February 16, 2012

New Beginning

My name is Leigh and I am a compulsive overeater. I started this blog on the advice of my counsellor who suggested that I find an outlet to talk about my issues. It's a long story, one which I'll get into shortly, but to put it simply, this is where I am hoping to keep track of my progress as I begin my recovery from binge eating disorder and a perfectionist tendency that has taken over my life.

A little bit about me and my history...

I am twenty years old and a full time university student. I work part time in retail and as you can imagine, I'm usually pretty busy. I live at home with my mom, step dad and dog who I love to bits. I have four siblings as well, but none of them live in the same household (so I kind of get the best of both worlds). Although my family is aware that I have "eating issues" they don't know that I am seeing a counsellor or that I have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder. My best friend is the only one I have told.

I have struggled with perfectionism all my life. I have always been an overachiever and an anxious individual. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I believe that this is the moment when my eating troubles began to develop. Over the new few years, I gradually became more and more obsessed with food and body image. It started with the elimination diets (which are a regular part of treating IBS). I became preoccupied with the idea of restricting my food intake and losing weight. I liked that I could have so much control over my diet and my body. I never verged on Anorexia (my calorie intake has always been at least average) but it didn't take long before I was eating only "healthy" foods and denying myself indulgences. I started to become afraid of certain foods. I told and still do tell other people that I avoid these foods because they upset my condition. And while there's some truth in that, I think that the underlying reason is more because I believe they will cause me to gain weight.

About eight months ago, my food obsessions took a new turn. Whenever I would allow myself a taste of a "forbidden food" I would get out of control. I began binging. I started allowing "bad foods" back into my diet, but instead of enjoying them in moderation, I devoured them in excess. One slice of pie would turn into half of the entire thing. And then a tub of ice cream. And then several cookies. All within a couple of hours. Once I began eating, I couldn't stop. At first this happened only once or twice a week. Now it is to the point where I am binging every other day, and even on the days that I don't, I feel that I am eating too much (even when what I am eating might be considered normal by some standards). I don't remember what normal eating is for me anymore. Everyday I agonize about eating too much.

My days now are consumed with thoughts of what I will eat, when I will eat next, and if I be able to control myself. I've tried to stop restricting myself as much but I find that I am still in the habit of calorie counting and avoiding certain foods. I am sure that I would be Bulimic if I could purge. The only thing preventing me is that I cannot make myself vomit and laxatives are too dangerous with my digestive condition. As such, I find myself binge eating and then feeling even worse for it because I am convinced I am gaining weight and wreaking havoc on my health. I have gained about three pounds in the last month and am terrified I will become obese if this keeps up. I should mention that I have never been considered overweight. My BMI is 21.4 and although I am not "thin" I am certainly not "heavy".  I hate myself for it, and I know it's illogical and the product of a flawed society, but I cannot help seeing myself as "fat". No matter how hard I try to talk myself out of it, I want to be thinner. I want to be "perfect".

So that's a brief history. I am sure that there are many more things that will come up in the course of my blogging. I don't know what I am hoping to get out of this. Hopefully insight into why I have these problems and what I can do to fix them. I also hope that in having some place to report to, I will be more motivated to carry through with the changes to aid my recovery. I would love to hear other people's thoughts and stories--people who are currently struggling or have recovered from eating disorders. I know that this is going to be a long and challenging journey and I'm not expecting a fix overnight.

I just hope that this is the first right step in the direction of healing.


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