When I used to read stories of people who had “recovered” from issues with binge eating, I didn’t believe them. It felt so desperately impossible to me that I just couldn’t fathom getting to a place of sanity around food.
In high school had long stretches where I would eat myself sick every day. Not that I’d make myself throw up – I just ate so much that my poor body couldn’t handle it. At the same time I was exercising for at least an hour a day to try and undo some of the damage. As I got older, I gained more control over what I was eating and could manage to starve myself at least as often as I stuffed myself. I often thought it was the diet’s fault. If I just found the most perfect diet, I’d feel nourished, weight would slide off me, and I’d have everything I ever wanted. I had no trouble sticking with any way of eating, I’d eat only what was on whatever plan I was following! Have you ever seen anyone plow through two pounds of carrots and THEN eat a potluck sized salad? I could binge on anything.
It’s taken a lot of experimentation, gentleness, and willingness to let go of what wasn’t working to get where I am today. Do I have a perfect relationship with food? Well, what’s perfect? There were those years of daily shoving in more food than I could physically hold, which eventually turned into binges with at least a little space between them. As I gained more awareness, I might have just fallen apart a couple times a week or less. Now it’s rare. I will tell you that every time I’ve verbally bragged to someone that I have *no* eating issues left – I shortly thereafter wake up from a little tizzy over a pound of nuts. First it makes me sad, then it makes me giggle (there was a time when stopping at a pound would have been an accomplishment!), then I regain my humility and gratitude for how far I’ve come.
I have a peaceful relationship with food. It’s not the non-issue that I always wanted it to be but it is something much more interesting. Over time I’ve found that my relationship to food is something of a mirror. If I find that I’ve started eating quickly and not paying attention…there’s a good chance I’m moving quickly through life and not paying attention. If I’m eating more than my body enjoys then there’s a good chance I’m tuning out of life in general and there’s probably something I need to take a look at. The more awake I am with food, the more awake I am in life and I’m so grateful to have finally figured that out.
In extra special news, I’ve just completed my training with The Institute for the Psychology of Eating! I can’t wait to share more and will soon have a page up offering coaching services.