If you didn’t know I struggle with Binge Eating Disorder. I have been seeing a therapist and working on recovering from this. To say it has been hard is an understatement. As much as I want to recover, I sometimes question if it is possible for ME to actually recover. I question if I am doing the right thing regularly. I catch myself feeling like this is too hard and I just want to go back to my old ways and just focus on weight loss, where it feels like it would just be easier to starve myself, kill myself in the gym, and stress over every single thing I ate and put into my body again. To go back to having nightmares every night that told me to just stop eating. To keep focusing so much on weight loss that nothing else in my life matters until I am “skinny”. Telling myself that if I can just lose weight again, I will be happy, people will like me more and life will just be….better. As I sit here and type this, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I KNOW for a fact that I cannot go back to that place. That place almost killed me…and to be completely honest, even when I was at my lowest…It was never enough. So as hard as recovery is, no matter how many doubts I have, no matter how much I am struggling with my body and my weight gain, and no matter how many mean and nasty comments I receive about my weight gain, (which really it is 2022 people can we please stop body shaming others?) I know for a fact recovery is worth it and that I am on the right path.
Eating Disorder Clinic Visits
A few months ago I joined a recovery program that includes my therapist, a nutritionist, and a medical doctor. The main focus of this program is on my overall health and healing. I get weighed, have my fluid checked from Lipedema, and have lab work done. My team and I go over some food choices and how/what I am eating and how I feel about those choices. they offer guidance in terms of nutrition, getting in more protein and iron, and really discussing my eating patterns and behaviors, triggers, and concerns while working on getting to the root of my food issues. It’s been intense and I leave the clinic feeling completely defeated, but also feeling like I can take a deep breath. It feels so good to have people who understand what you are going through, believe you, listen to you, and ultimately want to help you.
What Have I Learned By Attending?
I wanted to share some tips that I got from my team and what I am working on in terms of changing my relationship with food.
1. Listen to Your Body
When it comes to food, it’s so important to truly listen to how certain foods make you feel, physically and mentally. Listen to hunger cues, eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied, make sure you are eating enough food, and a variety of foods, and look for patterns. One of the patterns I struggle with is when I do not eat enough throughout the day, it triggers more cravings and I binge when I get home. Another time I know I struggle is when I get sad or stressed, I want chocolate. Being mindful of patterns, behaviors and WHY we choose certain foods helps so much. Your body wants to be your friend and it’s time we respect and listen to what our bodies are telling us.
2. Be Prepared
Figuring out a way to make meals simple and easy is so important. Whether it’s meal prepping all your meals, cooking protein in a big batch and then using that pre-cooked protein to create different meals throughout the week, having easy snacks ready, or keeping frozen meals in the freezer that you can just warm up when you don’t feel like cooking. All of these might sound simple, but that’s the point. Set yourself up for success. Have the foods you love, and want to eat, and make you feel good, easy, and accessible.
3. It’s not about being “perfect” because there is no perfect
Some days you will meal prep and eat all the meals you had planned. Some weeks you will eat takeout all week. IT’S OK! There are no “rules”. Changing the relationship we have with food means throwing the rules out the window. Be mindful, yes, but also being able to go with the flow is key. We don’t want to get into super strict and rigid food rules. That’s what we have been doing with diets and look where that has gotten us. So, yes, it’s ok to have pizza, yes, it’s ok to order take out and, yes, it’s ok to eat something that doesn’t make you feel good. It’s all a part of the process. Eat the cake, enjoy it and then move on. No guilt, shame, or hours of cardio are needed. Keep moving forward. Remember it’s not that pizza or cake is bad, the relationship we have with it, wanting to eat all of it, then restricting it, calling ourselves bad for eating it…that is what we are working on. There is no more waiting until Monday, after the Holidays, or for the new year to “start” or “be better”. It’s being mindful NOW, listening to your body NOW, doing what makes you feel good NOW, and working on the relationship you have with yourself and with food NOW.
This Journey Will Take Time and Patience
Sometimes I find myself dreaming of a world where I feel good in my body, I am not afraid of food, food does not control my every thought and when I eat I don’t call myself bad or feel shame. I think about a time when I will listen to my body and make the choices that make me feel good. That dream can be a reality. I know it’s possible. I am not there yet, but I can feel it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, I myself, want to lose some weight. But constantly stressing over food, the scale, and what we are “allowed” to eat… doesn’t work for me anymore. Life is about more than obsessing over my weight. I want to be healthy, yes, and I know the way for me to be truly healthy is to recover from this eating disorder and finally physically and mentally take care of myself.
I know how hard it can be to not feel good in your body, to feel shame for your weight, and to want so desperately to lose weight. I know because I have felt these things all of my life. I feel it now. But there has to be a better way. I know there is a better way. And it all starts with healing, recovering, and loving ourselves enough to put in the work to change. Change from the inside out. It won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty. But I know this change will be 100% worth it
The Journey Must Continue
At the end of the day, I am not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your body. We are all different and what works for me might not work for you. But it’s so important to me to share my whole journey and share what I am going through. Take these tips and apply what works for you in your own life and leave the rest. What I do know is that we are all on our own beautiful, messy, crazy, stressful, and amazing journey that is unique to us. Let’s support, love, and cheer one another on, no matter where they are in life. If we can do this, we can all be the best version of ourselves possible! If you find yourself struggling, please know you are not alone. I am right here with you, for you, always. Take my hand and let’s continue to move forward…together.