warning: if you have an eating disorder, have history with an eating disorder, or can be triggered by stories of eating disorders, please proceed with caution. this post may be a trigger.
i have to first say that i debated with myself about writing this post. and then i had to remember why i blog in the first place. blogging is an outlet for me. it's a way to get my thoughts, feelings and reflections out into the world instead of bottling them inside. bottling gets me in trouble. blogging/writing is a release. i often feel that to be a "healthy" fitness blogger there is pressure to be perfect, that your blog posts must be stories about your perfect, error free life (in fact emily @ perfectionisnthappy just wrote an incredible post about perfection, and it is a great reminder of why we aren't perfect and shouldn't let those pressures get to us). my journey to a healthier life isn't perfect. it never will be. if i ignore the bumps and challenges i face along the way, i am doing myself no favors. you may not like what i have to say, and truth be told, i don't like what i have to say either. but if i don't say it, i'm feeding into a vicious cycle that kept me under water and in hiding for so long. i need to come up for air and breathe.
last night, after nearly a year and a half of "abstinence", so to speak, i slipped back into old habits and committed a full binge and purge cycle.
brandon and i went out to a very nice dinner (seafood, for lent). i let myself enjoy a glass of wine and an appetizer - not amazing choices, but not something i do every day (everything in moderation, right?). for dinner, i had a salad with a vinaigrette dressing and chargrilled fish with acorn squash. nothing super crazy or terribly unhealthy, by any means.
and then i did something stupid. i ate a piece of bread. i shouldn't have done it. i shouldn't be eating bread (wheat and gluten sensitivities), but i did it anyway. and that one bite set me off. i immediately adopted the mentality of, "well, if you already screwed yourself with one bite, you might as well eat the whole basket. you're already f***ed. go ahead and do it, fatty." and so i did. i ate the entire second basket of bread.
let me tell you this: it is incredibly embarrassing and shameful to binge. to recap in your head what you just ate. to replay bite by bite in your mind. you feel ashamed. you feel dirty. you feel disgusting and worthless. it is even more embarrassing and shameful for me to share with the world a recap of everything i ate, including an entire basket of bread on my own. this is why so many people with eating disorders live in hiding, in secret. the pain and embarrassment of recollection is so intense, it's easier to hide in the dark, then call out loud for help.
i got home and threw up twice and then somehow stopped myself, knowing i was making a terrible mistake. i knew i shouldn't be trying to throw up. in the depths of my heart, i didn't want to. but i hated myself for eating what i did so much in that moment, that the hate i would feel for myself later for throwing it up didn't matter.
thinking about it, i know what triggered a night of low points for me. for the past two weeks, i have been ravenous. i have been eating like a dog who has had to fight for its bowl of kibble every day, like it may never get a chance to eat again. i have been over my calorie goal for the day (and it's already pretty generous) and i felt frustrated by feeling like a failure, like i didn't have it under control. to add to that combination, i have been desperately trying to modify my diet so that my digestive system operates like a normal digestive system, not one that is constantly sick and making me miserable. no matter what i try and remove, avoid, modify, i still feel terrible. i'm at the point where i feel the only way to feel better is to not eat anything at all! and while i know that's not a solution, the opposite of that is to eat whatever the hell i want, because why does it matter? if i'm going to feel sick anyway, might as well actually enjoy the selection of food i can eat.
two incredible frustrations built up and exploded last night and the result was a binge/purge session that has left me feeling defeated.
i took a giant step back. and it is painfully obvious to me that i have not conquered the demons i thought i had. food is very much in control of me. it consumes my thoughts about my self-worth, it controls every action or next step i plan. it is an obsession that is poisoning my life. instead of embracing food as fuel, as something that keeps our bodies thriving, i fear it. i am afraid of food. i am afraid of the calories that make me fat. i am afraid of the nutrients that make me sick. and this is why it has control over me. when you let fear take over, you give in. when will i be able to take control?
so i sit here this morning wondering what's next. what do i do next? and quite honestly, i just don't know. i can't forget what happened yesterday, but i can't use it as a motivator to starve myself or restrict my calories as punishment. i have to use it as a motivator to get healthier. i just don't know what "get healthier" means right now, and i don't know the steps i need to take to get there.