This is going to be a deep dive into my experience with binge eating and how it’s become worse for me to handle than my alcoholism.
I have been suffering with eating disorders my whole life. They started when I was around 11 or so, but not like they normally start. I’ll go into that more later.
But I’ve only been dealing with binge eating for the past 5 years or so. I used to be one who restricted and restricted badly. So binge eating is the complete opposite of what I was used to.
This turned my life upside down.
I’ve been dealing with alcoholism since college, but it wasn’t until 2014 when I hit my lowest of lows that I stopped drinking altogether.
This is my story.
In the Beginning
I started off with restriction. It originally wasn’t due to body dysmorphia, but that wiggled its way in later.
When I was younger my parents used to fight. A lot.
I did what any kind would do and hide in their bedroom, refusing to go anywhere near the arguments. This lead to missing meals because I was too afraid to go downstairs to where the food was. I would live off of the candy I kept hidden in a travel bag that I took on vacation trips with my toys and video games. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
This is how the restriction started. It started because I became comfortable with the feeling of hunger. Soon after, I started not feeling hungry at all. Each meal was something I ate because I had to, not because I was hungry.
The body dysmorphia didn’t I was more into puberty around 12 or so.
I was a chubby kid.
I was a premature child so I assume my parents did everything they could to fatten me up so I would never be as tiny as I once was. I don’t think that was their main goal, they just wanted me to eat enough, and it turned into over eating.
I hated that I was a chubby kid. I had to go to the “plus size” section of the kid’s section, and sometimes my dad would even bring me to the guy’s section because they had a bigger section of pants for “plus” kids.
I always dreamed of being skinnier because I really was a pudgy kid. That I can look back into pictures and verify for myself, it wasn’t something just in my head. I never wore jeans because they weren’t comfortable. So I constantly wore sweats and stretch pants. Something I have in common with my current life.
My restriction didn’t really get bad until high school.
By then I had been accustomed to not eating, to not being hungry, so I was able to get away with eating smaller amounts of food.
I think I was at my lightest my senior year of high school.
Part of my broken brain wants to go back to that. I wish I had appreciated how I looked back then, because I sure as hell have a battle to get back to anywhere near there.
It wasn’t until after college that the binge eating started.
It started out simple, I wasn’t eating much still, so I started snacking. And snacking… and more snacking…
It got to the point where I wasn’t eating meals and just snacking all the time.
Somewhere along the way I started gaining weight.
I think that wasn’t until after I was let go from my first job. I only say that because at my first job I was standing for 7.5 hours a day, and for 45 minutes near the end of the work day I was walking to and from the post office on the daily. I was getting enough exercise to counter any of the snacking I was doing.
And there wasn’t much time to snack at work. So things were kept in check.
Once I was let go, I had all the time in the world to do what I want. I mean, you can only apply to so many jobs with little experience before you start eating away your feelings.
I went from being a normal BMI to overweight, and now, I’m much more than that.
I know I don’t look it, at least, I don’t think I look as big as I feel. My extremities tend to stay child-like so I only gain weight in my mid section. So it throws people off.
Binge Eating vs Alcoholism
I don’t remember my first binge, but I do remember when things clicked with me about what was really going on.
I would get cravings. I used to get them occasionally, maybe once every few months, which isn’t so bad.
But these were coming more often, and for less and less healthy food.
And when these cravings hit, nothing was stopping them. I mean, nothing.
I could do whatever I wanted, these cravings weren’t going away until I gave in.
So I did.
And I did again.
Until one day I stepped on a scale at a doctor’s appointment and it read 140lbs.
I was in complete shock.
At that point in my life, that was the heaviest I had ever been and I was determined to get to the bottom of this. I was determined to get back to a normal weight. At that point I was teetering at the line of a healthy BMI. I’m only 5’1 so weighing that much was too much for me.
And with the pandemic and having to stay home all the time, it hasn’t done anything but get worse.
I’m eating my feelings and the cravings aren’t going away.
When I say that binge cravings are worse than alcoholic cravings, they are.
It’s so simple when you have a craving for alcohol, you don’t need that in your life if you don’t want it. Walking into a liquor store still makes me uneasy, so it’s less of a pain to not have alcohol in my life.
But with food, it’s different.
You need food to live. You need to eat every day. It’s so hard to make sure you’re not eating more than you should.
Right now, the only thing that works to some degree is not buying the products to binge on. But, if it gets really bad, it doesn’t matter what time of night it is, I will go out and find something to binge on.
When I was dealing with the worst of my alcoholic cravings, it was right after I hit my low point. I was trying to deal with the idea of wanting to drink away the pain, but also knowing that drinking is what got me into the situation in the first place.
But as the days went on it got a little bit easier. I didn’t go to bars, or liquor stores, and I avoided the alcohol aisle in the super market.
The days turned into weeks, and then months, and then years. Now, the only time I have issues with cravings is when I have extreme emotional situations. But I have a support network that I can rely on and they can talk me out of it if it comes down it that.
But with food, it’s something you have to see and deal with every day. Imagine if you had to have beer every day, but you couldn’t over indulge or it would make you go straight off the deep end.
That’s what food binge cravings are to me.
It’s worse than being an alcoholic and I wish I could get over this in a snap. But it takes time, and I struggle with this every day. I hope one day I can get myself out of this cycle, but right now I’m stuck in the middle of it.
Do you have a binge eating disorder? How have you found ways to get out of that mindset? Let me know in the comments!
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