I had an eating disorder for 8 years
I can just eat one square of chocolate, and leave the rest in the fridge, for weeks.
It’s not willpower.
I never (NEVER) feel any level of guilt around food. It just doesn’t register. Sometimes I overeat, but rarely these days, and it’s not from discipline.
And if I do, I do, it’s seriously no big deal and I don’t even give it another thought. I don’t ‘burn it off’. I don’t eat less next meal. I don’t whatever. It’s not a thing.
Do you know how that feels guys?
Good. It feels really fucking good.
The reason I am sharing this with you, is because I am a recoverer of bulimia. I had severe bulimia for 5 years that evolved into orthorexia (another form of eating disorder where you are afraid of anything but 'healthy' food) for another 3 years.
For 8 goddamn fucking years of my life, I was trapped. And that's an understatement.
For 5 I was throwing up anywhere from5-15 times in a day. Plus exercising. Plus restricting what I ate. Until I couldn’t any more, and then I would binge (this is not weakness, it’s biology - but I’ll talk more on this another day).
On the outside I looked fit, I looked slim, I looked healthy enough.
On the inside I was a ball of anxiety, low self esteem, self hate, confusion, fear, guilt, shame, depression and lies. I had major codependency behaviours I was unaware of. I had attachment issues. I was suffering from love addiction (yep, it’s a thing).
I did seek help eventually after I started getting some heart irregularities that scared me, I told my family and some friends what had been happening (most didn’t know how to react and told me I was being silly or overreacting - they had no idea - I had concealed it like a pro - for reals) and saw a hypnotherapist who taught me the concept of intuitive eating.
This concept was terrifying, radical - and my only hope.
This is, as many of you know, how I eat today.
Can I tell you that for many years, I thought it was hopeless. I thought I would live with food issues forever. I could not even begin to comprehend that I could ever feel any different.
I am now such a firm believer that ANYONE can develop a truly loving, healthy, easy and guilt free relationship with food - and I try my best to spread the message of Intuitive Eating, self love, real food and taking care of yourself as much as I can.
Today I want to share an excerpt from my journal then (below this post). This was written in 2006, about a year into my journey with bulimia. I share to give you some insight into my mind and reality then.
This feels like another life now.
The only time I feel any kind of triggers or pulls back to that time, are when I slip into food control, rather than intuitive eating. It’s usually during stressful times, but I have practices that catch it basically instantly, so I never go down that road.
I don’t usually do detoxes or cleanses, or if I do them, it's extremely loosely, I take some principles and adapt it to my intuition.
I do not believe in deprivation of any kind as I believe it triggers the body + mind into a restrict/binge cycle that is very dangerous.
If you have any kind of issues with food - step away from the detoxes, diets or labels. Yes, even the ‘healthy’ ones.
If you are struggling with food - whether it’s guilt, dieting, trouble losing weight, an eating disorder, overeating, underrating, obsessing over what you eat, or just anything in your relationship that doesn’t feel good, I want to say this - it is NOT about the food.
If you are willing to go on the journey, you can be free.
I’m not a trained expert, but I’m someone who has gone on the journey, and sometimes that is more valuable to those in it now.
To say, "hey, I know where you are, and you can get out, and I promise you can, because I've done it and here's how".
I know the depths and the darkness and have come out the other end in a place better than my wildest dreams could have imagined.
So for that reason, I’m going to start sharing more, over time, on exactly how I did that, incase it can help you too.
To food freedom, no matter where you’re starting from.
BINGING - 2006
I came home from the gym, had a shower and prepared a normal, balanced meal, of which I ate a slightly larger than acceptable size. This triggered me. The feelings of no control, unworthiness, ugliness, the inability to be loved. I was disgusted with myself because I’d eaten more than I told myself I would. How the fuck am I so weak?
I binged on low fat grated cheese, literally grabbing the bag out of the fridge and scooping handfuls into my mouth. I went into a coma of sorts, unaware of my surroundings, my emotions, starting blankly into space, like a robot on autofeed. Next I ate peanut butter out of the jar. Cautious, I ate 1/4 of a new jar first. Still binge crazy I ended up eating the whole jar, the last traces of it scraped onto low fat cruskits mixed with honey and more grated cheese - and then cooked in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese. I sat down on the couch with a little place of my cruskit creations as if to savour the meal, telling myself that after these 4 cruskets I would be satisfied, I could stop, although my stomach was already so full and bloated it was distended and sore.
4 cruskets down and the urge to eat was still pulling strong. I take the ice cream out of the freezer and took to it with a large spoon. I don’t remember how much of the 4litre tub was left. The overwhelming feeling of guilt, pain, loss, fear, emptiness and being out of control overtakes me in a panic to somehow fix it.
The idea of leaving this food in my stomach doesn’t register as a serious option. I am alone, unloved, misunderstood, a failure, a fake and now is my time to revel in that. To the toilet.
I throw up lashings and lashing of food, emotions, self loathing. It feels so good as this is a good purge, and I can see most of it coming up. The more that comes up, the softer the guilt gets. It feels like comfort. I feel like I could stop if I really wanted to, but I don't think I want to. This has somehow become a new fucked up kind of normal.
Sometimes I wonder how I started this? I didn't know how addictive it would feel. How good it would feel. But also how scary, how out of control. Now I don't know how to go back. Do I even want to? I have always felt so lost.
To say I hate myself would be an understatement. I have moments of seeing myself as a whole person, but mostly I just see a collection of faults, stretch marks, acne, cellulite and countless other things that disgust me to the point of turning my own stomach. I feel sorry for myself, but I can’t and won’t accept myself as worth of mine or anyone else’s love, no how much I say I want self love.
I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to say I love myself and not feel like a fraud. How could anybody I ever meet accept and love me? I can’t accept or love myself.