You guys as my readers know this by now: I once really struggled with binge eating. Now I just kind of, occasionally do. I’m still a work in progress, but I feel like I’m out of the woods and that the change in my life has been AMAZING. So what got me from point A to point B? My About Me page gives a bit of my background by way of introduction. But I felt from the start that the main point of having this blog would be to tell others how I stopped binge eating. Hopefully, my story could help others do the same.
But first, let me digress a bit.
This past weekend we went TO the woods, literally, on a little overnight campout. Yes, I am 5 months pregnant, and yes, I slept in the tent on the ground and have lived to tell the tale. You may hereafter refer to me as superwoman. 😉
We had a great, great time. We had a scary few minutes when a ginormous MOOSE showed up while we were hiking. It was running around like it was ticked about something and wanted to impale somebody. Eek! But luckily, the demon moose calmed down and retreated back into the woods, leaving us unscathed. It was a calm, gorgeous, relaxing little time out in nature with my family. Our girls loved being able to explore around the campsite, throw rocks in the lake, and roast marshmallows. And I loved seeing them have so much fun.
But. If you’ve ever struggled with binge eating, you know that trips can be tricky food-wise. It’s really easy to let yourself think, “Oh, this is a trip, and trips are special occasions, so I’ll have two more S’mores even though I’ve already had three and then be good again tomorrow.” Which often ends up being an extra five S’mores instead of two. Then that line of thinking progresses into “Oh crap, I’ve totally blown today so who cares now” thinking. And that leads you to polish off any remaining marshmallows straight from the bag instead of roasted. Next you sneak the extra hot dog your husband didn’t finish . . . and soon you’re bingeing.
The Cycle Broken at Last
What I described above has been the story of far too many vacations and holidays in my past, but this weekend it wasn’t. In the evening I had a generous but not insane quantity of both hot dogs and S’mores, as I’d pre-planned for myself in MyFitnessPal, and in the morning I woke up ravenous but stuck to 1 1/2 bagels with cream cheese plus some applesauce. I’d pre-planned just the one bagel, and I’ll be honest: after that extra half bagel, that old binge thinking came sneaking in: “You’ve messed up the day! That was too much! Just have another bagel now! It’s Saturday anyway so just go home and eat whatever and then start over with the new week on Sunday.”
But I was able to say to myself that all those were stupid, illogical, irrational reasons, especially in light of my “blowing it” being a measly half bagel over what would, in my head at least, have been ideal. Furthermore, I was actually hungry, so eating that extra half was a totally legitimate healthy choice anyway! So I told that binge thinking thanks, but no thanks and went on to be just fine eating-wise for the rest of the day. What a change from how things used to spiral out of control so quickly for me!
This ability to stop binge thinking in its tracks is something that took me years to figure out. I guess I’m not totally “normal” in that I still have those binge thoughts fairly regularly, but most of the time I can shut them right down whenever they creep in. So what has changed? What made my binge eating go away?
I feel like something this blog of mine needs to do better is connect the dots from my past to my present. It’s fun to write about all the good, exciting, healthy stuff that’s going on for me in the present, sure. But what about back then? What has actually changed over the past year or so? How did I get from my worst version of myself in terms of binge eating to the imperfect-but-pretty-darn-okay Sarah that rocked this weekend of camping?
How I Stopped Binge Eating
For the next few weeks, I’m going to be blogging about this. I’m going to do it in a several-posts series since, well, it’s kind of a long story.
Now, I don’t think it does one lick of good to rehash my worst moments. Nor is it helpful to give graphic descriptions of what my bingeing and purging looked like back at its worst in 2008. That doesn’t do anything to help you or me. But I want to frankly share my story. I want the series of turning points that finally all came together and gave me the courage, knowledge, and power to stop binge eating to be out there.
I can at last tell those persistent binge thinking patterns to go right back to hell. And because of it, life is so, so good. And if you struggle, I promise: you can change too!
This is going to be hard for me. But I know what tremendous good has come of people sharing the raw, real versions of their struggles with me. And I feel strongly that I should do the same. I know this is maybe naive and Emily-Dickinson-ish of me, but if even one person out there is helped by something I put out there, then I feel that I’ve done something worthwhile. If you’re wondering how to stop binge eating and stumbled on this post, I hope that something from my experience can help YOU.
In that spirit, let’s go right on to How I Stopped Binge Eating: Part 1