I am a completely different person now than I was while I was compulsive eating. I went from a person who declined every invitation to a person that finally enjoys hanging out with people again. From a person that hardly ever laughed to a person that has regained my personality. From a person that would be embarrassed to walk next to people my own age in fear that they would make fun of me because I was overweight to a person that smiles at people my own age because I actually like myself and don’t compare myself to anyone else. From a person who didn’t have an interest in meeting new friends to someone that has made great new friendships. From a person that was completely miserable with every aspect of myself to a person that loves myself so much.
I’ve realized how strong I really am and how determined and focused I still remain in my true desire to help others that suffer from compulsive eating. It really isn’t just about me at all – It’s about the lives that I can change. It’s about the emails that tell me what an inspiration I am. It’s everything that I’ve ever been passionate about doing.
It has been a very gradual process, but I am a firm believer that slow and steady is the way to go. I’ve really built a stable foundation underneath me and I can honestly say that compulsive eating never crosses my mind. Not ever. I get emails from people all of the time that ask if I ever compulsive eat or even think about bingeing. The answer is no. Compulsive eating was what used to define me and I never want to go back there again. I never want to go through the struggles and trying times of food being my best companion.
I feel like I finally know how non-bingers think about food because I have joined that category. Finally after over eight years of trying to find a way out. I get emails from people wanting to know if I ever eat any of the foods that I used to binge on. With the exception of fast food (I never eat fast food anymore), I eat everything that I used to binge on occasionally. I only say occasionally not because I’m afraid I will binge on that food, but because I have a whole different outlook on my life and my mindset is completely different. It is only by choice that I do not eat a lot of my former compulsive eating foods. It is solely my preference to focus on eating healthy foods that will provide nourishment for my body. I do not like the way that I feel when I eat junk and therefore, I don’t buy it. It’s nonexistent in my house and pretty much in my whole life because I never even crave it.
Now, I want you to know that I do not tell you this to brag. I do not think that I am better than anyone. I’ve been where each of you is right now and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the trials that you face with food. It’s a hard place to be when compulsive eating controls your whole life. So, why do I tell you this then? I tell you this because I want you to know that there is so much for you to look forward to. There is a whole life out there for you that you haven’t even experienced because compulsive eating is holding you back. My days are no longer filled with darkness, instead my days are brighter than ever and I want that so badly for each of you. I’m so excited for you to see what the other part of life can be like.
I want you to think about your life right now – What do you wish you could do but do not do because of compulsive eating? Perhaps it’s due to the weight that you’ve gained while compulsive eating over the years. Or it might just be the simple fact that you don’t feel good about yourself and you just want to hide from the world.
What activities has compulsive eating stolen from you?
What does it keep you from doing?
Are you not as social as you used to be?
Do you isolate yourself?
What goals did compulsive eating take away from you?
Finally, the most important question of all, what are you going to do for yourself today?
Learn to focus on yourself for once. Even though you have chosen a long road that will have many obstacles, you are still persevering and trying not to let any setbacks keep you down. Most likely you are harder on yourself than anyone else is. Why not start praising yourself for all that you’ve done? So what if you had a hard day yesterday, are you going to dwell on it or are you going to pick yourself back up and keep fighting for what you truly want?
Today do something good for yourself. Something that shows that you are going to try to be more accepting of yourself. What about buying a new outfit so that you don’t have to feel frumpy with your current clothes? Buy yourself something you feel good wearing. Maybe you would prefer to do a random act of kindness – that always makes me feel good about myself. Another option is to pamper yourself by getting a massage, a facial, a manicure, or a pedicure. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen your friends, why not get some friends together and catch up? Just do yourself a favor by doing something for you that will put a smile on your face.
When I broke out of my shell and started doing things that made me feel good about myself, I noticed my whole outlook on life in general looked better. I didn’t focus on what was wrong with me. I didn’t beat myself up over the things that I did not have the ability to change. Instead, I was more positive and felt like the battle to beat compulsive eating was more attainable than ever. I felt a new confidence come over me and I wanted to push myself to the limits to see what I could accomplish. Honestly, for the first time in my life, I knew deep down inside me that I would beat Compulsive Eating Disorder. I just had a gut feeling… and my feeling was right because I’ve been binge-free for nearly three years now.
As you know, there are struggles with everything in life, but I want you to know that the reward of beating compulsive eating outweighs any of the hard times you may experience. I can’t wait until you surprise yourself with things that you didn’t think were possibly because of compulsive eating. It’s really such an amazing feeling!
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Kristin Gerstley is a former binge eater that now has a very healthy relationship with food. She is the owner of http://www.endbingeeating.com , which is a site that helps people overcome Binge Eating Disorder. She also publishes a free newsletter offering encouragement, tips on how to stop binge eating, and regain control of your life.