Why so serious?

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.

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4 thoughts on “Why so serious?

  1. I totally get the binge issue. Glad you managed to control how often you do it… once in awhile isn’t the end of the world and I think everyone does it.

  2. Thank you for posting on this topic Andrea. There is a lot of glamorization and attention by the media on certain “desirable” eating disorders but very few people go into detail of what binge eating entails. I feel like the majority of people, myself included, don’t quite understand the difference between binge eating as a disorder and the more common junk-food binge that we all partake in at some point. It’s like comparing anorexia and a diet and saying they’re the same thing. Thank you for shining an inspiring and very real light on the issue.

    • Thanks so much, Britt! And thank you for reading my blog. I hope that we start to hear more about binge eating disorder in the future, because it affects so many people and is often glossed over when the media talks about eating disorders.

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