Stuffed With Emptiness: My First Binge

by tinareale on November 22, 2011

I feel strongly about bringing more awareness to the struggles of binge eating. This post delves into details and thoughts of my first binge. If this topic could be triggering to your own thoughts and experience in any way, please read with caution or wait to visit BBF later.

I remember the night vividly.

I sat on the chair in my parents’ home, a laptop across my lap – chilly, tired. And hungry. The words for my five page essay on a Spanish play wouldn’t flow. My spreadsheet to plan out my meals and macronutrient counts for the following day kept distracting me.

I have to make sure I get this right. It’s worked well so far. I can’t believe I lost another four pounds this week! What can I cut to still make progress. I bet I could lose another five pounds. Yes. I can. That will be my next goal.

With smugness across my face, I set my thoughts on my new goal. I couldn’t see that losing over twenty pounds in ten weeks did me no favors. I couldn’t see I weighed significantly less than optimal for my body – even less than I weighed on the day of my fitness competition. I was, literally, starving.

quote 4

My body – neglected, in need of food, searching for energy to keep itself awake and functioning – finally overtook my control.

I need something. I didn’t eat dinner tonight because I told my mom I wasn’t hungry, so I have a little wiggle room from the day. I can have a teaspoon of peanut butter. That won’t hurt my goal.

I went to the refrigerator. I pulled out my jar of natural peanut butter and my food scale. I measured out my teaspoon of peanut butter. It tasted better than anything I had tasted in a long time. I packed everything away and laid the spoon in the sink, to return to my chair and finish my essay.

Only now, the thoughts of peanut butter consumed me. I told myself one more spoonful won’t hurt and returned to the refrigerator for one more scoop. I returned to my chair, only to stare at my screen until, like a moth to a flame, I found myself, spoon in hand, at the jar again.

Time and time again. Sneak a bite. Try to focus. Sneak a bite again. Until suddenly, there I sat, looking down to an empty jar of peanut butter at after 2 am. Shame washed over me.

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I did not understand what had happened. How did I get so off course? Yet, somehow, food continued to rule my thoughts. I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I snuck over to the pantry. The door creaked ever so slightly as I opened it, making me pause with dread that someone might figure out what I planned to do. I felt disappointed at the selection – low carb wraps, bags of brown rice, bottles of olive oil, cans of vegetables.

Then, from the back corner I saw my brother’s special box of PopTarts.The only junk food we had in the house as I had convinced my mom to not buy anything “sugar or fat laden” because of my “diet”.

The wrapping crinkled in my fingers. I ever so carefully peeled it away, in fear of getting caught. I took my first bite and the sugar hit me. It was my first taste of anything besides plain oatmeal, protein powder, chicken, eggs, an apple, or raw vegetables in months. It released an almost euphoric response and suddenly the entire box disappeared, leaving me digging in the trash to hide the evidence.

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I went to bed in tears. Stuffed…but more empty at the same time. My mind could not understand what happened. I lied to my brother the following morning about where his breakfast could have gone. I skipped a class that day to finish my essay. And I didn’t allow a single morsel of food to cross my lips that day either. Sadly, it was just the beginning…

  • How have you had to “conquer yourself” in the past?

{ 6 comments }

1 Rianna February 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hi, I REALLY relate to this. I’m underweight but I am actually eating quite a lot of calories + my only form of exercise is a daily walk and a 15 minute turtle-slow jog 3x per week. I’d love to do a strength program, but have no gym and have no idea how to do something at home. I’m just really lazy.
Anyway,yes, I am underweight. But I do eat a great deal during the day. I think my binges at night are 50/50 physical/mental. Does that make sense? THe problem is that they used to be only once or twice per week. Well, now they are every single night. I feel so much shame and am terrified about what this will do to my body. What if I gain too much or the wrong way? What if I keep gaining and never stop? (being underweight doesn’t justify this).
After a heavy day of eating all day, tonight I ate: 1 cup of yogurt, a 1/2 cup grapes, 30 grams of dark chocolate, and 5 rice cakes (the 80 calories each ones). All at 11 p.m. Excess calories.
And what will I do in the morning? Wake up bloated and make myself eat breakfast and sit all . day. long.
How do I physically and mentally recover from these binges (they are nightly? Will it ever stop? Like, is it gross to wake up and eat breakfast anyway (and be highlly constipated…the worse is the constipation because that ignites extreme feelings of lousiness and irritation obviously in any person). Will I or have I wreecked my body? Or is it never ever too late?
Thanks for any thoughts. Your persnoal insights would be awesome!!

2 Laura July 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hey Rianna, I can’t personally answer any of those questions, but I thought I’d direct you to Tina’s post on how she overcame binge eating!
http://www.tinareale.com/146/overcoming-binge-eating/

3 Tonya November 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Oh my God! I am in tears.
This is ME.

4 tinareale November 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Always feel free to email me if you need. I know it’s a tough thing to face, but it’s about taking things day by day and focusing on progress and not perfection.

5 Running Husband April 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I know this is an old post but I just came across your site via your post about finding your happy weight, and this post describes me to a T.

Over the last two years, my wife started Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight and is now leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I’ve just recently hit bottom so to speak as I am embarrassed with what the scale says and what my habits have been. The late-night hours are when I struggle, after everyone has gone to bed.

I’m ashamed to say that I have sat more times than I care to admit with food and when I hear a creak in the house, I hide the food thinking someone is coming downstairs and I don’t want them to see how much I’ve eaten.

On April 1st, I signed up for my first 5k and am training now – and trying to battle my binge eating. I need to read through your series of posts, but I wanted to chime in and say thank you for sharing your experiences. Sometimes I feel so alone and ashamed, and I’ve already connected with the knowledge that others have faced these same problems and overcome them thanks to this post.

6 Rachael May 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

Thank you for this post; it’s obvious many people can relate to this, including me. Thanks for sharing your past struggles, it will only continue to help others to connect on a deeper level!

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