I had been overweight my entire life, well just about. I vividly remember leaving the second-grade school year as a tiny seven-year-old girl and starting the third-grade school year as a fat kid. There was no traumatic event, no major change, I just got fat. I always loved to eat, and I guess I really committed to that love during that particular summer because I gained weight, a lot of weight, especially for a seven-year-old. I used to sneak food, grab a sleeve of saltine crackers from the kitchen cabinet and run to my room and eat the entire sleeve without my mother knowing. I’d grab anything I could find, chips, crackers, cookies, even dry cereal if there was nothing else. It wasn’t necessarily the quality of the food but the quantity. I wanted to eat as much as I possibly could and all at once. I now know this is binge eating, but as a seven-year-old I just thought I liked how food tasted. I loved the feeling of eating, I loved being overstuffed, I loved the actual act of eating food. This continued well into my teens and adulthood. I gained and lost hundreds of pounds in my life. My days were filled with either binging or starving myself until I would inevitably binge again. It was a full-blown addiction. I obsessed about food all day, I thought about what I wanted to eat, what I was going to eat and then when I finally ate it I was wracked with guilt and self-loathing. Something was wrong.
I wasn’t enjoying life, food was all I cared about. I tried every single diet there was, I tried fasting and cabbage soup, low carb, high carb, low fat, no fat, calorie restriction, you name it, I tried it. I even spent $1500 getting hypnotized to stop my binge eating. It worked for about three weeks, then I was right back into my old habits. I tried acceptance, maybe I’m just meant to be fat, this is just who I am. No matter what I tried, I wasn’t happy and I knew a lot of my unhappiness stemmed from my addiction to food and binge eating. I read books, I went to an overeaters anonymous meeting, I journaled…still nothing was stopping me. I kept thinking there must be SOMETHING I am missing. There must be a magic pill or a protein shake that I can try to cure me of this. While I searched for the “cure” my weight continued to sky rocket. I stopped weighing myself when I hit 350 lbs. I just didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to know what I weighed because I couldn’t do anything about it.
I woke up every morning in pain, it physically hurt to get out of bed and walk. I had heel spurs and my knees cracked, my ankles swelled, and I always looked puffy. I don’t know how it clicked or why it clicked but I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live anymore. I have two sons, they deserved more than what I was giving as a mom and I deserved to live a more extensive life. I deserved to feel free. But how? I still didn’t know. So, I made a promise to myself to do the best I could do every single day. The first day that I didn’t binge felt amazing, the second felt better and so on and so forth. I stopped drinking soda, even diet. That was the biggest challenge for me. I was getting absolutely zero nutrition from it, so I gave it up cold turkey. I started walking, at first just down the street or even just around my house. Then I walked a little farther and a little farther. It hurt, it was physically painful to move but I did it because it was painful to NOT move. I wasn’t hoping to be 120 lbs. or look like a Victoria’s Secret model, I was just trying to feel better. Binging no longer felt good, it no longer felt good to live in my body. I have lost over 165 lbs. I still struggle with binge eating and food addiction. Every. Single. Day. I struggle. I would LOVE to say it’s been two years since a binge, but that’s not true. It’s been two days, the difference is, now when I binge I take a deep breath and I put it behind me and I hope to do better tomorrow. That’s all I can do, is hope to do a little better every day. There is no magic pill, not hypnotist, no special diet….it comes from within me everyday. Everyday I make the choice as to how I am going to live, I am far from perfect, but I am so much better than I was.