“What’s the difference between being a foodie and binge eating?” my friend asked me.
"Well," I said, " The difference is that I’m not a foodie and I don’t really enjoy the things I’m eating. I’m doing it because I can’t stop, as if my hand is disconnected from my brain."
I could give you a clinical definition of compulsive overeating but it’s easier to tell you what it looked like: When I was younger I spent parties beelining for the food table, unable to focus on anyone or anything until I had cookies in my hand. I pulled cake out of the garbage. I ate chips I didn’t want to eat, wasn’t enjoying, couldn’t stop shoving in my mouth. I ate my food and then finished your food. I took halves of doughnuts and then came back for the other half and then said “Fuck it, I’ve already messed up” And then another one.
Sometimes when it’s hard for me to write something, I like to make a list instead. It’s easier to organize my thoughts and then I don’t have to worry about those pesky transition sentences. So here it goes:
1. It was easier for me to write a whole book about my sex life than it is for me to write this blog post about my struggle with both my weight/ binge eating.
2. Just writing that sentence was hard.
3. I wrote “Binge eating” and erased it to write something more evasive like “compulsive behaviors” and then erased that and wrote the truth. And then erased that. For twenty minutes.
4. I’ve been in recovery for two years and was too cowardly to write this until I felt like I was “successfully and fully” in recovery.
5. I still occasionally relapse.
6. I was afraid to write about this because I thought if I did people might, I dunno, suddenly realize I was fat or notice that I had already eaten five cookies at a party.
I know that’s silly... but still that was my fear.
7. People ask me how I got into recovery, and I so desperately wish I could give them an easy answer because I see on their face, that they too are struggling. They want me to say something like, “Oh, you know I just eat in moderation and joined a gym and huzzah!” but the truth is, it’s been ten years of trying a bunch of shit that both did and didn’t work like: attending Overeaters Anonymous. Deciding I didn’t have time to attend Overeaters Anonymous, Cutting out sugar, coffee, carbs. Adding back in sugar, coffee, carbs. Cutting out sugar, tomatoes, carbs. Wash, rinse, repeat. Chugging water. Like so much water. Like one time I got sick because I drank too much water. Intermittent fasting. Exercise compensation. Seeing an energy healer. Whole 30, Keto, Hypnosis, Therapy, Hiring a nutritionist, Meditation, Yoga, Feeling really ashamed about it. Not talking about it, Finally being able to talk about. Writing about it. Eating an entire container of Funfetti frosting by myself in hopes that I’d get so sick of it I’d never eat frosting ever again.
8. I ate frosting the next day.
9. A lot of these things eventually have worked but I’d say the most helpful have been working with a nutritionist and seeing the hypnotherapist. Meditation is kind of useful too.
10. I hired a hypnotherapist because I was repeating a lot detrimental patterns of behavior. Let me be clear, I’m not recommending this path to everyone, I know it might be too woo woo for some of you. I’m just saying it’s something that worked for me.
We did a regression session and found out a lot of my issues around food and weight had to do with protection and how I struggled with feeling safe. Specifically, something I saw when I was nine and to no surprise, that’s the year I gained fifty pounds. It’s like my weight was a jacket that kept me from being noticed and if no one noticed me, then somehow I’d be safe. (This revelation was so huge for me that it warrants it’s own blog post- coming soon!)
11. Once I realized this, I was finally ready to let the weight go, and it’s been both an awesome and scary and slow journey watching my body change.
12. So, If you’re struggling with binge eating or other compulsive behaviors (also a nail biter and hair puller here, can I get a high-five from my other BFRB peeps?) Perhaps you feel, like I often felt, that this is your life and no matter how badly you want to change, no matter how disruptive it is to your happiness, it’s too ingrained in your DNA.
13. It isn’t.
14. You can change.
15. It might take a while.
16. And you might have to throw a lot of mud at the wall. You might do it for a few weeks or months and then fall totally off the wagon and be afraid that you’re back at square one. FUCKING AGAIN.
17. But one day you’ll fall off the wagon and realize that you don’t have to derail the whole train just because you went home to your parent’s house and ate an entire bowl of M&M’s that you didn’t really want. Tomorrow you can be healthy and stable and not eat an entire bowl of M&M’s.
18. I didn’t
19. Eat the M&M’s the next day I mean. I really didn’t.
20. So you can change.
21. You got this.
22. If you’re reading this and deep in the middle of your addiction or compulsion, like I was so many times when I read other people’s blogs, feel free to message me. I got you, bae.
22. You got this.
23. As always, thanks for reading. Heart Emoji.