Earlier this week, I told you about a fantastic book I’m reading, Food: The Good Girl’s Drug: How to Stop Using Food to Control Your Feelings. Sunny Sea Gold, the book’s author, does a GREAT job illustrating the life of a person with Binge Eating Disorder.
I always knew that my past food issues were more severe than just over-eating. I knew there were reasons that I felt the need to compulsively eat day after day and often eat until the point of sickness.
There was a reason I felt protective over my food; why I found a need to eat some things in secret; and why I could eat more than my husband on any given day. There was a reason I still felt overweight even though I was wearing a size ZERO. There’s a reason that I went from a size 6 to size 16 in a very short period of time. There’s a reason that I could put on 17lbs in a matter of weeks. Here’s a hint, it wasn’t because I was hungry. It goes back to Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and having a very unhealthy relationship with food. BED boils down to eating large amounts of food in order to fulfill a compulsive behavior – much like other eating disorders where one may exercise compulsively; track food down to the morsel; or binge and purge. BED is so hard to diagnose because on the outside, it’s not immediately obvious, like other eating disorders.
Sometimes it looks like the girl on the left (that’s me at age 15 – binge eating and starving my way through freshman year) And, sometimes it looks like the girl on the right (also me on the right, age 25 and binge eating through my first year of motherhood).
Sometimes there are underlying issues that trigger eating disorders and sometimes they occur for no apparent reason. It’s very difficult to understand, but I will give you a few tips for dealing with eating disorders.
- If your loved one is struggling with some kind of food issue be it, BED or anything else, BE PATIENT. More often than not, putting an end to these situations can’t be done by saying “hey, you need to snap out of it.” You really can’t understand how difficult it is until you’ve experienced it yourself or been close to someone who has struggled. Be patient and if you don’t understand, do some research of your own and seek out ways to help.
- If you are struggling, personally, with an eating disorder. Talk to your doctor! Even if you aren’t sure, getting a regular health evaluation is very important. And, sometimes, you do need the direction of a medical professional to turn everything around. Do it before your eating disorder or eating issues permanently affect your health and well-being!
- Consider if there is an underlying issue that’s triggering your eating disorder. There may be, there may not be. BUT, you can’t just fix the behavior with a proper diet – you need to go to the source and address the problems there as well.
- Research balanced nutrition. When I started looking at what “healthy” eating really meant, I realized that I was no where close to being healthy – I *truly* didn’t know before because I was so consumed with my eating rituals. I realized that binge eating was negatively affecting my health and emotional well-being as much as I thought food was a “comfort.” Stress plus a poor diet will inevitably lead to further health issues down the road if not immediately. I was ALWAYS sick when I was binge eating. Now that my diet is balanced, my illnesses are more short-lived and infrequent.
I am still reluctant at times to use the words “eating disorder” about my own health and wellness journey, even though I know full-well that my long-time unhealthy relationship with food was nothing but that. It really is okay to admit that you may have an issue and to seek help! Admitting you have a problem and sharing that problem with someone else may not only help you, but help another person or persons along the way. Do you need help today? Send me a message or seek counsel of someone you trust. It’s time to be better and do better, my friends!!!