When I started this blog, my intention was to write about the humourous side of losing weight, while helping to hold myself accountable. So if you’re expecting my usual snarky (I like to think of it as witty) commentary, you may be disappointed with this post. It’s a little more serious in tone because it addresses some of the major food issues that have plagued me for so long.
Back in the merry old land of high school, I had a love/hate relationship with food. I loved food (I am Ukrainian, after all) but hated what it did to my body. So, for a bit, I didn’t eat breakfast, had only a few bites of lunch, then a tiny morsel at dinner. I even experimented with bulimia (thankfully, that only lasted a few days — don’t worry, Mom!).
When the weight started piling on after high school (mad props to laziness and a busy university schedule), I zoomed to the opposite end of the spectrum: I started to binge eat. I’m fairly open about my long-time struggles with depression and an anxiety disorder. To this day, I think my emotional issues weighed heavily (pun intended) on my binge eating.
Until now, I haven’t told anyone about my binge-eating episodes. It’s hard enough being the fat friend without having to explain what it’s like to go into a trance-like state, mindlessly shoving food into your mouth until you actually feel sick to your stomach or even throw up. According to the Mayo Clinic, binge eating disorder symptoms include the following:
- Eating unusually large amounts of food
- Eating even when you’re full or not hungry
- Eating rapidly during binge episodes
- Eating until you’re uncomfortably full
- Frequently eating alone
- Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
- Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty or upset about your eating
- Experiencing depression and anxiety
- Feeling isolated and having difficulty talking about your feelings
- Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss
- Losing and gaining weight repeatedly, also called yo-yo dieting
Looking at that list, I can safely say that every single one of those items applied to me, with the exception of the last one. (Other than my 40-pound weight loss a few years ago and subsequent re-gain, I really haven’t yo-yo dieted.)
The binges would usually start pretty innocently. I’d have a craving for carbs (as girls do) but instead of doing the logical thing and having a piece of toast or a muffin, I’d have four pieces of bread. With Cheez Whiz. Then, I’d move onto the half-empty bag of chips sitting in my pantry. Next, I’d eat three-quarters of a bag of cookies and two bowls of cereal. And so it would continue for one or two (or sometimes more) hours…
It’s hard to describe binge eating to someone who has never dealt with anything like it: I would just zone out, gorging on food, without even paying attention to the way anything tasted. Next thing I knew, I’d have consumed the caloric equivalent of 20 Big Mac meals. Ew.
For the last year or so, I’ve been doing a lot better. With the exception of the odd panic attack or blue day, my depression and anxiety have been almost non-existent. Not-so-coincidentally, my binge-eating episodes have nearly stopped, too. I’m still guilty of doing the whole “mindless eating” thing once in a while, but it’s nothing in comparison. More like binge eating’s ugly step-cousin.
And there you have it: my first (and probably only) serious post on Reducing Waist.