I have it more as a treat but I’ve never been a cup-a-day girl. A lot of people have actually suggested that I drink coffee to help get some…movement…if you know what I mean…haha…but it’s definitely not my (personal) answer! Let us know if coffee does turn out to be the culprit! Thank you again for sharing with us 🙂

  6. Jace says:

    Hi Johnny!
    Thank you so much for commenting! We are so happy to hear that you are enjoying the site and the articles! 🙂

  7. Steph says:

    Probiotics have saved my stomach. I experienced the opposite problem . And after a $600 appointment with a gastroenterologist who advised a colonoscopy (I was only 42), a friend suggested Phillips probiotics. I’m allergic to dairy, so I couldn’t have yogurt with the “good bacteria.”

    I couldn’t believe the difference after 2 weeks. No more ducking into the ladies room or having to exit a meeting.

    If you haven’t tried it, it could even things out. Good luck to you. And thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been there, and still struggle, with binge eating.

    • Jace says:

      Hi Steph!

      Thank you so much for commenting. I’m so glad that you found something that works for you! So far, I have found that fiber and KALE (of all things!) are helping my digestive tract! Thank you so much for your suggestion and for sharing with us. I hope you continue to read this blog and continue to comment!


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About the Author

Jacki Monaco

Jacki (or Jace) is a Green Mountain alum that shares experiences with binge eating disorder through "The Binge Eating Diaries” series. Follow Jacki as she shares the discoveries she’s made on her journey to health and happiness.

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