Again I find myself with a million other things to do yet here I am. Standing on worn out feet in a dark pantry. Scooping handfuls of whatever-carb-it-is-this-time. Straight from bag to bowel. Wait did she just say bowel instead of bowl? Yes. Yes she did.
I own copious amounts of bowls from cereal to soup to snacks. Porcelain, wooden, plastic. Take your pick. But with binge eating there is no restraint. I cut out the middle man and binge caveman style. I am soooo much better than I used to be, but I’m not ever totally rid of this hungry monkey on my back despite a healthier mind, body and soul.
Binge Eating Disorder or BED is described as over compulsive eating without the regular use of compensatory measures such as bulimia or extreme exercising.
In the moment of a binge food is your only friend and is seen as being able to temporarily evaporate feelings. Temporarily. A fleeting friendship quickly replaced with the broken record of self-condemnations that you will never beat this, that you are weak, that you are hopeless and that you are going to be freaking huge if you allow this to continue!
Binge eating disorder is associated with depression, either having been depressed before or currently suffering from depression. Many eating disorder experts also cite impulse control, anxiety, low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction as causes for compulsive eating.
With a co-occurring disorder such as depression or substance abuse more severe or extreme binges can be triggered. So if all of these factors are at play for someone dealing with compulsive overeating from a variety of possible issues then what are we to do? Is it hopeless? Are we helpless?
All I can share is my story and my struggles. Others might need a total intervention or behavioral therapy. Everyone should have a primary care physician anyway and this is something that confidently can be shared if you feel unable to beat this beast back.
The high risk for obesity is real as we are talking heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a general sense of unwellness. This is a mental and physical condition that adversely affects the quality – and possible quantity – of life. Don’t ever doubt that.
It was a moment of panic that seized me when my sweet little girl walked in as I was pouring food down my throat. I realized the utter power in my role to stop this behavior now or give it to the next generation. What would my legacy be?
The timing of the Gold’s Gym 12 Week Challenge was truly a blessing as a wake-up call for me to write down my reasons for a healthy lifestyle and also start living it. Not having every day be a cheat day was goal number one.
When we moved back cross-country to a city where I knew nobody along with the stress of selling a house, building a house, moving my family for a short stint into an apartment, I fell off the wagon.
The eating upheaval happened as I came off a strict 8-month eating program. Starting with “I’ll treat myself this one time” quickly turned a reward food into a binge food. While unpacking our things to make the apartment a bit more homelike I literally inhaled a dark chocolate bar that was supposed to last 12 days rationed as a square a day. I’m not even sure it took me 12 minutes to polish that sucker off!
And despite still lifting six days a week with high-intensity cardio plus a bevy of education on how to eat – or importantly how not to eat – I quickly spiraled back to what I knew. Shame bingeing in secrecy.
Buying in secret, hoarding in secret, hiding in secret and bingeing in secret all under the guise of “I deserve this!”
Now I’m hyper aware I am more at risk to binge if I’ve denied myself a craving. Also if my eating has been rigidly reigned in I need to be on a more alert status to stop binge plotting before it comes to fruition.
Also it is mandatory to be aware of your temptations as well as triggers such as situations that yield higher stress like moving or holidays. I am also always learning about how food fuels the body and how cravings can highlight deficiencies – craving chocolate because you are low on magnesium for example. And if you can reduce cravings, that’s one small chink in the armor of a healthy relationship with food as fuel. Not the enemy.
There is a myriad of behind the scene reasons for a binge disorder. Studies suggest that one major root cause of this eating disorder is sexual abuse as child. As well as untreated depression and social anxiety. Your path to healing might include anti-depression medicine, support therapy in a group or individual behavioral therapy. Prayer is essential, but so is daily forgiveness of yourself if you fall off the wagon.
At the end of the day, we are not supposed to go this life alone, and the devil sure knows how to pick at our scabs of perfection gone wrong. Hold tight to II Corinthians 12:9 dear one in that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Once we can admit that we can’t battle this alone – and that is what binge eating disorder is, a daily mental and emotional battle – we are on the path to wellness just by giving ourselves love and forgiveness.
I pray that you seek the help you need, you find the support you desire and that you live peacefully with food one day. Until then know that you are not alone and that you worthy of so much more than the hand to mouth practice of stuffing down feelings only to chip away at your self-esteem with each pantry visit.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 23 – March 1st.
Please visit the National Eating Disorder Awareness site here for more information.