National Eating Disorders Association

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as107
BED and body image issues, venting and asking for help

Hey all, sorry in advance for giant rant ahead, I just need to get this out... 28F here. I've had issues with my body and food for essentially my entire life. I was a bit of a chubbier kid, always aware of it, always very excited to eat food. In high school I became more aware that I was overweight and wasn't really desirable as such. I remember having unrequited feelings for guys, and then seeing their thinner, more beautiful girlfriends and thinking they clearly didn't like me as much because of how i looked. I have this vivid memory of one dude saying the words "ew, gross" at the suggestion he should date me. Looking back, obviously high school is a terrible, dumb place, but these experiences were powerful for me. So powerful that in college I restricted, dieted, and ran throughout my freshman and sophomore years until I was the smallest I've ever been as an adult, about X lbs on a 5'3" frame. Eventually I injured myself and couldn't run for a while, and I think that's when my issues with eating sort of kicked into gear. I remember days where I'd only eat certain foods for the entire day because that's what I wanted to eat, but I'd only have a certain amount so I could fit within a calorie goal for the day. Since then (the past 8 years or so), I've essentially lived in this weird space where I'm either counting calories or binging, trying to diet/restrict or doing the opposite. Here and there I've had moments where I have eaten intuitively and it's been okay, but for the most part I feel.. distressed. I got into powerlifting several years ago and that's certainly done wonders for my general health and self confidence, but I've been having a hard time recently. Just this past week, I tried eating X kcal a day for a couple of days, then the past two days I've ended up binging on random food around my apartment until I feel bloated and sick, awful, like I know I always will after I binge. I've been to therapists about this several times in the past, read probably every book under the sun about binge eating/intuitive eating/etc. It's clear my problems with food come from not liking my body. For years I've felt my body just isn't good enough, thin enough, to be attractive to the people I'm attracted to. It's like there's this fear in my head that if I can't be smaller, I'll never be truly lovable by someone I'm actually interested in. It's so... sad... to write it out here, knowing I'm so obsessed with my size and what I eat because of this fear. But I know that fear causes me to restrict, which causes me to binge. In reality, I'm a little overweight, but I know I'm not a particularly big or small size, just average-sized, strong, and relatively healthy. I'm once again exasperated. I don't know how to proceed with eating tomorrow. Do I count calories? Do I eat whatever I want without eating mindfully? Do I try to eat mindfully then kick myself for eating something when I'm not hungry? Do I eat nothing? It feels like I've lived every variation of a day of eating, and I don't know how to find normalcy. I wish I knew how to cope with prolonged hunger so I could lose weight. I wish I knew how to actually let go of caring about the size of my body, tying it to how lovable I am. Sometimes I think I obsess about weight loss because maybe I'm not desirable because of my personality.. so perhaps looking better would make the whole package more appealing to... someone. I currently am a medical student without much money to spare and (ironically?) have terrible insurance. My current inconvenient clinic hours (9-7 M-F) aside, I'm not sure I can even find an ED therapist in my area that I could afford. I'm just.. so tired. Every day is a new day, and every new day I get it wrong. It's weird, generally having my shit together in just about every area of my life except this one. I just want to let go. I want to eat healthy things, normal things, without treating myself every meal nor shying away from treating myself once in a while. It's like there's this normal version of myself I want to exist, but I haven't been able to figure out how to be her. If anyone out there has found success and made peace with their bodies, learned to eat normally, had any similar issues, etc.. I would love to hear from you. Frankly I'd love to hear from you even if you haven't had these issues. I don't want to live like this for my entire life. Sorry for this giant rant.. I'm not sure I've ever actually written out how I truly feel about food and my body because I'm so ashamed. Hope to hear from some of you lovely people soon. Thanks. -A

_admin_moderator
Editing note

Hi, as107, we're sorry to hear about your struggles with your eating and body image. We want to welcome you to the forums and hope you find the support you're looking for. Part of your post was edited and deleted as it contained specific numbers that might be triggering to other members. You can learn more about our community guidelines here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/forums/community-guidelines. If you ever need additional support or resources, please feel free to reach out to the NEDA Helpline at (800) 931 - 2237 (Monday - Thursday 9 AM EST - 9 PM EST Friday 9 AM EST - 5 PM EST) or chat with us (top right hand corner). 

iwanttolive
as107

Hello and welcome to the forum. I am glad you found us!!! I am really sorry to hear of the daily struggle you are engaged in. It sounds like it has been very difficult. It is true that our personalities, who we are, is what matters most. But as you said, if you are not comfortable with who you are, that makes it even more difficult. When I was in middle school and high school, I was deathly ill with both anorexia and bulimia and then binging. I was hospitalized way too many times. School was terrible and home was too. My parents were not aware of how bad it was for me with my sisters.

I just want to encourage you that you are special. God (I believe in God and that He created each person with purpose) made you special and loves you. He loves me and with His help I was able to finally let go of the destructive patterns I lived with for so many years of my life. I have difficulties at times with my current weight, but most of the time I am okay with it. I have gained weight in the past year and it seems that my body wants to stay at this weight. I am in range for my age and height. Not what I thought I'd ever settle at but I am learning to love my body and who I am as a person. I am not what I weigh. I know it is a cliché, but it is true. I am not afraid to eat, not afraid of food, am able to eat out, and eat at parties without the fear of overeating or being afraid of the food. I don't have to critique foods made by other people. So, if I am at a higher weight than I would prefer but am living, not in hospitals, able to serve God, work part time, do life, than I would rather be a few more pounds than I would prefer.

It is good that you were able to write out your feelings for the first time. How does it feel to see it written down? It may help you to see a dietician, even if it is just a few times to get an idea of what nutritional needs your body has and a "loose" meal plan. I say it that way because sometimes with meal plans some people, like me, can get very rigid and not want to go off of it by one extra item of food. So if it is a base line, rather than a "rule", it may be helpful. I do eat intuitively. There are times I eat too much sweets, then I get back to checking within as to why, and get back on track. I have learned not to forbid any food so I do not wind up binging on it later. I am free to eat what I want and not eat if I don't want it as well.

I hope this helps some. I know it is a bit all over the place. Sorry about that. I also see that it just came on the screen but you wrote it a few days ago. Not sure why that happened. Welcome again and I wish you a nice night. Good luck with your studies.

iwanttolive

girlsrule123
<3

Hi,
I identify a lot with your post. I struggle with BED as well. I haven't been able to get any pro help for myself because of its cost as well as the lack of support from my family so I am attempting to take matters into my own hands. I am taking a slower approach to it. I have notebook that I fill will all of the things that I eat/what time I eat. Not to be obsessive about it but just so that I can literally see what I am eating. I also tell myself what maybe is the normal serving size for food/ how much I should be eating. Like when I was a kid I ate a certain amount of times a day and I would have a treat at night. Nothing crazy extreme. I also realized I tend to binge in certain situations. For example, if I was eating dinner while someone was telling me something really stressful I am more likely to binge or scarf my food down. So I try to just focus on my food when I am eating and remove myself from any stressful situations with food. I also realized that even if I "over eat" my calories for the day, it's still WAY better than binging. After binging I feel disgusting and I dont even enjoy the food. So maybe try a day where you can just eat normally what you want to eat and eat until you are happy. Once you get the hang of it you can slowly decrease and introduce healthier foods. I am still doing this so I'm not 100% sure this works but I am happier right now.

_admin_moderator
Hi girlsrule123! A small

Hi girlsrule123! A small portion of your post was edited due to the mention of specific foods that may be triggering to other forum members. The community guidelines can be found here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/forums/community-guidelinesThank you for being a part of the community and we hope you continue to post!

Carrieg
Hello. Im new here too. What

Hello. Im new here too. What I do is allow myself to eat whatever I want, no foods are off limits, I can eat whenever I want to. I eat if I'm hungry. I try to eat exactly what I want, not just something to fill me up, because I seem to eat more when I try to substitute for things I really want. I try to eat till im satisfied, not stuffed. If I want just one part of something i eat just that, not the whole thing. Best wishes to you. You can do this.

Carrieg
Another thing im doing is

Another thing im doing is keeping a list of things i really want to eat so when i do shopping, cooking , i can get those things that i will really enjoy, not just anything. Some are favorites i haven't had in a long time. Bonus when i make an old favorite and its not as yummy as i remember. Lol.

as107
Thank you all for your

Thank you all for your comments and kind words. Honestly I'm still not doing great... in fact just ate myself to uncomfortable fullness yet again and have continued to gain weight since I wrote this post. I don't feel comfortable in my body right now, and on top of it I've got some hamstring tendinitis which has made lifting heavy weights a bit painful, so I've had to lay off of my favorite lifts. It sucks massively.

I just wish I knew how to eat like thinner people eat. I tried eating intuitively for a couple of days (as I've done many times) then just ended up binging. Everything I do eventually ends in a binge.

I wish I had the money and time to see a therapist. It's ironic that healthcare as a profession is terrible when you're not mentally in a good place.

I wish I didn't care about my size or my body. I wish I was blissfully ignorant of how unattractive I am and just ate too much all the time and didn't care.

Jennj
As107

I’m new here too and am sorry to hear about your struggle. You are not alone in this. I’m very similar to you. I will be very good and cook/eat healthy then once I have one binge it continues for multiple days. The problem is, (for me at least) I’m looking for the food to satisfy something else and just keep binging because I don’t get that satisfaction, the foods not even enjoyable when I’m binging, then I end up feeling sick and disgusted with myself. Next time you want to binge, try to think what’s going on to cause you to feel that way. Tell yourself to do something else for an hour then see if you still want to binge, or try to tell yourself you can get through today and reevaluate tomorrow if the binge is worth it. I know it seems so hard in the moment but set little goals for yourself that are achievable. Good luck and we’re all here for you! I have found that reading the forums and knowing you have support helps.

Ehague
Day 1

So today was my first day binge free in probably 3 months and I know that seems little and small but it’s so big for me and i just wanted to share. Thank you all for being here for me.

lovetowrite81
Ehague

That is so exciting-- and should definitely be celebrated! How have you been doing since this post? <3 We're here for you!

Jennj
Ehague

That’s amazing!!! You should be so proud of yourself!!! Keep it up, I hope you have a great day :)

Jennj
How’s everyone doing?

I slipped up today :( I’m so frustrsated. I knew what I was doing and chose to keep going when I could have stopped. Feel so awful and sick now. I just don’t know how to control the urges and not let my emotions get the best of me! I have the hardest time changing my mindset. I still feel like crap. I now want to cancel my weekend plans with friends because I feel so awful and shameful. I just wish I could prioritize spending time with people vs binging in private and finding a healthy balance. Would love any advice, I know I sound like a broken record at this point but I really am trying to change. I hope everyone else is doing well and having a better day. I won’t let this get me down!

lovetowrite81
Jennj

Hi Jennj-
I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling. I know how awful and uncomfortable it feels after a binge. Just know that tomorrow is a new day and a chance to start over. As tempting as it may be to restrict now, I want to encourage you to try to get back on a healthy meal schedule. And I think keeping plans with friends will help. I know for me it was always tempting to isolate further, but I found that sometimes forcing myself to get out and be with people even if I didn't feel like was beneficial. Try to be gentle with yourself. You are not a broken record. This is an ongoing struggle-- just know that recovery is possible. One day at a time. You got this!

s.boewer
Be gentle

Hi- Try to be gentle with yourself and use positive self-talk so no negativity can feed into the ED voice and lead to more binges. Just take it one hour at a time and build on that. I just want to say I understand because I have been where you are and just keep trying because you can do this. Take care:)

s.boewer
One more thing

I wanted to say I relate to the pain you felt when a boy made a negative comment about you in high school. When I was twelve and swimming at a pool with cousins, my older cousin looked at my thighs and said they were fat and ugly (I was a small gymnast then and not fat). That comment stuck in my brain and changed the way I saw my thighs for 34 years. I ended up with body dysmorphia and had to go through therapy, a drug addiction, 12-step meetings and reading self-help books to finally view my body, and specifically my thighs, as they actually are. Now I really do love my body, flaws and all, and I eat 3 meals a day and stop when I'm full and no longer binge/purge/restrict. So recovery is possible. Be kind to yourself on this journey because the ED loves the shame, and you don't want to feed into that even if you slip. Just always use positive affirmations and take it slow, one hour or one day at a time is more doable than never again. Take care:)

Jennj
Thanks for the support!

I’ve had a healthy two days and am feeling encouraged! I have brunch plans with friends on Sunday which is giving me anxiety but I will take it one day at a time and stay balanced. I’m really trying to identify the issue in the moment that’s causing me to want to binge and deal with that instead of coping with food. When I binged Tuesday I was having a frustrating work day and I need to remind myself these people are NOT worth making me feel so crummy and worse. I’m stronger than that. I’m also working on changing the negative self talk like s.boewer said and be proud of myself for the little accomplishments. I hope everyone else is doing well! Stay positive and strong :)

s.boewer
Great!

Hi- It is great to hear you had a good couple of days because that is how recovery starts and it really has to be just one day at a time. Dealing in the present moment and working through your triggers is a great way to manage behaviors because, as you already know, it is never about the food or the weight. I am really happy you are trying positive affirmations too, because retraining the mind to replace the negative thoughts, that only serve the ED, is one of the most useful things I've done for my recovery (and still do, daily). There is a great book, entitled "How to be an Adult" (I forget the author sorry), and it has pages of positive affirmations in the end that I read through every night before I go to bed. The book covers many topics, such as assertiveness, healthy boundaries (which I needed the most to help my relationship and my reaction to use behaviors as a result of unhealthy boundaries that I allowed to trigger me), values, and mindfulness to name a few. I hope you keep feeling optimistic and you can continue to stay in the present and deal with core issues as they arise. Thanks for the update and write here again to keep us up to date. Take care:)