Recently, I was looking at old pictures and I started to come across pictures that reminded me of the time when I was in the darkest part of my disordered eating. When I look at those pictures, they remind me of the time in my life where everything looked great on the outside but what was going on inside was not so great. As I continued to flip through those pictures, I started to feel ashamed and embarrassed.
In the worst part of my disordered eating and body image issues, I felt alone and scared. I got super good at hiding the food I was eating from everyone. Sure, my closest friends could probably tell that I was struggling with body image issues but nobody truly knew the extent of my disordered eating. During the day, I would eat "well" but at night and on the weekends, I would binge on anything I could get my hands on. Most of the time, my go-to binge foods were sweets. I would eat so much that I would become uncomfortably full and the following day, I would feel like absolute crap. I was not getting quality sleep because I was filling my body with so much food within such a small timeframe.
I was good at putting on a happy face. I was good at pretending that I didn't have an issue. I hid this from people for several years. It wasn't until I started going to therapy (for a completely different reason by the way) that I finally opened up about these struggles. My therapist helped me address the binges and the underlying causes of them. Some of my binges were definitely physiologically driven - I used to restrict so heavily that my body binged in order to stay alive. The other binge episodes were emotionally driven - instead of addressing my feelings, I chose to ignore them and fill myself up with food instead.
It took me a solid year to finally get rid of the binges. It took me even longer to get rid of the guilt I carried with me when eating certain foods. I still deal with feelings of shame and guilt when it comes to the issues I used to have with food and my body. I feel ashamed because during those years, I did not take care of my body. I abused it by under eating/overeating and it could not thrive. The entire reason I did this to my body was because I wanted to have the "perfect" body. The perfect body does not even exist. What I should've been more focused on is actually living my life - soaking up the present moment, enjoying social events without worrying about food, going to places I've never been, seizing awesome opportunities that came my way.
Although those feelings of shame and guilt still exist from time to time, I am forever grateful for my struggles. Those years of struggling helped me to become stronger and more confident in myself. They also humbled me and are a constant reminder that I need to be gracious and patient with others (and myself!).
I hope that wherever you are on your journey, you find my personal stories and blogs helpful. I don't think I went through these struggles just to go through them. I think part of my story is being able to help women like you.
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