Not long ago my dream was to lose weight. I believed that this would make me happy. I wanted to lose weight so badly that this dream turned into a disease. A disease that quickly took over my world. I felt lost, my bulimia was devastating. I wanted it to stop. However, I knew I had to decide which I wanted more – to lose weight or to overcome bulimia.
I will be honest, it was difficult. I told myself that I must overcome bulimia and I promised myself to never binge again. I started journaling. And every single day that I managed to stay in control was a victory. I journaled feelings, events, emotions. A whole week. But I felt that I was losing it, the control was slipping away and I knew my willpower was about to fail me. So it happened. On the 7th day I broke down, I opened the fridge and binged. Bulimia won, I was devastated. However, I decided to try again. Opened the journal, started again with day 1, and on the 5th or 6th day – another failure. Then tried again. And then again. And again. I don’t remember how many times I promised myself that this was the end. That I am already a new person and I will never binge again. But it was not the end, everything repeated.
The new strategy
Apparently the willpower did not work, so I had to change the strategy. I decided to try to stop purging, ie. to stop dieting, stop over-exercising, and quit laxatives. I reduced the sport to 2-3 times a week. I threw away the pills. Now somehow I had to stop dieting and start eating without restrictions. This was the hardest part for several reasons:
- Every time I bought or ordered a delicious food, I was terrified that I would binge. And I won’t lie, I binged. But I had to go on. I had promised myself that I would stop dieting. I overate very often in the beginning. I always felt guilty. But the only step in my new strategy was to stop restricting myself.
- After every piece of cake, pizza, or something “junky”, guilt was killing me. Not only that I would never lose weight this way, but also I was so afraid that I would gain even more weight. I had a bad desire to make up for the calories I ate. I had to use my willpower, not to stop eating, but to stop the urge to diet or purge.
- In the beginning, I ate mainly pizzas, burgers, chips, chocolates. All the things I’ve always considered forbidden. I wondered if there would come a time when I would want something healthy. Well, it came. However, a long time passed before that.
The peak (or the bottom)
I gained a lot of weight. I’ve never weighed so much before. The hardest part was seeing my biggest fear come true and still resisting the urge to do something about it. But I had promised myself. I harnessed my willpower. I was ready to do everything to heal and if the price I had to pay was to gain weight – I would take the risk.
Here I want to say that nothing else changed in my life. Apart from the need to buy new clothes, 1 size bigger, there was no other change. My friends still loved me. The man next to me didn’t even notice. I did the things I do anyway, only it was different. Nicer. Because I wasn’t on a diet anymore and I didn’t have to think about food, calories, and so on. Little by little, I stopped giving such importance to food, diets, and body shape.
The light in the tunnel
The binge eating crises did not go away, but they subsided. They were not so strong anymore. And then one day the miracle happened. I started to lose weight. I started to lose weight without doing anything. I continued to work out, but no more than 2-3 times a week for 40 minutes. Without getting myself exhausted as I used to do before. I did not follow diets, on the contrary, I ate. Ate like never before – without restrictions. I had noticed that the longer I am hungry, the more I have the urge to binge afterward. So I tried to avoid hunger. And even though I wasn’t on a diet, I was losing weight, slowly but surely. My biggest dream for the last 5 years was coming true. I couldn’t believe it. Well, it was not a dream anymore, but it was still good to see it happening.
You know that every person with an eating disorder has a different idea about binging. For some binge eating can include 3 packets of chips, 2 chocolates, 1 pizza, and 1kg of ice cream. For others, binge eating is a piece of cake after eating a normal portion of food. My binge eating crises over time began to be much more like the second type, and less like the first one. When I got used to the idea that I no longer limit myself, I ate everything I wanted, the so-called binge crisis began to merge with “I just want a dessert.”
I remember the last such crisis. I had dinner, but my hunger for food did not subside. I went out and bought ice cream with the idea that I was just succumbing to the “crisis”. Then suddenly a strange thought came to my mind – that this is not really a crisis. I just wanted to eat ice cream and I ate ice cream. And there’s nothing wrong with that. At that moment I realized that I had overcome it. This time I had won.
The truth is that if you keep doing the same thing, you can’t get different results. Therefore, if you’re in this kind of situation, give yourself a chance. Stop using your willpower to restrict your food, and try to use it for the opposite – to eat (or if you use another method to purge, use it to stop it). Try it. Challenge yourself. Even if nothing happens, you will know that you have tried.