I'm a 20-year old college student, and I have an out-of-control binge eating disorder.
These last few months have been a rollercoaster. It's like a broken record... Monday through Friday, I'll be exercising vigorously and severely restricting calories because of binge-eating on the weekends. Come Friday, I'll have a slice of pizza or two, then it all goes downhill from there. WITHIN TWO HOURS, I will have 3 bowls of cereal, a bag of trail mix, two p.b. sandwiches, half a pizza, a DQ blizzard, 2 granola bars, half a box of cheez-its, nachos, and then some. Any given weekend, I'll consume at least 15,000 calories. It's like I don't care about anything -- I will eat whatever I can get my hands on, and my appetite is uncontrollable. I've even gone so far as to eat my roommates' food, dig in the garbage, or drive to 3 different fast food places to get my "fix."
When Monday arrives, I will have felt so crappy by that point (knowing I worked *so* hard the week before to lose weight, and gained it all back!), that the calorie-restricting/exercise cycle starts all over again.
It has gotten to the point where I am either eating less than 1,000 calories a day, or more than 5,000 (during the weekends, usually). In fact, I just finished a 3-day binge -- of which my stomach literally hurts from the insane amount of food I packed in -- and am now taking laxatives and vowing to eat less than 500 calories for the next week to make up for it.
I HAVE LOST COMPLETE CONTROL. I don't know who to turn to. I told my roommates I thought I had a binge-eating problem, but they just look at me like a deer in the headlights. They don't think it's serious because binge eating isn't what you associate with the term "eating disorder," like anorexia. They claim I just "overindulge" once in a while, but they never see my late-night kitchen raids.
I feel my life revolves around food, and want my normal life back! How do I get help? Who do I turn to? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Posting here is a good first step because your life is indeed out of control. But help is out there! What you have to recognize is that the days that you are restricting/exercising/ "being good" are as much a part of your eating disorder as are the days you are "being bad". Even thinking of them like that is a part of the distortion in thinking that is an eating disorder. Since you are in college you can start by going to your college counseling office and asking for a referral to a therapist with experience with eating disorders. Medical doctors can also make a referral, but make sure it is to a therapist, not just a doctor, and one who works with eating disorders. Eating disorders are physical, emotional and psychological and all those things need to be treated including the issues that are underneath the eating. You might also consider going to meetings of OA (look in the phonebook under Overeater's Anonymous) where you would get support and understanding from people who unlike your roomates understand what you are going through. You can recover from this illness. I have nearly 16 years recovery but mine went on for a lot of years before I got there. Don't wait to get help and reclaim your normal life!
i really feel for you, because i used to do the exact same thing... for 10 years! i'd eat about 300 calories a day while working out for hours for about a month, then when i'd decide to "cheat" and eat just ONE thing off my diet i'd lose all control! i'd keep eating until i could no longer stand or lay down comfortably... at one point i was on the floor on all fours because i literally felt like my stomach might explode in any other position! i started going to counselling around that time and it really has helped me. i found that when i stopped dieting i completely stopped binging! you just have to stop extreme dieting. i really don't think there's any other way to beat it.
Tracy, your first step is to make a commitment to stop restricting. I know it sounds crazy and you're going to think, "I'm bottomless, I won't stop eating, I will get so fat and bloated and feel gross all the time!". I just did this about two months ago, because I was so frustrated with the whole thing and felt that I was losing my sanity to this insane cycle of binge eating then restricting or overexercising to compensate. It's a battle you can't win. Commitment means that you can't beat yourself up after a binge; rather, you care for yourself. You ask your body what it needs (a soothing bath, sleep, etc), and you feed yourself the next time you're hungry. It's helpful to think of taking care of yourself like you'd care for a child or your best friend. You wouldn't beat them up or severely punish them if they did something wrong, so why do it to your body? If you've noticed, it's probably gotten worse for you as time goes on. That's because your body is crying out to you to be nourished, to be fed at regular intervals. I recommend this book if you'd like to read the words of someone who dealt with this insanity for a couple decades: Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth. It definitely makes you feel less insane because there ARE others like you, and for me, it prompted my help-seeking. I can't believe I'm saying this after just two months of finally giving up on bingeing/restricting, but I've learned so much about my body and my mind that there's no going back (and I haven't gained the crazy amount of weight I expected, and my bingeing has gone from about twice a day to twice a week - the desire to binge is still decreasing ON ITS OWN!). If you'd like to talk further, feel free to send me a message. Good luck; I'm rooting for you!
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