Operation Skinny Jeans: Disordered Eating

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Disordered Eating

It's no secret that I have been kinda stuck for a while now. While the scale maybe hasn't seen much progress in the last 6 months, I can tell you the person on it has. Losing weight, especially a significant amount like I am trying to do, is not just about "calories in- calories out". It is about your brain. This is all a mental game.

That means that while I was kicking ass and taking names on the "cal in cal out" front, I was still not working on the mental side of things. That's where the last 6 months comes in. So while to the outside it might look like "this girl has nothing to say to me about weight loss, she hasn't really lost weight in 6 months", the inside looks like "holy crap I have some screwed up thoughts about food and my weight and my body that I need to figure out too".

So I have been focusing on that. I can tell you that you can't have one without the other. You can't just up and lose weight without also fixing your brain. Ok maybe you can, but it wont last. You have to understand WHY you got to the point you got and fix it so you don't do it again. People ask me all the time how I got to 285 pounds. Did I just eat all the time? Did I never exercise? How does that even happen? And all I can say is that it happens gradually, and that it wasn't just that I was lazy and had a thing for eating a whole pizza. There is more to it.

Growing up, food was not just something to nourish your body. Certain foods were strictly "adult only" foods, and so as a kid, when you are specifically forbidden from having certain foods, you WANT them. You form a really unhealthy obsession with them, and in the event that you get to have them (by sneaking or otherwise) you BINGE on them. Thus started my lifelong struggle with binge eating. The good news for me is that I have a strong aversion to throwing up, so it never became B&P, but I would binge and feel like absolute shit for hours because of it afterward, so mentally I am not sure its much better. I became ashamed of eating certain things in public so I would hide it and go somewhere private to enjoy it. This was just my norm. It wasn't until a really embarrassing moment at my first Christmas Eve dinner with my in laws that I realized something was wrong.

My go to binge food was hot fresh French bread from the grocery store. That and a stick of butter and I was in heaven. After dinner, there was about half of the loaf left, so I casually stuffed it in my hoodie pocket, along with some butter, and went on my merry way. My now mother in law asked me what I was doing and I was mortified. She said they didn't care if I ate more bread and that I didn't have to hide it, and I went to the bathroom and cried. HOW PATHETIC is that?! That was a real low point for me.

I think this is why restricted diets are so hard for me in general. Because food was so restricted as a kid, it takes me back into that place where I feel the need to binge. I have been working on it, and I understand the issues behind it more, but it is a daily struggle.

I have also learned a lot about other things, but this post is already WAY too long, but I promise to share all the mental breakthroughs I have made later :D

Do you identify with this? Are you a binge eater? B&P-er? I will un-spam filter comments on this post so if you want to share, feel free to do so anonymously. Or if you want to email me directly that is cool too. I am not a professional by any means, but I am here for you.

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  1. I really identify with you and I agree, that's why restrictive diets DON'T WORK. As soon as you tell me I can't eat something, it's immediately what I want. I need to know I can eat whatever I want and if that's true, then I can eat a portion and be good. One slice of pizza, one mini-chocolate bar, 1 regular fries, WHATEVER.

    You hit the nail on the head with this entry. Weight loss is a huge mental game and something I certainly continue to work on.

    1. this is where I struggle. for so long I have outlawed bad foods so when I do eat them I tend to go overboard. I am trying to retrain my thinking to allow myself small treats and not binge on them.

  2. I just started following your blog a few days ago and I absolutely love this post! It's really dead on.. I was the same way about binge eating but am now on a happy and healthy diet that works for me:) keep up the good work bc your doing awsome!

  3. Yes! I don't really binge but I think I am addicted to food. I love eating and I hate being restricted to certain types. I am working on making it a lifestyle change instead so that I can eat a variety of foods but stay within my calories. I have a hard time telling myself no when I want something bad. It may sound silly but I am an only child and am very spoiled. I have always got what I want when I want it so self discipline is rough for me. Great post!

  4. THIS IS MY LIFE! Not kidding. I never in my life struggled with real binging until the past year. It's awful.

  5. I am a binge eater...but I wasn't restricted when I was younger so I still haven't figured out why I binge on food :( I had great parents, great family, close friends, etc. But I also have this addiction to food and I feel like I have to keep eating?!? Since January I have lost 75 pounds until the last 2 months...my bad habits apparently didn't go away. I am currently trying to re-lose what I gained back, but I still don't know why I do it. They only thing I've come up with is that I'm addicted to food...

  6. Oh, I meant to include that you should look up Win the Diet War podcast (she also has a website). It's a psychotherapist named Dr. Nina that opened my eyes to emotional and disordered eating! There's also another podcast with John at Let's Reverse Obesity in which he first talks to Dr. Nina that I HIGHLY recommend.

  7. Obviously, I love this post. Just so accurate, losing weight is just as much mental as physical!!! Still gotta work on that.... still stuck on "safe foods, bad foods, food as reward and purging as punishment." Sigh.... It's a long journey and I'm glad you are on your way! :-)

  8. So I wrote a reply to this, then it didn't save boo. Anywho, I am glad to read that you have determined the underlying triggers or reasons why things happened. I've been in the same boat when determining why I became anorexic. It is a hard issue to think about at times. I completely agree that restrictive diets only lead to disorderly eating.

  9. I can relate SO much. It's like you were in my head when you wrote this! I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one!

  10. Thank you so much for writing this post....but seriously are you in my brain? I think I could have pretty much written this word for word. I also struggle with binge eating only I have taken it way farther than that. I hide food, buy it and eat the whole package on my way home from work. I have even gone so far as to stop on the way and throw out the trash so my husband won't find it. While I don't purge on a regular basis anymore it is still a demon I am faced with when my emotions run awry and I binge, the first thing I want to do is purge. Even though I was doing much better the last couple of months have been such a struggle...that is why I didn't weigh out for the last challenge. I was so embarrassed that I was binging again I just thought if I didn't weigh myself it would go away. NOPE! Sure didn't. But I am back on track again and am continuing to work on the mental side of it still. I can't wait to hear about your breakthrough. After the last few months I am seriously considering counseling.

  11. Just read this post for the first time and like others above I can totally relate to this. And you are 100% right that you have to fix the inside to be able to lose weight and make it stick. I lost 40 lbs last year and in the past 6 months I have completely gained it back because I didn't deal with my triggers and what was really going on. You are amazing and so brave for sharing this! I still have that issue with bread and when I "fall off the wagon" I buy a loaf of italian bread and easily eat 1/2 with butter in a sitting. Congrats on your one year blogiversary. Thanks for inspiring me! :)

  12. oh my gosh. this made my stomach turn. i can completely relate. thanks for this post. how have you gotten it under control?? it's not unusual to eat a "normal amount" of food in front of people and then take more in secret and eat it in the bathroom (how sad!).... --Eves


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