“I need to stop binge eating so that I can lose weight”, I told myself.
I’ll admit that I was excited about therapy for just one reason; it was going to help me stop binge eating so that I could finally lose weight. In my mind, binge eating was the only thing standing between me and seeing my dream number on the scales. Therapy was going to be my miracle cure.
Very quickly and uncomfortably I had to accept that there was a lot more to therapy and recovery than I assumed. I wasn’t starting a new diet – I had an eating disorder that needed to be treated. It was a hard pill to swallow, especially when it became clear that in the big picture of this eating disorder, the number on the scale was irrelevant.
After my therapy treatment, I set a goal; to start weighing myself monthly instead of weekly. At the time this seemed a long way off – I couldn’t imagine not weighing myself weekly. But three weeks ago I surprised myself and decided to delay my weigh-in.
There were temptations along the way but on Monday, three weeks since last stepping on the scale, I peered between my toes and read the number flashing back at me. I stepped on and off three times and took a deep breath. It was a loss but it wasn’t the kind of loss I was used to seeing.
I was disappointed and sad. I felt fat. Yes, I felt fat. I was angry with myself for regaining the weight I’d lost last year. I was afraid of being in this body for the rest of my life. I felt guilty for not being content with being binge and restriction free for so long. I heard my therapist’s voice in my ear: “You don’t even need to be thinking about weight loss until at least six months in to recovery.” It didn’t help.
I logged my weight, ate a cookie and two homemade mini apple muffins and didn’t want to have a shower. I hadn’t binged in fourteen weeks and I was still fat. I’d followed the advice, not restricted myself and I was still fat. This isn’t working, I stubbornly told myself. I might as well eat all of the muffins and the cookies and the ice cream and …
I interrupted my thoughts and instructed myself to go and shower. I forced myself to make breakfast, leaving the muffins alone. I recorded a video and encouraged myself.
- I hadn’t weighed myself in three weeks
- I hadn’t binged or restricted for fourteen weeks
- I’d started a blog
- I’d even said yes to speaking in a Clubhouse room
And let’s not forget … I had actually lost weight!
The penny was dropping – successful recovery is more than rapid weight loss and there are many other measurements of success along this road. I didn’t deny my disappointment or my desire to lose weight, but rather than lose sight of everything else, I chose to look at the bigger picture.
I won’t lie and say that I did a 180 degree turnaround in my emotions, but I didn’t binge on muffins and I did take a shower, and I did post my video on what is now ‘The Fat Ugly Blog’ YouTube channel! (Making it private – some things don’t need to be public to be powerful). That’s the thing about recovery, even when binges cease, there’s still so much healing that needs to take place. It takes time and won’t always feel good or easy, but with patience I believe I can get better at celebrating my achievements along the way.
A journey that started with the intention of losing weight, turned in to an opportunity to do some deep healing. I may not have fully understood the impact that binge eating disorder was having on my life, but committing to the process sure has given me more than I expected and I am grateful, in advance, for the more that is still to come.
Take away: There is so much more to this road than weight loss. That doesn’t mean I have to ignore the desire to lose weight, but I must ensure that I am celebrating my achievements in other areas of recovery too.