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Confessions Of A Binge Eater

Happy New Year, everyone!  Every year, I find myself in and around this time of the year in a state of astonishment that the previous twelve months have gone by as quickly as they did.  Perhaps that’s a sign of age?  (As if the gray hairs and laugh lines weren’t bad enough!)  As the first day of our new year winds down, I wanted to give you a piece of my heart.  My love and well wishes for you this year.  Health.  Laughter (the deep, belly-laugh, oh-my-God-I-can’t-breathe kind).  Love.  Joy.  Blessings before and beside you.  As the days and months move forward, I am looking forward to sharing in your lives.  Hearing your stories.  Laughing with you.  Orange drinky and karaoke until we have no voices left (that one only applies to a select few…you know who you are!)  Thanks for having shared in my journey in 2011.  2012 is ours for the taking.  Let’s make it amazing.

As you can probably guess, my little “twenty-five pound weight gain” has been paramount on my mind for the last few days.  My goal was to start right away…walking and eating better and returning to the health-conscious Jennifer I was last spring and summer.  The one who meticulously counted her calories and drank enough water to single-handedly keep the Aquafina company in business and walked and pushed herself to move faster and to go farther.  I made a small start yesterday, but today was the big day.  The start of the new year.  The beginning of my return to health and wellness.  I was ill-prepared for just how hard it would be.  Although it was bitter cold and windy (and I had no voice and only felt like a “six” on the unpublished “ten-point scale of wellness”), I ventured out in to the cold for an invigorating 20-minute walk.  It felt good.  Hard to get moving at first, but once I hit my stride, I felt and did great.  Once I got home, though, the “hard” kicked in…in a big way.  One of my hurdles in dieting throughout my life has been the struggle to manage my eating.  In all honesty, I am not a big meal eater.  I can’t finish a plate, be it at dinner at home or out at a yummy restaurant.  My problem lies in my binge snacking.  In fact, “snacking” is wholly inadequate in describing my behavior.  Throughout my lifetime (and over these past few months following my fall from grace from the diet wagon), I’ve been binging.  On anything I wanted and in any quantity and without regard for my health or how it made me look or feel.  That behavior became a part of who I was.  Like any other commonplace behavior, I did it without thought and when the urge would strike.  And the entire thought of giving that up and forcibly managing my eating is one of the things that held me back from dieting throughout my lifetime.  During my weight-loss peak last summer, it wasn’t a problem.  Sure, I had my moments where I wanted to tear in to anything chocolate or salty or go face-first in to a pan of fudge brownies, but the momentum of my weight loss and the dedication to making myself more healthy always won out.  Since falling off the wagon this fall, I’ve been binging.  Hard.  Twenty-five pounds of binging.  And today, it was all I thought about.

I wanted to eat.

I wasn’t hungry.  I had eaten breakfast and a modest lunch.  There really wasn’t any reason for me to eat.

Except I was bored.

And I wasn’t feeling well.

And I was happy.

And I missed my parents in Indianapolis and wanted to see them.

And I loved my new Nook Tablet (thanks, Santa!)

And I am a binge eater and that’s what I do.  And that’s what I’ve always done.  Binge eaters have food on their minds all the time.  Wanting to eat and when-can-I-eat and do-we-have-any-maple-fudge-left and similar thoughts.  All the time.

It took me everything I had not to give in and just pig out.  Chocolate or anything confectionery or a big bag of Doritos…I didn’t care.  I wanted to quiet the continual voices inside me that kept telling me to eat-eat-eat and to stab-to-death that part of me that was fixated on food.  I had a moment of clarity amidst my insanity.  This is like a withdrawal of sorts.  A self-imposed rehab.  A period which I’d have to walk through to get to the other side.  Not too unlike when I gave up soda and all-things-caffeinated last spring and it damned near killed me in the early stages.  Once I got through that first phase of violent headaches and bottomed-out energy, I felt great.  Maybe this is something similar.  I’ve been binging for almost 40 years, with a break this spring and summer when I actually ate and exercised like a healthy person.  For four months, I allowed myself to return to binging.  Today was my rehab.  It’s 5:52p.m. as I type this, so I’ve still got a bit ahead to go, but that’s where I am right now.  Thinking of it this way is helpful.  It’s normal.  Of course it’s normal for the body and the mind to fight back when you take away a behavior so inherent that it has become a part of who you are.  Knowing this is making it easier.  Also making it easier is knowing that if I give in today, tomorrow will be so, so much harder.

I am so embarrassed to admit this to all of you.  (Personal accountability, Jen?  Check!)  I am a binge eater.  I suppose this isn’t a secret to any of you.  It’s not like any of you look at me and think, “Wow, I bet she limits herself to only 1200 calories a day!”  I guess today was my “a-ha” moment.  My moment of adult clarity.  I am a binge eater.  I knew it deep within, but now I am facing it head on.  Giving it a label.  And exposing it to you.  Like my fears of being seen last year, I am bringing this part of myself out in to the light.  No more shame.  No more hiding it.  I’m hoping that getting through this first 24-hours and shining this light on this part of me will help me to let it go.  It isn’t healthy.  It isn’t normal.  And I’m tired of allowing it to impede my judgment.


  1. Danielle Stephens says:

    I have complete faith in you that you can lose those 25 pounds again and then some. You are a strong woman and you can do it!

  2. michelle dace says:

    Be tough Jenn! You got this. I’m proud of you and I know you will be back on track. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

  3. First let me wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous 2012. You are just one of my very favorite people and just seeing you from across a store or getting out of your car brings me happiness in my heart and I just HAVE to come over to visit with you!

    Jennifer, You are so in touch with your situation and your food habits! That is such a good thing! You are also willing to admit any short comings you run in to along the way. Your journey is like stopping a car at 70MPH! It takes time! Think of this as learning to walk..You are gonna fall down…LOTS of is just part of the process..I am so proud that you can pick yourself up and take another step without being a baby and crying and saying “I can’t do this”..YOU CAN and YOU ARE…! You had a “slip” recognized it and you are doing something about it. You are doing fine and doing what you need to do NOW! I know this is an AA saying but I used it and still use it for my addictions, “ONE DAY AT A TIME”! TODAY I am not eating beyond my calorie goal. Tomorrow has nothing to do with it. I’m just going to do it today. If you start each day with that thought in your head it will help. It will also help to say the Serenity prayer every morning and EVERY time you think about eating beyond your goal. If you HAVE to have a little 2 doritos, or 1 cookie and take it off your calories and then move ahead. This is a CHOICE you have made..not a prison sentence..You are making a big lifestyle change and you can prove to yourself (The most important person in this journey) that you CAN control your eating and not feel guilty. You CAN enjoy food and not just become a “grazer” of veggies and fruit. HOW BORING!

    There is a Biggest Looser Recipe Book with all sorts of healthy desserts that is on line. LOTS of sweets and Salties made with healthy ingredients that you can eat every day and include in your diet plan. Then you feel like you are not dieting but making a healthy choice in what you eat. You can download that book in your Nook for under $10. Amazon has it. Face the food and don’t run away from it. Pretty soon it will come naturally and your pounds will come off. Don’t forget..FALLING is part of the is the GETTING UP that keeps you going.
    Don’t be ashamed of gains… Face that food and let it know YOU are in charge!!! Please call me anytime you need support. I am always here for you and so are all of us who love you!…<3 Now go GET 2012!!!! Mom V <3

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