Eating Disorder & My Journey
I know I speak about my eating disorder, but I never get into too much detail. I always get asked, What was your experience or symptoms? What disorder do you have? Today I'm going to talk about Bulimia with a side of B.E.D. No, not that comfy place you lay your head at night. Binge Eating Disorder is commonly known as B.E.D. Though my main symptoms were always Bulimia I did have B.E.D. symptoms as well. Eating disorders are commonly compared to alcoholism and drug abuse in one may lead to the other. With eating disorders it is very common to have more than one symptom, but one will outweigh the other. I am recovering from a combo of two: B.E.D. and Bulimia. I'm not a doctor, but what I can do is bring awareness of my experience, my diagnosis and some facts that you may not know about these disorders.
What is B.E.D.?
B.E.D. is the most common eating disorder among US adults and is is far more than just "overeating." There are many symptoms of B.E.D. that others may not know or understand. In this disorder some may feel symptoms of losing control, hiding food, eating in private, embarrassed by eating and so much more. First we will talk facts, then I'll talk my experience and issues I am still confronted with on a regular basis.
B.E.D. is far less common than overeating and far more severe. Most people may "overeat" during that holiday meal, after a break up, during a party or night out with friends. The amount of food may be excessive from a regular meal, but it not considered binge eating. That is simply more about indulging for the moment. Binge eating is regularly eating far more and feeling very upset about it. It can mean making excuses of why it is okay to eat now and what you can do to fix it later. It is a feeling of being out of control during and then very depressed after.
Binge eating disorder can affect adults of all sizes including normal-weight, overweight, and obese.
What is Bulimia?
Bulimia is an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. The bulimic uses excess food to numb pain, but this emotion is short lived because the fear of gaining weight and getting rid of the food is very powerful. Some people vomit, some exercise to extremes, or take laxatives hoping to get the excess calories out of the body as quickly as possible. Bulimics who use laxatives believe that they can prevent their bodies from absorbing food by fast elimination. The truth is nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, and laxatives work mainly in the large intestine. The only weight a person “loses” with a laxative is water.
I am recovering, but I can say these thoughts do haunt me every now and again to go back to my old "easy" ways. I also struggle with what I see in the mirror as it is never what others visually see. I know you always see my smiling face and fun photos on social media so when I'm having a great day and proud of how far I come! It took me years to even be able to get back into the gym, walk down the medicine isles in the grocery store or control my emotional eating.
My story started with struggling with weight as a child. I went up and down in weight and always wanted to "look better." I continued my struggle as a teenager and young adult. In college, I was the party girl so most of my diet consisted of Ramon noodles, alcohol and cafeteria food. I did workout and went through stages of dipping and dabbing in over the counter diet pills, really working out to not.
After college, I moved down to Atlanta where I was alone in the city. I was on a mission to be a better me, but I'm not sure I was doing it the best way. I quickly started working out which became addictive. I was dating a guy who lived in Los Angeles who I always felt the need to fit in the "Skinny Girl" vibe when out in the west coast. I started heavily getting into diet pills.
Wow, as I'm writing this blog I'm starting to get anxiety and my heart is racing thinking of the adrenaline rush I used to get because I had to keep trying more pills, getting smaller and so forth. Until I had encouraging words tell me, "You'll be fine. Your words will inspire!"
I started to see quick results from the diet pills and working out, but I wanted more which is where not eating and laxatives came into play. I would be out and about in the city and my new diet was party, workout, go to work, workout, party. I became obsessed with new ways to get smaller quicker. Those new ways turned into not eating. I could go days without eating. I may go out and party and then binge eat at night and take a bunch of laxatives the next few days to "get rid" of the food in my body. In my head, this seemed like a good idea! If I eat all this food, I will just take laxatives and it will be gone. Clearly, NOT a good idea. Because of all the skipped meals I would feel bad if I ate anything. Friends would "make fun" of me for not being hungry, I never eat when we go out or even say, "so what you just going to eat an apple today again." Though those things were funny and I brushed them off, but no one knew what I was really plotting in my head. The water, lemon, syrup and cayenne pepper diet was my best friend for a few months.
It all started to catch up to me. The diet pills, not eating and laxatives started to do a toll on my body. I started to get severe headaches and stomach pains. This lead to a few visits to the ER and even a doctor visit while my mom came down to Atlanta. Things were spiraling out of my control. My body was slowly declining from all the damage I was doing without even knowing. I was so set in my ways thinking everything was okay. My migraines became cluster headaches and I had to see a Neurologist on a regular basis. I was put on daily medication to control them. I had to seek help with a Therapist to sort out my disorders. I had to learn a new way of life without diet pills. I stopped going to the gym in fear of starting back my pattern. I was in a better place for a few months until the weight started to come back on.
When the weight started to come back on is when things went backwards. I started stressing and couldn't get myself back in the gym consistently. Every time I would start back in the gym my thoughts came back and I would quit in fear. I started hiding eating and feeling ashamed for eating ANYTHING. I would eat in the car, hide food, buy a bunch of fast food and then throw it up or take laxative tea. For some reason in my head because it was tea it was better than pills. I would barely eat in front of anyone and if I was having a bad day there was definitely a binge going to take place.
This took place for several months. I always felt pressure to be and do better. I see something different in the mirror, compared to what others see. Things started to get better as I went back to my Therapist and after another run in to the ER for stomach issues. I was gaining weight, but not binge eating as much. It was still happening, but not as severe. I wanted to do better and be better, but I just could not get consistent. I kept this secret for many years. I started to speak out to friends and family and felt a little weight off of my shoulders and I had a support system. Though it was never easy to tell anyone or have them understand what was going on in my head it helped to have a listening ear to try. It's hard to grasp the fact that I know things are wrong, but when you are in "the zone" is what I like to call it, nothing and reality doesn't exist.
So let's fast forward to the past 2 years. I've had such an amazing support to help me get back in the gym and work out with me and keep me motivated. Special thank you, as much as I don't tell you enough without you I wouldn't be consistent. I've changed my way of thinking when it comes to food and haven't touched a diet pill in over 3 years. I have slipped up a few times with laxative tea and binge eating the past 2 years, but it was never consistent.
My big proud moments are in times of stress or pain I don't binge! I used to go late night and just buy a bunch of food and then eat it all and then throw up or take laxatives when I was upset or feeling down. I can say I now stick to eating healthy and don't rush to harm my body. I research food and fitness and that keeps me motivated to have a healthy mind, body and soul.
I get excited about fighting my urges and celebrate my successes now. I get happy when I tell family and friends and they are proud of my accomplishments because they know my struggle. It has been 9 months of feeling good and freedom after so many years of struggling. I stay consistent and am proud of the new body and lifestyle I have created and will continue. From February 2016 until now I have been on warrior mode. I've lost over 25 lbs and 28 inches off my entire body and those numbers are growing. I set weekly and monthly health goals. My support system encourages me to not give up and I have an awesome trainer duo (Mike and Ceci of Team Trainhard, my shameless plug) I work out with weekly to give me that extra kick in the behind. I weigh in and keep my measurements weekly. I take photos as well to see my progress. I don't always see "me" in the mirror so that can hinder my thoughts sometimes. The progress is so amazing, and for once I'm proud of me and not ashamed. It may be slow, BUT I feel so amazing and better than ever.
I'm glad I was able to share my struggles and make it to today and celebrate my victories. It has not been an easy road by far and the one ahead is not easier. I'm no longer on daily medicine, I'm focused and on a new inspiring path. I'm excited to share my knowledge and start up my own personal group training once I'm certified at the start of 2017. Just wait, so much in store! Thank you so much for listening and following my journey. If I can help or inspire just one person, that is all I can ask for! Remember, Think Health!
If you or anyone you know has any symptoms of an eating disorder it is so important to talk to them and seek help. Contact National Eating Disorder Association toll free, confidential Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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