This is not an easy post for me to put out there but I will try my best. I even wondered if I SHOULD post it – but if it can help someone out there than all the better.
I believe my binge/compulsive eating started slowly in childhood with hiding junk food and eating it all at once in secret when nobody was around or after being told NO you can’t eat this – provoked me to eat it and then some. This progressed heavily into my teen years and came to an impasse . I would now consider this time in my life to be very deep into the cycle of binging, restricting and starving.
I think it stemmed from feeling not good enough in my body, feeling like I was too chubby, unpretty and not good enough in all aspects of my life. I didn’t really have many people to look up to (women) whom loved their body and treated their body right. I didn’t really know what that looked like. The women around me were unfortuantely stuck in their own cycle of poor body image, lack of self confidence and eating issues.
I continually had all of these crazy emotions, stress, worries and thoughts going through my head that I could not control any other way than to eat them on bite at a time or to starve and lose weight. I would later come to find out what the term EMPATH was and this is me to a T.
Being in competitive dance was fun but it also had it’s negative aspects! I was often weighed weekly with my weight being subject of critical conversation, put on crazy diets (sugar free, fat free, low calorie, low carb, atkins etc etc) in order to achieve a desired outcome (to fit into slinky costumes) and at such a young impressionable age too. The stress of dieting on such a young body also lead to all sorts of issues mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Thinking back to this time it wasn’t only me that dealt with these issues. I remember most girls unhappy with their bodies. It was a topic we discussed many times.
I’m dipping kind of all over the place here, so forgive me but I believe the disordered eating and stress on my body caused my period to come at an unnatural age … i was very young maybe 8 or 9 I can’t remember. I also developed hormonal issues and PCOS like symptoms very young and was put on birth control at age 13 to control the horrible cramps and cystic acne. At that time I could not really advocate for myself and didn’t know how messed up my body would become with all of the unnatural hormones floating around in there from taking the B.C pill for so long during my teen years.
There came a time where the dance took over and we rarely ate together at the table as a family, I would always eat in the car on the way to dance classes. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed dance and appreciate being put in lessons but I feel like it negatively affected my body and would negatively affect my future until I came to the realization that I had to let that go and start a new healthy cycle, a new way of eating and living and relating to food and my body. I had to become my own champion and teach myself how to do so.
Ages 13-16 I was dancing at a higher more competitive level and at a dance studio that was very into classical ballet. Everyone was thin and in great shape. That was the start of starving myself and my body. I would easily skip breakfast and lunch with my parents working and didn’t matter what I ate for dinner as I would dance 4-5 hours per night burning it and much more off. My hair fell out, I had zero energy or focus and I got down to an alarming weight for my body type – lower than I had ever been before. I fell asleep frequently during school classes and my grades suffered.
I liked the way I looked though, it felt good to me (just part of the disorder) That summer I came back from national dance competition in Virginia Beach and I had an audition – I didn’t have a successful audition and that’s when things spiraled out of control and back into the binge eating. I didn’t see it then but I can clearly see the cycle now. I was so unhappy about failing that audition. I had put all of my eggs into one basket and could not handle the undesirable outcome of that situation. I remember how depressed I felt that night and I ate two large McFlurries before bed.
Age 16 to around 27 I was stuck in that cycle. I would binge and binge and binge – gain an alarming amount of weight(nearly 90 pounds), try to get healthy, lose a few pounds and then something would happen that I would negatively react too and the cycle would start all over. Typically it would stem from poor relationships and negative self talk and mind set.
The scariest and worst it got was when I moved away to University. I had nobody watching my every move and made very poor food choices; binging in bed while watching tv shows and movies, binge drinking with friends etc. I bet in my worst moments I would take in over 10 000 + calories easily. I don’t just mean binging on one bag of doritos – oh no – I would eat dinner with roomates, on the way home stop at Mcdonalds and eat another dinner…get home and order a large pizza and eat all of that to myself. I would pass out feeling dizzy, painful, sore…and wake up feeling hungover. I would do this to myself over and over and over and over again and it negatively affected all of my friendships and relationships simply because I was trying to hide it from them and if they realized they had no idea how to understand my situation or how to help me which I can’t fault them for.
Now, we all have different idea of what binge eating is – but what I describe above is definitely my experience of binge eating. This is binge eating disorder. I ended up moving back home because I knew I needed help. Although the help I was given was not really to find the cause of my binge eating problem but help was given in terms of losing weight. I did end up losing weight but again got caught in the binge cycle. Just `losing weight`helps nothing. You have to do the mental work. You have to figure out away to get your mind, body and soul healthy. and balanced. You have to be able to evaluate the situation, observe what happened, accept it and let it go. It’s OK to go to therapy or whatever you need to do to get the help that you need.
It wasn’t until I met Brent, my husband that the binge eating seemed to slow down. With Brent, I feel my most beautiful, whole, self. I see myself through HIS eyes and my confidence and positive sense of body image has grown.
We do our grocery shopping together, we plan our meals together and for the most part, we cook together and eat our meals together at the table. He knows all my secrets and knew all about my struggle with binge eating and my eating disorders growing up. It was around the time of my wedding that I also embarked on a pretty significant spiritual journey that taught me all about manifesting, shadow work, inner child work, meditation and more. I have several spiritual mentors who have been helping me wade through my past and make sense of things. This spiritual journey weaves throughout my path and has also played a significant role in my recovery from living with eating disorders and being able to finally release the weight physically and emotionally without much struggle.
I got the Binge Eating under contro but I stayed at my highest weight (260 ish for transparency) and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes along with PCOS (also having struggled with hormonal issues while growing up) the pcos was nothing new to me but the diabetes diagnosis shook me to my core – I was in utter denial up until that day. I mean…I knew I was still obese – but I had stopped binging and was eating what I thought was your typical “healthy” low carb diet…. so that should have been enough right!? Wrong.
I was so happy not to go up in weight anymore that it didn’t bother me that I was not losing. I had maintained this weight for almost 3 years and was happy to no longer have the desire to binge or restrict. I wasn’t even motivated to lose weight for our wedding. My mind was right, I had not binged in so long and that’s all that mattered to me. And to an extent, that was still true. I was eating low carb OR everything in moderation. I still ate a good amount of junk food and high fat sugar laden food. I was really not living a healthy, enjoyable life. I didn’t get much enjoyment from food or life in general.
I was just comfortable. I was comfortable with the aches and pains. Comfortable with the disease which was evident throughout my body. Comfortable with the hormonal imbalances. Comfortable in my relationship. Comfortable with not exercising. Comfortable with self sabotage which you will read about further after this page. Comfortable with staying inside and hiding away. Even though I was stuck in this large physical body – some parts of my life had improved and I was comfortable with it all.
My path has been messy and I am still learning the lessons. I am human and I will make mistakes but I am liberated from my past by sharing my story with you all. I have set out to create a new path for myself and my future family. I refuse to go around the hamster wheel again and again.
So without further ado – this is path number 2 for me. A second chance at life. This is my new version of life, reversing disease, chronic illness&obesity on a nutrient dense, nourishing whole foods lifestyle. This is my transformation through real nutrition, gentle physical pursuits, enjoying nature, finding emotional balance, alternative health care and spirituality.
This is anything but conventional and I’m OK with that.
I hope you will follow along with me on this crazy journey that we call life.