Binge & Emotional Eating
This post isn’t my usual; it doesn’t begin with a problem and end with me sharing something I’ve figured out.
There are no solutions here. It’s simply a real life share. Maybe you can relate? Maybe you can’t.
In any case, I want to talk about my struggles with emotional and binge eating.
As someone who works on helping people gain clarity, it frustrates the fuck out of me that I can’t get to the bottom of my problem with food and consequently my weight. In fact, I’m so far from having it figured it out it’s laughable.
I’ve been a slim size 8-10 and a heavier size 14-16.
I’ve exercised twice a day every single day and I’ve gone months without a single work out.
I’ve tried the Atkins diet, a keto diet, calorie restrictive diets, counted portion sizes, taken caffeine pills and metabolism supplements, juice cleanses, broth cleanses. This list is exhaustive.
I find it difficult to lose weight. And when I do lose weight, I fight hard to maintain it.
Who knows where it began?
It’s been an ongoing struggle for as long as I remember.
I thought it might be bad genes.
Or because I was always told I wasn’t sporty growing up and so didn’t enjoy exercise.
It could’ve been when my Dad thought it was hilarious to snort like a pig when I ate.
Or when I was called “fatty” whenever I would fight with my brothers because they knew it hurt my feelings the most.
I hoarded food when I could as a kid because I was hungry at school. We had simple lunches (a single sandwich) and when we did have a fancier lunch it would get stolen by other kids who had less or no lunch.
It could be cultural as being Maori / Polynesian I was always told I was big boned, I was tall for my age with strong features and felt like I looked different to the other girls I went to school with.
Maybe it's none of these reasons. Regardless, it has wreaked havoc on my life.
The amount of energy I spend thinking about food IS never ending including;
- What I’ve just eaten or what I’m going to eat next.
- Applauding myself or beating myself up.
- Constantly applying willpower to control my eating leaves me feeling exhausted by the end of the day.
- The money I waste on my wardrobe to accommodate my ever-fluctuating weight; the inspirational-one-day-I'll-wear-this outfit, the motivational-lets-do-this outfit and the sad and sorry fuck-it-this-will-do outfit.
- The people I avoid because I don’t want them to see me now vs what I may have looked like in the past
- The social events and activities I put off; having professional photos taken with my son, travelling anywhere that requires minimal clothing or swimwear, exercise.
I have improved in some areas.
I haven’t weighed myself in over a year. This is a win for someone who weighed themselves every morning and every night since they were 12 years old. But it could also be because I’m too scared to.
- I haven’t dieted in over a year. But I also haven’t exercised in over a year.
- I haven’t looked in the mirror and hated my reflection in a year. But I also don’t love how I look either.
So even my "wins", are not really "wins". They are just a more positive spin on my failures.
My weight isn’t actually the problem it’s just the physical manifestation of the poor relationship I have with food.
I emotionally binge eat more often than I care to count; specifically when I’m happy, bored, sad, angry, excited, tired or energised.
Put simply…have emotion - will eat.
I have extreme reactions to food; a sense of urgency to eat “if I don’t eat right now I’m going to die” and difficulty focusing as my thoughts are often consumed by what I have just eaten or what / how / where I will eat next. My hunger is not biased - food is food, I don't discriminate between celery or cake.
I can handle a lot of shit; someone yelling in my face, hard work, a cranky toddler on minimal sleep. But I cannot handle being hungry or sitting with uncomfortable feelings and discomfort around food.
But I'm fucking over it.
I don't want to say no to dinners and lunches because I'm watching what I eat.
I don't want to worry about losing weight before (or after) a holiday or clear my cupboards of temptation.
I don't want to look in my wardrobe and think about what I'm going to wear.
I don't want to avoid candid photo's because the angle is shit.
I don't want to feel embarrassed about my weight or like a loser and failure anymore because after 23 years it's still an everyday problem for me.
There’s no diet here that will help until I do the emotional work.
There’s no spiritual bypass that will work until I dig DEEP within.
There’s no amount of positive thinking that will gloss over my shadow self.
So instead, I'm sending myself lots of love, compassion and courage to unblock, untangle, unprogramme the programming that is standing in the way of a healthy relationship with food and my natural body weight.