Trying to Fill an Emotional Gap: Amber's Journey with Binge Eating
This article was written exclusively for EatingDisordersOnline.com by Amber, a member of SupportGroups.com. In this article, Amber explains how her issues with food developed at an early age and how she has finally managed to start her recovery journey.
I would like to share my story because it's pretty unique. I'm a 19-year-old female, and I've always been self-conscious about my weight and how I look. I think that my problems with food first started when I was about 11 and my parents were buying donuts in bulk to resell in our shop. What didn't sell, we ate, and that's when I started overeating. My grandmother, I think, also contributed to my issues with food. I know that she, too, has an eating disorder of some kind, but I've never known with certainty what it is she struggles with.
I remember that when I was little, she would buy junk food that my mom typically wouldn't allow me to have and hide it so I could have it. I feel like doing this made her feel good because she thought she was making me happy by letting me eat forbidden foods. I think that from that experience with my grandmother I learned to be sneaky with food. When I was about thirteen or fourteen I started trying to diet as well, but I could never stick with a diet for more than a month or so. As anyone who deals with an eating disorder knows, not being able to lose weight can make you very depressed. I had a hard time accepting the fact that I was not losing weight.
Over the years, I have never been very overweight, but I have been very unhappy with myself. On January of 2013, things changed for the worse and I went extreme. I was absolutely determined to get to the weight I wanted and be confident in myself. I started drinking only a couple of glasses of juice a day, for a month. I looked and felt amazing afterward, but I didn't stop there. For about four months I only consumed 1,100 to 1,200 calories a day and I counted every single calorie.
I also started an exercise routine that started at five in the morning and included a strenuous two hour hike. After my hike I would go to work where I did a lot of hard, physical labor. When I went home I did a 45 minute workout and followed it with another hike. I only had time for work and exercise. I lost a total of 50 pounds. My fiance who is overseas, couldn't understand why I didn't have more time to talk to him after work. I was losing two to three pounds a week. By July I was underweight for my height of 5'6" at 115 pounds. I looked terrible. I wasn't getting compliments anymore and instead people constantly asked me if I felt okay. I looked as if I were shrinking.
A Life Changing Trip
After July, things started to change for me and I started to binge. I don't really know what changed, but I think it was probably from an overload of stress. I was eating up to 10,000 calories a day. I was violently sick during this time and I felt like I didn't want to live anymore. I had to quit my job because I was too ill physically and mentally. The fact that the people at work noticed that something was up with me didn't help either. I binged nonstop for a three month period and gained back every pound I had lost and more.
I had planned a trip to meet up with my fiance in the UK. I had spoken with my boyfriend about my problem previously because I wanted him to be aware of what I was going through. Since coming clean, he has been there for me doing all he can to help me. I've been in the UK with him for two months now and I'm happy to say I haven't binged once. I'll continue doing my best to stay binge free.
Looking Deeper Within Yourself
Binge eating isn't something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, it can happen to anyone. There is always a reason behind it, like stress. Sometimes, it can also happen because you feel you are missing something from your life and so you try to fill that gap with food. To those that are suffering from this, I would advise telling somebody you trust, like a parent or your partner. Chances are, your loved ones won't be disappointed with you and will want to learn about what you are going through so that they can do their best to help you.
People that make fun of binge eating do not understand the depth of it at all and they don't deserve to be listened to. Never take people's insults to heart. Binge Eating is something much more than liking to eat. For me, it was about trying to fill an empty place in my heart with food, but I know now that it really does not help. What really helped me to start recovering was having the support of my family and a wonderful fiance who has loved me through this whole mess.
Don't Lose Hope
It can be extremely hard to deal with binge eating, but really the best thing to do is to find something that will take your mind off of it. Go outside and get some fresh air, go for a drive, play a sport you like, find something you can immerse yourself in. I hope this has helped anyone who has read it and that you've connected with this. Remember things always get better, and it's never too late to start making yourself better! Carpe Diem!