I had planned to go to Thanksgiving and only eat the “clean” foods. I was mentally preparing for this. Only the vegetables and protein like a ‘good healthy" person. Say no to pie. Say no to pie. It’s okay if they judge you.
So there I was, plate full of ‘clean’ food feeling so alone. Feeling angry at my food, like it was the the thing that wronged me. I didn’t trust myself to eat anything I didn’t see as ‘good’. Because I knew the moment I ate something I deemed ‘bad’ it would start the binge spiral that I knew I couldn’t stop. If it was a Tuesday when this happened, I would feel like I had to binge until the following Sunday
When my father-in-law asked if I wanted pie I said no. Someone made a remark how I was personal trainer so obviously I only eat vegetables and am probably judging them, I used their words as an excuse to show them how ‘normal’ I really could be and had the pie. The pie was followed by two plates of stuffing, mashed potatoes and biscuits + more pie.
I spent the car ride home in the worst kind of pain. The pain that starts in your mind, the shame kind that feels suffocating, and the pain traveled into my belly which hurt so bad I didn't want to talk.
We got home, I changed my pants and I asked my ex-husband if we could go get a pie. “We should celebrate the day!” I said. This is how I manipulated the situation so he didn’t think my ‘food issues’ were coming back again. If I seemed happy about it, he didn’t question me. He said no though. Excuse me what? But why? Please, let’s go, I said.
“You told me that no matter how much you begged, say no when you want to get more food.” Why did now have to be the time he did what I asked? But he did and I couldn’t have been filled with more rage.
Not because he was honoring my intentions, but because I was so embarrassed of the person that I was in that moment.
I started yelling, crying and screaming. I begged, I bribed with sex and I did everything in my power to make him give me the keys to go to the store.
The best way I can describe this moment is that it was like an addict not being able to get their drugs. Please don’t mistake my words, I’m not saying my binge eating and addiction to food is on the same page as drugs/alcohol, but if I could have watched a replay of this moment, I would have looked like a sick monster.
It felt like a demon was inside of me, telling me not to stop once I started eating. My issue wasn't that I just overate some pizza. It was that I couldn't stop myself, even in the middle of pain and wanting to throw up, I couldn't stop. I would plan my binges to the T and if my plan went off, by even one small thing..my day was ruined and I became a monster. I was the manipulation queen when it came to food. I needed it like I need to survive.
Eventually, I broke down enough that he said yes. Arriving at the store like a bat out of hell I didn't even want anything, but it felt like I had orders from my insides that I needed fulfill.
I grabbed a pie and ice cream, brought it home and ate it all. I ate it all.
I remember spooning the ice cream into my mouth, hating myself. Crying. Crying as I ate wondering what was wrong with me? How could I be acting like this?
It wasn’t my willpower. It had nothing to do with willpower. You don’t have a ‘willpower muscle’.
So what was it?
It would take me years to stop this. It would take me saying I need help, reaching out for that help and actively choosing to show up.
It would take me realizing that I was using food as a coping mechanism to numb my emotions.
It would take me realizing that I need to stop dieting so I could actually learn how to trust myself even if it was scary AF.
Talking about binge eating felt so deeply shameful.
“Wait, so you can’t stop eating? Haha that doesn’t sound bad.”
Ugh, trying to talk about with people who didn’t understand made me feel even worse because their advice was to “just stop when you’re full”. If only, oh my gosh if only it were that easy.
I felt crazy.
Dieting and binging and hating myself made me feel crazy, my desire to be so small and me not knowing where that stemmed from, that made me feel even more crazy. The apps and weighing my food and the money spent on food to binge on, the manipulation, the pain..it all made me feel so crazy.
Which is why I share this now. Because I use to pray on my hands and knees to whatever God would listen that I could one day feel normal around food.
I would hope that one day I could sit down, eat some pancakes and not see them as a gateway to a binge. I would hope that one day I could jsut eat one cookie than stop.
That time is now.
I’ve been doing it so naturally the past few years that I’ve stopped a few times this week and cried.
Ohmygosh. I did it. I can eat one cookie.
I can eat one cookie.
I can eat one cookie, and not think twice about it.
I write this not to boast, that’s not where my heart is. But for you to see if you are where I was, wondering if you could ever feel ‘normal’ around food.
Your pathway to get there may have big bumps and small bumps. It requires vulnerability and and openness that feels scary. It requires asking for help, and showing up for yourself. But a new reality is possible for yourself.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not designed to diagnose or treat those suffering from clinically diagnosed eating disorders. The information in this article is for educational purposes only. If you need help, you can reach out to me and I can direct you to resources that can help you OR reach out to NEDA at (800) 931-2237.