I got sick in April of 2015—all of a sudden just found myself laying in a bed at the emergency room, IV pumping into my arm, every thought imaginable pumping out of my mouth. I was completely out of it. It’s as if I was high—I remember my heart racing and skipping beats all at the same time. My pulse, raging. I lost fifteen pounds. Wasn’t eating. Wasn’t drinking. Couldn’t feel. Couldn’t smell. Couldn’t stand up long. Got sick laying down. There were times, even, when I couldn’t walk.
It took me months to come to terms with the fact that I’d never figure out what really happened to, and it’s taken me one year to begin to recover. I’m still that road. There’s not a day that passes by when I don’t relive what could have killed me.
Among the laundry list of struggles I now live with, those concerning food and eating have been the hardest. This has left me with not only an aftermath of physical symptoms, but also a few lingering mental symptoms that I’ve been left fighting as well.
The moment I got sick, it was as if I’d lost control of my entire body—both mind and body. In attempts to recover, stay healthy, and to keep from repeat attacks, I have been following a strict diet—one that I’ve developed through trial and error. But every so often, I get tired of being strict. I get tired of keeping up with the limited groceries and the list of dos and don’ts.
I get tired of not being able to eat what everyone else is eating, or going on dates without it being a hassle to have this removed and that taken off and this added and that cooked like this. Sometimes, I want a break from the anxiety of making sure I don’t put into my mouth what might harm or hurt me. And, sometimes life gets fast and I forget to meal prep. Or maybe I just want to crash and fall asleep in the bed and not worry about being proactive, cooking up tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oh. And snacks.
That’s where the bingeing comes in.
Freedom, it feels like. If even just for a short while. To just have a taste of what I feel like I’ve been missing out on. To not have to worry so much. To fit in. To be carefree.
That freewill and that taunting voice inside are also harder to deny when it comes to the mental battle that food can be. Especially knowing that, personally, there’s been a change in my body and my mental thought processes. I realize that, after I got sick, it’s been harder to hear the messages that “I’m full…I don’t need the sugar spike…I don’t have to listen to the urges and the cravings.” The addictions have been harder to turn off. To manage, to control. And sometimes, I just want food to be the answer. Whether for my body and for physical healing or for my mind and just feeling the high of eating whatever will stop those feelings of insatiable need.
The problem with binge eating is this: You’re always gonna hurt something. Whether it’s your body or your self-esteem. Rarely ever do you come out feeling on top. And it’s a hidden struggle. The kind that doesn’t always show on the scale or through your jeans. So, sometimes it’s easy to hide the hurt or the distress brought on by bingeing.
But bingeing shows up in the mind. In our thoughts. In our heart. The places where we think, “I can control this. I can stop after this one. I can work it off. I can start again.”
But we never do. Do we?
The reason we are never satisfied is because food can never heal a soul. And in some cases, there isn’t always much food can do for the body.
Bingeing will never remedy the guilt you feel over falling off your meal plan.
Bingeing is not a way to treat yourself.
Bingeing is a form of self-entitled self-sabotage.
Bingeing is not for the fat or the obese; it is for anyone with a warped understanding of food.
Bingeing will never satisfy the cravings or food addictions that you have.
Bingeing is not a free ride to happiness; it is a slow ride to self-destruction.
It’s important to understand why you binge. What happens before you binge? What are you lacking that keeps you from bingeing?
For me, the honest truth is that I give in to the lie that I will never physically get better. And if food and healthy living is seemingly the only road towards healing, why bother? Why waste the hard-earned money on expensive, organic groceries? Why waste time I barely have on meal prepping and cooking? If food isn’t helping, why care that it’s hurting? You know…that whole, “I’m just damaged goods…” kind of mindset.
Where are you in your health journey? How is your body? How have you been eating? How is your bingeing? And then after asking those questions, you have to ask the hard, heart questions.
Am I eating because I feel guilty?
Am I bingeing because I just want to feel the high that food brings me?
Am I eating out of pleasure?
Am I bingeing because I hate myself or my situation?
Am I eating because I’m bored?
Am I bingeing because I don’t believe that I can be a disciplined person?
Am I bingeing because I don’t make space for meal prepping or snacks when traveling?
Those heart questions are the hardest. And there’s dozens more. The list can go on. But once we ask these questions, the answers will start flooding in. God’s truth will also flood in.
That is when the change and transformation will take place. This is when we’ll find the power to do what we really desire to do, instead of falling into our temptations and failing to stand firm in the midst of situations that we know will only leave us feeling sick, guilty, powerless, and out of control.