Fit vs. Fiction's Blog

A Mother’s Binge

I was recently asked by a young women I know to help her understand the difference between overeating and binge eating.

Both involve eating more food than we need to..but only a binge these 2 criteria: Eating massive amounts of food in a very short period of time along with a feeling of being completely out of control.

As someone who battled eating disorder issues as a teenager, I never thought they’d follow me into life as an adult, a wife and a mother. But then, in my early 30s, I found myself back in the grips of this problem, alternating between starving and binging. I was lucky enough to find recovery and regain my health and life a few years ago.

Recent studies show a rise in eating disorder behaviour among women in their 30s and 40s. Is it due to the added stress we’re dealing with at this stage in our lives, or just unresolved issues from our past rearing their ugly heads?

I thought I’d share a first hand account of what life can be like when FOOD takes over:

It’s 2am. The boys are sleeping. I should be too. Instead I’m lying on the floor of my den dealing with a stomachache and intense nausea. I am debating whether I should make myself throw up for relief or just wait it out and hope things settle down on their own. Tonight’s binge started the way most do, feeling like I was in complete control. I woke up this morning thinking that today would be different. I would stick to my diet and just eat what was needed. But somewhere throughout the day, I gave in to a craving, which led to another, which led to the final straw, which was one of the chocolate chip cookies I had baked for my kids the day before. Somehow, overindulging on rice cakes and sugar-free JELL-O, didn’t bring on the overpowering guilt that one cookie did. Probably because I enjoyed the cookie. Once I had already blown my diet, it seemed okay for me to have just two more cookies. I figured I could restart my diet tomorrow. But after consuming the second and third, the guilt was immeasurable and I knew I would have to practically starve myself to fix the damage – and once I was going to starve myself anyway, I figured I might as well eat everything I could tonight so I would never crave anything ever again.

First, I decided to finish off the cookies, there were about eight of them left. They stopped tasting good after the fourth, but I was on a roll. Once my taste for something sweet had been satisfied, I was now in search of salt. I reached for a bag of potato chips, ripped it open, finished it and buried it at the bottom of the garbage bin, hiding the evidence from Rob. With my sodium craving handled, it was time for something savory, but what? I made myself a sandwich with leftover turkey slices on white bread. I hate white bread, but at that point it didn’t matter. After that, it seemed like something healthy would be a good idea, so I reached for an apple, thinking that the sweetness and crunchiness would satisfy me for good. No such luck. All of a sudden, I felt an intense desire for chocolate. ANYTHING chocolate – but I remembered having thrown a lot of it away in an effort to save myself from situations like this one. I began hunting frantically, seemingly possessed for anything covered in, containing, or even just resembling chocolate. During my search, I came across a small bag of jellybeans. I don’t even like jellybeans, but it was food so I ate it anyway and continued on my search. Elated, I found a mini chocolate bar left over from Halloween six months earlier. Its wrapper was partially open, with bits of lint stuck to the exposed parts, yet it was exactly what I needed. I devoured it in seconds and threw the wrapper in a separate trash bin.

Just when I thought I was done. I remembered the ice cream that Rob had bought the week before for a rare craving he was experiencing. Strangely enough, he hadn’t finished it. In fact, he had somehow managed to have just a single serving and then put the rest away. Blasphemous! He didn’t deserve the ice cream. After grabbing a bowl from the cupboard, I filled it with half the carton, added some chocolate chips and butterscotch syrup and made my way upstarts to the den. Halfway through eating my treat, the stomach pains kicked in and nausea appeared. I should have stopped, but I didn’t. When I was finally done, and the bowl was licked clean, I pushed it away and tried to get comfortable on the couch: a task that proved to be impossible. Which is what has landed me here…on the floor…for the last two hours. I suddenly realize that the nausea has subsided and I’m actually feeling comfortable again.

I pick myself up, walk towards my bedroom to finally get some much-needed rest, but instead make a quick turn down the stairs and into the kitchen…to make pancakes


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