I love my sister in law. She has been such a gift to me, all of these years. When we were in our twenties we worked close to one another in NYC and each week we always made time to have lunch together. I remember a few things about those lunches. One day she was commenting on some recent weight loss of mine and said that before the loss, I "was a cow", LOL. That is easy to laugh about, 25 years later, but as you can see, I haven't forgotten. Another thing I remember about our lunches is that my sister in law has a very hearty appetite and it was enjoyable for me to watch her sock it away, yet still be so slender.
The fact was, she didn't eat like that ALL THE TIME. That was the difference, because I did!
I still love my food way too much, but I am learning to appreciate periods of time where my tummy is empty. As a binge eater, this is unusual for me. It's also unusual when I "feel hungry" or "feel full". When I was binge eating I never felt EITHER of those. I was rather consistently eating all day long, so of course I never felt hungry, and I ate such massive amounts of food that, surprisingly, I seemed to have no "off" switch to tell my brain that it had
enough. There was NEVER ENOUGH.
I never, ever thought that I could get a handle on my binge eating. I am on no diet right now. I don't count calories. I just have way less cravings, I know which foods induce the cravings (for me it is pasta and bread) so I eat them sparingly, and I am finding that I am so pleased to have lost some weight that I don't want to "ruin it" by regaining yet again.
It's not easy.
It IS doable.
I used to binge many times each day. I was very out of control. Now when I overeat, it is my choice. Yes, it's a BAD choice, LOL, but it is my choice. I do not feel powerless over my food anymore. And it's all because, when I hear the binge voice telling me to eat something, I listen to it with great calmness. I don't listen to it is if it is my master anymore. It doesn't control me. I allow it to suggest, but ultimately I feel free to make up my own mind about whether or not it is worth it. Worth it calorically, and worth it, emotionally. The worst part about being a binge eater (I have been one for 40 years) is that sense of feeling POWERLESS. Hearing the binge voice calling your name, responding like a fireman called to put out a fire, eating quickly
and with abandon, and then after that final swallow having to deal with all of that psychic pain of feeling like a failure, feeling like you have no self control, feeling like you have no self esteem. Feeling like you're fat and you have no hope.
There is hope. If I can do it, so can you. And I am HERE to tell you, life on the other side of the binge is pretty great. You feel peaceful. You are not constantly beating yourself up. You have more energy because you're not logy from all the food. You feel a deep sense of accomplishment every time you hear a food call your name, and you reply, "no thanks, not right now". And all of those emotions you have stuffed down with food and feel you will never recover from, if you feel them......you would be surprised to hear that the feelings haven't killed me yet. In fact, each time I feel instead of eat.... I grow up just a little bit more. And that is very empowering.
You have the power. And at Sparkpeople you also have the resources and people to bring you to success. I don't believe that I am one of the "lucky few" who can escape the destruction of binge eating. You can do it, too.
Read Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. Read Shrink Yourself by Dr. Roger Gould and maybe even treat yourself to the online program, which I did, and it was a wonderful investment in myself. I'm here if you have any questions, for whatever it's worth, LOL.
Have hope. It can happen. It is happening to me.
Are you a compulsive eater?
This series of questions may help you determine if you are a compulsive eater.
Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?
Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?
Do I have feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat?
Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
When my emotions are intense – whether positive or negative – do I find myself reaching for food?
Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?
Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies or beverages?
Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?
If you've answered "yes" to many of these, take the first step to put yourself on a binge free path. Join one (or more!) of the many wonderful groups here on Sparkpeople for binge eating and emotional eating. Join Overeaters Anonymous- they even have online chats! Reach out for information, and be honest with yourself. Don't wait 40 years to do better, like I did, but even if you have, be grateful that you didn't have binge eating regrets for the entirety of your life.