Today I wrote about binge eating over at Fitspiration, and I think I had just a little bit more about my own story to work out. Although it is very therapeutic to talk about stuff like this, eating disorders are often misunderstood and carry with them an incredible amount of stigma. I hope by exposing my shame in this way, someone else can feel less alone in his or her own battle.
I can easily re-count for you my last half dozen binges, and if I tried very hard I could probably list each of the good binges of my entire life. Each was so memorable, if nothing else, because of the amount of time I dedicated myself to feeling angry, disappointed, scared, frustrated, and dreadfully ashamed of the incident. I think I want to share a couple of my earliest and/or most formative binges.
When I was in elementary school and my parents were still together, my food supply was pretty controlled. I was allowed to eat and there was always plenty, but the kitchen was only open during meal or snack times. I mentioned here that my weakness is deprivation, and this is where I believe it began. When my parents were not around, I tried to fill up with whatever was available. Of the things that became staples in my emotional eating, brown sugar by the spoonful, buttered and grilled bread (I still count Garlic Bread as being my single most favorite food), my parents’ hidden candy stashes, as well as anything bought in bulk. At one point my brother and I became experts at melting mozzarella, and cooking pepperoni until it was crisp like bacon (…yummmm), because someone purchased 5 pound bags of each at the bulk store and stored them in our freezer.
Fast forward twenty some odd years, and you will find me in Savannah, celebrating an escape from daily life, and you will also find me eating myself sick, literally, all over that town. I could swear there was an addictive drug in all of the food. How could Savannah lettuce taste that much better than Murfreesboro lettuce??? The truth is that I had been depriving myself on the new diet, and was not willing to allow myself any breathing room on that trip. That decision lasted precisely until the first meal was served and stayed gone until I crossed the Tennessee state line to come home.
I have more good days than bad anymore. I try to learn from each episode, to give me a little more armor to protect me from the next trigger. I am not sure if I will ever be free of the eating disorders that plague me, but I am sure that I will not going to let them get the best of me.