Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘healing from eating disorder’

I have shared that I struggled with an eating disorder (binge & compulsive overeating) for most of my life. My weight used to yo-yo by 20-30 lbs. each year. I have been on a bunch of different diets, but nothing ever worked permanently because emotional distress caused me to feel hungry, and eating calmed my emotional distress.

When I was in regular therapy, I was surprised that my therapist was not bothered by the eating disorder. He said it was a symptom of the childhood trauma and that as I healed the trauma, I would let go of the need to binge eat. I found it hard to believe at the time, but he was right. Over the years, I have gradually let go of my need to binge eat to manage my emotions as I developed other, more positive coping strategies.

Despite working out regularly, I still carried ~ 25 extra lbs. I had accepted that this is what my body would always look like. That turned out not to be the case.

As my regular readers know, I have struggled with acid reflux all year. The reflux was so severe that I was unable to eat much for weeks at a time. I felt like an old woman living off of vanilla Ensures and melons because that was about all my stomach could handle. As a result of all of this, I dropped the extra 25 lbs. and have been a “normal” weight for the past couple of months.

I could enumerate the many negative aspects of acid reflux, but one positive aspect has been my inability to turn to food to manage my emotions. The last time I consciously chose to compulsively overeat because I was upset was in June, and I paid dearly for two weeks with painful reflux. Because of the reflux, I have been forced to disconnect managing my emotions from eating over the past eight months. As a result, I have severed the connection, which is something I honestly did not think could happen.

Additionally, my stomach cannot process eating a bunch of junk, so my eating habits have changed. Half of each meal must be something alkaline (a fruit or vegetable), which has forced me eat healthier. Also, overeating kicks off the reflux, so I eat five small snacks/meals a day rather than big meals.

It has taken me a while to mentally process that I am no longer fat. I was the fat girl in middle school and have pretty much worn that hat for most of my life. My life is not magically changed, but it is definitely an adjustment (in a good way).

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I have written before about reading Geneen Roth’s book Women Food and God. Her book does an excellent job of taking something very complicated (binge eating disorder) and making is simple. As I say repeatedly on this blog, “simple” is not the same thing as “easy.” I had a little success with her methods but then got slammed with being sick for several weeks, and it all fell by the wayside.

I was under stress at the beginning of March (what else is new) as I started training for a new job. I kept finding myself compulsively overeating but not getting emotional relief from it. Instead of feeling better, I still felt lousy emotionally and felt sick to my stomach. So, March 7 was the day that I said, “Enough!” and decided to give Geneen Roth’s methods another shot. I have been doing great ever since!

To recap Geneen’s methods, eat when you are hungry, and stop eating when you are no longer hungry. When you are hungry, eat whatever your body wants, and enjoy every mouthful to the fullest. No food is “taboo.” To help you know when you are hungry and not hungry, practice mindfulness – deep breathing to bring yourself back into the present. She has other tips, but these are the ones that really work for me.

Since March 7, I have lost 9 pounds effortlessly. I have done this even though I have eaten ice cream several times, Mexican food, chips, etc. – all foods that I typical avoid when I diet. I find that I actually enjoy the food more and get to eat more frequently. I am eating much smaller portions than I used to by stopping when I am no longer hungry. Then, I get hungry again in 2 or 3 hours and have a snack without any guilt. So, I get to eat more frequently, eat anything I want, and still lose weight. How fabulous is that?

What’s more is that, this time, it’s not about the weight loss (although I am thrilled to see my pants getting looser and looser!). It’s more about balance and no longer being enslaved to binge eating to manage my emotions.

This past month has been a very stressful one for me, and I have had a heck of a time keeping my blog covered. I did not get a “heads up” that training would require 15-20+ hours of work a week. My kid has been sick for some of this time, and his school has been out a lot for Teacher Workdays and such. It has not been good timing for me to have to find an extra 15 hours in my week. This is the kind of thing that has historically resulted in my gaining lots of weight, but I have, instead, been sticking with the program, and it is working!

I know that recovering from an eating disorder is a lifelong process, so I do consider myself “cured” – just “on the wagon” so to speak – a wagon I don’t want to get off of.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

Read Full Post »

Cave (c) Lynda Bernhardt Over the weekend, my family sat for a family portrait. Our church updates its pictorial directory every five years or so. If we will sit for a family portrait, then we receive a free church directory and a free 8 x 10 photo of our family. Considering that we never have family pictures taken, we can thank our church for getting us to actually sit and do this as a family.

I used to hate to get my picture taken. I was always so critical, especially of my weight. I was very self-conscious and felt an enormous amount of self-hate whenever I looked at a picture of myself. I thought I would have these issues again.

When we first signed up for our time slot, I remember calculating how many pounds I could lose before picture day. I do not diet because doing so only fuels my eating disorder. I also do not weigh myself for the same reason. Instead, I try to be loving to my body, which includes maintaining my weight to continue fitting into the same sized clothing.

So, for the first time in … probably ever … I did nothing to prepare for picture day. I fixed my hair and chose a nice shirt, but I did not turn this picture day into something that took on a life of its own. I did not worry about this being the picture that I would be stuck with for the next five years until we have another picture taken.

Instead, I thought about how this picture will be an accurate representation of who I am today. Depending upon where I go tomorrow, the picture could show how much I have improved my body by losing weight, or I might look back and think about how great I looked then compared to now. Regardless of which way it goes, this is who I am today, and I do not need to pretend to be something I am not.

After sitting for the photographer, the three of us got to choose which pose we liked the best. For the first time in … definitely ever … I did not judge my weight. I did not even freak out when the photographer said that we could pay more to touch up our blemishes like our wrinkles. I noticed that I had some crow’s feet in my picture, but I did not care. I told the photographer that we liked our blemishes and would pass on the touch up.

On the drive home, hub was all freaked about how “old” he looked, but I was completely okay. I am still okay, and that is amazing for me. This is one of those moments where I can celebrate how far I have come. What my body looks like is not the same thing as who I am. While I love and care for my body, it is just a body. My body does not define me.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »