Here’s something I wrote…I hope that you enjoy. It’s me. It’s what I’ve been through. I am shaking like a leaf sharing this..but I am proud to say…it’s me!
‘Tomorrow I am going to work out at 5am, and after-work I will go for a run and maybe squeeze some yoga in” is what I’d say to myself through the tears streaming down my face, as my puffed belly protruded. This is was my nightly routine for about nine months. Binge.Cry.Binge.Promise.Binge ‘The Binge Monster’ was born.
Although, I was never properly diagnosed with a binge disorder I know that I had a problem. About six months before my full-fledged binging I had spent 7 years of my life dieting and losing 100lbs. I let someone into my life and I wanted nothing more than to be loved, accepted, and appealing for someone. I wanted to prove to myself that I could lose the last 25lbs.
Come hell or high water, I lost those 25lbs. I crammed myself full of fat-free, artificially sweetened products and would binge once a week after my weigh-in. I would starve myself the whole day leading up to the weigh-in, deprive myself of water so that the scale was favourable a number.
Then the binger came out. I would eat everything in sight. It was my ‘night off’ I’d tell myself. The release of not having to worry about counting points, a scale, or what I was eating gave me freedom.
I no longer had that person in my life, which was on the heels of a very scary period of major health concerns. At the beginning of 2009 I had no relationship, a limited food group due to dietary issues and a full-fledged binge monster which consumed my life. Almond butter, PowerBars, grapes, pasta, rice, cookies, cake you name it I would eat it all. I once remember eating a whole jar of almond butter in one sitting. Or taking two trips to the gelato shop in one day, for a double scoop of my favourite flavours. Or baking a batch of brownies and literally eating half the pan before having to take them to the garbage can because I could not be trusted to have them around my house.
I was numb. I wanted to be numb. I never enjoyed, tasted, or savoured the food I shoved in my face. It allowed me to escape into a world where I did not have to think about being lonely, where I did not have to deal with the impeding health concerns that were undiagnosed at the time. I was in control of shutting everything and everyone out. I was tired of dieting. I was tired of having to lose weight. THIS WAS FOR ME, I’d tell myself.
The number on the scale crept up, which fed the binge monster even more. Man was the binge monster an efficient being. It capitalised on the weaknesses that I had and kept feeding my depression and unhappiness. I know that I needed help, especially after two times when I made myself throw up in the shower. I remember the instantaneous relief I felt when I threw up ‘I feel so light’ I would tell myself. Then I would sit there as the vomit spiraled down the drain thinking to myself ‘You can’t become a bulimic Michelle. You’re not becoming ONE of the THOSE girls’.
I gained about 35lbs back from the binging. I was in the depths of hell. It was a dark, dark place. Food was my mirage. I decided that I needed to get help. More importantly I WANTED help.
I went to counselling every week for about three months. There were absolute torrential downpours of tears. sobbing, snotty noses, cussing, epiphanies, forgiveness and yes even setbacks.
I kept going. I did not want to stop.
Coupled with counselling I went to East Timor to visit a friend. I escaped the scale. I escaped counting points. I escaped binging. I remember for the whole two weeks that I was in Timor I only binged once. It was then that I knew I could overcome this, but I had to believe in myself.
How do you overcome binging?
- Admit to yourself where you’re at
- Seek outside help if you feel it will assist you. Only go to someone who you connect with and challenges you.
- Get down with yourself. From your head to your toes, touch your body and say out loud to yourself what you love about your body. This helped me get back in touch with my body. My soul and body has been silenced by the constant negative self-talk.
- Make a decision to limit the use of the scale. I used to weigh myself morning and night. Now I weigh myself once a week, if that. I instead focus more on how my clothes feel, which helps to emphasize point 3.
- Choose to live a life of HEALTHY LIVING and not LOSING WEIGHT
In my humble and tested opinion when you are trying to lose weight, you put so much energy into what you do not want. I was once told ‘put energy into the things which you want in life, and what you want will come to you’. I spent eight years of my life hating my body, wishing the scale to be a smaller number, wanting to be thinner. I have only recently begun to understand that life is not about losing weight, it is about living in a healthy way where exercise, wholesome food choices, positive relationships and an encouraging mental-talk platform develop.
I am no expert. There are days when I look in the mirror and the binge monster creeps in…or tries to creep in. I actually say out loud to myself ‘Knock it off. You are not welcome here’. Instead of stressing out about the scale, I remind myself that getting moving and eating things which heal my body are more important.
The most beautiful thing which has come about this, is that I am in touch with my body. I can feel hunger, thirst and most importantly emotions. No longer does food rob me of the most important relationship I have, the one with myself.