My Binge Eating Disorder (BED) began in middle school. At age 13, I was six feet tall and relentlessly teased for being “too big.” Humiliation was eclipsed by a warm cookie. Uncomfortable feelings were smothered and stuffed down. Food was a self-medicating anesthesia, making me numb so I wouldn’t have to feel. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, I grew up subconsciously believing I needed a soft layer of fat to protect me from unwanted male attention.
For 20 years I routinely ate other people’s food. I circled leftover buffet carts in work hallways like a shark hunting prey. I snuck around parties gobbling holiday chocolates like a vacuum cleaner attacking dust bunnies. My weight grew and my confidence shrank as I embarked upon codependent relationships with men. My voice became smaller as I became bigger. Outwardly accommodating, I inwardly seethed. Topping 400 pounds, I enrolled in an Eating Disorder Program. My classmates were all teenage girls with anorexia. I devoured everything on my plate while they pushed their food around.
As I reclaimed my Self, I learned how to know and speak my truth. Feminism taught me misogyny hates women taking up space and hates fat women more for taking up more space. As a bisexual, my girlfriends have been more indifferent to my weight than my boyfriends. Most men have strict superficial weight guidelines. Dating ads abound with headlines screaming “No BBWs (Big Beautiful Women).”
I have medical and financial obstacles to weight loss. Bipolar depression, fibromyalgia, and neurological lyme disease leave me lethargic, short of breath, and exhausted from simple tasks like showering. The metal implants in my ankle make walking challenging. I live on a fixed disability income. Poverty dictates you eat what you can afford. I shop at discount grocers. The selection is less desirable for healthy eating goals. Fruits and vegetables are pricier and less fresh. Shopping at Whole Foods is a privilege of the wealthy.
Age has provided growth and perspective. At 45, I’ve discovered confidence comes in plus sizes, too. I’ve reclaimed the word “fat” as a descriptor, like “tall” or “white.” After years of therapy and Overeaters Anonymous meetings, I’ve found:
3 Essential Steps to Binge Eating Disorder Recovery:
- Mirror work. View your reflection while saying the following affirmations:
I love you unconditionally.
I accept you and your imperfections.
I embrace your vulnerabilities.
I treat and view myself with the respect I deserve.
I am enough, right now, as I am.
- Daily journaling. Writing down your thoughts allows you to see which ones are dysfunctional and discard the negative beliefs. Venting the inner critic creates more space for self-love.
- Connect with a Higher Power. BED is a spiritual disease. To reduce susceptibility, light the fire of your deeper consciousness with meditation and prayer.
I always had this cavernous empty void within me that I tried to fill with food. When at last I turned to a Higher Power and asked for my spiritual thirst to be quenched, I finally began to feel full.
 Richardson, C. (2009). The art of extreme self-care: Transform your life one month at a time. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.