148.8 Derek Prior Trainer and Author

My friend Derek Prior is a personal trainer who is also the author of Foundations for a Better Physique: The Six Key Exercises & Nutrition for a Balanced Physique, Nutritional Journal: Fitness Instruction for Strength & Health's Guide to Diet Success, The SHADER series and the Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf. He says he is getting too old to be really ripped anymore, but I think he is being too modest! Here is his advice on binge eating, re-posted with permission from his Thursday 8 February 2007 post on his blog: DEREK PRIOR Personal Training:
 Some of my clients train extremely effectively, working hard and diligently. They follow personalized nutritional plans and train consistently. However, every now and again they go "off the rails". Often this is the result of binge eating and the resulting negative spiral.

Generally, a binge once in a while has little or no effect on training goals. It may even help occasionally. The problem is the related negative cognitive spiral that often accompanies binging and the duration of the binge cycle.

Ideally, if a client binges, even if the binge is prolonged, my advice is to forget about it, continue to train, and return to the usual nutritional plan, which generally involves eating six to seven meals a day at roughly three hourly intervals. Under no circumstances should they skip meals or try to juggle calories to balance out a binge episode.

The problem with the negative cognition is that it is usually a response to certain eating rules: some foods are identified as bad, and if I eat those foods I may consider myself "fat", "lazy", "useless", "a failure". What follows next is a "what the hell" attitude and further bouts of binging.

In a desperate bid to take control the individual will often resort to a strict diet and will set themselves dietary rules which are virtually impossible to maintain. Once the rules are broken (and they will be) the negative cognition kicks in and the binging starts again. Another factor here is the hunger caused by the semi-starvation diet which physiologically primes us for the next binge.

There are some self help approaches that may be of benefit for those who do not have a Cognitive Behavior Therapist (preferably one trained in the CBT-Enhanced method for eating disorders).

The first principal is to increase meta-cognitive awareness, which basically means "thinking about thinking". Over time, through discussion with others, reflection, or better, recording what is eaten, when, and what the accompanying mood and thoughts are, we can start to recognize the characteristic automatic negative thoughts.

A useful analogy is that of the DVD player. In various situations we relate to others and our environment on a virtually automatic basis. For each of this situations (and our relationship with food is one of them) it is as if we have inserted a particular DVD. The thoughts are not ourselves - many of us identify with our thoughts and feelings, both of which have a large degree of autonomy. Once we recognize that the "eating disorder" DVD is running we can take steps to eject it (for example: challenging negative thoughts and offering more realistic alternatives; diversion - exercise, socializing, cinema etc- or working on some of the structures that hold this negative thinking pattern in place - low mood, anxiety, low self-esteem, boredom etc.

This kind of work is ongoing and reaps benefits in accordance with the commitment put into the self-help techniques.

Statistically, however, the most effective approach for reducing binge eating is to regulate eating, to eat small meals at roughly three hourly intervals and to avoid skipping meals. Once this approach is combined with your training goals (i.e. high protein, low GI, adequate nutrition) you have a highly effective defense against binging, and if you do binge you have an immediate strategy: just get on with the eating plan you were following with no self-recrimination.

There is no need to commence "driven" exercise regimens or to increase the frequency and duration of your workouts. Just keep on as normal, train hard and effectively, eat at regular intervals, and don't worry about slipping up: just think of the extra stored glycogen you can draw upon for your next training session!
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I gained .2 pounds yesterday, but at 148.8 pounds, I am still well within my goal weight of 145 pounds to 149.9 pounds. For exercise, I walked my dog the usual route of 1.3 miles through the park and did my usual 30 minutes of housework. Here is what I ate:

Special K and organic soy milk
El Monterey beef and bean burrito with salsa
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 slices of wheat bread and 2 slices of Kirkland Signature extra lean ham lunch meat
8 ounce Banquet Sweet and Sour Chicken and rice frozen dinner
1 scoop of mint chip ice cream
2 Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut bars


  1. I was doing so well, then boom. With the knee injury, I'm not able to exercise, and because of the meds, I'm having to eat ALL day. I hope I don't lose all the momentum I'd gained. :(

  2. :( Aw! So sorry, MA! I'm trying to think of exercise you could do with a knee injury... I guess sit ups, maybe? You could at least do armchair crunches! Borrow a non-motorized wheelchair and exercise your arms wheeling yourself around? Scrub the kitchen counters?

    Get well soon!


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