Eating Disorders – A Breakthrough Moment

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I must say that all of this talk about mental illness in a positive light seems to be as good for me as anybody. Yesterday something just short of amazing happened.

I have talked before that I have a bingeing disorder – not bulimia as I don’t purge after eating. However, it is an eating problem just the same. It started when I was growing up. I was on the heavy side and very self-conscious about it. But not only did I feel bad about my appearance, I was bullied and teased by what seemed like everyone I came in contact with whether I knew them or not.

Kids at school would tease me and call me names. They even went so far in my last year of elementary school to nominate AND elect me as the intramural team leader. I was so happy! I wasn’t all that popular or athletic but I felt like there was an athlete somewhere inside. Intramural games were not all that hard, and it was mostly about the year-end track meet. I worked hard at figuring out team strategy and was so excited. It wasn’t until the day before the meet that I learned the truth. They made me the captain to mock me. A friend on another team found out and let me know. I was so crushed I resigned and didn’t even want to go to the track meet, which I loved. My mother and teacher convinced me to go and in a little bit of payback, I beat the ring-leader in the hoax in not one but TWO races!

But that was the start of the binge eating. I would go to the corner store and buy a bunch of candy and hide it. Then when I was in my room by myself I would pull it out and stuff my face.

Then came the teenage years of wanting to look good because of boys. I was still teased and bullied a lot. Now it would be kids I didn’t even know yelling things like “look at that dog on a bike”.  So I would tell my Mom I wanted to go on a diet. I would make myself huge bowls of salad veggies which I would have before the meal and then only eat a small amount of the meat and potatoes that made up our daily dinners. But my parents felt that bringing any attention to whether I was losing weight or not would jinx it. And of course, I wasn’t getting any support at school (except my closest friends but they were in similar circumstances). So, when no one was looking I would go in the fridge and eat cheese slices, grab cookies from the cupboard or freezer, and continue to buy junk at the store right beside our school.

Okay, that was when I was a teenager. This habit has followed me into my 50’s. I have been known to eat a family-sized bag of chips or a whole bowl of popcorn in one sitting. I have polished off tubs of ice cream in a couple of days. When I get the taste of something I can’t stop. And I really do want to now that I am getting a handle on my other health problems.

I have learned that I am prediabetic and that in general, refined sugar is not my friend. On top of that chocolate gives me migraines. I have done my best to take these items out of my diet both in front of and behind closed doors.

And, it has been working, even though the cravings have remained. I just don’t keep any of it around the house and do my best not to buy any if I am shopping alone.

That brings us to present day and the turn-around.

I had another tooth removed last Thursday and have had to chew on the other side of my mouth. Unfortunately, I only have two molars that match up there and this makes chewing difficult. Added to that I am having a real hard time swallowing – an issue I am waiting on tests for. So, I can only eat soft and creamy foods. I am not an egg fan so it has been soup, yogurt and…the dreaded ice cream! The first buckets were chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurt which are ever so slightly better than the real thing. But we finished that and got another two buckets (same flavours) of Breyers. Not only that, but over the Christmas holidays we were getting bulk dark chocolate covered almonds and I was able to eat just a couple a day without too much trouble. Then anxiety started setting in and I was taking handfuls.

Yesterday I had a pile of ice cream because my mouth was really hurting and despite that fact I was eating the almonds. By bed time I was going into my usual symptom of too much sugar – anxiety attacks. But not just any anxiety – it can almost be rage. While I may think of another person while I am in this mood, it is always taken out on myself. In the past my husband would have to wake me up because I would be beating myself. Last night I started hitting my forehead and I knew right away it was the sugar/chocolate combo. I tried to stop it and ended up missing my forehead and hit myself very hard on my eye. I then laid in bed and sobbed quietly, praying to God to help make it stop. Then I started talking to myself saying, “please no more, please stop this now”.

Shortly after, the anxiety started to fade and I still remembered what I had said. I told Hubby this morning as he hadn’t woken up (for which I was glad). His first reaction was, “I am impressed”. When I said I believed it really was a turning point, he smiled lovingly at me.

This is not the first time I have said I will stop with the bingeing. However, I hope that it will be my last. The ice cream, especially the chocolate, was making me feel nauseous and I really did not like those negative mood swings. And really, who wants to punch themselves in the eye?

I have had no ice cream at all today and don’t even feel any desire to in secret or in front of my Hubby. I did have a few chocolate almonds but started to get a bad headache so stopped those as well. I am planning to make some gluten & processed sugar-free snacks such as a pumpkin cake and blueberry muffins. They are sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar respectively and only taste sweet enough to satisfy that need.

As for the losing weight aspect, I still need to do that as part of my pain-reduction though I am not going to put pressure on it. Other aspects of my health are more important including my mental health, my physical health (swallowing) and my self esteem.

Yes, I think I have made a breakthrough, but I am not going to put extra pressure on myself to say that I am cured. I will say I am stronger and that is a huge step.

Lydia!

16 Replies to “Eating Disorders – A Breakthrough Moment”

  1. I just don’t buy it, and it’s much easier when you live alone, to do that. But I’ve been there, I feel for you. If you like coffee, not plain old coffee you might try Skinny Latte by Hills Bros. I don’t care for artificial sweeteners, but this is pretty good. Good luck. Bypass those aisles in the grocery stores or stuff at the checkouts. It does help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yes those are all great ideas. I basically stay away from coffee altogether, even decaf. If I have a fancy drink it is usually a matcha or rooibos latte with soy or coconut milk.

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      1. I cut out sugar 9 weeks ago now. I have to say it has been soooo hard. Even tonight I want sugar!!! So I made rice and I got a protein bar.
        Good for you!!! Overcoming food issues has been a huge issue for me. Mostly a success!

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      2. Good for you as well! I have been doing great for months. I have been baking things using sugar alternatives and they have been satisfying any cravings. I also have tried fruit, but with my throat, I have to process it or cook it which can take away a lot of nutrients. The downfall was this last tooth being pulled. I was getting tired of soup, etc., so I relented for a “bit” of ice cream…. I know so much better.

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      3. How about a smoothie. Do you have a blender? I use coconut milk, a banana, raspberries, blueberries, spinach, and some whey protein and it seems to satisfy a sugar need a little!
        When i had dental work, i know it sounds crazy but i ate baby food. Fruit mixes and veggie mixes. Also oatmeal i could do.

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      4. My husband actually makes me a large smoothy in the morning and I have the second half of it at night (am about to go get it). Yes, it does help some of the cravings; however it is when I get a bit of chocolate that is the worst. I just want a ton of it and then feel horrible but even that feeling doesn’t take away the craving. It is a true addiction. Thanks for the tips I really appreciate them. I used to have to puree all my Dad’s foods and they didn’t taste that bad – probably close to baby food. I just hope the throat problem doesn’t get that far. Yes, I love oatmeal I just have to make sure it is “gluten free”.

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      5. We just bought gluten free oatmeal and it is really good! I had no idea it HAD gluten until our nutritionist told us. Sami’s bakery makes really good gluten free bread. They are in tampa florida but they ship it anywhere in the US.
        It is an addiction. I 100 percent agree. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I had sugar in front of me, I’d eat the entire box of whatever it was. Even Doritos. Not just sugar. I would eat a bag in two days. I would go from starving myself, to binge eating anything. Truly a struggle. All based on control for me. I had my breakthrough about a month ago I think it was. So I celebrate your breakthrough because I know how important they are.

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      6. Wow, Bethany, I can’t believe all of the similar experiences we have been through. I guess it is the sad irony of the abuse cycle. I am glad you found some good GF bread. We have a place across the river from where we live (everything west is across the river) that makes the most incredible GF potato flax bread. He is so concerned about his recipe that he hurt his back and has another baker running his business but he goes in at 4 am every morning to mix up the dough! We buy about 8 loaves at a time, slice them and freeze them. The bread is fresh enough to make sandwiches without toasting! I can’ make anything even close to it. Take care and have a good weekend!

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      7. Thank you so much for sharing! Fresh bread! Awesome. I havent tried potato bread! Yeah, I have to toast what we have. I agree, the abuse cycle has such similarities in what we are left struggling with. But we have victories which is awesome.

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      8. This “potato bread” is like nothing you could ever find anywhere else. It is his own very secret recipe and looks like french bread inside and out. I have tried to find recipes or figure it out on my own but can’t. We don’t know if he uses potato starch (other things would have to be used as well) or actual mashed potatoes (could possibly be).

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  2. Basically because you were bullied you had a low self esteem and turned to food for comfort. Most people do it nowadays that is why there is an epidemic of eating disorders. I bet that those stupid kids that bullied you didn’t grow up as normal human beings and had lots of problems in life because life has a subtle way to pays one back if one does bad things while you have grown into a great human being and you are blogging without reservations because of your suffering. So in the end you won not them. Eating disorders are my speciality. Beating them it’s not about eating but controlling the mind or more precisely the part of the brain that controls the palate as the urge to overeat or eat the wrong foods depends from the palate not the stomach. When people are bored and depressed the brain tells them that they can overcome their moods by eating to do so it also creates a false appetite. To overcome food addiction one needs a strategy that fools that part of the brain and strengthen the rational one that is the frontal cortex. Not having in the house foods to which one is addicted is the first step. The other whenever one feels the need to eat is to substitute fattening and sugary foods with foods that are healthy and nourishing but don’t fatten such as apples, pears, carrots, celery or breadsticks crackers, matzos instead of bread and chew them when one is hungry. They are also very good for diabetes. Very soon the brain begins to like them, because what the brain wants is to eat to overcome negative moods. Moreover the fact that eating them makes you loose weight and be healthy is also stimulating and encouraging. If you cannot chew carrots, pears, apples, celeries you can always liquidize them and eat them with a spoon or drink them. Believe me that it works it only need a bit of discipline the first few days and soon it will become a habit. Good Luck!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to give me a very informative reply. A lot of that I know in my head but to see it all staring me in the face on the screen means something more. Also it is coming from someone else and it all sounds logical to my brain. I do try to keep it all out of the house. The only reason the ice cream made it in was because of my mouth and swallowing problems. I really didn’t think about getting addicted all over again.

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  3. Thank you for sharing. I never thought about excessive sugar being a cause or at least a contributing factor in my panic attacks. I will have to pay attention. I am so proud of you for revealing something so vulnerable and for still trying. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and I am glad if I helped you in any way. Let me know what you find out regarding sugar and anxiety. I think it will be enlightening for you, especially if you do eat a lot of sugar.

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