Purge to Avoid a Binge: It Is Not What You Think

I do not know if I qualified as having a true eating disorder, but certainly some of my eating behaviors would have fallen under disordered eating.

I never made myself throw up after I ate too much or suffered from anorexia, but I did eat huge quantities of food at one time day after day after day. I was often on an all day binge.

Here’s what a day of eating could look like for me. Honestly.

bad food diary

I know that is bad, but this wasn’t the worst day because on really bad days John and I would have gone out to lunch and dinner at a restaurant instead of just lunch. I literally ate all day long.

If you look at the foods I ate, they were mainly junky foods with a random “healthy” choice thrown in here and there. Candy, ice cream, cookies, snack crackers, Pop Tarts, chips, and cheese. Not good.

However, one thing that really helped me stay away from those types of junk foods was to purge my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer of junk when I finally got serious about losing weight.

Purge to avoid a binge.

I quickly learned that I couldΒ NOT have ice cream in the house. At least not at first. I also could not have goldfish crackers, Pop Tarts, cookies, chips, or any of the foods that I had a problem controlling myself around the house. Remember at this point it wasn’t about the GMOs in foods or the unhealthy nature of those foods. At this point in my weight loss experience, it was about getting my eating under control – period.

So I purged my house. Notice I did not say I purged just my kitchen. In addition to the junky, unhealthy food in the kitchen, I had little stashes of junk food in my purse, in my car parked in the garage, and even in my nightstand drawer. I literally had to purge the house just like Mrs. Large the elephant tried to purge her house of foods she thought were keeping her fat in the fabulous children’s book “A Piece of Cake,” by Jill Murphy.

Purge to avoid junk food


I purged the house of junk to avoid bingeing on unhealthy foods. You might ask, “Did it work?” It absolutely worked because I found that if it was not in the house, I was very unlikely to get in the car and drive to get it. Although I had strong cravings for chocolate or chips those first few weeks of my weight loss efforts, I would talk myself out of driving to the convenience store to buy those foods by reminding myself of all the reasons I wanted and needed to lose weight.

The trick for me was to avoid buying junk at the grocery store and bringing it home or baking cookies because I was a pretty darn good baker and found it easy to whip up a batch of cookies. I stopped those behaviors by making one small, relatively healthy dessert a week instead of every day and reviewing my cart before I headed up to the cashier to check out.

When I purged my house, car, and purse of junk food I did more than throw things away or donate unopened boxes to the food pantry at our church. I began the process of purging my mind of the desire for junk, releasing my body from the unhealthy hold junk food had on me, and freeing myself to learn to enjoy and discover new foods.

Purging your house and mind of unhealthy foods and behaviors almost always benefits you when you are losing weight. The next step is keeping that junk food out of your house. I’m going to talk about that in another post.

Have you ever purged your home of unhealthy foods to help you control your tendency to overeat? Were you able to keep the junk food out permanently?Β Diane

26 thoughts on “Purge to Avoid a Binge: It Is Not What You Think

  1. blackhuff says:

    I still need to make sure that I don’t have unhealthy foods in my home because although I have lost the weight, temptation is never a good thing for me. I have to stay clear of bad food because I can still “crack” and eat a whole bunch of them.

  2. Daniel says:

    This is a great title for this post and really, really true. I have found that even after I diet for a while, I have to do the purging of the pantry and house again and again because junk food keeps creeping back in.

  3. Molly says:

    I’ve had to do this more times than I care to admit. πŸ™

    I will purge the house, buy more junk, purge it again. It’s a cycle that I’m working on breaking and like you said – it’s in the mind as well as the actions.

  4. Sam says:

    My husband brings it in, I toss it or give it away. He brings it in, I toss it. It’s a continual cycle but in some ways it is been good for me because I have learned I don’t need it and really can get rid of it.

  5. Laurie says:

    I really have to work at this because I have a hard time getting rid of food (or other things in my house) that seem to have value.

    For me it might be due to the fact that I grew up in a poor household and do not want to waste anything. But I need to get rid of the bad foods because they certainly aren’t helping me lose the 180 pounds I need to lose right now.

  6. Mona says:

    I can appreciate that food diary you put up from when you were heavy because that was me too. Getting rid of the junk in your house and learning to train your mind you don’t need it is really important.

    Am I perfect at it? No. But like some others have said, I have to do it regularly because it is SO EASY for those foods to come back into the house. Right now we have a small bag of Chips Ahoy cookies in the pantry that I bought in a moment of weakness. I need to get rid of those.

  7. PlumPetals says:

    Now that the foods I eat are pretty much on rotation, grocery shopping is easy because I never go into the aisles that sell junk food (unless for some reason I am buying something for someone else). Purging my mind — I’m still working on that. After a meal I still feel like I want to eat something sweet. Even though I know I can choose a healthy option (some fruit) I know what I really want is some chocolate. I rarely give in, but I wish I didn’t have those thoughts in the first place.

  8. Hope K says:

    When I read the word purge, I started to get worried! But what you meant is to get rid of bad food from the house. *whew*

    I can’t completely get bad food out of my house because my son loves toaster strudel, among other things. However, I tell myself that is not my food and I don’t get to touch it.

    I like the idea of purging one’s mind. What a great concept!

  9. Kyra says:

    For me, I never kept a secret stash outside of the kitchen except when I lived with my parents (and then I discovered you could balance the most amazing things in the fold of a curtain, or behind stuffed animals.) In my own home, I figured out I don’t have to purge it all completely (our household is about 90% healthy food, 10% not in total), but I DO need to move it all to the basement pantry and deep freezer. Once it’s down there I feel secure knowing where it is, AND I have no desire to get into it. When it’s upstairs, that’s when I have a problem.

  10. Dr. J says:

    It seems so obvious doesn’t? I recently wrote about this, but the researchers called it “pre-commitment.” I like the shock value of purge!

  11. sam says:

    This is a great post Diane. I struggle with bulimia and I can’t keep trigger foods in my house. I’m curious though. Sometimes I’m fine and I”m just craving something sweet with my tea and I know its because I need some “comfort” because I’m stressed or lonely whatever it is. But sometimes I lose and I do binge. It really is a day to day struggle at times. But I’m winning more now than ever so….

  12. Janis says:

    I know that I don’t have any wine or alcohol in my apartment at all. I’ve mentioned it before; I never got far gone, but I think I did use it too much to decompress from stress, especially from an over-an-hour-one-way commute on the world’s crappiest freeways and from living with someone who perhaps didn’t end up being the best possible roommate. Moving to another apartment in a different area much closer to work allowed me to escape both sources of stress, and another thing that did it for me was starting playing viola. You can’t practice music with two or three glasses of wine in you, you just can’t. And an instrument like that is particularly bad since it can be destroyed by being dropped. So that pretty much tanked wine/alcohol entirely for me. If there’s something else you love to do that’s more important to you, that other unhealthy “love” will have no choice but to take a back seat.

    So what it adds up to is that there is just no wine or booze in my apartment, at all. No need for it. I mean, if I’m not going to drink it — and I’m not; it makes my heart race, puts me in a foul mood, and keeps me awake — then WTH is it doing there? Why have it? All the rationalizations of “proving something” are BS. For someone who is trying to avoid X, the only reason to have X around is because the chattering monkey in your brain wants to consume it. What else would I do with a bottle of wine, sterilize medical instruments with it? It’s the same with Ho-Hos. So you are losing weight but you still want them in the house — why? To plug holes in drywall?

    And if I lived with someone who was battling their weight, and they didn’t want that in the house, I’d respect it. I could always just keep a chocolate bar in my desk at work so that I got to enjoy my treats, and my housemate didn’t have to live with them. If your spouse wants Doritos, they can buy a bag and keep them at work, or pick up small bags from time to time at a vending machine. Your spouse can still get their Doritos without making your struggle harder.


  13. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    I so have purged the house of foods that trigger me to want more – crackers & certain cereals & granola that is too yummy – things like that.. we all have to do what works for us & for me – this has worked.. I could probably bring it in now but I don’t.. πŸ™‚

  14. Tanvee says:

    it has been a long time since I have bought any junk food in the house, T does bring ice cream once in a while but now I can manage, over time I think I have built good self control and I think since I started eating healthy and enjoying it my grocery shopping is easier I go and pick up the same things, I don’t even turn to the junk food aisles..

  15. Linda says:

    Purging does work! We do have some cookies in the house but I am not a cookie person. For me, it was chips and ice cream. Since they are no longer here I can’t eat them. πŸ™‚

  16. Tammy says:

    I always tell myself “It’s easier to say ‘no’ once in the store than 1000 times at home.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…..

  17. Caron says:

    I have been buying my daughter Lara bars as a gluten free snack that is better for her than candy bars (I think) but just as caloric. I am tempted by them too so today I sent them all back to her room. Out of sight and out of mind. πŸ™‚

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, I did purge my cabinets of junk food when I started to get serious about losing weight. I still avoid junk food in my home most of the time. I have two young kids and they sometimes complain about the lack of cookies or chocolate in our home. However, they love eating yogurt, fruit, string cheese, and other healthy snacks. I agree out of sight…out of mind.

  19. Betty Taylor says:

    This is such a good suggestion. If people would do this it would help them to get to the point that they could deal with food. As you said, if you don’t bring it into the house it makes it more of an effort to get it and you have time to talk yourself out of it.

    Glad you are giving Pinterest a chance!

  20. Meghan says:

    I am always giving treats away.. Sometimes i feel bad when i give them away though, because then I am just enabling someone else to eat my junk… but at least i dont eat it!! πŸ™‚

  21. Madijo says:

    I purged my house of all unhealthy food awhile back, and it has helped alot. Now if I feel the urge I actually have to leave the house to get it.

  22. Mekiho Morgan says:

    I have the same problem with junk food. Unfortunately, other people in my family bring it into the house all the time, and I can’t convince them to stop. It’s very hard to stay good with all the bad food around me! So I came up with the idea of buying my separate food. This way I don’t look at the whole kitchen for food, just my own little part in it, and I don’t buy any junk. It took some training to turn a blind eye to 80% of the kitchen, but it’s really helping me with my diet!

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