Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Overcoming Eating Disorders

Some of my followers might be surprised to learn that I've struggled with eating disorders over the years.  Some won't be.  Mostly I've dealt with binge eating disorder, but had a struggle with anorexia then bulimic behavior in high school.  And then the restrictive diets, like South Beach, or Weight Watchers, or anything else low-cal, or low-carb, or whatever ... Those restrictions led to more binging.  The carbohydrate addicts diet promoted "limited" binging.  (Incidentally, I think that should be spelled bingeing, but most of the eating disorder people I know spell it binging and that is how some spell checks recognize it, but I think that would be pronounced like ringing ... but for convention's sake, I am spelling it binging.  oooo.  Maybe it's like cringing.  That is making my OCD a little happier.)  I digress.  My metabolism has been all sorts of screwed up from this behavior.  

Anyway.  I've been learning about disordered thinking when it relates to food.  Just one example I recently posted on a forum:  "I make amazing raspberry jam.  We have several half pints I made last fall.  But I never let myself eat it.  Because it's full of sugar!  But I'll eat a bag of candy without thinking twice.  WTH?  I just made myself two pieces of toast with white bread, TYVM, added butter and raspberry jam, and am rather enjoying myself.  Sometimes, the extent of my disordered thinking really hits me upside the head."

And you know what?  My 3-year-old had to help me finish the toast.  She would rather have white milk than chocolate, fruit over candy, and water over juice.  And she loved the jam.  She is perfect just how she is, and I'd like to keep it that way.  Which means *I* need to get my head on straight.

Over the last 7-8 months, I have given myself permission to eat whatever I want.  Without guilt.  Without punishing myself.  Without feeling like crap mentally because I ate a pound of chocolate, but paying attention to how I felt physically.  (A pound of chocolate in one sitting is not on my list of things to do again.)  Several months into the process, I found  Amber (go kaleo) discusses eating disorders and disordered thinking, and I've been learning more and more about myself as time goes on.

If, while reading this, you think that me eating whatever I want means all I eat is junk food, that is because you think that all YOU would eat is junk food if you didn't restrict yourself.  And if you think that, at the very least, you have disordered thinking, but more than likely?  You have an eating disorder.  (And there's the elephant in the room.)

Since I started this path and got a month or two into it, I have been eating more veggies.  I am enjoying salads and veggies again, for their own sake, not because I am "supposed" to eat them.  I eat more fruit.  I eat quality ice cream.  I eat lean proteins, fatty proteins, nuts, avocados, pasta, rice, and whatever else my body needs that day.  I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm satisfied.  I'm not binging anymore.  I'm not crashing from blood sugar problems anymore.  I'm not exhausted all the time.  Oh yeah, I'm sleeping better.  I yell less.  My skin has cleared up.  My hair is healthier.  My workouts are AWESOME.  I'm lifting heavier, walking farther, and feel a swagger in my step.  I'm making more milk than the baby is currently drinking -- that's a new sort of problem I haven't had before.

In addition, last week, I found a package of Oreos in the pantry that was open and only 1/3 gone.  I wasn't the one who opened the package and I didn't eat the ones that were gone.  I also didn't finish off the package, just because it was open.  (They don't love my stomach, but I used to binge on them regularly anyway because they are tasty.)  I found a package of Kit Kat minis that was mostly full and had been that way for about a month.  There are a few cartons of ice cream in my freezer that I have not touched.  There is an open bag of corn chips in the pantry and a mostly full jar of queso in the fridge.  Not because I am not supposed to eat any of this stuff, but I have taken my power back from the food -- if I want it, I will eat it, and my body will let me know when it's enough.  And if I don't want it, I don't have to eat it and, more than likely, I won't.

p.s.  Outside of my religious convictions and food intolerances, the *only* food item I will restrict ever again is soda because it is really not good for us, and I feel so much better without it.  Josh at posted a good entry on that not too long ago.  Highly recommend it.


SanDee said...

I've been reading some of these posts you've shared and they've really struck a cord with me too...glad to see that its working for you!

Michayle said...

First, I am so sad you have struggled with eating disorders! I do think you're right that in some way or another all of us have some disordered thinking when it comes to food. I am so glad that this method is working for you. Years ago my mom talked to me about the concept of adding to your diet instead of taking away. Like making sure you have those healthy nuts around when you want them and eventually most of the junk gets crowded out. I, too, binge a lot on sweets. I feel like gestational diabetes was such a blessing to me in that it taught me to think about what I was eating and I realized that on the diet outlined, I was usually very satisfied. Also, it had a plan for me to eat every 2-3 hours. So, if I felt a little munchy I could just remind myself that, yes, I would eat again and it was usually all I needed to wait. I agree that I also feel so much better when I eating filling and satisfying foods. Last weekend we had a party for my daughter and I made cupcakes. And you know, I don't miss them! I felt pretty bogged down as a result, with heartburn and just general feelings of yuck! The hard thing for me is doing all the veggie prep so that its there when I want it. I have always preferred fruit to any other dessert, but that means I have to buy it and eat it before it goes bad. I'm not always good at that. Anyway, sorry this is so long, but I appreciate you sharing. Its really interesting to hear how other people think and feel about food.