Just writing that title is making me anxious. I’ve wanted to write this for a while but have kept putting it off. I know, or hope, I can help a lot of people by talking about my experiences. But at the same time they’re not experiences that many are aware of so putting it online for the world to see is a little [very] daunting to me. A Binge Eating Disorder is something that has affected me for many many years. Yet I feel like it took hitting “rock bottom” only very recently for me to realise how much of a problem it had become. A point that I hope this article stops my readers getting to. And a point I hope never to return to.
My first memories of my Binge Eating Disorder was when I was around 13 or 14 and started earning my own money. As much as I wanted to [and did] spend this money on clothes, shoes, make-up, I also spent a fair bit on sweets, crisps etc. And I know you’re all thinking “that is what we all do when we start earning money” – thinking back, the extent of it really wasn’t normal. I’m not going to go into much detail about all those years ago as my memories are quite faded. Instead I want to talk about my recent experiences as I finally feel like I’m coming out of the other side of this. My mindset has changed so much. I am motivated and determined.
I’ve always been a slimmer person. My “average” weight is a little below 9 stone. So it was hard for people to understand how this disorder was affecting me, even to those closest to me. Even now, after speaking out about it I’ve genuinely had people say to me “you’re not fat so it’s obviously not much of a problem” and right now, I bet a lot of you are thinking this too.
So let me tell you about my eating habits – my unhealthy relationship with food. This year was going to be the year I got “the body of my dreams” and honestly? The harder I pushed, the more weight I put on. My body image, my self-worth, my confidence was awful. It went as far as cancelling my summer holiday abroad because I couldn’t think of anything worse than wearing a bikini, or even shorts. I wore jumpers and blazers throughout the entire summer because I hated my arms. I covered up every part of my body I could. My skin was spotty, my hair was dry, my nails were brittle. The more depressed I got about my body image, the more I binged. That’s probably hard to contemplate, but if you’re also struggling with this, you’ll know exactly what I was going through at that time.
This summer was when “rock bottom” happened. It went as far as eating 7 packets of crisps in a row. Or 6 chocolate bars. Sneaking downstairs for an ice cream at midnight. Eating an entire pack of muffins at my desk. Binging in my car so no one would know. And do you know how I’d counteract those binges? I’d end up starving myself to make up for “all those extra calories”. But there was only a certain amount of time this could work for. Over time, the binges got worse, and far more regular, and I couldn’t keep the weight off. However hard I tried. I’d put on over a stone. This is when “rock bottom” happened. And when I realised I needed help.
But that realisation triggered something in me. Asking for help made me realise my problem. How far it had got. How far it was going to go if I didn’t do something about it. In the end the only person that was going to help me was myself. It just took me a long time to realise that. These tweets were where it began.
Has anyone sought medical help for a binge eating disorder? I’d love a little advice or support ❤️
— Ami Rose ? (@AmiRoseBlog) 8 September 2017
As much as I’m struggling. Looking back at this has made me prouder than ever. 32 days and still powering through. Still hard though.
— Ami Rose ? (@AmiRoseBlog) 10 October 2017
To begin with, I struggled daily. Tweeting about my accomplishments, about going that “one more day” without a binge. Food was an addiction for me. A comfort. And it was so hard to give that up but I knew I had to. I spent some time researching Binge Eating Disorders and what it could do to my health in the long haul. Health problems can include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. I knew I had to do something about it.
I made a point of having a big breakfast in the morning. At first I hated it. I couldn’t think of anything worse than eating first thing in the morning. But now I go to sleep dreaming of the breakfast I’m going to have when I wake up. Having a big breakfast meant that I’d stay full until lunchtime and not be tempted to snack. I was then eating hearty, carb filled lunches such as sweet potato soup which would release energy slowly throughout the day. It was always the afternoons I’d find the most difficult – which saw me diving into the “treats” box at work. Muffins, sweets, crisps, chocolate. I decided to make my own “treats” box. Yet fill it with fruit, nuts, lentil crisps, cereal bars, carrots, hummus, you name it. And this is what I started to dive into when I was hungry.
The binges stopped. I started to understand hunger. And differentiate it from boredom, or emotion. I suppose it all sounds so simple. Something just triggered inside of me that said “I can do this”. And I did. I focused on me. My life. I can’t believe how much things have changed in just over a month. And of course I know I’m not out of the woods yet. I’ve still got a long long way to go. But my entire mindset has changed, I’m a much better, happier person. The way I think about myself has changed massively. I still have those days where I hate every little thing about me but knowing I’m doing something to change that really really helps.
As hard as it has been for me to speak out [and please stop me from getting anxious and deleting this post] if it helps only one person I will feel like I’ve achieved something. Although Binge Eating Disorders are life-threatening, many still don’t consider them a “real eating disorder”. But in all honestly, they’re just as dangerous as Anorexia or Bulimia and we need to start taking it more seriously. I know there’s so much more I want and need to say here but I could go on forever. I want to use this to spread awareness but I will write an updated post in the near future.
I really hope speaking out about my Binge Eating Disorder will help others in the same position as me. My DMs are open on Twitter [as always] if you’d like to speak to me about anything.
Until next time,
For reference – some common signs of a binge eating disorder as taken from the NHS choices site are;
- Secret eating
- eating when you’re not hungry
- feelings of guilt after eating
- eating until you’re uncomfortably full
- eating much faster than normal
Factors that may increase your risk of a binge eating disorder are;
- having low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- depression or anxiety
- feelings of stress, anger or loneliness
- feeling under pressure to be thin
Michaela Salacinski says
Thank you for sharing your story, you should be so proud how you have come out the other end with such a healthy relationship with food and being able to share this story with others. I’ve also struggled with my weight and at one point I was eating just 300 calories a day and I couldn’t even look at myself in a mirror.
Luckily I’m past that now, love and support were definitely what got me through as well as strength. It’s great that you managed to use social media to keep you on track and to beat it!
Thank you Michaela. I’m glad that you’ve got through it now and had lots of support to help you. It’s nice to have a support network to rely on, I’m overwhelmed by the support I’ve had on this post. It’s really helped me.
I am so proud of you for speaking out and showing such intimate parts of your life and struggles! I struggled with body image issues all my life, being a plus size girl and now I advocate by writing on body positivity! Unfortunately, I see how binge eating disorder can be swept under the rug as something unimportant. Keep it up and if you ever need to talk to someone, please do not hesitate; you will find me at kalliaseverydaytalks.com and in any social media from there! You go girl! xx
Thank you Kallia for your lovely comment. I try and be as open as I can on here which will hopefully help others in the long run. Same to you, I’m always here if you’d like to talk about anything.
People have all kinds of ways of dealing with stress, I have a friend who binge eats and is slowly managing to control it. Takes a lot of courage to write about it
Thank you Jenni. I’m glad your friend is managing to control it too!
Ali Rost says
Beautiful Ami. Absolutely beautiful. Thank-you for being brave with your words. You’re certainly not alone. I too have been a binge eater on and off over the years. I understand all too well every word you said, the shame that goes along with it, the anger at yourself for not being in control, and the vicious cycle it creates. Somewhere around the time I turned 40 I decided to drastically change my life and spent nearly a year unraveling myself from the place I was at. Part of that included finding a wonderful counselor and going faithfully. It wasn’t until I figured out what was eating me from the inside, that I was finally able to gain the control. x
Via Bella says
How brave of you to come out and say this! I think more light needs to be shed on this disorder because I am sure that more people suffer from it than they know because it’s just a coping mechanism. Thanks for telling your story to help others.
Mayuri Saxena says
I also have an unhealthy relationship with food but I am working on it. When it comes to eating my husband has a very strong self-control which I lack so one day I just told him that I am concerned of my eating habits. So, he gave me an amazing idea that really helped, he asked me to keep a bottle of water with me, whenever I feel like indulging in food, I should drink at least half bottle, if I still feel like eating then it means I am hungry. It really helped me. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂
Christopher Mitchell says
A lot of respect to you for coming out in the open with this and being honest. I can only imagine that a lot of people will read this and really derive strength from your strength. It’s incredible all the things that we don’t talk about out in the open that would be so much easier to discuss if we did. Kudos to you, and I really respect you for putting this together!
Ali - We Made This Life says
Well done for speaking out, I’m sure that your story will help others going through the same thing xx
Thank you. I’m really hoping so.
Stephanie Merry says
Well done on having the courage to speak out about this, can’t imagine how tough it can be to struggle with x
Thank you so much Stephanie. It was hard to press publish but I’m so glad I did.
I haven’t heard of binge eating before so it’s great you’re sharing your experience of it. Sounds like you are beating it too!
Thank you Jenny. Really trying to spread awareness more than anything.
Ellie Chan says
I think you’re incredibly brave to write this. I know personally, sometimes things that are hard to express in person are easier to write down. Sometimes writing about these things we’ve been through in a way that can help others, also helps us cope and deal with them.
Thank you so much Ellie. I find it so much easier to write things and I’m hoping it helps others.
You’re doing so well, Ami. I’m so pleased that you found the words to express all this. Tx
Thank you Ting. I’m really trying.
I didn’t even know I was a binge eater but after reading the symptoms I may have a problem. At least I know what it is called so that I can do some research. I think I bit of this is normal over indulgence but in no way am I attempting to trivialize it. Good luck to you.
Thank you for your comment Stephanie. Yes don’t worry about it if you feel you’re just overindulging occasionally, it’s when it starts affecting your health that it becomes a bit more of a worry.
Anna Szoke says
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I never had problem with food, until I got pregnant in 2015. The whole world changed, my cravings were out of the roof (mostly sweet pastry or pasta/pizza), and since I couldn’t exercise that much I ended up gaining 22 kg by the time I gave birth. (started from 58, ended up 80kg). I was optimist that the extra weight will melt away with time, but it didn’t happen at all. I lost 12 kg – it was mainly the baby (4,5kg) and some water my body stored during the pregnancy. After I finished breastfeeding my son, the scale still showed 68 kg. Then I decided to try all kinds of diets, exercising regimes, drastic detox juice therapies and so on, but I got stuck at 64 kg, and the more I kept myself away from food, the bigger weight gain I noticed the following week. I’m not eating in secret but I have terrible guilt after every bite I’m taking 🙁 I hope one day I’ll find a solution for this, and be able to enjoy food as much as I used to.
I experienced the same as you. The more I focused on my weight and the number on the scales the more I ate. It seems ridiculous when I think about it. I too have tried the juice detoxes etc. I’m sure you will lovely, something just triggered in me that made me realise I needed to do seek help and do something about my eating habits as I knew what it could do over time. Feel free to message me if you’d like to talk about anything.
beautyqueenuk (@beautyqueen_UK) says
I don’t think you need to feel anxious at all lovely and I am sure so many people will be grateful for this post. I binge eat when I am stressed. Stress makes me want to carb-load and I just want pasta and bread… if I am emotional I want sweet food, but I have learnt not to binge eat and I limit myself to one of this or have an either this or that option x
Thank you. I hope so! It’s funny what different emotions make you crave isn’t it.
Thank you for sharing. Some things are very hard to talk about but the more we do, the more we raise awareness and help others – so well done for posting this.
Thank you. I was nervous to begin with but I’m so pleased I’ve posted it and I hope it helps others in the same boat.
Well done for been brave enough to share this post, it’s great to spread awareness x
Thank you. I’m hoping that’s what it does.
What a truthful post you have written, though I never had Binge eating disorder, I still learnt a lot from your experience and how the help you sought got you to your healing process. People ned to admit of their problem and that can definitely help the recover. All the best!
Thank you for your kind comment. I was nervous to post this but I’m glad it’s helping others.
Great post, I often find myself stress eating and I have been pretty stressed out lately. I have been trying to refocus that energy to going to the gym.
Thank you. I’ve been doing the same with going to the gym, and just trying to understand hunger more than anything.
Jen S says
I used to struggle with binging too. In high school, I had anorexia and I would fast and fast and then binge when I couldn’t fast anymore. I still struggle with snacking too much but I’m definitely much happier now.
It’s such a struggle isn’t it. I think it’ll always be a struggle for me but like you I’m much much happier now.
kathryn Maher says
What a brave girl you are and I’m so glad you decided to share your story online. It will help numerous others who suffer from this Binge Eating disorder. Getting help and moving on from this takes great courage. Well done x.
Thank you. I’m really hoping it helps others in the same position.
Ana De- Jesus says
I am truly proud of you for opening up about your binge eating disorder and showing how not only it can impact your life but also have long term consequences. It must have been so difficult to open up but I am very glad that you did, because it is what has helped you with the healing process and can help others too. I am glad that you took the steps that you needed to seek help, because it should always be ok to reach out if you need a helping hand x
Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Truly overwhelmed by the support I’ve received.
five little doves says
This is so great that you are speaking out, especially about an eating disorder which isn’t perhaps the most recognised. I have lived with anorexia since my teens, so twenty three years now, and been very poorly at times, in various eating disorders clinics, and felt that my story was something to be ashamed of. Thank you for sharing. xx
Thank you! It’s most definitely not something to be ashamed of. I really hope you continue towards recovery yourself.
Thanks so much for sharing this! It mus have been hard to talk about this with so much honesty and hope that help others that are going through the same like you!
Thank you. I was definitely nervous but I’m glad I did as the support I’ve received has been overwhelming.
My cousin too struggled with bingeing. My psych friend, however, explains in medical terms that it is actually a treatable disorder. Seek help I guess is the bottom line!
THANK YOU for this! I’m a huge stress binge-eater and have gained a ton of weight in the past few years, honestly. Thanks so much for sharing what has worked for you.
Thank you for your comment. I really hope talking about my experiences will help you. All the best with it! It’ll no doubt be tough but the hard times are worth it.