I didn't understand it but when I was little but I have been binge eating since about age 6. In my childhood I did eat a lot lot in front of friends and family. Secretly, I would eat even more than they knew. I would go to the basement or an empty room and just eat until I felt sick. It became all I knew.
I knew that I had an eating disorder but did not fully look into resolving it and just kept calorie counting and exercising. Everyone was saying comments like "Lorrie, you look so skinny", "Tell me your secret", and "You must feel fantastic!". The thing was that I was still binging and never stopped even when I had realized that I was a binge eater. Sure, I felt proud of the fact that I had lost weight and could discipline myself to restrict my eating and exercise for long lengths of time. I was proud that I made a goal to lose 100 lbs, stuck to it, and learned a little more about myself on the journey. But inside I secretly shamed myself for going over my calories and going up and down points on the scale. At first my calorie counting and exercise was innocent enough but after I had reached my goal weight I still felt unhappy and depressed. I ridiculed what I saw in the mirror. Constantly calling myself names in my head for going over my calories or not going to the gym. I had become completely obsessed with food and my body. Obsessed with an expectation I had in my head of "perfect". If I did not meet that expectation then I was a failure. It was black and white thinking all or nothing attitude "You messed up so you might as well give up". That hopelessness, shame, and feeling of failure is what lead me to binge. Binging is me not loving myself. Binging is me hating myself for my mistakes.
Since my dad died April 2014 I have stopped calorie counting. Not only have I stopped calorie counting but I have been learning to be more compassionate towards myself and not beat myself up over skipping a day of exercise or eating a little too much. I have not binged either. I'm trying to learn to truly listen to my body and eat when I feel hungry. I have been looking into something called "Intuitive Eating". Intuitive Eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body--where you ultimately become the expert of your own body. You learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and gain a sense of body wisdom.
I think I have recently been partially practicing parts of intuitive eating but just happened to realize what it is now. Exercise feels very different now too. I am no longer exercising or eating as a means to an end. When I go for a jog instead of focusing on weight loss or body image, I am focusing on how energized and positive it makes me feel. I am now able to really fully enjoy my runs outside. I focus more on my health and less on body image. I don't read magazines or diet books that show unrealistic expectations of weight loss. When I look in the mirror I actively try to be grateful for what I have instead of what I don't. I am done with diets and obsessive negative thoughts about my body!
I no longer want to be stuck in a cycle of disordered eating and thinking. I want to learn from my mistakes instead of beating myself up over them. I want to see obstacles in my life as a challenge or opportunity to change. I want to find a balance and figure out what works for me ( and yes that balance is going to include sweets and foods I like). I want to keep building upon my self esteem and confidence. I want to be honest with myself. I want to have a healthy relationship with food and my body. I want to enjoy exercise and food! I want to fully love and respect myself and just feel alive and happy.
So far I have only researched online about Intuitive Eating through blogs and websites. I am planning on checking some books out from the library on the subject to really contemplate it. Recovery from an eating disorder is hard but It is possible. I have to just keep reminding myself to stay consistent and know that change wont happen over night.