Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ED issues - do they ever go away?

I love how our Fat Acceptance community can come together to support each other when one of us is feeling less fierce than usual... I'm hoping to find a bit of that support today.

Trigger warning for eating disorder issues, ok, y'all...?

I am really struggling the past couple days with a strong urge to binge on sugars, fats, and carbs. All the stuff I've been taught my whole life is "bad" (which I've struggled, with limited success so far, to re-define for myself in a HAES and intuitive eating framework). I've struggled with a tendency to have disordered eating - and disordered thinking about eating - for what feels like forever. Certainly since middle school, when I'd make up elaborate lies about wanting something to do, being so bored, surely my mom wanted me to go to the store and get some milk or something just so I could go to the store to buy a candy bar and devour it in a fear- and forbidden-food rush of shame. (I wasn't allowed to spend my allowance on candy, cause, ya know, so fat.) I also got caught once stealing chocolate chips out of the deep freezer in the garage... and the shame, wow... I don't think I'd have been more ashamed if I'd been caught masturbating. (Yeah, no body issues there. Why should masturbation be a shameful thing either? But that's another story for another post.)

I think I'm being triggered these past few days because a) I've learned that I'm gluten-intolerant, which means I'm constantly telling myself "no" to things I want to eat, and restriction/the forbidden are huge triggers for me... and b) I had a conversation with a friend who is a 10-year WLS survivor with pretty much the best imaginable outcome. I forget how it came up, but I tried to neutrally respond saying I was glad she had such a good experience and was healthy. Somehow this turned into her recommending other mutual acquaintances I could talk to who also had good experiences, and wham - I was triggered.

Not sure the above two items can possibly explain completely why last night I ate 2 corn dogs and a bacon-wrapped hot dog (after a full meal 2 hours earlier) and this morning a turkey sandwich and a muffin (both v. gluten-ous) and for lunch Taco Bell and then a 3-pack of Hostess orange cupcakes AND a pack of Twinkies. And why I'm feeling so much like a failure and so much frustration and some shame for eating all these things. I know I'll be kicking myself for DAYS as all this grease and sugar and most importantly gluten wreaks havoc on my poor tummy and gut. Why do I do this to myself? How can I give my body the food I know is good for it when intuitive eating says eat what I crave, and what I crave is sugar when my genes give me a high chance of diabetes and gluten which makes my tummy hurt? This is too hard to navigate.

Help me, wise fatties! What have YOU done to struggle through these issues and come out the other side?


  1. First thing, are you PMS-ing? Because I always forget when I'll get my period until I am in full-on carb craving mode. Second, gulten-free isn't a death sentence. May I recommend my BFF's GF blog: wasabimon.com
    You can satisfy your carby urges if you don't mind baking or spending a bit of money. Other fats have found themselves gluten intolerant, too. You're not alone. In fact more and more people are finding that they are gluten intolerant. I know you can't just decide to not feel guilt over such things, but considering why you're craving things and paying close attention to how eating certain things makes you feel will help in the long run. I still have an extra something and think about it after like, whoa what was that? But the more time I give it and the more mindful I am of how it makes me feel physically, I am able to deal and process with the emotional side so much more. HUGS. Love ya gurl.

  2. My new roommate is celiac, so I'm learning a lot about the gluten thing. Did you know Butterfinger is GF? And lots of other candies, too. And when you feel like baking, so far I've had no problem just substituting GF flour blends for the regular flour in the recipes I've tried.

    I have no big words of wisdom about the emotional side, still struggling with that myself. Big hugs!

  3. When I first went GF a couple of years ago, I would end up binging on the replacement treats I'd find. I think it's a normal response when faced with a kind of food scarcity, like having to tell yourself "no" to foods you used to eat.

    Also, have you considered being tested for vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies? Gluten intolerance and other food intolerances wreak havoc on your digestive system and it's highly possible that the binging behavior and the cravings are your body's way of trying to get what it's missing.

    Lastly, have you been reading anything from the Fat Nutritionist? She is really wonderful and you might find some help there. Also, as I've been trying to heal from my own BED, I read Overcoming Overeating, which was extremely helpful. The first thing to do is give yourself permission to eat all those "bad" foods, as much as you want, whenever you want. Having permission really takes the pressure off and the desire to go overboard will fade.

    hang in there! It'll be okay!

  4. I am in the struggle too. I have been eating what I want with no shame but I don't feel good physically. So I have just been trying one meal at a time to eat well for my body. I haven't been great because...well...I just don't wanna. But the better I feel the more I do what is better for my body. But it's hard to push back on food. Sisters in Support of each other!

  5. Ahh the old falling back into old habits. Isn't it fun... NOT!

    It happens to a lot of us. Our patterns might be different, our old habits might vary... but the commonality is that we fall into those behaviours that harken back to our days of body loathing and crappy self esteem.

    You know what? It's ok. So, you made a mistake, and you got caught up in some headspace that isn't where you want to be, and you're feeling crappy. Did the world end? Did you steal the food from someone else's pantry? Did a great hand come down from the sky and smack you? Nope?

    I think we need to give ourselves permission to work through those times. Not beat ourselves up when they happen (hey, we're human!) and remember that we don't have to prove anything to anyone. It's our bodies, our lives, our needs.

    Yep, it happens. Beating yourself up is not going to get you progressing, it's just going to force you into a spiral.

    Hang in there, vent when you need it and remember - YOUR BODY - nobody else has the right to judge you on it.

  6. I agree with other comments. Don't think of this day or week or month as some commentary on your holistic health or some kind of indication that this is how things will always feel/be. A pack of twinkies is not a metaphor for a pattern of ill health. Don't give the twinkies that power. I also agree with Krista, it's a day to day, meal to meal, moment to moment process. Don't keep score. Don't hang onto the thoughts that don't benefit you or leave room for success.

  7. I'm sorry you are finding this challenging. I was terrified myself that going wheat-free (allergy, not celiac, in my case) would trigger me into a slide back into restriction, from which I have been in recovery for more than ten years. I appreciate your sharing your experience.

  8. About your WLS friend, I remind myself that there are always exceptions to the rule -- the few that it did work for. Just look up "gastric bypass gone bad" and you will find plenty of icky stories. Society is always trying to hold up those few who have succeeded, to reel us in. They forget the thousands who failed.

  9. As you can see from the comments, a lot of people have been where you are. When I started the no dieting thing, I started with Satter's "Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family" and that was hugely helpful for me. The book "Eating by the Light of the Moon" was also helpful for the emotional part, I actually read "Eating" first.

    I think whatever path you choose for intuitive eating is going to be fraught with wrong turns, u-turns, and potholes, but that's okay, we are learning a new skill. When I get down on myself, I just remind myself that I don't know how to eat, what would it be like if I was learning to walk for the first time, would I beat myself up everytime I fell down, or maybe I'd just stop trying to walk and be content to stay in the same place or be 100% reliant on others, heck no, I'd just get up and try again.

    (I was caught eating concentrated orange juice out of the deep freeze, all I could think when I read your deep freeze confession was I wish my parents had kept chocolate in the deep freeze, how messed up is that thinking?)

    Finally, have you started any new medicines in the last few months? There are many meds out there that just trigger my hunger like crazy and I just can't stop eating.

  10. I think one of the most toxic things that stays with us from dieting is the beating yourself up stage. It's so much a part of that process that it's very difficult to untangle yourself from it.

    Part of intuitive eating is learning to let go of the need to beat yourself up if you are less than "perfect."

    So you indulged in a way that was not so good for you? So what? That doesn't have to have any deep meaning about you as a person or about your future ability in eating competence.

    Acknowledge it happened, then let go of the judgment around that and see if you can learn from it. What triggered you? What might be behind it? What need was not being addressed? What could you do about it differently in the future?

    A mistake is not the end of the world, and definitely not a symbol of your worth or your path in life. Learning to forgive yourself for mistakes is part of the process.

    Detach, detach, detach. Detach from judgments around food, detach from beating yourself up over being less than perfect. Look at it objectively and learn what might help instead, but release the need to be judge, jury, and executioner of yourself about a simple brief return to your old ways. Old habits don't die without rearing their heads periodically; it's just another opportunity to handle it differently and learn from it.

    You're learning a new skill. You're going to have bumps in the road....and that's NORMAL. Learn from it but don't let it derail you from the road.

    Learning self-forgiveness is a big part of this journey.

  11. The following advice depends on your living arrangements - if the following is infeasible so be it.
    If you have the place to yourself, plan a guilt-free orgy. Feel like sugar? Buy the good stuff: cake or candy or whatever. Eat what greasy or salty stuff takes your fancy. Masturbate if you're in the mood. Curse out the person who shamed you at the freezer.

    The point is to get the urges out of your system through sheer satiation. One orgy may not be enough. The point is you're in charge of yourself, and if you choose to skip these foods in the future, it'll be because they make you feel bad (not guilty, just bad) afterwards. Also, if you plan this out, you're less tempted to consume these items at other times - you know that you're going to get your fill soon!
    Don't analyze it too much, at least not yet. Just do it.


  12. This may be completely unhelpful, but at the time of month when I've got a bottomless appetite and crave sweets and junk food, I eat some. I don't binge, but I eat a little more than I would usually consider prudent. Then if I still want to chew on something, I fill up on carrots, celery or air popped popcorn. It seems like a good compromise. I get some of the food I'm craving, and I get to eat a lot if I feel like it. And this sounds more like a diet tip than I'd like, but it does work for me.

  13. Thank you all for the kind words and support. It means the world. I haven't been good at responding to each comment, but know that I cherish them and appreciate each of you for speaking up to support me...