Weighty Matters is a series dedicated to open and honest conversations about insecurities, negative thoughts, and other things that hold us back.
A couple weeks ago, there were several people on Instagram that were very openly sharing their struggles with binge eating. I watched those videos, shed some tears, and did some reflection of my own.
I vividly remember the first time I ever read anything about binge eating. It was more than five years ago, in a post by a plus-sized blogger that I still follow to this day. My first thought was to brush it off and scoff. I remember thinking it wasn’t a real thing, not an actual disorder. It was just overeating or a lack of self-control.
I was in complete and total denial.
I didn’t want to accept that binge eating was an issue because I could see so many of those behaviors in myself. This is probably one of the reasons I failed at keto the first time–I wasn’t dealing with the real issues.
Being overweight is just a symptom. It’s not the true problem.
It’s really hard for me to admit that I have a problem, that my relationship with food is likely to be a lifelong struggle.
Eating in secret is probably the biggest binge issue for me. I travel a lot for work and it’s so easy to hole up in a hotel room and devour a pint of ice cream, an entire package of gluten free cookies, or an oversized bag of potato chips–sometimes all of those and more. Even alone, I felt embarrassed and ashamed even when I was doing this, yet I couldn’t stop the compulsion or the behavior.
Storing lots of snacks in my desk drawer at the office was also a problem. The office is another great place to secretly indulge. I’d go to the grocery store and load up, sneaking bags of food inside. There was one cashier that I would avoid because I felt like she was judging me and my choices. After all, how can you justify $30 worth of junk food at 10am on a Tuesday?
Sometimes I’d go to multiple stores, thinking I could spread my purchases out to be less noticeable. Clearance candy was my kryptonite.
I don’t know if any of those cashiers noticed my shopping habits or even cared, but it seemed like I could feel their disapproval. That was enough to bring on even more shame and embarrassment, which led to even more dysfunctional eating.
The destructive thinking is also a component that is hard to control. I’d stand at the register with a face red from embarrassment, palms damp from nervousness, sweating as the cashier rang through my chips and candy and ice cream. In my head, I was sure I knew what she was thinking. “Look at that fat girl with all that candy. What’s wrong with her? No wonder she’s so fat!” Why wouldn’t she have those thoughts when I was thinking the same things about myself?
It’s difficult for even me to understand why I would engage in those behaviors when I knew how miserable they would make me feel. It’s like no matter how far I fell, nothing could overcome my insatiable need to consume as much food as possible in as little time as possible. All of that sugar would make me feel so nauseous, yet I continued to binge and make myself sick.
I can’t let these bad behaviors get the best of me.