1. Perfection is a myth. Tonight we had pizza and I wasn’t hungry at all but I was super cranky and irritable and pissed about everything…so I ended up trying to numb my feelings with 5 pieces of pizza. Every time I think I’m past this, it happens again. I may never fully overcome it, but it happens much less frequently than it used to, and that is how I measure progress.
2. How not to respond to a binge or overeating episode: Taking a bunch of laxatives or other medication, going on a 2-hour run, swearing to all deities that you will not eat a single thing for the rest of the week, going on a liquid fast, mentally berating yourself and wondering when you are ever going to get your shit together.
3. How to respond to a binge or overeating episode: Don’t freak out. Seriously. Acknowledge that it happened, acknowledge that you are sickeningly full and miserable and in pain–and realize that you will feel better tomorrow. I try to go to sleep as soon as I can (as many of my binges happen at night), because by now I know that nothing is going to help the awful sickness pass but time.
4. Food can be comfort, love, and an emotional painkiller. Finding something to replace it is really hard.
5. Talking about it helps. Hiding your shame and pain and feeling like a worthless excuse for a human being with no self-control does not. You need support.* Find someone–a counselor, a friend, a family member, or an online support group–that you can talk to when you’re feeling shitty and all you want to do is eat your way into of a vat of chocolate frosting.
6. You are not the only one. You are not the only one who has ever eaten an entire pizza or package of Oreos by yourself. You are not the only one who has pulled food back out of the trash and eaten it because you were like a (wo)man possessed and could not think of anything else. You are not the only one who struggles.
7. It is not about a lack of willpower. You are not a weak person who just needs to suck it up and work harder. You are someone who is dealing with something that others who toss “eat less, move more” at you may not understand.
8. It gets better. It can. It does. It will.
*I am not qualified in any way to offer advice or counsel, but if you need someone to talk to and be on your team, I am always here.