Overcoming the Binger in Me

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!

~M

————–

‘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?

  1. Admit to yourself where you’re at
  2. Seek outside help if you feel it will assist you. Only go to someone who you connect with and challenges you.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

36 thoughts on “Overcoming the Binger in Me

  1. Brittany says:

    What a powerful message! I’m sure this was a hard a post to write but I want to say that I appreciate your sharing it. If it helps even one person that is dealing with binging – it will be WELL worth it.

    My favorite quote from the whole post

    “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.”

    So very true.

  2. Dori says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m so sorry you struggled for so long. Hopefully these words will help someone else from going through the same thing and learning what you know now sooner!

  3. missyrayn says:

    (((((Michelle))))))

    I could have written this post except I did all my binging and attempts at purging prior to my weight loss. I thought it wasn’t bad if I “got rid of it.” I’m still working on my issues in counseling.

    I’m so proud of you for sharing and for letting your readers know that they need to work towards what they want and not what they don’t want. That is huge!

  4. Marisa (Trim The Fat) says:

    I can so relate to all you are saying. You are so amazing, Michelle and I’m glad that you decided to get help and learn to love your body.

    I’m going through similar epiphanies with my body and my relationship with food. I finally realized that I HAVE THE ABILITY to live a healthy lifestyle and use food it’s purpose of fueling my body instead of my emotions. I began saying to myself on a daily basis” Food does not control me” and I am really starting to believe it!

    • Mish says:

      Love LOVE that affirmation. Had to bust it out tonight when I was bored and looking at the pantry. Thanks for reminding me.

  5. Lauren says:

    I wanted to thank you for posting this. So many girls (and guys) go through this (including me), and it is nice to see we aren’t alone. Also to see that we can all overcome this. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this because I can relate. Thank you for being strong and displaying your feelings. You are truly an inspirations!

  6. eaternotarunner says:

    Great post. So inspirational, thank you for sharing with all of us who have struggled (or still struggle) with bingeing.

  7. Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42 says:

    Thank you for sharing that very personal struggle. I’m so glad I came to your post today, especially after binging last night. (Oh…the agony of it).

    I’m starting…or, rather, it seems like I’m starting to start finding better ways. Food is such a sick comfort…not sure if I’m ready to give it up.

    Thanks, again.

    • Mish says:

      I think that was one of the hardest things for me at the beginning. ‘If I give up food, what do I have then?’ It was/is my comfort..consistent relationship. It’s just adjusting that relationship so that it’s heatlhy. It enables and escapism which is fostered—for me—by pain, stress, lonliness. Just try and look at those feelings/anxiety which is raised by it all.

  8. Tracey @ Tropical Happiness says:

    I love that you posted this. I think you will help so many women! I’m at a great point where I am cherishing my body, but I think MANY of US have been right where you were. And I think it’s so inspiring to see how you have changed. Kudos to you for posting this!!!!!!! YOU ARE INSPIRING!

  9. Jenn (Ex Hot Girl) says:

    Wow. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve never gone through the struggle of binge eating in nearly this magnitude, but I know many other people have and this post will help them. Kudos on being so brave and out there with yourself. Honesty rules!

    ❤ Jenn (Ex Hot Girl)

  10. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    Thank you for sharing this, M. I too have had some big struggles with bingeing that happened after weight loss. I still struggle, but not as often. I can relate to the idea that the weight gain made the bingeing even worse. It just fed off of my depression about the weight gain and was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    As I said, it is better, but I don’t know that I will ever be 100% free from it. I still get the urges when I get lonely, stressed, or hungry. I try to avoid getting in those states.
    Thanks so much for writing this. I know you are helping so many people.

  11. Julie says:

    Thank you so much for this post – for sharing. I think that this:

    “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.”

    is the key that so many people are searching for.

  12. kilax says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I can relate to so much of it – eating whole boxes of pasta, all of a jar of PB, eating dough… throwing things away, just to buy them again the next day. The tips you gave help. Thank you and good luck on your journey!

  13. FitBunny says:

    Thank you for posting this. It’s exactly where I am right now. I’m not sure exactly how I got here, but it’s good to know that there is a way out of it.
    No more broken promises from me…just being aware. (maybe that’s my new mantra)

  14. Margie says:

    Thank you for sharing. I still suffer from bingeing episodes. For example, this week I did not feel well and I so wanted to binge on everything. Thankfully, I contained myself. But it becomes a daily struggle for me, that at times can be exhausting. I agree with you that life needs to be about being healthy and not on being “skinny”. It’s a long process that all of us women need to work on.

  15. Kristin says:

    Wow! This is a moving post! Thank you so much for sharing. I recently broke off my 14 year relationship with Weight Watchers. It feels really good! I know that I will continue to be inspired by your blogs as I take a new journey into loving my body and the feeding it food to make it feel good!

    • Mish says:

      I broke off an eight year relationship with them. I was scared out of my gord. But it made me realise that I can and do have a level of trust in myself which is important and necessary. Keep believing in your abilities to regulate your weight, food intake, thought patterns. It is hard sometimes at first, but you can do it.

  16. All Women Stalker says:

    I have been through all the things you talked about… and more. Though I am almost over my issues, I have never been able to write my experience and feelings down. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. I hope you’ll continue to be strong. It’s all about the lifestyle change. Not just the weight loss.

    -Denise

  17. Sarah says:

    What a wonderful post! I admire you for ‘exposing’ so many things about you that most of us (including me) are too afraid to post. You’ve taken a huge step by even writing this, and an even bigger one by posting it! Rest assured that you are not alone in feeling the way you do and doing the things you do.

    Just stumbled across your blog today whilst looking for health blogs, and I am so glad I did. I look forward to following you on your journey, and getting some inspiration for my own 🙂

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