Trigger warning, this post deals with binge eating. This is my personal story and experience. If you are dealing with an eating disorder please seek professional help. I am not a nutritionist or therapist.
Food was my comforter, my distraction, my addiction. I am a recovering binge eater. There I said it. The way I dealt with life and sometimes still do is to hide. Food is a great place to hide. Being full was like I was being hugged from the inside out. When I was too full I could forget how lonely and out of place I felt in the world. The body that came from this was my shield. The layers of fat and the baggy clothes to cover it “protected ” me from the world. It was a barrier to keep people as far away as possible.
My binge eating was at its worst in my early twenties. Carefully planning out not only what I would eat but the exact order in which I would eat. My life was often consumed by this need to binge. It was not everyday but it was often enough. This was my coping mechanism. Instead of alcohol, food was my drug of choice. In my early childhood there was a lot of chaos. In the midst of that chaos food was always there. After my mom died, followed by my long absent dad and then grandfather in
quick succession, food was there for me. I feel I should add I was raised in a loving home thanks to my aunt and uncle who took on the role of my parents, my two sisters, grandfather and mom . Eating in this way was the only way I understood at this time how to cope with so much I did not understand.
It was a constant. Food did not judge me or get upset with me or ignore me.
This addiction developed over time. As a young child I remember a bag of Doritos being grabbed away from me or sneaking out of my room at night for the cookies I had baked for the family. Later I would hide the candy I brought home from school, making a daily stop to purchase my addiction. I do not even want to think about how much of my paychecks I wasted in this endeavour. I became really good at pretending I was hungry for dinner when in reality my stomach was full.
In the seventh grade I clearly recall the boy I liked saying I was fat. At this time I was not, however in my mind I was already the fat girl. If I could go back in time, I would take that thirteen year old girl aside and tell her she is beautiful. I cannot recall this boy’s name nor do I blame him. He was a seventh grader being asked if he liked a girl. How could he know the effect his remark could have on me? In a weird way this gave me permission to indulge in my addiction. Since I was already thought of as fat ( which I equated with being ugly) then no reason to NOT indulge.
As the years went on the level of my binging ebbed and flowed. During my early twenties it was at its worst. I enjoyed consuming food. I would get excited anticipating the food I would eat. Often planning and purchasing for my binge was just as exciting as consuming the food. This was joyfully killing myself. This was also depression. Eating was the way I made myself feel better. It was how I forgot about about a bad day or week or month. While I was consumed by food I could forget how miserable I was with my life. Eating this way gave me pleasure, or at least I tried to convince myself it did. Until I was left alone with empty containers and a too full stomach. Then all my fears about being alone and unloved would surface. Not too long after I would start to eat again.
I was miserable. I was angry. I was tired. I was lonely. I felt unloved ( this despite being very much loved) and no amount of food could ever fill that void. When I became a Christian food was still a struggle because it was something I held onto. After all it was my security and how could I let that go? You know what is wonderful and scary about God? That sometimes He pulls us out of our comfort zone (no matter how hard we try to resist) in order to grow us in the way we should be in our relationship with Him. As I mentioned previously, I went through a period when money was so tight I could not afford to go through the drive thru or buy as much junk food. I had to be careful how I ate in order to have enough food for each day.
Through this time I turned to God as I had never before. I started to grow in my relationship with Him. I surrendered this to Him, finally letting go of my firm grasp of a terrible thing. Slowly my need for food in this way began to abate. I began to fill myself with God’s Word instead of empty calories. In letting go, I became free to live the life I was always meant to live.
That is not to say that I no longer have these tendencies. They are however few and far between. I enjoy eating in a different way, in a far healthier way. I see food more as a source of fuel than something to consume myself. I know when to stop, I understand better what triggers a need to binge for me. Exercise helps tremendously, often after a bad day I crave going for a run instead of stuffing my face.
By the time I began going to the park, I had not binged in over a year. I was ready to let go of the fat girl. I was ready to let go of hiding behind food.
Let me add I did not seek counseling for this and this is my personal story. God worked this out in me. Truly I can say this, He worked this out of me. Turning to Him is what healed me. Please if you are reading this and struggling with depression and or food issues ( because really they are tied together are they not?) Please seek help in your local community. You are worth it and deserve to heal.
If you are in Miami, Fl and need help you can contact a Christian counseling center through their churches website http://www.cfmiami.org
For those not in Miami here are a few links to seek help hopeline.com/gethelpnow.html Hope Line Resources nationaleathingdisorders.org- National Eating Disorders Association http://www.twohla.com/find-help – To Write on her Arms With Love
*This is my personal story, how I have dealt with this issue. If you are suffering from an eating disorder please seek help from a professional.