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.
** 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.**