Yes, I generally live a healthy lifestyle. I work out six days a week, I cook most of my food from scratch, and I live within my means. But I have a tiny dark side that creeps in every now and then.
You see, when you’ve lost more than 100 lbs, when people know how dedicated to living the wellness lifestyle, there’s a pressure to perform. It’s not unlike an athlete: people expect you to live your lifestyle like a saint, or they’re waiting in the wings to point it out to you when you don’t. There are expectations, or at the very least perceived expectations that you should never eat “bad” food.
Now, my day to day diet is one of moderation: I can eat whatever I want as long as I don’t overdo it. But even moderation needs moderation sometimes I guess, and while people like me try to compensate for those days we go out to eat or days we’re not well enough to exercise, sometimes each one of us experiences a setback.
So I’m here to tell you that I’m no different.
A few times a month when I’m alone, I’ll have a “minor” binge. I say minor because it’s rarely more than 2,000 calories and it’s always during the same part of my menstrual cycle. Usually it’s peanut butter straight from the jar, or potato chips. This month it was one of those frozen chocolate fudge layer cakes (I did NOT eat the whole thing in one sitting).
I was discussing this very thing with a close friend of mine, who has also lost quite a bit of weight and is now athletically-minded, and she described a similar thing. We only eat like this when we’re alone, when the pressure to eat like a healthy, mature, woman is off. We also both work out a lot, and are perceived as consistent, healthy people. This isn’t even the first time I’ve talked about it in writing, having mentioned it several times before in my more personal SparkPeople.com blog. But I wanted to put it out here, not as a plea for help, but to let you know that if you, too, suffer from any sort of disordered eating, you are not alone.
I don’t have any of the symptoms of a serious binge-eating disorder, but if you do, please speak to a medical professional and seek help. Here’s a chart that can give you a quick and dirty guide to the differences between major eating disorders. Please check and see if these symptoms match you (if you click the image it will bring you to the source page with more detailed information).
If you recognize yourself in any of these categories, please do not hesitate to learn more at the National Eating Disorders website, aka, NEDA. There you can take an online screening quiz and call their toll-free, confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
You’re way more important than the number on the scale.