Now, how do I say this? I sometimes miss binge eating. Yes, as horrible as it was at times, there must have been something positive in it for me to miss. Maybe it was the complete release of all tension, maybe the excitement of doing something ‘bad’ or the numbing of emotions, or just the taste and texture of my favourite food.
Life is much better without binge eating or the constant fear of binge eating. I am no longer afraid of having nothing to do, or of food in the house or in shops or restaurants. I feel free, and excited to buy and eat all the delicious things I want, without guilt. My body tells me what it wants and I enjoy food and then feel satisfied and stop, because eating more would make me feel uncomfortable. The food just isn’t appealing anymore once I’ve had enough. If I do eat a lot and feel very full, I don’t feel hungry on the next day. It seems like a miracle to me that my body can regulate itself.
But sometimes, I catch myself fantasizing about binge eating and feeling the old, disordered excitement, and then I notice that I don’t feel hungry and that binge eating would make me feel sick, and there is a real disappointment.
Still, this is so much better than the alternative! I am still doubtful about calling myself ‘recovered’, because I fear that it’s just a phase and I might fall back into it. But on the other hand, I have come so far and have been learning so much, slowly, for over a year. Reading about and exploring and experiencing this eating disorder, the way it is connected to EVERYTHING, working hard on myself, my inside. I have grown. Could I really go back?
There was a time when I felt pretty free with food, seldom binged, and maintained my weight. That weight, however, was 300 pounds. Otherwise, I was numb and unconscious in many aspects and scared of life. Then I began to lose weight and slid into a few quite extreme phases of dieting, alternated with phases of binge eating and re-gaining weight. Since reaching my goal weight and a phase of maintenance (with very disordered methods and very little life beside it), the ups and downs were less extreme. Now, I have not been dieting and haven’t really binged for over two months and my weight maintains itself around 80 kg. I kind of eased into it without a conscious decision, with a combination of eating more and moving less, just because I was exhausted from the constant struggle……
Everybody said you had to stop dieting and trying to control your body to get rid of binge eating, but I was too afraid and too attached to my ideal to give it a try. There are still ideals, and I still often think thin means good and fat means bad, and that everything would be better if I was thinner, especially ballet, exercise and my relationship with Tom. The thinner I was, the more confidence I had. It’s really very hard to not hate myself for the way my body looks. But there is a part in me that hates this mindset. IT ISN’T TRUE! And it’s unfair! A few pounds of fat more or less beneath my skin don’t make me a different person. And as I said, I could lose weight if I wanted to. I may want to do it again in the future. But at the moment, I feel exhausted from dieting for years and value my newfound peace and freedom more than a thinner body.
Still, when I feel sad now, I may overeat, then feel horrible. But because I am more in tune with my body and emotions, I stop eating much sooner than I used to because it just feels horrible. At the same time, the comfort and numbing effect don’t last half as long and I am left with my feelings and HAVE to face them. I suppose that’s normal and healthy and better for me in the long run, but so uncomfortable!
The next day: I am acutely unhappy today. My impulse is to say I’m ill and stay home and hide, but that wouldn’t help much. I might binge, then feel even worse because of that, and still the underlying sadness would remain. I also didn’t want to be weak in front of Tom. Tom is so sweet. He noticed I wasn’t feeling very well and wants to help me and comforts me. I feel that I don’t deserve his love, not even his respect, because I am a bad person, weak and greedy and lazy and ugly.
I binged yesterday. I had the urge, ate more, still had the urge, then binged a little before and after dinner. Yes, it wasn’t as much as it used to be, but more than I had eaten for a long time. Now all my fear and self-hatred and worries are back. I feel as if I could no longer trust my body, I fear gaining even more weight. Already I feel shy to be close to Tom, especially in intimate ways. I feel repulsive and my confidence is gone. Everything is back! I had thought I had made progress and been so happy to have miraculously found peace, but it’s gone. It might come back, no idea, but I feel anxious and sad.