I am so honored that the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders.org) selected a story I wrote about my experience with Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) to be featured on their website! I’m hoping that others suffering from BED will be inspired to get help, know that they aren’t alone and realize that it can be overcome.
Please read my story here and please share it with others! Thanks so much!
So, I’ve been cleaning out my closets. How did I end up with 2 of everything, especially coats…2 raincoats, 2 wool coats, 2 leather jackets, etc? Oh yeah, I had them in 2 different sizes because this is what happens when you gain and lose weight, you need duplicates in different sizes. Many people who gain weight will not buy new clothes because they refuse to buy stuff in bigger sizes but it’s hard to avoid with coats because you need to keep warm in cold climates. So, I ended up with 2 of everything.
I write about this in a “flip” way but, when faced with this situation, it is very anxiety provoking and painful. Breaking down to buy the bigger size feels like failing. Failing to keep the weight off, failing ANOTHER diet and failing to be good enough. What’s worse is that the new item represents and serves as a reminder of that failure.
But how do we stop yo-yoing between weights? We do it by not dieting, through normalized and mindful eating, addressing the root cause of the emotional overeating and through self-love. That is what I’ve done and why I just got rid of the bigger size 🙂
When I was in the throes of my eating disorder, I isolated a lot meaning I spent a lot of time alone instead of going out to socialize. I used to think this was because I wanted to stay home and eat but I think it was really about trying to avoid the anxiety and discomfort I felt when I went out. Since I expended so much energy on numbing my feelings through bingeing, I didn’t realize that I was anxious about going out at my current weight (whatever it was at the time).
Over the last week, while on vacation, I socialized each day with varying levels of anxiety. Some days the anxiety was low and others it was high. It wasn’t until I began to look at this that I realized I always had this anxiety but, this time, I didn’t numb through bingeing so I was aware of the feelings. I love how I’ve been transforming for almost 2 years now and am STILL learning about my disorder. With each lesson, I’m a step closer to a healthier relationship with food.
You know, it’s not easy being overweight or obese in this country. That is one of the main reasons I isolated myself from others, even friends and family. It’s hard enough dealing with the self-imposed shame and embarrassment that comes with being overweight that enduring society’s is painful and unbearable.
A contributing factor is that most people don’t get that most overweight people have tried every diet out there with no lasting success. What’s worse is that people judge us and believe that we have no self-control, a willpower problem or that we “just let ourselves go.” If it were that easy, noone would be heavy.
Noone wants to endure the health risks, physical appearance or social stigma that comes with being overweight. What people don’t consider is the emotional pain that causes us to binge or compulsively overeat. If the emotional reasons for the eating aren’t uncovered, no amount of diet and exercise will work for the long term, that’s why diets don’t work.
So, I feel very misunderstood and judged for an issue that is emotional but manifests physically. I wear my issue on the outside so everyone can see it unlike a shopping or gambling addiction. Yet people have no compassion and judge me instead.
This is my reality and my mission is to raise awareness so I can be understood.
About 3 weeks ago, I posted that I was doing a photo shoot for some head shots. Well, I received the finished photos and they look great! Even so, I was very disappointed that I look so heavy. I felt all the same emotions I’ve been having for the last 20 years…sadness, disgust, regret, shame, embarrassment and all because of my weight. Of course, the most prominent thought was, “What will people who haven’t seen me in a long time think?” The next thought was “Who will love me at this weight?” My chest and torso began to feel tight with anxiety because of all these thoughts and emotions. It truly overshadowed the joy of receiving beautifully taken photos.
Amidst all this turmoil, I had a thought that stopped my rant in its tracks which was “Do I have to think these things?” It was the first time that I realized I don’t have to subscribe to the same old thoughts and beliefs that have fueled my shame and embarrassment in the past. Who cares what people who haven’t seen me in a while think?!?! Why be embarrassed and ashamed of myself? I haven’t murdered, maimed, tortured or been knowingly unkind to anybody. In fact, I’m dedicating my life to helping others break down their own toxic beliefs! I’ve battled an eating disorder and have become stronger and healthier. I may not be at a weight that is healthiest or pleasing to me but it’s temporary. I have the power to change through soul searching, listening to my body wisdom and treating myself with love and kindness. Most importantly, I am still changing.
This revelation was such a relief! My chest loosened up and my brain stopped its frenzied thinking. I began to look at the situation more objectively and, although, some negative feelings remain, they are quieter. The most important “take away” from this experience is that I don’t have to believe the same things I have for years and years. My beliefs, opinions and thoughts about things can change based on my experiences. Thus far, my experiences have reinforced my toxic beliefs but, what if, changing my beliefs can create more positive experiences? It’s definitely an experiment worth trying.
Want to see the photos? Click here and leave comments about the one you like best.