Many thanks to HealthyGirl.org reader Jen, 30, for this inspiring Real Story. More proof that recovery is possible for all of us, guys! xo…Sunny
In the summer of 2005, when I was 25 years old, I attended a barbeque. While everyone else was outside enjoying the warm weather and throwing horseshoes, I was preoccupied, or rather, obsessed, with the carrot cake inside.
I’d already had fruit, dinner, and a variety of desserts. I was definitely full. For some reason, though, I could not stay away from that cake. In fact, when my sweetheart and I left the party, the hostess wrapped some for us to take home. Which I proceeded to eat with moments of returning to our apartment. I felt sick, stuffed, and awful.
That’s the first time I remember seriously bingeing, but when I look at my history with food, especially sweets, I see other indicators of a problem.
When I was 7 or so, visiting my father at his apartment, I quickly shoved a hostess cupcake in my mouth while he was in the bathroom, willing myself to finishing chewing and swallowing before he came out. I did, and when my mother and step father picked me up later that evening, I told them I hadn’t had dessert and wanted some. In fact, I loved dessert so much I remember asking my mother why I couldn’t have it after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I was never seriously overweight, though by the end of college I was definitely over what would be considered a healthy size for me. Through healthy diet and exercise I got to a place most people would consider ideal. However, I was miserable. I was still not happy with my body and suffering from low self-worth in general. I found myself diving into food more and more often, especially when I was alone at night.
When my relationship ended in the summer of 2006 I fell into a terrible bingeing and dieting cycle. I couldn’t seem to go more than a day or two without bingeing. Now alone at night, I’d eat and eat. I’d tell myself I’d stop the next day. I’d go on a special diet, promising myself I’d stay on it. I was obsessed with staying thin, being better, being good enough.
I also started going to therapy during this time. Though my therapist was excellent in many ways, her suggestion for solving my binge eating ended up being unhelpful: she said that if I would only give up white sugar and white flour I would be cured. I tried it for 30 days. I would stand at the refrigerator dying to binge eat: peanut butter, cheese, corn tortillas, anything. White flour and sugar were not the culprit; my emotional issues were.
That was three years ago now. Though I don’t consider myself completely recovered, I have made absolutely amazing progress. How can I tell? Well, for one I’ve become much more comfortable with my body, and so proud of it. I’m 30 years old, training for a half marathon, in love with a great guy, living in a cute little house, and the owner of two adorable cats. I am strong and athletic. I put good, whole food in my body most of the time. I’m getting to a place where I listen to my body, not my mind. I don’t put myself on a diet every month, or week, or day, like I used to. I let myself eat dessert and peanut butter and all the things I used to tell myself I couldn’t.
A big part of this journey has been getting back in touch with me. Being okay with failing, being afraid, not being perfect. Nobody is. My goal now is to completely recover, but also to help others who have the same problems in any way I can.