A Guest Post by Rachel
As a solid over-six-feet-tall woman, I can put away a serious amount of food. I always could. I currently reside inside a 50-lb overweight body.
My history with food is tumultuous, at best. I grew up in a small family, on welfare, and sometimes if you didn’t eat fast at dinner time one of your siblings would finish the instant mashed potatoes before you were full. Other days we would come home from school really hungry, and find bare cupboards.
Enter my adulthood, stage left, and I went to boot camp. Yes–real life boot camp, the screamy kind. In boot camp you have about 30 seconds per meal to get ⅓ of your daily calories down your gullet before there is a crazy, sweaty drill sergeant spit-yelling at you to get your puny butt off his damn chair. All of these things contributed to my scary emotional attachment to food later on. Now I find myself sometimes eating incredible amounts of fried, candied, wrapped-in-bacon food.
For a while I was purging my binges effectively, and even got down to a normal weight. Granted, it was the low end of normal. But that kind of lifestyle is not sustainable. Beating the purging was a struggle, but I finally did it. However, since I didn’t seek professional help during the struggle I’m still binge eating. One of my biggest regrets is not seeking guidance early on.
Every single day is a battle for me. When I do badly on an exam at school I swing by the coffee shop for a cookie, and a croissant, and a bagel, to accompany my latte; even though I know they aren’t good for me. I’m an educated woman working in the health sciences, yet I engage in this harmful activity every day.
I found myself recently questioning the reasons for my binging, and asking why sometimes it’s easy for me to eat reasonable amounts of food and why sometimes it’s such a struggle. Because of this careful introspection, I have identified something in my life that needs to be changed. Very shortly I will be making drastic changes to my relationships that will dramatically alter my lifestyle, hopefully for the better.
All of this being said, I take stock of my triumphs nearly every day and am sure to celebrate my victories, however small. The hardest part for me is to stop a binge once it starts happening, but I find it helpful to move my body in some way. Sometimes I will go for a walk, or do some stretching in my living room, or even take a shower–anything to take myself physically out of the situation. One thing that I’m certain of is that shame and berating myself for a loss of control is not an effective way to feel better.
So here’s to today, and the next day, where even if I don’t eat perfectly I will still cherish
my body and be thankful for what an amazing job it does for me. I’ll try my hardest today to
honor that contribution by being nice to myself… while accepting that ice cream every day is not necessarily a “nice thing”. I encourage you to take inventory of your feelings. I hope you can honor your vessel, and have the courage to make those changes necessary to find peace in your heart.
Rachel is a full-time student and part-time counselor; full-time friend and ex wife. An addiction to dog-sitting led her to leave her husband and get a cat. Long story. She dabbles in blogging, crafting, baking, and other tedious tasks. Long baths and fresh air come strongly recommended in her world.
I can relate to this. I had an eating disorder when I was in my teens. I had food hidden in my room where my mom and brothers couldn’t find it. I do not do it now as an adult but sometimes I have the urge. I use meditation and yoga to center myself and get past it.
Thanks for sharing, Anne Marie. I know it’s kind of nerve-wrecking to share something so personal and scary but sharing is probably helpful!
Thank you Rachel for sharing your story. I bet it was hard!!!! xoxoxoxoxox
I’m glad that Rachel decided to share her story, too. It took some convincing on my part and I’m glad she said yes. I think it’s important for people with eating disorders to know there’s others struggling out there too!
Thanks everyone for the support, it was really hard to write this post but looking back I realize that I have come a long way in my relationship with food, but I have room to grow and am now in therapy (yay!) to help me mend the emotional eating cycle. It’s difficult, but I have a toolbox now with some great tools and an amazing support network. Again, thanks for hearing my voice and being so supportive 🙂
It’s a hard topic to talk about I’m sure. I’m glad you decided to share it. I bet it helped some people out there who may not have shared their own stories. You never know!