I know what you must be thinking – “embracing binge-eating” – has she lost her fucking mind?
I think I’ve talked about my problems with food but I can’t remember -downside to these dodgy anti-depressants is that they can take up to six months to come out of my system fully and while I’m so much better my memory is shocking.
Warning – if you suffer from any form of eating disorder, you may find this a trigger.
So, a quick back-story… cue some cheesy 90s boyband love tripe in the background.
I can remember feeling depressed when I was 12; I hated school and I was such a sad act and I wasn’t overweight but in my head I was huge. I stopped one night on my walk home from school and bought £2 worth of sweets. I went and hid in the park and ate the lot in one go. I felt sick, but I felt in control.
In my head it felt like a release – at home, school, everywhere, I was told what to do, what to wear, how to act and how to live my life and I found that to hide away and eat what I wanted felt so good.
It became a regular thing and in my late teens it turned into purging, which I only stopped when I had my tonsils out age 24. I’ve yoyo’d for years and I know I’ve abused my body through my bingeing but it is what it is and it’s a part of me.
For those who don’t know how it feels to binge eat, it’s a sort of vicious cycle. It starts with an emotion – happy, sad, anything can do it, and it sets off an alarm in my head which tells me that eating will make me feel better.
I can try to ignore it but it doesn’t go away – it eats away at me until I have to give in and eat, usually junk or something of a large volume or size.
I don’t have a go-to binge food – generally for me it can be pizza, I guess thinking about it it’s normally something cheesy or salty.
Once I started eating it I cannot stop myself – my head tells me that I need it and I have to eat the whole thing or the whole multi-pack. I know this comes from being told to never leave my plate empty as a child.
As soon as I stop about twenty minutes later my stomach will start to hurt and make me feel sick where I have eaten too much and too quickly.
Then I feel guilty, sad, fat, and horrible. And so the cycle begins again.
As a child I was always ‘a good eater’ and ‘well-built’, as I got older comments from friends, family, even stranger turned to my size and figure.
I was always skinny with a pot-belly and I can remember being told my belly was big, I guess as I’ve got older things like this have stuck in my head and I’ve never shaken them.
So now as a 32-year-old mum and wife I know I may never stop or break the habit or binge-eating as it has become a part of me.
But now I choose to embrace it and manage it rather than letting it define me.
One thing I feel very passionate about is the terrible awareness around eating disorders in overweight people – people see you as greedy and laugh if you suggest disordered eating maybe a factor.
In January a doctor in the NHS laughed at me and told me to eat less and walk more when I cried and told him about my binge eating problems.
I’ll save this for another post but it’s so wrong in this day in age when we live such diverse and varied lives that this stigma and stereotyping towards overweight people still exists.
So… how do I embrace and control it?
Over on my Instagram stories I’ve talked about my post weigh-in controlled binge and as much as it looks like a load of bollocks it’s really working for me and helps me so much.
I weigh-in at 9.30am on a Wednesday morning and I allow myself a one hour window to eat what I like and it be ‘off-plan’.
I did my food shopping and felt a little bit like a binge may come on so I bought whatever I fancied – today it was a pain au chocolat and a bag of posh crisps.
I went home and set a timer for an hour, and in that hour, I told myself I could binge as much as I wanted to.
Sounds crazy right?
Letting myself do it seems to keep it to a minimum – I couldn’t wait for the hour to end and now it’s done I feel okay and I didn’t go over the top.
For the rest of the day I will stick to plan and syn as usual – but I never syn a binge.
Maybe you have experience of this – have you found ways of coping?