Just Eat The Cake - How I Got Over The Cycle Of Starving and Binging
Hi Fellow Warriors,
This post is going to be a bit of a deep one.It is no secret that the struggle with weight and expectations that are put on us to be ‘perfect’ fall in line with many psychological road blocks that so many women struggle with but that are considered too taboo to talk about. That’s not how we do it at StrongHer. Our whole mantra is to be real, to be honest, and to speak the truth and this involves not only the shiny outside of the happy parts of body positivity, but the struggles that so many women face and try to cope with on a day to day basis.Today, we are going to talk about binge eating. Our very own Sam has a personal experience with this, and she is going to share her story of how she overcame bulimia, binge eating and anorexia and what steps she took to overcome them.
So make a cup of coffee or tea or get a glass of wine or a pint or whatever your choice of drink is(Sam’s is orange Lucozade), take a seat, and let StrongHer do what we do best: Be real and honest with you.
This is Sam’s interview.
Before We Go Into Your Story, Is All Binge Eating Unhealthy?
Well, there are two types of binging. There’s the unconscious and conscious. Unconscious binge eating is when your mind goes into mindless autopilot, and conscious binge eating is when it is an extreme form of restricted eating or emotional eating. You are conscious of what you are doing to your body but binge anyway. The result of this is feeling guilty, ashamed and sometimes you even make yourself sick. So both are unhealthy in a way, but unconscious binge eating does have easier and quicker solutions.
Why Do People Binge Eat?
There are a lot of reasons for both unconscious and conscious binging. For unconscious binge eaters, it’s usually boredom, or stress, or loneliness. For conscious binging, it’s usually low self esteem or a need to try and control something after a trauma in your life that you are trying to get away from. The common factor with unconscious and conscious binging is it’s trying to fill a void, an emotional trigger to feel happier.
Do You Think Extreme Diets Add To Conscious Binging?
100 %. Diets aren’t sustainable. It’s like going on a silent retreat forever, which we would never do #justsaying, restricting yourself to such extreme measures. At the start of a silent retreat, it’s great, it’s a time to tune back in and connect with yourself, you feel proud of your will power and aware of what you may need to change, but you can’t stay on a silent retreat forever, eventually you will lose your voice, starve and maybe lose your mind. It’s the same for extreme dieting environments, you are going to end up binging.
What Kind Of Binging Did You Have? Conscious Or Unconscious?
Conscious, definitely. Tig and I come from a professional dancing background and the pressure of having the perfect body is extreme.When I was 15 I was considered slightly overweight in the dancing world. A comment was made about my weight and how I wouldn’t get anywhere in the dancing profession if I wasn’t the perfect size. That one offhand comment planted the bomb in the back of my mind, and as I continued to grow older, I would go to dance classes where I was surrounded by the most beautiful and skinny girls, and I compared myself to them constantly.I became obsessed with being thin, not healthy. It was a way of trying to find control when everything around me felt out of control, a way of trying to regain power when I felt powerless. My way of controlling my life was food and throwing that food in the bin.
How Long Did You Suffer With Anorexia, Bulimia And Binge Eating?
It started when I was 15 and I was diagnosed with anorexia, binge eating and bulimia just before my 17th birthday. It took me 7 years struggling with it to finally find my way out, so from 15 to 22.
For People That Haven’t Been There, What Was Your Head Space Like When You Were Going Through It?
It’s a dark place. I didn’t know who I was. I was a shadow of my former self. I didn’t talk to anyone and I seemed like a completely different person.I was surviving on diet coke and sugar, and I would dream about food. You just see black. Back then, a friend said to me, :“I don’t know who you are now, you are not you.”, and I just kept on saying :“I’m Fine.”, I’m Fine.”.I went silent. You do go silent, you disappear, and I disappeared, quite literally. That is why I think it is so important to talk about it, to not go silent, but find your voice so that you can start to tackle the problem and find liberation and freedom from the restriction and punishment that you put on yourself.
What Was The Lowest Moment Before Recovery?
Two moments come to mind. The first, was when I had gotten a scholarship that I worked really hard for to do what I loved, dancing. I would arrive with my water and baggy clothes on so no one would notice that I had gone down to 6 and a half stone. Eventually they called me in, and told me that I was too underweight to carry on with the scholarship , and I had to do something about it. I remember thinking that this was something I had worked my whole life to achieve, and I was throwing it away.The second moment, and not even Tig knows this, is when I was sitting on my bedroom floor with a row of laxatives laid out in front of me and I just looked at them for the longest time, just staring at them. I just thought:“What the hell are you doing Sam.”…And even though I knew that this was wrong and I was sick, I took them anyway. I think those moments stick out to me, my lowest moments. It was those moments that made me realise that I had to do something, that this was a problem, that I couldn’t carry on like this.
What Steps Did You Take To Change?
When you reach rock bottom, the only way is up. It wasn’t easy. It took me years, struggling and fighting with food to find the love I have for it now. I wanted to change, but didn’t know how.Not knowing where to turn, I decided to clue myself up on food. I decided it was time to take my biggest weakness, my obsession with food, and make it my biggest strength, to take that energy and put it in a healthy and positive direction. To take the negative thought patterns and turn them into positive ones. I realised that my body was starving when I restricted it, that diets didn’t work as much as a healthy lifestyle, and that is where I found my true calling: Nutrition.
What Is Your Relationship With Food Now?
When I look back at myself then, I don’t even recognise the girl I was. It’s like I came out of some kind of war. Now I know how food works. I know that you don’t have to restrict yourself with everything if you know what food is healthy for you and life is so much ore fun this way. That is why we don’t believe in restrictions at StrongHer. Diets don’t work, punishing your body doesn’t work. We say, “Eat What You Want, When You Want.” We aren’t here to restrict you, we are here to help you love yourself and be the healthiest, happiest version of yourself. It’s about building your mental strength as well as your physical strength, because to be truly healthy, it has to come from your mental stability as well as your physical one.
Do You Have A Specific Moment That You Remember When You Felt Truly Empowered, When You Realised That You Had Overcome It?
When I sat down at a Chinese restaurant and could eat in front of people.
Tig: That’s why you love Chinese so much!
Over 1.25 Million People In The UK Suffer From Eating Disorders, What Can We Do To Change This?
We have a huge problem with our schools and that we are not educated on the essential macronutrients (carbs, fats & protein) that we need to be healthy. I didn’t know any of it when I was suffering from my eating disorders, and I think it would have really helped me. Knowledge when it comes to nutrition should be added to the school curriculum. We could say that because of Google and Social Media that everyone is way more health conscious and that we have that source of information, but everyone has more accessibility for the need to look a certain way too. So instead of concentrating on health, it’s concentrating on looking the best, the most thin. The irony in this is that if you eat the right foods and exercise the right way, your body will be the best, feel the best and lets be real you will think it looks pretty darn good.
What Advice Would You Give To People That Are Suffering With Binge Eating Now?
I think the most important thing is to be patient and kind to yourself. Quite a cliche line, but people don’t realise how difficult it is when they are in it. I would say that once you have recognised it, you can confront it and then you can find solutions and healthier options. Look at your emotional triggers, whether you are a conscious or unconscious binge eater, and start to look at why you are binge eating in the first place.
And then I would tell you to come to a StrongHer class. (Nudge Nudge Wink Wink Shameful Plug). or even check out our FREE NUTRITION HACK SHEET!
Next week, we will be bringing out our first podcast with one of our clients and we are VERY excited to have our special guest join us. Together the three of us(Lyanne, Sam and Special Guest) will discuss binge eating and our different experiences with it, from overcoming it to still going through it to the friend looking in and not knowing how to help someone with an eating disorder. Hit the button below and we will tell you when its going LIVE!
We become StrongHer by sharing our experiences so that others do not feel alone, so please if this resonated with you in any way, be brave & leave a comment.
Until next time Stay StrongHer!
P.S check out this video of sam post her binge days you will love it :D