There have been so many nights where I have stayed up late by myself, just to eat and eat and eat some more. Many times, after eating everything in the house, I would go to the nearest corner store to buy a half gallon of ice cream and a package of cookies that I would eat completely that night. I felt like I didn't have control, and I would just keep shoving food into my mouth until I felt completely sick and could barely take another bite. Only when I reached that feeling of sick and overly stuffed, did I fall asleep, just to wake up the next morning feeling shameful, guilty and disgusted with myself.
My eating habits and twisted relationship with food were the reason I had been heavy my whole life, and 325.4 pounds at my heaviest. It wasn't until I took the time to identify my binge eating triggers, and find solutions, that I was able to lose 173 pounds. Today I weigh 152 pounds.
Binge eating is not the same as eating an extra piece of cake at a party or going back for seconds at dinner time. It is a life threatening disorder that involves eating large quantities of food, quickly, to the point of discomfort. Like me, most people with binge eating disorder feel a lot of shame and guilt for this.
In the moments before and during a binge, I made so many excuses to myself. I told myself I would start a diet in the morning, or it really didn't matter if I gained a few pounds. As much as I knew that what I was doing was wrong, I had such a hard time pulling myself out of the moment, and stopping the cycle. It took a lot of self discovery and practice, but I have now taken control of binge eating.
The first step for me, to taking control of binge eating, was forgiving myself. When I started losing weight, I had to accept myself and the weight I was and I had to forgive myself for getting so big. I had to love myself and my body enough to put in the work to change. Even along my weight loss journey there were times I relapsed to old habits, and let stress take over and lead to a binge. The difference between those times during my journey, and every time before, is I woke up and kept going instead of letting it defeat me.
Identifying the Triggers
For those that relate to my story and have experienced binge eating, I will share a tip that helped me so much in the beginning. Take some time to write down the things that lead you to binge eating. Once you know what triggers you, you can work on finding solutions.
Is it simply the presence of junk food in your home? Stop buying it! If you have family and roommates, have an open conversation with them about why you, and they, need to stop bringing junk food into the house.
Is it stress? That means it's time to find other ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Talk to a therapist, read some self help books, or try meditation.
Is it loneliness? Call an old friend, write someone a letter, or join our free Facebook Group, for conversation and support. Finally Inspired- Weight Loss Support Group
Find a Distraction
Once you have been honest with yourself about what sets off an episode of binge eating, you have the control to stop yourself before it happens. Take a pause, and be thankful for the moment where you know you are not hungry, you're feeling the "need" to binge, but you choose to not eat. In that moment you should also find a distraction- something to preoccupy you and fill your time that you would be binge eating.
What can you do instead of eat? I may cover more ideas in another post, but a few would be: coloring, scrap booking, making jewelry, writing, reading a new book, going for a walk, or giving yourself a pedicure and manicure. There's many options- the point is to distract yourself and put your energy towards something healthier.
Take Total Control
In the past year I have proven to myself that it is possible to control binge eating. Forgive yourself, be honest with yourself, find solutions, and find distractions. You have the power to change your life.