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.
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 HealthyGirl.org!