I just recently finished a book called Food: The Good Girl’s Drug. If you have ever made any connection between your emotions and your eating, I would recommend reading this book.
I have come to a realization and right now I’m trying to process it. I’m trying to figure out how to cope with it and how to move forward – and to determine if I’m even ready to move forward.
I might have an eating disorder.
I might be an emotional over-eater with binge-eater components.
What does this mean? This means that my relationship with food is fucked up. It means that my body doesn’t know when it’s actually hungry because I’m pretty much always shoveling food down my gullet. It means that I hide what I’m eating to avoid commentary and because I’m embarrassed at the volume of food that I can consume and even still I get comments about my food choices because they’re so poor. It means that at this very moment I have an entire bag of chips on my desk, along with a bag of discounted Easter jellybeans and a large Diet Coke left over from my McDonald’s lunch. There are donuts in my desk drawer that I bought this morning, but haven’t eaten yet. This is normal for me. This is not normal for most people.
I know that people have been bewildered by my complete inability to shape up about food and trust me, nobody is more bewildered than I am myself. You see, for me, food is not just a poor choice – it’s literally killing me in the form of type 2 diabetes. I’ve had a major kidney infection, bladder problems, and other issues all brought on by my own choices and yet, it still has not been enough to make me change and I cannot understand WHY.
For the longest time, I thought that it was just me and my insanely weak willpower. And perhaps, that still is part of it. But reading that book made me realize that this may truly be a disorder.
Markers of binge-eating disorder that I have are: feeling out of control when eating, eating long past the feeling of being full, having extreme guilt or shame after eating, and eating more than an average person in the same situation.
I have also noticed that I sometimes have the reverse of emotional eating – I am not eating because I’m emotional, but I’m emotional ABOUT food. I recently participated in a clean eating challenge and I was crying on the first day. Like, actually crying. You guys, this was only a 7-day challenge. This was not like I had to change my life forever (which I should), but merely for 7 days and on day one, I was crying. On day three, I succumbed to temptation and made a poor food choice, I made another bigger poor choice on day four and another smaller one on day five and on day six and I pretty much didn’t even bother on day seven.
When my coworker walked by with donuts on day three, I tried to hold out. I really did. I only made it ten minutes and the guilt I felt afterwards was tremendous. Crying, berating myself, reminding myself of what a failure I am when it comes to food.
I can’t even lie and say that it has never occurred to me to purge the bad things that I eat, because while I haven’t done it, it has crossed my mind as an option because the guilt that I feel over eating sometimes is so massive.
There is a big part of me that wonders if I’m not inflating the issue. Maybe I just like crappy food and I need to acknowledge that it needs to change. I keep trying to ask people if they do some of the same behaviors that I do so that I can see if it’s normal. Is it normal to order enough food in the morning that it should be for two people- are you thinking the whole way through the lineup that you’re hoping that the workers are assuming it’s not just for you? Is it normal to think about the junk food in the cupboard at home all day at work and want to get home just so that you can eat it? Is it normal to order a fast food meal plus an extra burger or an extra side? Is it normal to cry about food?
At the end of the day, I’m still sitting here asking myself if I have an eating disorder and I don’t know the answer. I just know that my relationship with food is far more complicated than I think that it should be and I don’t know how to change it.