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. My life up until a few years ago has largely been dictated and ruled by my emotions (mostly imbalanced) I was stuck in a nasty cycle of reacting to the lows throughout my life and stuck in unhealthy routines. I was unable to let those emotions go and observe them for what they were. Instead I let them permeate into me and fed off of them.
I believe my binge eating started slowly throughout childhood because of having to deal with situations that were far beyond my scope of understanding for my age. This lead to hiding junk food, eating it all at once, gorging on it, eating too quickly, eating unhealthy foods and not enough healthy and nutritious food for a growing body. I feel as though I have been stuck in the emotional development of an 8 year old.
This progressed heavily into my teen years and came to an impass – very high disordered level into my mid 20s of binging and restricting. I think it stemmed from having to parent myself a good deal of the time, feeling unsafe and not secure in my surroundings and environment, too much pressure to perform in competitive dance, feeling not good enough in my body, feeling like I was too chubby and unpretty. I was never really told I was beautiful. I didn’t grow up watching women with self confidence and mine certainly took many beatings throughout the years.
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 one bite at a time. Believe it or not being in competitive dance will do that to you if you are not careful or surrounded by the right people! I was often weighed weekly with my weight being subject of critical conversation, put on crazy diets (sugar free, fat free, low calorie etc etc) in order to achieve a desired outcome and at such a young impressionable age.
All of that lead me to hiding cookies and brownies and doritos and eating it in hiding – I literally got a high out of doing so when I was young child. I believe the disordered eating and emotional stress (fight or flight) on my body caused some lasting damage to my body that I am still dealing with today going into my 30s. My period to come at an unnatural age … i was very young maybe 8 or 9. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism and adrenal issues. There came a time where dance took over my life 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 as it was an outlet for me to escape the reality of my world and I appreciate being put in lessons but I feel like it negatively affected my body and would negatively affect my future.
Enter into my teen years between 13 and 15 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 liked the way I looked though, it felt good to me (just part of the disorder) I could control ONE thing in my life when everything was going down the tubes. That summer I came back from national dance competition in Virginia Beach and I had a very important audition that I had dreamed of getting the part. Unfortunately for me I didn’t have a successful audition and that’s when things spiraled out of control and back into the binge eating. This was also the year that my beloved Grandma passed away. I didn’t see it then but I can clearly see the cycle now. I was so unhappy about failing that audition. I didn’t have the support or skills to cope with everything that was happening to me emotionally and physically. I was also gaining weight at rapid speed thanks to the newly diagnosed thyroid issue and just shoved another pill to deal with it without much explanation from anyone. I was so young and just drowning in unknown with little emotional support.
Age 16 to around 27 I was stuck in that cycle. I would binge and binge and binge – gain an alarming amount of weight, 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. I ignored my health issues and ate whatever i wanted too. I escaped to a University more than 5 hours away from my home to get away from it all. To be honest…I didn’t even want to go there. The binging escalated here because obviously running away doesn’t really do the trick when it comes to working through your life and emotions. I 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. To be honest I also had poor social skills and was very untrusting in ALL relationships.
After I moved back home I spent a year working odd jobs and then decided to go back to school for something I had been passionate about for awhile. To be honest, I should I have through this program from the start but I was too stubborn to stay in an unhealthy environment when being presented with a little bit of freedom i.e moving away to University. I attended Conestoga College in the Recreation Leisure program for two years and graduated. Almost immediatly after graduation I landed a job in a retirement/full term care village home for Senior Citizens. I worked there for around 5 years and while it was very enjoyable I also experienced chronic burnout due to the politics of the work environment and not to mention just the tragedy and sadness you see every day although I did try not to focus on it.
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. 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 less than stellar environment in which I grew up in.
Our relationship is emotionally stable and mature. For the first time in so many years I was not in a violotale environment. I got the Binge Eating under control around 1.5-2 years ago but I stayed at my highest weight (265 for transparency) up until now. I was so happy not to go up anymore that it didn’t bother me that I was not losing. I have maintained this weight for almost 3 years now. I wasn’t even motivated to lose for our wedding. My mind was right, emotions stabilizing and I had not binged in so long and that’s all that mattered to me. And to an extent, that’s still true. I’m happy to share with you what worked for me and what kinds of things I still do in the moment to stop myself from those epic binges and how to overcome emotional highs and lows in life. I will share with you how important our emotions are to our overall health and wellness and how we can work with them to achieve optimal health.
Since my mind and heart are now on the right path it`s time to get my physical body and health connected to that. Unfortunately I am still working on healing chronic candida and autoimmune issues that have followed me from my past to present. This life lesson has taught me about the importance of working through emotion, the importance of a plant based diet, eliminating most processed food and getting out in the sunshine. I have already lost 30 pounds on my goal towards 100 pounds lost. I hope you will join me on my journey to achieving optimal health and happiness through holisitic healing.