Confessions of a Binge Eater

This is a hard post to write, because it’s something that a lot of people can easily judge a person on.

I am/was a binge eater.

It really started around middle school. My afternoon has always been a snack fest, which I’m still currently trying to work on. I would eat mostly junk food and lots of it. I would do something like completely fill up a bowl with ice cream, mindlessly eat that, and sometimes go for seconds. I would eat 2-3 snack cakes or half of a bag of chips. Thinking back, I was ashamed of my snacking habits and I’d even hide the trash under trash from that morning so no one noticed. It was almost every day that I would do this. It was a problem.

When I got to high school, I’d stay after school for activities. I’d buy 2 candy bars from the vending machine and a soda, thinking nothing of it. And when I started working at a grocery store, things just got worse. I would always buy myself snacks after work, and just eat it all in the car before I got home. I wanted the snack, but I didn’t want anyone to see me eating it. I slowly gained weight in high school, but it wasn’t anything drastic that would alarm anyone. I went from a size 16 to a size 20 in high school.

When I got to college, I kept having random meals when I wasn’t hungry. I’d eat my 3 regular meals, but during late nights, it just felt right to go to Jack in the Box or Canes. I didn’t need the food, but hey, who was gonna stop me? My habits in the cafeteria alone were terrible. I’d have seconds or sometimes, even thirds. And don’t get me started on the free ice cream…I’d have at least two servings of that. One during the meal and one to go. I actually didn’t gain any weight in college, though. I’m pretty sure walking a few miles/day to classes and student organizations had a little something to do with that.

However, when I graduated and entered the real world, aka 8 hours/day behind a computer, it really caught up to me. I moved back in with my parents, and continued my same terrible habits. I gained about 20 lbs. after college fairly quickly, and realized that my work clothes were no longer fitting. I also became engaged to my husband around that time, so I knew I had to do something. I started on Weight Watchers, and lost the weight that I gained post-college. I was on cloud 9 at our wedding…240 lbs.

After the pressure of the wedding let off, I found myself back to my old ways. I’d tell myself weekly that I’d start going back to the gym and eating better, but I didn’t. I would eat a treat every day after work, and I ate fast food for lunch. Dinners weren’t much healthier, and I ate until I was completely stuffed. And in between, I just snacked all the time. I remember after work one day ordering a full meal from a fast food place just as a snack. I wasn’t hungry, but I had a terrible day at work…I just didn’t care. I also ate a full dinner that night. With habits like that it’s no surprise that I gained 58 lbs. Seriously. No surprise.

I had a series of wake-up calls that led me to taking control of my life.

  • I fit in a pair of size 26 pants and 3x tops.
  • It felt like a chore to walk sometimes.
  • ALL of my clothes in the closet were completely tight. It was bad.
  • I couldn’t fit in a booth anymore without squeezing my stomach in.
  • The scale was dangerously close to 300 lbs.

So, after the holidays last year, I saw the 298 and thought that this was it. 2012 is my year to change. I have to change, especially if I want to expand our family….even at 250 lbs., my doctor said I would probably have fertility problems, as well as a higher risk pregnancy. Now I know that weight doesn’t fix fertility problems, and I have no idea if I truly have fertility problems (we’ve never tried). However, I wanted to rule out weight as a problem for when we are ready for kids, so on January 1st (after drinking an entire bottle of wine out of a Solo cup on NYE…so classy), I made the decision to change.

It was VERY hard to not give into my urges. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the grocery store, and just wanted to buy a pint of ice cream or a bag of cookies. I started calorie counting, and truly treated my calories like a budget (for the most part….I do have a splurge meal from time to time). Every time I have an urge at home, I grab something to work on, whether it’s knitting, sewing or heck…just cleaning or writing a to-do list. It helps. I avoided baking for a while (which stunk, because baking is SUCH a fun hobby of mine), because I knew I could easily eat 4-5 servings of a dessert without even thinking. The first time I got back into baking, after everything cooled, I set one serving aside to enjoy, and put the rest on a plate with saran wrap and then even taped the bottom of the plate to make it more difficult to give in to my urges. I know…extreme, but my binge eating was extreme and I didn’t want to go back there. Months later, I stick to my one serving and sometimes even a half serving of the food I bake.

I’m still battling those urges today. It really only happens in extremes…either when life is stressful or if I find myself extremely bored, it takes a lot to tell myself “no” to those urges to just eat everything. I’m not perfect…sometimes I’ll give in and eat what I want (I always stop myself after that one meal), but I’m doing much better than I used to. My weight loss is at 50 lbs., and I know since I’ve been doing this for 10 months, those results could be much better. I’m human though, and I know that fighting the urges to binge are going to probably be a lifetime struggle.

The past two weeks have been a little difficult. The scale just stayed put, and it has been SO hard not to binge. It really truly was. Last night, I decided to go through my SD card and found a photo of myself from August of last year. I ended up turning on the camera phone and took a picture of myself right then and there. I was shocked.

50 lbs. (face)

You see, when I take my progress shots every ten lbs., I just see that same shape. I know things are getting smaller, because smaller clothes fit, but I didn’t see 50 lbs. of progress in my latest pictures.

50 lbs. lost collage

However, the face? Oh man…I can’t tell you how stoked I am to finally see results like that. The face shows those 50 lbs. My body (to me)….ehh not quite, but my face? I definitely see it now. Talk about re-motivated! Only 9.3 more lbs. to go until 20%. C’mon Amy, let’s do this!

Comments

  1. thanks so much for sharing and for being so honest. I know this was hard to write. So many people struggle with the same things, so you are definitely not alone. You look fabulous!! You should be so proud!

    • Thanks Kelsey! I feel like struggles like this are hard to talk about, because society is very quick to judge a larger person, but I wanted to write about it and get it out there. It’s embarrassing for sure, but I’m working on it (slowly but surely). And thanks for the sweet compliment! :-)

  2. amy, i am one of your biggest supporters and have noticed the difference in each picture you post. you’ve always been beautiful but i can tell you have an air of confidence now – you CAN do this, you ARE doing this. :)

    xo

    • Thanks Michelle! I do feel like I have a little more pep in my step when I go out in public..it’s really weird, but awesome too. :-) I’ll take it!

  3. This was such a great, honest post. So many people struggle with issues like these, but so few are brave enough to change their habits or discuss the process in a public fashion like this. You’re an inspiration!

    • Thanks so much! :-) I really feel like there has to be others like me, and I’m so glad there hasn’t been a mean-spirited comment on this post yet. :-) It’s a hard subject.

  4. Amy, I so wish you were here so we could go grab a (healthy) bite and talk. I don’t know if I truly realized how much of a binger I was (and sometimes am!) until I read your account. I guess I always told myself it wasn’t that bad but I’ve been lying. I remember in elementary school eating SIX eggo waffles when my friend had one… I just kept on toasting them and eating them. And I couldn’t get full. Or maybe I told myself I wasn’t. I still do that. My issue now is if I go over on calories (last night my dinner put me over 60 calories) I say “screw it” and binge. I binged on ice cream (probably 3 servings) and then OYSTER CRACKERS. Really. Because clearly that was going to make me feel better. I guess I didn’t even REALIZE what I was doing! And I’ve done the same thing where I hide the trash or hide how much I’m eating so people won’t see.

    The good news is we’re both on a good track. And you look AMAZING! Holy face picture… I noticed your new pic on twitter and had to do a double take, what an amazing photo of you! I told you last post you can REALLY see the progress in your face and boobs/back. I hate that we don’t always lose where we want to. I struggle with losing my belly the most (yayyy PCOS) but my boobs/face are the first to go. Even at my skinniest I still had a belly, which KILLS me! But the scale doesn’t lie! Weight lost is weight lost. You are so close to your 20% and I am so proud of you. Keep up the great work and thank you for all the motivation and great posts that really make me think about this “fun” (ha) process called getting healthy!!!

    • Girl, I understand completely. I still have those binges (screw it moments), and it’s REALLY hard to just simply stop. I almost bought a half gallon of pumpkin ice cream yesterday, but I visualized myself sitting on the sofa, filling a bowl to the brim and telling myself…why not? to a second bowl. I had to put it back. As of right now, there are certain foods I still can’t have in my house, because they’re VERY hard to not binge on. Ice cream is a biggie.

      We ARE rocking this weight loss thing, though. Of course it’s slow, but you know what? We aren’t gaining, and we’re fitting in smaller clothes and feeling better about ourselves. I also hate that boobs are the first to go…I think I lost a whole cup size already! I’m sure my belly is going to be the last to go as well…stupid pesky belly.

      And thank YOU so much for being such a good friend (even though we’re just internet friends..I still think you’re a friend) and for being SO motivating through this whole journey! I love reading about your weight loss journey!

  5. The difference in your face pictures is striking! You look fabulous!

    Kudos to you for writing this post and talking about all the binge eating. I am more than familiar with many of your “tactics”, particularly hiding the evidence of what’s been eaten and understand how hard it must be to go public with something that’s always been a secret, hidden behavior. Taping the plastic wrap on to a tray or whatever to keep yourself from getting back in for more servings will be filed into my mind for future use. It’s so easy to pop a tupperware lid or peel back the plastic on a tray of cookies or something that I’ve already had my own serving of and intend to take the rest to work or elsewhere, for “just one more”. It has happened more than once that I’ll bake something for some other purpose outside the house and then end up eating so many servings that there aren’t enough left to make it worth taking to the party or wherever. A shameful “trick” of mine is to cut up brownies and put them on a tray rather than leave them in the pan, that way there is no evidence of how many I already ate:-/

    Keep up the good work, it’s a process for sure!

    • Thanks Rachel!

      I completely understand about the “just one more” feeling. It’s so hard to tell yourself “no” to that. The “just one more” feeling used to result in 5-6 brownies gone, and I still struggle with saying “just ONE…period”.

  6. This is such a great and honest post. I feel like I am always telling you this but seriously, you are doing such a wonderful job! Although you can’t see the change the change in your progress pictures, they are there!!

    • Thanks so much, Heather! I guess you are your worst critic, and it’s hard to see the changes in the everyday. I do like that I fit in my closet now….used to only have a limited selection of clothes I could fit in!

  7. I know how difficult it must have been for you to post this–I just posted a similar entry recently on my blog! Binge eating is SO HARD to overcome, but you seem to have figured out what works for you. That’s awesome! You look amazing!

    • Thanks girl! I read your FAQ post with tips, and your tip about eating something you truly enjoy is a wonderful tip. I’m still working on consciously deciding on what my calories are worth, and with the holidays coming up, I’m really going to have to pick and choose carefully. I love your blog, by the way…LOVE! You are SO inspiring!

  8. Karen @sugarspucelivin says:

    Keep it up. You are such an inspiration. You look amazing!!

  9. You are really an inspiration, do you know that? It was so exciting reading about you accomplishing your goal of doing a 5k – and then wanting to do another! I’m so glad you wrote this post. Binge eating is no joke and it’s not easy to stop doing either. I don’t even know how you have a food blog AND you have been doing such a great job losing weight. It’s just awesome.

    • Thanks so much! Food blogging has been very difficult with calorie counting, but I just have to resist the goodies for one night, and then the treats are at the office and are usually gone before I know it! :-)

  10. Huge difference – huge accomplishments! Stay motivated, you’re doing great!!

  11. Amy,

    What an amazing and inspiring post! I am so proud of you and can’t wait to see the progress you have yet to make! Keep going girl!!

  12. Amy, you look amazing!! I am so proud of you and have loved following your progress. I can’t wait to read more :)

  13. I really loved this post, and I hope it didn’t spark any criticism becaus it certainly doesn’t deserve any. I feel like you’re not supposed to acknowledge that you have issues with food, unless you’re simultaneously going for therapy or something. I also have lots of binge eating issues (I hope I’ve told you how much I admire your ability to bake and resist the urge to eat the entire bowl of cookie dough!) and the solution for me is complete avoidance if I want to lose weight. That’s “extreme” for some, but it’s the only thing that keeps me feeling good both physically and mentally in a daily basis. Otherwise I get caught in this endless cycle of binge-guilt-swear to do better – wake up feeling committed – eat a cookie – binge – repeat

  14. Hi Nice to meet you

    You absolutely look thinner. 50lbs is an outstanding number!!! You have a new follower :D

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