Let me make it perfectly clear, I hate food! I loathe and detest it! Maybe, just maybe, I hate the control it has over me. Both physically and mentally; I want it; I need it; I hoard it; and I fantasize about it. I yearn for it more than anything physically known to man.
I am a binge eater.
I started hoarding food in my closet and binging at night on whatever I had hidden all at the age of seven. I smoked for ten years, mainly to have an alternative to eating. When push came to shove, I would rather smoke than eat. During those ten years, my binge eating lessened.
Oh, but when I quit smoking, which I did cold turkey, the eating and binging came back with a vengeance. First, I was pregnant, and I was eating for two, three, maybe ten! My group of doctors had me tested numerous times for diabetes, because I gained weight so quickly. It always came back negative. I was simply eating too much, binge eating. One doctor even warned me that I would likely have a large baby if I continued the weight gain. And large he was: a whopping 10.4 pounds!
The weight piled on for years, and I tried every diet and medication known to man. I even tried the medications touted to be highly dangerous! I lost weight twice using hypnosis. Over all, I would say I lost a total of 300+ pounds. One thing throughout my weight loss successes that remained a constant, and never addressed, was my mental and physical addiction to food, my binge eating.
Even at my smallest, a size 10, I was always on the verge of weighing three hundred pounds again. I felt, for the lack of better words, on the edge. Meaning it was only a matter of time before I would surrender and concede defeat. I did everything, including prayer, to stop the inevitable. But again, I would sacrifice it all! I betrayed myself, put my health at risk, and gave up! I threw in the towel! I was a failure once again.
This last time of defeat was the worst yet. I ate massive amounts of food, so much so, that after thirty plus years of marriage and familiarity with my eating disorder, I scared my husband. In truth, I even scared myself. I, in the two short weeks of Christmas break, put on over 23 pounds. People say it cannot be done, but I am living proof it can and did. I weighed 177 pounds prior to the break. After vacation, I hopped on the scale and saw it go well past 200 pounds. I jumped off that damn scale before it could settle on a number. Twenty-three pounds was a kind estimate.
Let me tell you what happens in the mind of a binge eater or food addict. We are going to use a soft iced sugar cookie as our drug of choice. Did I say drug? I meant food. I will bullet the process that occurs:
• I picture it in my mind.
• I fantasize about every feeling I get while eating it including, but not limited to, the soft cookie resting on my bottom lip, my top teeth slowly pushing through the icing and cookie, only to have the sugar dance on my tongue and sing all the way to my stomach, giving me the immediate sensation of a high, a sugar high.
• I get into my car and drive to the nearest market likely to have them. The fantasy being intermittently interrupted by the pesky task of driving.
• I go in the store and buy 2, 3 or maybe even 5 boxes. I lie to the cashier, “I surely hope my son’s class likes these treats I am buying for them.”
• I get to my car, almost in a run, but remaining cool. I open the plastic container that seems to be challenging my intellect. The anticipation is exciting but unbearable.
• I take out one with high, almost unattainable expectations, place it into my mouth and gently push my teeth through the icing and the cookie eager to feel that sweet high! It does not happen. Where is the dancing and singing?
• I eat another and another and another and another trying to have that singing and dancing high like I once did. I eat every last one of them. My expectations are dashed.
• Now I pound myself emotionally for the amount I have just consumed. I hit low and I hit hard! I am brutal.
• Then comes remorse. I am now weary and suffering the physical effects of what I have consumed. (I secretly get rid of any evidence.)
• I promise myself once again, it will not continue. I tell myself I will be good. I might even enlist my husband to help! It will not happen again!
Until next time.
There is hope my fellow bingers! The American Journal of Medicine and the medical community now consider binge eating a medical condition that can be successfully treated with medication and/ or therapy. It is called Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Finally, doctors understand that it is more than merely a matter of will. There is physical data and evidence showing a medical phenomenon.
Please stop berating and criticizing yourself if you suffer with binge eating. You are not weak! You are not alone. You have a medical condition called Binge Eating Disorder (BED) that is verified, recognized, and treatable.
Call your doctor and request help today. There are knowledgeable, educated, and competent doctors out there. Do not stop until you find one!
GayLee T. Mendenhall
BS Childhood Education
ICF Life Coach Certified
Owner of: Collaborative Life Coaching LLC
Educator Hillsborough County School
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