The relationship I have with food is toxic. It’s a love/hate relationship. I love food, but I hate when I succumb to it. It’s wild to think that an inanimate substance meant to provide me with nourishment can fuck with my psyche the way it does. I can’t fully blame food, it’s not all its fault. The way I view my worth based on how my body looks is also to blame.
I have an eating disorder. My official diagnosis is Binge Eating Disorder (BED), but that’s not true. I lied to my psychiatrist. I purge. For a long time I didn’t consider what I did as purging. I don’t make myself throw-up after I binge. Once upon a time, I only thought forcing yourself to vomit was purging. However, there are other ways of purging; for example, laxatives, my original purge of choice. Restricting, I’ve purged that way, too. My more recent go to technique of purging, excessive exercise. There have been times I have done all three after a binge, just for good measure. I suppose I fall more under the Bulimia Nervosa category of eating disorders, but I don’t always binge before I purge. Sometimes, I just purge.
By my estimations my relationship with food began to go south when I was around twenty. I gained what I felt was a lot of weight (20 pounds). I did lose the weight; through restrictive dieting. Then, I started a pattern of gaining and losing over the course of the next twelve years. During this time, I would binge and/or purge on occasion. Somewhere, in the figure of a couple times a month.
The relationship I have with food didn’t become ultra toxic until I finally achieved my “body goals.” I became obsessive with keeping my body as perfect as possible. As I started to see the number on the scale drop, and as my body began to look the way I had always wanted it to, my relationship with food continued to deteriorate. I was terrified of gaining weight. Gaining weight went from being a nuisance to a source of shame, guilt, and dread. I started to have more and more, binge and purge episodes. I started purging without binging more frequently, as well. I started to restrict more. I began to exercise obsessively. Do not get me wrong, I did not achieve my goals strictly by binge-eating and purging, restricting, or excessive exercise. I used purging, restricting, and excessive exercise as a means to correct binge-eating. A majority of the days, I ate healthy and exercised a normal amount. However, I can say that the amount of binge/purge, or purge only, episodes went from a few times a month, at most, to 2-3 times a week.
I can only describe binge episodes as something akin to drug addiction. You know you shouldn’t. You don’t even want to. You literally cannot help yourself. Sometimes, I can distract myself, but those times when I can’t, it’s like a battle of wills in my brain. One part of me is saying, “Don’t do it, you’ll regret it. It won’t make you feel better. You’ll hate yourself later.” The other part of me is chanting, “do it. Do It. DO IT. DO! IT!” I’ll end-up rationalizing the binge. It’s just this one time, it’s Sunday, it’s the holidays, or any other arbitrary rationalization that comes to mind. What’s really fucked-up is when I am in the throws of a binge, and I think to myself, “It’s okay. You’ll just take a laxative and exercise really hard to take care of it.” I don’t feel guilty about purging. Intellectually, I know they are both harmful behaviors, but purging makes me feel better. Emotionally, purging is a-okay. Intellectually, I am aware that is because I have given myself the illusion I am in control. Control, one of the many lies I tell myself.
The rational part of me knows I should seek treatment. The scared, depressed, anxiety riddled part, doesn’t want to. What if through seeking treatment, I gain weight? I suppose my issue isn’t really food then, is it? It’s my body image. Or, maybe it is both. It’s so weird to me that I feel this way about myself; that my worth is based in how my body looks. No…that isn’t right. My worth isn’t based on how my body looks, but about how well I am in control of myself, and how disciplined I can be, my body is a reflection of that. I don’t look at anyone else and judge them based on how their body looks. I’m only hyper-critical of myself.
I haven’t had any major binge and purge episodes lately. I have recently lost weight, but that was due to emotional turmoil and trauma. I lost my appetite. I didn’t want to eat. However, I have felt stressed lately. My candy intake is up. When I start to eat sugary foods, a binge is usually on the horizon. Will it happen? Probably. Will I purge? You can count on it. Do I want to get ‘better’?
I’m going to ruminate on this. To be continued…