Big thanks to reader Jenn whose question brought up a super-important issue: how hard it is to even admit that we have a problem with overeating.
Q: First off I wanted to tell you how much I love your website:) I also binge and am having my first doctor’s appointment next week at my college, then will be admitted to group therapy. I am a little bit afraid of this process because it feels like if I go through with it, it means that my bingeing is a reality and not “something that happens once or twice a week.” What can I expect in this treatment and what advice do you have for me beginning this process? Thanks in advance for you help. —Jenn, 21
Thanks so much for writing! It’s so awesome that you’re taking action and seeing someone at your school psychological services center. Yes, it’s scary at first—I remember when I really started working on my food and body issues I felt like I was “damaged” goods. Like I was some sort of broken toy. Weak, when other people were strong.
But that feeling didn’t last forever. With every book I read, meeting I went to and other person I reached out to for support, I started to understand that I wasn’t worth less than other people because of this problem, and I wasn’t as weird as I thought. Binge eating was something that my subconscious pushed me to do in order to PROTECT me. To help me deal with my feelings. It was a coping mechanism that I used when I didn’t have any other good tools to help me through hard times, or just through life. How can you blame yourself for something you started doing to try to take care of yourself?
Thing is, it’s not a healthy way to cope. It’s a crutch that quickly becomes destructive rather than helpful. You obviously understand that now and are taking the first (very brave) steps toward learning other ways to take care of yourself. That’s admirable.
Just remember that, yes, this path is going to be tough—but getting better is infinitely easier and more pleasant than living a life full of bingeing and self-hate. I’m happier and more successful now than I could have ever imagined. Really. And you can be, too.
Let me know how the appointment at school goes!