How I Got Sane About Food

My story with binge eating disorder began at the age of 14. (Read more about that here.) I read a few books, and went through plenty of talk therapy to deal with low self-esteem and family issues. And as I approached my 30th birthday, I was in a pretty good place in my life.

From the outside looking in, I suppose everything looked great. I was doing pretty well at work, was dating often, my weight was stable at 181. But I was still bingeing. Not nearly as often as I had in my teens and mid-20s. And not as severely-a binge had turned into something like a big quesadilla with too many tortilla chips for dinner versus six candy bars like it used to be.

But, like you said, even that few-times-a-month bingeing didn’t feel good. I knew that I’d reached a wall in my growth as a person. That I’d never be as successful, as happy, as healthy as I wanted to be if I didn’t push past these last remnants of emotional eating.


Get thee hence, trigger food!

So, I sought out a free support group and started going to a meeting every week. Then very, very slowly I started adopting other healthy behaviors that people in that group were doing. I dedicated 10 minutes each morning to reading something self-helpy or inspirational. Then I added five minutes of quiet, deep breathing (you could call it a form of meditation) a few days a week.

Then I started looking at what my trigger foods were—things that always seemed to lead to a binge. And I started avoiding those foods most of the time simply to make things easier on myself.

For a while, I even planned out my food each day in the morning, to erase any of that “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” anxiety throughout the day. I opened myself up to accept help and support from other people: reached out and became good friends with some of the people I met at the group I went to. I got a gym membership and started working out at least once a week.

Three and a half years later, I’m recovered from binge eating disorder, I’m 30 pounds lighter, I’m married to my best friend in the world and—with the exception of an occasional emotional eating slip here and there!—I no longer rely on food to avoid or cope with my feelings. I’ve got way better tools in my toolbox now. Things that actually help me cope in a positive way.

As always, please feel free to e-mail me or comment here to share your stories or Qs. We can become our own support group of sorts right here on!


8 Responses to How I Got Sane About Food

  1. […] I felt a little bit like that in my mid-20s when I gained all the weight back from the last diet I ever went on. But far from leading me into a dark, unhappy future, giving up on dieting lead me to where I am today: Happy, healthy and recovered from binge eating disorder. Letting go of the diet mentality (“Everything will be better when I’m thin, and if I just have enough will power, I will get there”) allowed me to stop focusing on the symptom (my weight) and start focusing on the real problem: The fact that I used food to cope with life. […]

  2. […] crazy, or a freak, for stuffing my face like I did allowed my self-esteem to start healing. Therapy helped me heal some of the deeper pain and fears that were often causing me to eat in the first […]

  3. Gaye says:

    I’m so happy, I could finally come across a website that I can totally relate to. Sunny, your experiences are so much similar to mine. I’ve been going on like this for 10 years now. I’m 27 and I recall my first binge when I was 17. I tried almost everything; psychologists, psychiatrists, endochrinologists, drugs, hypnotherapy, antidepressants, everything! Of course, the intensity and frequency of my attacks declined, but I’m still doing this thing. Can’t help it. The moment my parents left the house last Sat. I got into an eating frenzy. Yeah I live with my parents because I can’t dare moving out and living alone! How would I control my binges then? No way.. The urge is so strong, that the voice of reason inside can’t make itself heard, “go play the piano or medidate or go out for a walk” etc. Nothing works.. I started to lose faith in myself, after 10 years and so much effort. I’m within my normal weight range, but still, why should I be bingeing? It’s so unhealthy. I even developed reactive hypoglicemia because of eating such unhealthy food.

    I need every bit of support and help that you guys could give. And I’m more than willing to share my best-practices with you.. Cause you know it’s easier to tell something to somebody than to do it yourself.


  4. Felicity says:

    Hi, i am nearly 26. i developed an eating disorder when i was 13, and then when i was 16 went for anorexic to binge eater. I have lived with the binge eating for the last 10 years and still struggle . night time eating is every night. bread with honey and peanut butter…..i once consumed 10 chocolate bars in less than 10 mins at 2am in the morning. all this does is make me get up at 6am to go to the gym and then head to work. I cannot keep living like this. I have been to therapy, support groups, hypnotherapy….but cannot kick the habit. can you help?

  5. Kim says:

    Feeling awful and anxious about just eating three crispy creme doughnuts, taco bell crunchwrap and a chulupa washed down with a huge pepsi, I found your site……I am 43 and know your main audience is much younger but I find solace in the fact you have beat this issue. I did not even know a name existed…i just started googling uncontrollable eating and was drawn to your words.

    I have dealt with this since childhood and feel as if I am devastating my 9 y/o dtr because she was a witness to the disgusting “dinner” that just went down….

    Most women that reveal they have eating disorder’s state that “weight is the only thing I can control”….I do not feel that controls me , drives me , nagging in my brain to give in…holy crap this sounds crazy but once again tomorrow I will be rationale and embarassed not only by my actions but my words….

    this is a rant while in the midst of the “beast”…maybe a bit dramatic but sincere….I will review all of your writings in hopes of calming and seeking refuge in self help..

    thank you

  6. Jamie says:

    I’m 53 and have had BED or compulsive eating since I was about 8. I each when I’m bored, angry, anxious, happy yada yada yada. Been to 3 hospital programs, many many therapists and docs for depression and anxiety and am so anxious and overwhelmed and exhausted for fight BED and with my insurance company etc etc that I feel like I cannot even do anything any more to fight this. I have tried everything you have Sunny…I just feel like I”m too damaged.

    Support groups where I live are over $300 a month as are private therapists and I won’t even tell you how much Psychiatrists cost. I feel very alone and defeated, and no one seems to understand why I can’t seem to “do anything” about this…

    Thanks for your story. To be honest, it sounded like it was very easy for you to “quit” BED…Was it?

    • Sunny Sea Gold says:

      No, God no it wasn’t easy! It took 15 years, 7 years of almost weekly therapy, pharmacological treatment for underlying depression, and three years of group support sessions with a 12 step group. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling defeated-I am intimately familiar with that emotion. Are you in the States? If so, have you tried calling NEDA or BEDA? NEDA has a hotline you can call to get all kinds of info, and BEDA is packed with great support information. I’m wishing you good health and happiness.

  7. Jeannie says:

    Where and how to stop this madness?.!! Binge eating is ruining my life I just ate a bag of miniature candy bars and almost a full box of ho ho’s. I felt sick,scared and disgusted half way through the ho ho’s and so crushed the remainder and threw them in the garbage,sadly though I know all too soon it will happen again! I tried OA and antidepressants but only found short term relief. At a !OS’s

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