So by now, you’ve probably watched my “coming out” video and you’re reading this, perhaps because maybe you can relate or maybe you have no idea what B.E.D. is. You might be asking yourself “Why now? Why is she sharing this now?” That answer is for many reasons. Have you ever lived with a secret and it literally eats you alive all day everyday. Your every move is an effort to conceal that secret at all costs. It’s exhausting. Fear has been holding me back for quite some time. Over the past few days, a series of events led me to the decision to share my struggles. A gentle tugging on my heart from God initiated it, followed by random messages placed in my life to confirm what I thought I was being led to do. A fellow coach encouraged us to share our struggles as he did his, a message in a fortune cookie even spoke to me. My counsel has encouraged me to admit my struggling as that was the first step in overcoming it. So here I am, being vulnerable and spilling my truth.
Up until now I have hidden my failures... because I thought if people knew they would see ME as a failure...
But today --- I choose to flip my switch... and instead of thinking about who might judge, hate on, or dislike me... I thought about who might be inspired, who might SEE THEIR TRUTH and be compelled to make changes... who might join me and be an overcomer... who might see my past failures and see that success IS possible for them too...
Let’s start with the basics. First, what is Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.)?
Binge eating disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control and powerless to stop. The symptoms of binge eating disorder usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood, often after a major diet. A binge eating episode typically lasts around two hours, but some people binge on and off all day long. Binge eaters often eat even when they’re not hungry and continue eating long after they’re full. They may also gorge themselves as fast as they can while barely registering what they’re eating or tasting.
The key features of binge eating disorder are:
- Frequent episodes of uncontrollable binge eating.
- Feeling extremely distressed or upset during or after bingeing.
- Unlike bulimia, there are no regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising.
People with binge eating disorder struggle with feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression. They worry about what the compulsive eating will do to their bodies and beat themselves up for their lack of self-control. They desperately want to stop binge eating, but feel like they can’t.
Binge eating may be comforting for a brief moment, but then reality sets back in, along with regret and self-loathing. Binge eating often leads to weight gain and obesity, which only reinforces compulsive eating. The worse a binge eater feels about themselves and their appearance, the more they use food to cope. It becomes a vicious cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse, and then turning back to food for relief.
So now how does this look in my life. It comes and goes. This vicious cycle of my adult life has been yo yo dieting. Gaining, losing, gaining again, losing again. The key with B.E.D. is literally losing control. I have been closet eating for some time, years. Understand that this is very embarrassing for me to admit, I’m ashamed of my behaviors. I’m talking a stop after work at the store to grab 2 candy bars and consume them before getting home (hiding the wrappers, the evidence). I would hide in the bathroom to consume pop tarts, chips, ice cream, you name it! In excessive amounts. During the actual binge, I often feel numb, like I’m on auto-pilot. Many times I don’t even realize the excessive amount I just ate until it’s over. (Keep in mind, I don’t binge on broccoli and carrots. It’s always the unhealthy foods that give me the best high-a temporary high that leads to an overwhelming sense of guilt and disgust.) Sad thing is, usually this takes place at night, after I have had a beautiful day of eating good-for-you foods. I am sabotaging myself. ‘Why again?’ I’d say, ‘You have to be better tomorrow. This is going to be my last time.’ Problem is, I say that every time.
The symptoms of my B.E.D are behavioral and emotional. Behaviors include stockpiling or hiding food I can later eat in secret. I eat normally when I’m around others, but often gorge when I’m alone. Emotionally, if I’m feeling stressed or tension, the only relief I get is from eating.
Part of the therapy to start overcoming my B.E.D. has been identifying my triggers. Mostly, my reasons for binge eating are an attempt to manage unpleasant emotions such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety. When I have a bad day, it can seem like food is my only comfort. Binge eating can temporarily make feelings such as stress, sadness, anxiety, depression, and boredom evaporate into thin air. But the relief is only very fleeting. Other triggers are certain places-convenience stores for sure, the mall…certain situations are as well—being home alone at night, having a date night with Jared, birthday parties.
Another recommendation I’ve received is to get support. You're more likely to succumb to binge eating triggers if you lack a solid support network. Talking helps, even if it’s not with a professional. I’m ready.
It’s difficult to overcome binge eating and food addiction. Unlike other addictions, your “drug” is necessary for survival, so you don’t have the option of avoiding it. Instead, you must develop a healthier relationship with food—a relationship that’s based on meeting your nutritional needs, not your emotional ones.
Maybe you’re struggling with the same thing. Maybe you have a completely different struggle. Either way, RADIATE your truth unapologetically, knowing that when you do... you are living God's purpose for your life.
I whole-heartedly believe that God can turn every test into a TESTIMONY, every mess into a MESSAGE, every trial into a TRIUMPH, and ever victim into a VICTOR!
Your story has a PURPOSE and oftentimes when shared with others, it not only heals YOUR LIFE by setting you free from the burden that comes with trying to keep it all together and play perfect... but it in turn helps set others free when they realize they are NOT ALONE in having a similar experience.
If you're struggling and need support, let's battle this together.
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