Firstly, happy new year to you all! I hope 2018 brings you health, happiness and fulfilment. I know that a lot of you will be starting diets today in attempt to lose the Christmas ‘wobble’. The pharmaceutical and diet industries take full advantage of this – preying on people’s insecurities in order to boost their sales. I used to be one of those individuals waiting for that miracle weight loss solution. I tried Weight Watchers, Slimming World, 5:2, The Military Diet, The South Beach Diet – the list goes on. The worst diet I tried was cutting out carbohydrates. A very, very bad idea. Our cells rely on carbohydrates in order to respire and produce energy. Not only that, our bodies go in to ketosis without carbohydrates which can cause a range of horrible symptoms – one being smelly breath.
On the third day of cutting out carbs, I felt foggy headed and miserable. I had zero energy. I started to crave sugar, carbs and junk food. I tried to ignore these thoughts, but I couldn’t. The intense cravings eventually got the better of me. I remember opening the cupboard and reaching for some bran flakes. I poured myself a massive bowl with lashings of sugar. From the moment the cereal touched my lips, it was as if I entered some kind of hypnotic trance. I devoured the bowl and then wanted more. I poured myself another bowl. I ate that and then opened a packet of biscuits. One biscuit wasn’t enough. I ate half the packet. I then ate two slices of bread. I continued to delve through the cupboards, shovelling anything in to my mouth. I was suddenly awoken from my obscure trance-like state by agonising stomach pains. My stomach felt like it was quite literally going to explode. I felt sick. I felt ashamed and disgusted in myself. I didn’t know what to do – I was terrified about the possibility of gaining more weight. I knew that the only way I could get rid of the food was to make myself sick. I remember thinking to myself, I can’t believe I’m actually contemplating this.
After I had made myself sick I felt awful, I felt like I wanted to hide away and forget it ever happened. I wanted to wake up the next morning and for it to all just be a dream, but it wasn’t. It was very real. I told myself that I was going to go back on to a diet and gain back the control of what I was eating. Well, that lasted all of four days. Until I binged again. I decided to take lots of laxatives this time – I couldn’t make myself sick again. I then didn’t want to leave the house (for obvious reasons). I was in pain for days. Of course, I convinced myself that ‘tomorrow will be the day I’ll start a diet’. This enabled me to binge even more as I thought it would be my last day of eating unhealthily. You guessed it – it wasn’t! Unfortunately, this horrendous cycle continued. My weight went up and down constantly. I felt ill, I felt weak, I felt depressed. Most importantly, I felt out of control.
I got very frustrated and angry with myself. The turning point for me was talking about it. All the while I didn’t talk about it to anyone – it almost didn’t exist. However, I spoke on a forum online (I’ll leave details at the end). This helped immensely because I was talking to others in the same situation. People could relate to what I was saying. I didn’t feel alone anymore. I also spoke to my mum. That was the hard part. To start with, I don’t think she really got it, I suppose it’s hard to understand an eating disorder when you’ve never had an unhealthy relationship with food. Nevertheless, she did her absolute best to help and support me – she took me to hypnotherapy and suggested counselling. She really helped me to realise that I needed to get better. I couldn’t have done it without her help. However, ultimately, it was up to me.
It got to a point where I realised a diet was never ever going to work for me. I had to break free from that mindset. I had to stop convincing myself that ‘tomorrow will be the start of my diet’. As soon as I stopped thinking that way, it changed my life. I started to gain the control back. It meant that I could have a bar of chocolate without thinking, ‘oh well, I may as well binge now and I’ll start eating healthily tomorrow’. I allowed myself to eat what I wanted to eat. I just made sure I checked the recommended portion sizes on packets. I started measuring my cereal, pasta, rice etc. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Of course, there were relapses occasionally, but I didn’t punish myself for this. The relapses got fewer and fewer over time until eventually they stopped.
My journey to being free from my binge eating disorder was a tough one. It took time. There was no deep-rooted psychological reason for it – I was just addicted to food and diets. Like any addiction, unless you vocalise it and talk about it, you can convince yourself that it’s not real. I will never go on a diet again. If you are contemplating a diet – please don’t. The diet industry doesn’t want you to sustain weight loss, they want you to keep coming back again and again. That’s why it’s such a massive money-making industry. If you’re currently battling a binge eating disorder. Stop punishing yourself and setting yourself strict regimes and diets. The only way you’ll ever break free from it is to allow yourself the freedom to eat whatever you like, but in small, controlled portions. It may feel like a long road, but you must keep going. You will be free from it one day. I now enjoy food and never even think about weight loss. It took me a long time to reach my ideal weight, but it happened naturally.
Below are a list of resources that really helped me when I was struggling with binge-eating. Just remember, you’re not alone so please talk about it to someone. If you would like to ask me any questions then feel free to email me.
Binge Eating Forum:
Eat Like A Normal Person: