Here is a story from a woman who had a binge eating problem. I asked her to write down what went through her mind when she thought about binge eating, and I didn’t expect this to be her response. If you have a binge eating problem, I encourage you to read this, because to “write yourself out” like this is a good first step to be able to deal with compulsive eating.
I can’t stop binge eating. Although many people have eating disorders, there is still a lot of stigma associated with them, and binge eating is at the top of the list.
I am not thin or in danger of dying from the complications of undereating like an anorexic, and I am not ruining my teeth, mouth and esophagus like a bulimic, but I am harming myself.
Having a binge eating problem is embarrassing and has many effects on my physical and mental health.
First of all, I have trouble staying away from food. Like most binge eaters, my binging embarrasses me, but I still have trouble staying away from food in public. At the fast food drive thru, I don’t just ask for the large size value meal, I ask for two of them. I hope they think I have someone I am taking food to at home.
At a buffet, I just can’t stop. At a party, you’ll find me hovering near the food table, trying to make it look like I am eating less than I really am.
Not only does this affect my social life, it also affects my pocketbook. Food costs money, and I eat more than my fair share. Next, it affects my physical health.
I am obese. To be even more honest, I am really, really fat. There is no other way to say it. I keep eating, and I keep gaining weight. Now, I really don’t want to gain weight.
I want to lose weight and be thin. I hate not being able to find attractive clothing in my size, but the food calls. It is a compulsion.
It fills me up and makes me feel safe.
I need the food to stay sane.
I don’t know what I could possibly substitute for the things food gives me. My doctor says I need to lose weight. She doesn’t know about my problem, she doesn’t know I can’t stop binge eating. She does say eat less and exercise. To me, it is not that easy. I can’t quit eating cold turkey, and if I have to eat, I don’t know when to stop.
Perhaps the worst part of the binge eating is how it makes me feel. It is certainly a contradiction, but this is the truth. Food makes me feel safe, and at the same time, it terrifies me. Food is my best friend and also my enemy.
When I am eating, it feels so good! The food feels good in my mouth and in my stomach.
It makes me feel warm and taken care of. After I eat, I am consumed by guilt.
I know binge eating is wrong, and I make a commitment to myself not to ever do it again. As the guilt worsens or weakness hits, I do binge again, and the cycle asserts itself.
I eat first thing when I get up in the morning. I eat a lot. I eat when I am out and about. I eat while I do my daily work. I eat on breaks. I eat huge dinners.
I eat non-stop while using the computer and while watching TV. I even keep snacks on my body and eat while attempting to exercise. I eat in the evenings, and I get up in the middle of the night to eat. I am hooked on food, and it is not good.
I know I need help, but the stigma makes it difficult to reach out for support, and so I’m frustrated because I feel I can’t stop binge eating.