This is not an easy subject to talk about. It is painful and uncomfortable. But one major thing that I have learned over the years, is that healing doesn't happen when you are comfortable. Healing happens when you lean into that uncomfortable space and let God reveal His truth.
"healing doesn't happen when you are comfortable. Healing happens when you lean into that uncomfortable space and let God reveal His truth."
I am not sure when I first started binge eating and hiding food. I do remember it got much easier in high school when I had a job and my own car. I would stop on the way home from school or work, grab some Taco Bell and then hide the evidence somewhere before I got home. Then I would go inside and eat dinner with my family. I carried the shame and secrets with me all the time.
When I got engaged, my fiancé (now husband) was living in another state. While I was planning the wedding, I started working out 3x a day (no lie) and doing as many juice cleanses as I could handle. I was the smallest that I had been in a long time when we got married. But soon after, I moved to California to be a wife and I was alone all day. I had no friends or family with me. So I ate. Then I would crash diet. And repeat the never-ending cycle.
In the first 3 years of our marriage, we were only actually together for half of that due to military training and deployments. Our firstborn, Abigail, was born while he was in Afghanistan. When we finally were together, we went through multiple miscarriages, issues with our family and even a separation. During this time I gained over 100 pounds. I carried the weight (literally) of all my guilt, shame, hurt, pain and suffering with me wherever I went. God radically changed my husband and I and healed so much brokenness. So much so, that it brings me to my knees with gratitude for what He has done in our life.
I am healed. He has saved me. But I do still struggle and I am still processing through the grief and trauma of some of the things that I have gone through in my life. I have had such an unhealthy relationship with food for so long and it takes time to change. That is okay. Food, so many times is my comfort. It is a control. It is an addiction. When I do mess up, because I still do, I do these 10 things to help me recover. I share my story with you in hopes to help you know that you are not alone and to help you learn to approach your relationship with food in a healthier way.
10 Things I Do to Recover:
I put this first for a reason. Carrying that shame and pain alone is too much to bear. You need to find someone who is trustworthy and loving to be able to talk to when you struggle. Getting it out in the open is a HUGE part of the healing process. This can even be a counselor, my counselor has been a tremendous blessing in my life.
2.)Eat a Healthy Meal
Once you get hungry again, it is important to nourish your body. Make a healthy meal that feels good. Your initial instinct might be to not eat or start a crash diet or a cleanse, but don't do this. Just get right back on track with nutritious food that tastes delicious.
It is so important to stay hydrated. Drinking water always helps me feels better after an episode. I usually have a headache afterwards (from the food and sometimes from crying) and hydrating helps that go away faster.
Journaling has been a very important part of my healing process. It allows me to get my feelings out, but I can also go back and pin point triggers. What was I going through that day that led to this binge? I can learn from my past this way. I also spend time in prayer and meditate on God's word. Speaking the truth when I feel lies coming against me is so beneficial.
There are very few things that heal my heart as much as getting out in nature does. After a binge, my tendency is to curl up on the couch in my jammies and try to hide from the pain. But that only makes me feel worse. Getting out in the fresh air and moving my body makes me feel so much more at peace.
6.)Listen to Music
What music I listen to varies on what I need at the moment. Sometimes I need worship. Sometimes I need heavy metal. Sometimes, I need to blast that metal and gets some anger and frustration out. And worship always helps remind me that my body was created to worship. Both have their place in my healing.
7.)Write a List
I love writing lists, they are very therapeutic. I will write a list of things that I am grateful for. A list of all the amazing qualities about myself that have nothing to do with my body. Write a list of all the people in your life that need prayer (take the focus off of you). It can be anything!
8.)Take a Bath
I love to take a bubble bath with some essential oils and Epsom salt. It helps me relax. Sometimes I cry while I am in there. Or pray, or just rest. If you don't take baths, hang some fresh eucalyptus in your shower!
9.)Do Something for Someone Else
So often we focus on ourselves so much and we forget that there are so many people out there that need us. Take a meal to your neighbor. Volunteer at church or a local women's shelter. It helps so much to use your talents/skills/time to truly bless someone else. It is healing and it reminds us that there is so much more to life than our bodies/weight/pant size.
10.)Don't Do These
Don't starve yourself or purge
Don't live in shame (you need to forgive yourself and allow room for grace)
Don't workout as a punishment
Don't start a crash diet
This list is based off of what I do when I struggle (and I still do), but you can use it as a template and customize it to your unique personality. I know what it feels like to be in that place. I know how hard it is. But I also know that we can learn and grow during these painful moments. Our relationship with food can change. You are so much more than your struggles. Those moments don't define you.