I love this blog. As many of you know, I have suffered for years with an eating disorder so when my bestie offered to write this blog series, I quickly said yes!! The biggest lesson, I want you to learn from part 1? You are not alone.
Luv you all big, xoxo
Guest blog by Dana Wikoff, of Strong Is In Fitness:
As far back as I can remember, food and I have always had battles. When I was a kid, I use to sneak food from the kitchen. I would cough to mask the noise of the fridge opening. I would store the food in my room to eat when I wanted. I would even eat cold hot dogs, not because I was always hungry, but because I was a binge eater at a young age. I knew I was a bit chunky as a child. I went on my first diet in 6th grade with my Mom and her friends, the Grapefruit Diet. That was disgusting!!! Next was Weight Watchers. I even contemplated not eating at all as I had read in a book about a girl who lost a ton of weight that way, but I loved food too much for that to work!!!
The older I got, the worse it became. Food for me was not just fuel, but it was comfort. If I had a bad day, a milkshake would make me feel better. If I had a good day, I celebrated with ice cream. If I was stressed I wasn’t losing weight, I would eat a bag of candy. It was an addiction and it just continued to get worse. Food is one of the hardest addictions to overcome as you can’t remove it from your life, you need it to survive! Other people don’t understand food addictions unless that have experienced it themselves. The one time I confided my dilemma to someone in my family, they said it was ridiculous and after that, I kept it to myself.
For a little while, it got better as I stopped trying to lose weight. But then my wedding was approaching and the stress to lose weight crept back in. I began going to the gym every morning at 6am. I would do a class and then an hour of cardio. By my calculations, I was burning over 1500 calories in exercise each morning. But I wasn’t losing weight because each afternoon when I got off work, the binging would start. I was sneaky about it too. I would stop at the store on the way home and finish off a box of cookies in the 20 minute drive to my house. I would buy bags of candy and it would be gone in one night. The more I binge ate, the more I needed and wanted. For those who haven’t experienced food addiction or binge eating, it’s a horrible feeling!!! When the thought to binge eat sets in, its all you can think about!!! You can’t stop eating until you are so full you are sick, or you run out of food to eat. You don’t usually binge because you are hungry, but because you need that “fix” emotionally. Once the binge is over, you think about how horrible it was that you ate all that food, how you can fix it, and lots of times, how to quickly get it out of your body. Throwing up, laxatives, extreme exercise, they all occurred for me after a binge. I would promise not to do it again, but the next day the cycle would start again.
I suffered in silence thinking I was just weird and the only person in the world who did this. Years went on and I never told anyone because I was so embarrassed. I was convinced I would never escape this cycle, I would binge eat forever and never be healthy. I felt miserable all the time, was stressed out, and couldn’t enjoy normal activities. And it just seemed to get worse and worse. I would day dream about being “skinny” and not binge eating. I was obsessed, I was hurting myself, I was on depression medicine and I was in downward cycle.
This is the beginning of my story, and I will share the rest, but I want you to know, I got better and today I have been binge free for over a year. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, if you or someone you know is suffering, get help!! It is dangerous, costly, and has many horrible effects on your body. Above all, know that you are not alone and you CAN beat this!!! Come back to learn how I struggled to find a way out of the darkness.
Stay tuned for part 2 in a few days.