Eating in secret is a less than ideal habit, and one that I have been well practised in.
After a period of dieting and restriction I would crumble for crumble. Go on the hunt for all of the food I had told myself I was no longer allowed to eat, or I would forever be an Umpa Lumpa. This was a never-ending cycle and one which was hard to break.
I couldn’t just go and buy what I craved and eat it. If only it were that simple. If I did, then people would know. They would look at me and think “oh, that’s why she looks like that. She eats four peanut butter Kit-Kat Chunkies a day” or “didn’t she say she was going on a diet last week? Her will power is about as short as her attention span.” Which is, by the way, very short.
One of my favourite opportunities would be going out to get the milk for work. I would end up being pulled towards chocolate, sausage rolls and crisps. Anything I had banished from my life three hours previous.
A wave of urgency would wash over me, and I would buy everything in sight. Feeling the panic subside as I held the goods in my hands once more I would eat everything quickly before anyone found out. Far quicker than the first time you’d had sex or the time it would take you to say, “How many calories are in a pack of two sausage rolls”.
Time to cover up my tracks. No one at work would ever know what I did. How disgusting I was. I would throw the contents in the bin outside like a criminal that was trying to discard of evidence and once back at work sit down for my second lunch feeling an awful pang of shame and guilt.
Once you get into a cycle like this it’s scary how eating takes over your entire life. The food you consume starts to consume you and it can feel like there is no way back.
Finally, I realised I couldn’t control my food consumption and I thought I’d give exercising a go. Of course, in the fragile mental state I was, this ended up taking over my thoughts and I exercised to exhaustion even though it made me miserable.
And then one day, I just stopped.
I can’t fully explain why l but I think I was so exhausted of hating myself I just couldn’t physically count another calorie or step. I stopped exercising completely, stopped dieting and left my body in the fate of Pret a Manger and Netflix. It was the best thing I ever did.
Feeling a level of disgust towards yourself that matches that of Chandlers disgust for Janice is tiring. Disliking yourself is draining and has no positive outcome.
I’m in no way qualified to give you dietary advice, nor ever would I. But this is my blog, and my words and my experience.
I no longer binge eat or feel panic around food like I used too and it’s because I threw away the rule book. Who decided there was breakfast, lunch and dinner? Who decided white potatoes were evil and I shouldn’t eat after 8pm? Why was I listening to everything the media told me and not questioning it? Or thinking about how my body felt.
For about two years I stopped caring and abiding by instructions someone I didn’t know had set out for me. I forgot all of the things I should do, and it helped me break away from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. From the shame and the guilt.
I now listen to my body and eat when I am hungry which sometimes isn’t until 11am. But I was told I had to eat breakfast? Some days I wake up hungry and I eat. Other days I just don’t. I am not going to eat a smoothie bowl if I don’t want it. If I crave chocolate, I eat it. It’s allowed, it’s not cocaine, it’s just chocolate. This takes away the emotion from the food and all I am left with is the pleasure of eating it.
Taking a break from all the noise was just what I needed to start being able to hear my body again. Funnily enough we do not need to eat seven small meals a day, or three big ones to be ‘doing it right’. Built within our bodies are all the tools we need to tell us when it’s time to eat.
Once I let go of all of the fads I’d spent my life following I felt free. And I feel free now.
I have started exercising again and I love it. If I’m feeling like I don’t want to do a hard workout, I’ll go for a walk. My body decides and I always feel better for it.
In the past I only exercised because I hated myself and what I saw in the mirror. Once I decided I quite liked the human staring back at me I started exercising from a place of love. I now move my body because it feels good and I want to feel fit and strong so I could run up any mountain or deal with anything in life for example, being able to out-run my nephew or towards the coop for wine at haste.
I have legs that work and that is incredible, even if they are very short. I want to look after them and still be able to use them to chase young men around at seventy and pop to Holly’s for wine Wednesday and stumble home.
I am still a mere human and from time to time, I pinch the fat that hangs over my trousers or suck my stomach in for a photo, I’m ok with that. I can handle the odd thought or doing that thing where you stretch your tummy up to see what your belly button would look like if it were more narrower than it is wide.
Fruits and vegetables are in my life now because I like them. Not because they are on the approved list of foods to not get fat. I love lobster linguine, baked camembert and red wine. I love vegetable lasagne, anything that involves potatoes and champagne.
I eat whatever I like. Nothing is good, bad, or off the menu. I am pretty sure this is what keeps my secret binge eating at bay.
Lots of love,
If you do suffer with a disorder or are concerned speak to a healthcare professional. If you don’t feel ready, tell someone you love and trust, so someone is looking out for you. It is a lonely place to be and I wish I had told someone sooner.