December 8, 2010

Out of the Closet

Confession: Last night at midnight I went in the kitchen and ate a bunch of food. I didn't want to but I did. It felt gross and strange. Like an out of body experience. It happened super fast. When I was done I was so disgusted with myself.

After I went back to bed something clicked in my head and I began to wonder... I grabbed my phone and Googled "binge eating." The first link was to the Mayo Clinic website and I clicked on it. This is what I read:

"Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, shrouded in secrecy."

Boom. I'm a binge eater.

You're not going to believe this, but I never thought of myself as "a binge eater." In the past, I recall describing some of my eating experiences as "a binge," but I didn't consider myself a person with a disorder. Why has it taken me 30 years to find this out when I've been doing it since I was about 7 or 8 years old? Because I'm ready to deal with it now? Because I'm ignorant? Probably a combination of both.

I went on reading this article. Here are some of the symptoms they listed for Binge Eating Disorder:

  • Eating large amounts of food

  • Eating even when you're full

  • Eating rapidly during binge episodes

  • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control

  • Eating a lot even though you're not hungry

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Frequent dieting, possibly without weight loss

  • Frequently eating alone

  • Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset about your eating

So I could be the poster child for binge eating disorder, apparently. I guess I never really thought about it before. Because I used to eat so much all the time, episodes of frantic, mindless eating didn't seem too out of the ordinary. But last night when I was perfectly full and for the life of me I COULD NOT STOP MYSELF from eating I felt completely out of control. My mind and heart were both screaming for me to stop, but in all honesty--I couldn't stop.

At some point it may be necessary for me to receive some cognitive behavioral therapy. I am not opposed to that. I would like to keep trusting in the Lord to deliver me from this very disturbing disorder, but at some point we may decide together that a little therapy could help. Until then, I am going to really examine the circumstances and times that the binges are happening and try to prevent it as much as possible.

For instance, last night my binge was at midnight. I should have been asleep for several hours when it happened. Something as simple as turning off the TV at a decent hour would have very likely prevented what happened. That is definitely something I can do.

Here are the Mayo Clinic's suggestions for binge eaters (My thoughts in parentheses):

Stick to your treatment. Don't skip therapy sessions. If you have meal plans, do your best to stick to them and don't let setbacks derail your overall efforts. (For now I will equate this to my First Place 4 Health meeting, which I can't skip because I lead. Although it has crossed my mind a couple of times when I have had a bad week to call in sick. I haven't though.)

Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that's hard to break. (I do not consider what I am doing a diet. My goal is simply eating a healthy, balanced diet. I think this means don't do something extreme like eat 500 calories a day, etc.)

Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But, if you eat breakfast, you may be less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.

Don't stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation and ability to binge eat. (Love it! Although I am pretty creative and can usually come up with something if I get to the point of a binge--no matter how bare the pantry is.)

Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn't mean you're eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements. (I have had a couple of mineral supplements suggested to me to help with cravings. I may try them. I need to start taking a multi-vitamin again.)

Stay connected. Don't isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy. Understand that they have your best interests at heart. (This one is SO important!)

Get active. Talk to your health care providers about what kind of exercise is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight. (I am hoping this is really going to help me. Setting physical goals and achieving them has been one of the most uplifting things I have done. I just have to remember that on the days I'd rather gnaw my arm off than exercise.)

I absolutely did not want to do this post. It is embarrassing!! I know ya'll are all picturing me sitting at a table eating a big cold turkey leg right now. Ughh. That's not what I ate but it just seems like something a binge eater would eat. And I'm not going to tell you what I actually did eat because the last time I did it just made people hungry. ((Sigh))

I didn't want to post this, but I had to. Once this truth was revealed to me, and I definitely believe it was revealed to me last night for a specific reason, I had to come clean with it.

John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

This is the verse that has been at the heart of any point of major deliverance in my life. When I am in doubt or confused or worried or discouraged or even hopeless--this is the one. The truth is what sets us free. We were not made to hold on to dirty little secrets. We were not made to bear our burdens alone. That is why this entire blog is based on being "real." It's the only thing that's ever worked for me.

So I just had to tell you, I'm a binge eater and I'm not ashamed. The Lord did not bring me this far only to put an unmovable road block in my way. There is purpose in it and I'll be danged if I am going to let such a disgusting thing keep me from moving closer to where I am meant to be. Photobucket


Charbelle said...

It's interesting what we begin to realize as we become honest with outselves. It's an ongoing journey, that's for sure! When you think back after this light bulb moment so much becomes clear that might not have ever made sense before!!

Gina said...

Keep on being real Keelie! You're helping others through your struggles & God gives us experiences (good or bad) for a reason. You're providing grace to others by being imperfect & it's a beautiful thing!

Kate said...

Acknowledging it and admitting it (On paper, or the internet as it is) is often the very first step to recovery. Trying to hide it fuels it's secrecy. This is not a matter of willpower. This is a matter for God to remove from you. And He will. If he can take my desire to drink from me, he can take this from you. I believe it.

Kelly said...

That was extremely interesting. Thanks for the post.

You are beautiful. Never forget it.

Emily said...

Don't be embarrassed! Thanks for being honest. I can totally relate. Seeing your photos and hearing your stories really inspire me. My self-control muscles have completely atrophied and it's hard to generate will power out of thin air. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

{Absolutely, Positively} Josie said...

you're going to have to make room for me on that poster, Keelie. i've been binge eating as long as i can remember.

i love your resolve. it comes from the Lord, and it is a comfort to me to see Him working so strongly in the lives of His people. when you are weak you are strongest!

Kristi said...

I believe I am, or at least have been, a binge eater in the past. You are just out of control and there is no stopping. That's how you know you have an addiction.

Great post though. We will overcome!

Love this verse too!

Jill said...

Keelie, great post.

Tara Kieninger said...

Thanks to your post, I now know that I'm a binge eater too of sorts. It does help to know that there is a reason for my diet/weight issues. Best wishes that we both can get better at limiting this.

Katie said...

Well you know I can relate too! It's getting better, though. God will get us through.

Christine said...

good job telling the truth. now the episode has no more power over you.

LauraLynne said...

I can totally relate to every syllable of this post. I've been struggling, falling into old patterns, and generally avoiding doing all the RIGHT things. But I'm joining back up with the world again, setting some goals and getting back on track.
thank you for posting the info. It's good to know someone else out there struggles too and that there is a name (and therefore HOPE).
thank you

Michelle @ Those Last 75 Pounds said...

Um . . . whoa. Move over and make room on that poster for me!! I've never seen it all put out there that way and they might as well have been describing me. Thanks for the post, it's really something to think about to watch my behaviors and when I'm setting myself up unknowingly for a fall (binge).


Sheena said...

I just "happend" upon your blog, and I love it! You are amazing, and its so good to see someone that has been able to do it! Motivation!

Anonymous said...

I completely understand. I've been a binge and purge kind of girl since 15 and it's been an ongoing battle over the years, especially during stressful periods in my life.