Liberated from Binge Eating

A while ago I wrote about my recovering from eating disorder. I chose the word ‘recovering’ very carefully because while I was writing it I was still binging on occasions and struggled with tendencies on a daily basis.

Now I’m going to take a leap and use the word recovered. I have recovered from my binge eating disorder 1 year after I developed it. I have recovered. It feels good to say it.

Is it too soon to say so? And what is too soon? How do you know exactly when you have recovered from a mental struggle because that is what eating disorders are.  Just because one has stopped binging doesn’t mean he/she has stopped wanting to. Is there a ‘remission’ period like 2 years before one can say that they have recovered?

I decided to define my own recovery because I believe in positive affirmations. For the past month I have had no tendencies at all and I can stop eating very effortlessly. I can decline food when I’m not hungry and not have my mind obsess over wanting it. You may think that a month is too soon but to a person with eating disorder, 1 month is a big achievement because we obsess about food every waking hour. At least I did.

Now I can safely dip my spoon into a jar of almond butter for a spoonful and not have to worry that I might finish the whole jar in one sitting. Yes I am in control. Now I can safely buy a tub of ice cream and not have to hide it. Yes I am in control. Now I can eat out with friends and not feel the urge to clean my plate. Yes I am in control.

Day by day there are less battles in my head and I feel at peace with myself. If I had to choose 1 word to describe how I feel, it is liberated.

I hope you can find liberation in whatever struggles you have been going through and if you haven’t, don’t stop trying.  You can take a break and be weak in the moment (God knows how many times I have broken down and clean off a whole big bag of chips and/or a tub of ice cream) but acknowledge that you are tired, that you just need a break from swimming against the current but pick yourself up the next day and work harder. I have done that and I can say it is worth it.

Have a wonderful Sunday my lovely friends.

Recovering from Binge Eating

For the past 8 months or so I have been recovering from binge eating. I am writing this story not to inspire because I doubt many of you can relate to this. Instead I have adopted my blog as an open journal and if you are interested you can catch a glimpse of my struggles. Be warned that this will not be a short post so you can skip on ahead to the last few paragraphs if you like.

Before you make any judgments, maybe you can try and understand my situation. In February 2012 I moved over to America after getting married. I left my country, my family, my friends and basically everything that was familiar to me. Bad food was in abundance and for the first time in my life I had a huge pantry always stocked with food. To top it off I started an underpaid and overworked job and financially things weren’t going very well for us.

Physically I was in one of my best shape but in May 2012 I decided that I wanted to get better, so I went on a ketogenic diet (high fats low carbs). It started off really well, I lost quite a bit of bodyfat. After a month, with an unsteady job situation which led to me starting my own business, I cracked under the stress. By then, I was out of control. I would drive myself to the grocery store and buy junk, eat, feel like crap and go kill myself at the gym. Think 4000-5000 calories in a day. The cycle went on.

My husband didn’t think much of it, he was encouraging of course but he didn’t think it was a real problem. To him I was just overeating. The fats started to pile on and realizing it’s getting out of hand I tried everything from getting him to hide food from me, working out first thing in the morning, working out twice a day, counting calories, seeking motivation and dreaming about getting back into shape; lets just say everything I taught my clients to do, didn’t work for me. I never felt that helpless in my whole life. By end of August 2012 (3 months later) I was 30lbs heavier, even though not all were from fat, I would say a good majority was.

Imagine how helpless and hypocritical I felt. As a personal trainer, I had no reign on my own diet and I had nobody to turn to but myself. The only thing that I had going for me was my tenacity. I never gave up, everyday I would resolve to do better even though I failed.

It was not 1 magic solution that started me on my recovery. It was an excruciatingly slow process. The thing that really worked for me was not eating in front of the TV. That helped a little to be more aware when I’m eating. I started getting back into yoga and learning to love my body no matter how ugly I felt. I started cooking more, and learning how to cook food that tasted good from whole food sources (that sparked my love for cooking and incidentally the creation of this blog). Mentally I am so much healthier even though physically I am still carrying an access of 20lbs.

I get impatient sometimes and there are days that I want to go back on a more restricted diet to lose weight but I always remind myself that it might backfire and I would binge again. So with much self control I am taking it slow. No matter what, I will get leaner, but I want to do it in a healthy and enjoyable way. The old me used to restrict myself so much that I would look forward to weekends to have my “cheat meal” and go crazy and feel guilty. Those days weren’t very fun. Even though I am heavier now, but I am happier and most importantly I feel more in controlled.

Learning to take this as a lesson instead of a mistake has helped me gain a positive outlook. I believe mentally I am stronger now than I ever was. 30lbs bought me a first hand perspective on eating disorders and how to overcome it, it fostered empathy in me, it gave me a new found love for cooking and eating healthy vs dieting, but above all it paid for a lesson in learning to love myself and to live life in a happy, less restrictive and more balanced way.

Update from 7/28/2013 Liberated from Binge Eating

** If you are struggling with an eating disorder and you would like to have someone to talk to, do email me. At the very least, you will have someone who understands what you are going through, the helplessness that you feel. Just know that things can get better as long as you don’t give up.**