I’m Guest Bloggin’ at Eating Journey

HOLY BLOGGIN’ MOLY!

Somehow I’ve been lucky enough to be guest blogging on two amazing websites last night/today – Eating Journey and We Are The Real Deal

Sadly, Michelle@Eating Journey has decided after much soul searching to stop blogging at the end of this month, so I am honored that she chose to post my compulsive eating journey before she leaves the blogosphere (hopefully only temporarily!).

You can read the post here or below.

On WATRD, I wrote about the secret life of a binge eater. you can read the post here or tomorrow on my blog. I am so grateful that such an amazing website would want a post of mine to appear there.

EATING JOURNEY
Michelle had asked if I would share my story of how I have been binge-free for over two years, after being a compulsive (over)eater for over three decades, and tell you how I deal with food these days. I thought it would be a nice time to review where I’ve been and how I got to where I am today.

Unbeknownst to me, I became a compulsive eater when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Closeness was not fostered in our house between my parents, older brother and I, and I turned to food to find the nurturing and comfort that I needed. In addition, my mother would go food shopping, buy junk food for the family, but she would hide it from me because she knew I would never just eat a “normal” share and leave enough for the rest of the family.

I found out a couple of years ago in therapy that my mom, unknowingly I’m sure, was giving me the message – you cannot be trusted with food. So the bingeing began at a young age with trips to the store to buy junk. I would eat it when no one was home, stuff the empty bags/containers/wrappers back into the supermarket bag, and then bury that in the trash can. I had low self-esteem and was pretty insecure (as many tweens, teens are.)

As I got older, I continued binging off and on. I thought I just had a sweet tooth. My weight yo-yo’d up and down throughout my life, going from 105 lbs to 172 lbs and everywhere in between. Mind you, I am only 5’3”.

As an adult, at parties my goal was to get back to the dessert table over and over again. How good the party was to me was based upon the foods that they had, not the people or the conversations. I would talk to people, but in the back of my head I would be thinking about a certain food and would ultimately make up some excuse to get away from that person so I could go eat some more.

When I was married and we entertained, I loved to clean up after everyone left so that I could devour the leftover desserts. I have pulled food out of the sink, the trash, you name it. I would shove food into my face without even really tasting it. I would just shovel and shovel until I was sick and sometimes that shoveling didn’t stop even with that horrible bloated feeling. Of course after I was done, I would vow that it would be my last binge and that I would be “good” the next day, but sadly, I was only sometimes able to actually pull that off.

Fortunately, throughout my life, I had always exercised. So I am certain that I would have gotten much heavier if I hadn’t been working out.

So one night at the end of December 2007, I was home alone watching TV and somehow the idea of compulsive eating popped into my head. I went to my laptop and started googling. I eventually ended up at the Overeaters Anonymous website. They had something on their site that asked “are you one of us” or something like that, and I answered “yes” to just about every question. This was horrifying, yet thrilling to me at the same time. Being an A-type personality, I was thrilled to finally have a term and a compartment to put this part of my life in. I wrote a long letter to my husband telling him about this new revelation about myself and did a LOT of crying over the next few days. Years of shoved down emotions had finally bubbled to the surface.

So then the real journey began. I embraced the eating disorder, started going to OA meetings, got myself into therapy, continued with my working out and have not gone on a binge ever since.

While I do have a lot of things that I’m still working on, thanks to my therapist (a recovering compulsive eater himself) who has opened my mind to SO many things, I deal much better with food these days.

As most compulsive (over)eaters do, I have control issues. I weigh and measure my food, and I have been a calorie counter since I was a teenager even though sometimes the calorie counts were astronomically high. I have also been getting on the scale every day for decades, but have recently gone cold turkey on that. That was my first step in letting go of some of my white-knuckle control. I hope one day to be able to stop the weighing/measuring/calorie counting, but I can only take one baby step at a time.

I have a food plan that I follow pretty strictly, although I’m finally to the point where I do allow myself some slack and realize that going over my calories a couple times of month is not going to make 10 lbs automatically fly onto my body. This food plan allows me the freedom of not having to worry what I’ll be eating that day. It’s quite freeing and comforting.

The newest thing I’m working is on tuning in to my body to listen to its hunger cues. This is so new to me as I have always been very regimented with my eating, i.e. eating a snack at 2pm simply because it’s 2pm, whether I’m hungry or not.

I do not deprive myself. The foods that I eat have been tested and chosen over the past couple of years and I really love to eat them. I eat chocolate every single day without fail.

Also, I’m a big planner. I try to leave very little to chance when it comes to food. If I know I’m going to be out of the house doing errands or something, I always pack a water bottle and a healthy snack. I don’t want to be caught starving and have to be faced with making choices between things I know aren’t good for me that will leave me hungry (and feeling bad) five minutes later.

I have definitely had a few slips here and there, but the have never led to me tossing all my hard work out the window, saying – screw it, then eating everything in the house that wasn’t nailed down as I was prone to doing in the past.

I have this great bracelet that I wear, that is a constant reminder of my abstinence. When I first started wearing it, I first used it to mark the days, then weeks, then months and now years of my abstinence. It is a silly thing of black string and beads I bought at a craft store, but it means the world to me.

I still have my struggles, but most of those times are when I’m at an event or party and am faced with foods that are enticing and that I know are triggers for me. But with my therapist, I’m working that. He tells me that if I expand other things in my life, my obsession with food will get less and less. He’s right. He has also told me that how I frame certain foods is very important. For example, I have often said something like – brownies are my kryptonite. He has shown me that by framing the brownies in that manner, I’m already setting up a tense and often losing situation for myself.

So, slowly but surely I am learning how to deal better with my food addiction/obsession/compulsion. I weigh the least amount I have ever weighed in my adult life and have maintained this loss for almost 18 months now. It feels wonderful to look in the mirror and like what I see. It feels great to be comfortable in my own skin, something that was foreign to me for TOO many years.


One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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Comments

14 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Holly
    25 February 2010, 5:15 pm

    I LOVED reading your complete story. You are very inspiring to me, and to so many people! I’ve had trouble with binging off/on since my bulimia started in 1999. It’s SO good to know this doesn’t mean I will always struggle with this.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Lara Lovin’ =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    aw, holly, thanks! i’m still a work in progress, but trust me, if i can stop bingeing, anyone can!

    [Reply]

  2. Jody - Fit at 52
    25 February 2010, 6:37 pm

    OK, I started into this but realize I need more time to read & digest so I am coming back later. You are BRAVE & a winner!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Gym Tough Love Advice & Some Ranting 🙂 =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    lol!!! thanks, jody!

    [Reply]

  3. Mary Kate
    25 February 2010, 10:07 pm

    pat yourself on the back for me! hard work does pay off. i hate that you struggled for so long before understanding what to do to change. Did you not know you had a problem or did you just not have a name for it? Just curious….maybe I missed that in your post. I always knew i had a problem but didnt know how to fix it. Like you, once i had the title for my ED i could find the ways to fix it. great job!

    Love how your therapist said we frame certain foods and they become a trigger before we are even faced with them. I also apply this to the words i use to describe other things in my life(children’s attitudes-my, my attitudes to certain house chores, etc.). Who knew I could actually tackle dirty dishes without loathing them! ha.
    .-= Mary Kate´s last blog ..Photo Shoot…. =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, mary kate. no, i honestly didn’t know i had a true problem. i thought i just had a sweet tooth and that i was perfectly normal.
    yes, i’m lucky, my therapist rocks. i wish i could apply everything he says all the time, but he’s planted these great ideas and i try my best to work them into my life. pat yourself on the back for how far YOU’ve come!!

    [Reply]

  4. Heather
    26 February 2010, 1:52 am

    Wow. Thank you for posting that. And I just love the bracelet idea…that is so special. I think I will share that idea with clients in the future!

    All the best (and way to go with all the guest-posting!),

    Heather
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Do You Know How It Happened? =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for stopping by, heather! another great therapist helped me to brainstorm the bracelet idea. she thought it was important for me to find a way to mark my achievements, which at that point was one day or on week at a time of being binge-free.

    [Reply]

  5. Anonymous Fat Girl
    26 February 2010, 9:09 am

    This post makes me so sad because I can relate to SO MUCH of it. There is another blogger than posted about her compulsive eating and I’ll say the same thing to you, you are so BRAVE for doing so. A lot of this is still taboo in our society even though I have no idea why.
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..My son’s conditions have no cure, but my OBESITY does =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    oh, i’m sorry, i don’t want you to feel sad. i don’t feel brave, i’m just being honest. this honesty is very liberating for me. it’s funny that it’s still taboo as i’ve been finding out from blogging that this is so (sadly) prevalent. and just think of all the people out there who aren’t blogging about it! it’s a serious condition that needs to be taken seriously. we don’t just lack willpower. it’s a disease like alcoholism.

    [Reply]

  6. Heather
    26 February 2010, 9:25 am

    🙂

    PS. I hope I didn’t give the wrong impression…I’m not a therapist! Just a personal trainer. But I sort of think that being a good (great?) personal trainer goes beyond counting reps and telling people to follow the food guide…
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Do You Know How It Happened? =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    oh goodness, no wrong impression given at all! you must be a great personal trainer to not be narrow-minded to just the workout aspect.

    [Reply]

  7. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin'
    26 February 2010, 5:23 pm

    I can relate to SO much of this! When you have that “ah-ha” moment, it’s shocking! I, too, am trying to recover from compulsive overeating, and I totally feel like an alcoholic sometimes– while they’re “one sip from their next drunk,” I’m “one bite from my next binge!”

    I love the bracelet idea! What a great reminder of all that you’ve accomplished!
    .-= Megan @ Healthy Hoggin’´s last blog ..Yo-Yo Diets & Disordered Eating =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    yes, the ah-ha moment was very emotional. it explained so much, which was great in so many ways, yet at the same time, i, personally, felt ashamed. it was not fun to admit what i felt was a weakness. i’m glad you liked the bracelet idea. thanks so much for stopping by!

    [Reply]

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