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Thankful For BED August 1, 2010

Posted by Jen in Binge Eating, Emotional Eating, Meditation, Motivation, Sprituality.
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Because I think everything about Operation Beautiful (and Healthy Tipping Point!) are fantastic, I wanted to write something for Caitlin’s book kick-off. I hope every subject I cover on this blog empowers readers to feel great about themselves, and this post is about me finding my way out of binge eating disorder (the really short version!)

When I was in the deep, dark, chewy center of binge eating disorder, it was very, very hard for me to ever see a way out of it. Well, other than putting myself on a new diet every other day.

You see, I thought I could diet my way out of BED. I thought I could punish myself enough to make myself do what I wanted to do. I thought I could make myself stop overeating by restricting myself, by berating myself, but letting myself believe I was fat and unworthy. But I had it all wrong. I had to thank my disorder for what it offered, in the protection it was trying to provide, and find my way through it, not away from it.

Being thankful for a painful occurrence in life is not easy. Why would I be thankful that I had, for the third day in a row, stuffed my self full of peanut butter and bread and butter and chocolate and more bread and cheese and more food than anyone could ever comfortably eat in a single sitting? Why would I be thankful that I had spent the night hot and uncomfortable and bloated and feeling awful? Or spending the whole next day telling myself I was going to change, I was going to do “better” or “fix” myself?

Because my binge eating was a reflection of my life. Because my binge eating was giving me a gift, if only I would look at it. Because my binge eating was trying to protect me.

No one develops an eating disorder in a vacuum. No one eats uncomfortable amounts of food, or starves themselves, or purges their systems because everything is right in their world. Through therapy and lots and lots of reading and meditating, I finally understood that I was binging because I was unwilling to feel things. I was unwilling to deal with scary thoughts and emotions.  It had absolutely nothing to do with food. Nothing.

In my case, binge eating protected me. It protected me from scary stuff. It protected me from taking chances at things at which I might fail. It was trying to help me. Only when I realized this could I take a step back and say, “Thank you. I understand why you are here, and what your purpose is. But now I choose to face the scary stuff. I don’t need protection anymore.”

You can do it, too. If you have an eating disorder mild or serious, seek out the help of a counselor or coach.  Learn about it. Look into it. Read about it. Open yourself to the possibilities with which ED has presented you. You are a beautiful, stunning person. You deserve to live the most fantastic, joyful life possible. If something feels wrong in your life, thank it. Look into it. What is it keeping hidden from you? What amazing thing are you capable of?



1. Molly - August 3, 2010

Wow, your optimism is really inspiring! It’s true that you can learn something from anything negative in life.

2. Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn - August 3, 2010

This is a beautiful post, and can be translated across so many barriers. Thank you for sharing!

3. Anya @ Fitness & Sunshine - August 3, 2010

Hmm definitely an interesting perspective. I think with anything tough, we come out stronger. 🙂 I’m glad your life changed for the better and you learned something about yourself.

4. Liz - August 3, 2010

You’re so brave and strong! Thanks for such an inspiring post! We should all learn to see our struggles as a time for improvement, so good for you!

5. Iris - August 3, 2010

Wonderful post! Thank you!

6. Tina - August 3, 2010

I love love love this post! I battled binge eating as well and am so thankful for it now. It helped me grow and it helped me love my body even more now because I know I don’t want to go back to such an unhealthy place. Thank you for sharing!!!

7. Shanna @ Weight And See - August 3, 2010

This brought tears to my eyes! I’ve started to accept that I am a binger and am trying to be kind to myself instead of punishing myself every day. Thank you so much for this! Sooo inspiring!!!!!

8. Annie - August 3, 2010

I can relate! I absolutely can. I’ve had many binge sessions followed by restrictive periods. Totally unproductive! I’m so glad you were able to evaluate exactly what the roots of BED was and move forward from it. You are stunning!! xoxo

9. crunchygranolagal - August 3, 2010

Thank you thank you thank you for writing this and sharing it with us! As someone who struggled with BED for years (and also never saw a way out of it), this brightened my day. Overcoming something this big is a huge accomplishment, and being thankful for the struggle – and being able to understand it through a clearer, more appreciative lens – is extremely uplifting and inspiring. Write on, friend! 🙂

10. Jennifer - August 3, 2010

This was really awesome and I really enjoyed reading your take on BED. I hope many others will read this post.

11. Monique - August 3, 2010

Wow, this post was amazing! It really was moving! What an amazingly beautiful way to see something that was not such a good thing. You perspective is an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck on your journey!

12. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin - August 3, 2010

Just discovered your blog! I can so relate– I suffered from BED for years! I’m grateful for it as well, because I don’t think I’d be nearly as aware of my body and feelings without it! And I also wouldn’t have discovered this healthy lifestyle that makes me so happy now!

Great post! 🙂

13. Kate D - August 3, 2010

It seems unfathomable BED was trying to serve a purpose. To me it seemed like the easy thing to blame when things didn’t go my way. (Bad grades on a homework assignment? Too busy eating to do homework, not the fact that I was using food as a means of distracting myself from the tasks at hand.)

I think for me its time to let go the perfectionist thinking holding me hostage and see for myself what happens when I do the things that scare me.

14. Carol - August 5, 2010

Thank you. I am struggling with BED and going through much the same process that you did. This helps open my eyes to know that there is another perspective. I can change and there is a good positive way to do it.

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