“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” – Overused quote from Lao Tzu but what the heck; it’s still really good
I have been binging off and on since March after having more than 15 years of what’s called “abstinence” in the twelve-step world.
“Abstinence” refers to “abstaining from compulsive eating,” which is the food equivalent of an alcoholic being “sober” from alcohol. Compulsive eating is viewed as a disease, and the treatment is to remove your personal binge foods from your food plan.
After being overweight all my life, I lost 100 pounds and kept it off for 13 years.
I honestly never thought I’d binge again.
My abstinence consisted of a weighed-and-measured, sugar- and flour-free food plan that had comfortably survived being a full-time student, embarking on a career, dating and eventually getting married, and then the trauma of divorce a decade later.
None of these things caused me to binge. What led to my downfall was leaving my program behind. I stopped going to meetings, eating what I committed, making phone calls and just basically let the disease convince me I was a “normal eater.”
My first compulsive bite started innocuously enough: I was eating lunch and decided that I could just finish what was left in the bag of dried apples in the fridge. I ate the apples, and then an entire bag of almonds.
A few days later, I started to binge on “healthy food” such as whole-grain cereals and fruit-and-nut bars. That lasted about a week.
Then I hit the sugar and that’s when my life turned hellish.
My binges are severe.
In the eight months that I’ve been bingeing, I have often considered suicide.
I eat until I am too sick to breathe and have spent many nights lying on floor of my apartment rather than my bed since it’s easier to breathe on a hard surface.
I have lied to my friends about why I can’t show up, called in sick to work, and traded in my cute size six clothes for large, shapeless muumuus that I order from Amazon.
Fortunately when I started the decent into compulsive overeating hell, I’d been an avid exerciser for years and, even though I’ve kept moving, I haven’t been able to out-exercise my binges, during which I ingest literally thousands of calories.
I’ve gained 20 pounds, mostly around my middle, and I can feel every last one of them.
I’m staying focused.
Even though I hate the extra weight, I am staying focused on recovery, not bingeing one day at a time. The weight will take care of itself.
And, hopefully, when I once again see my goal weight on the scale, I’ll have learned a few things along the way.
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