Stuffed With Emptiness: The Binge That Changed Everything

by tinareale on January 18, 2012

Please note that the Stuffed With Emptiness (click for all other posts in this series) posts touch on detailed parts of my past experience with binge eating. If this could be a triggering topic to you in any way,read any with caution.Regardless of your experience, I hope you watch the vlog since it discusses the healing process. 

In my last post, I promised you all a video blog for my next Stuffed With Emptiness post. I think speaking about my experience can only bring a new level of realness to the topic. I want to express just how much I believe we can all fight the evils of unhealthy food relationships. In the vlog, I share about the binge that initiated the first steps in overcoming my struggles and what those steps were.

The Binge That Changed Everything


I tried to keep the time down, but just couldn’t touch on all that needed to be said in just a few minutes. So, for those of you who can’t watch because you’re at work, or are reading on the run, or simply don’t have patience for 9 minutes of a vlog (I understand!), find the condensed version below:

  • March of 2005 = My First Binge
  • Early June of 2007 = How joining an online fitness forum gave me an unhealthy body ideal and lead me to wanting to compete in a fitness competition.
  • Late August of 2007 = I trained for the show, but had to pull out from the show at 2 weeks out. Immediately after losing the restrictions, I resorted back to binging badly. I gained almost 30 pounds in 2 months.
  • Late October or Early November of 2007 = I experienced the “turning point” binge. I realized the low I hit by some of the actions I took during that binge. Then, a couple days later found myself in hysterical tears in the stall of a public restroom. The will to change had finally overcome my secret love and affair with binge eating.

The First Steps I Took

  • Got Rid of Food Rules – which did initially make things harder
  • Worked on Self-Love – using a few different methods
  • Got Support – finally sucked it up and told Peter (I also let you all know that I will do all I can to support you)
  • Forgave Myself – how the road is hard and slip-ups will happen, so forgiveness is vital

For additional reading on my experience, please visit the posts in the series all found on my Binge Eating page.


What’s something you have had to forgive yourself for?

Don’t miss Best Body Fitness around the web!

  • My post on Quick Dinner Ideas was syndicated on BlogHer this week! It has lots of practical, quick fixes for dinner. If you missed it before, head on over!
  • I participated in Tuesday Trainer this week. Lots of heart-pumping moves you simply must check-out!

Have a fit, healthy, self-loving, believe-in-yourself Wednesday, my friends!!!


1 Lauren January 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

You’re amazing lady! <3

2 Cheryl @ eatplayluvblog January 18, 2012 at 7:13 am

Thank you, thank you, and thank you! I am following in your footsteps and feel like I am so close to being free of my bingeing and weird food habits. Your posts have helped so much–just being able to relate and seeing that someone can do so amazing and get to where you are is really really inspirational. Hearing you say it in a v log is even more powerful and I SERIOUSLY appreciate this. THANK YOU.

3 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 18, 2012 at 7:20 am

Great video blog – 9 minutes was perfect!!! ;) I can just feel that your series has helped some people out there struggling with binge eating. You’re awesome!

4 Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot January 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

You are awesome and I am sure such a good inspiration for those who struggle with this! And I love your morning prayer. I think I am going to add that to my mornings :) Thank you.

5 Tara Burner January 18, 2012 at 7:56 am

great info and so proud of you :)

6 Lori Lynn January 18, 2012 at 8:10 am

I love your quote and your video. Thank you SO much for sharing it!!

7 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List January 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

This was great, Tina! Thank you for being strong and vulnerable!!
Looking back, do you think Peter knew all along? I know that people around me were NOT fooled by me.
God is SO good!! He’s using you (and this!) to help someone right now!

8 tinareale January 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

PETER!!!! If you’re reading please chime in on this one. (he’s always a silent reader)

I know before he said he didn’t about the secretive binges and the extent to which it reached. He said he knew I had some unhealthy attitudes with food, but not that I would hide food and eat SO much. At least that’s what he told me. That he didn’t really have a clue for that side of things.

9 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile January 18, 2012 at 8:47 am

Thanks for sharing Tina. You are so awesome!!

10 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 18, 2012 at 8:50 am

Amazing post :D

11 jobo January 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

Wow. I watched every word of this and you are simply amazing at sharing this journey so publicly and honestly. You are truly paying it forward for so many that struggle with this very issue. So very great. XOXO!!

12 Megan January 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

This was amazing Tina, thank you so much! I think this vlog will really give a lot of people comfort and hope. Also, I really admire your communication/speaking skills, you are going to be great at the conference! :)

13 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

This was wonderful–I’m sure it will help a lot of people who are struggling woth binge eating.

14 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries January 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

thank you for sharing and taking the time to do this, tina! i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again, you’re such an inspiration to so many people! you’re awesome! :)

15 Ari @ Ari's Menu January 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

I can only imagine how much bravery it takes to not only write openly about it, but to actually put yourself out there on video. You are incredible, and you inspire me! Thank you for your honesty!

16 Tina January 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

Thank you for all you support Tina! You really have helped me a lot. I feel like things are starting to fall into place for me.

17 tinareale January 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

This makes me smile SO BIG!

18 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt January 18, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thank-you for sharing your experience, you are so brave. I am so glad you are living the life you were intended to live.

19 Sarah @ A Runners Heart January 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

Thank you so much for this…I’ve been binge eating since I was in high school (I turn 29 this year…that’s almost 14 years of binge eating…omg…wow) I still haven’t found the courage to tell my husband….And being pregnant made it worse…Now I want to eat healthy for my daughter, but still binge eat anyway…I’ve taken up running and am training for a half marathon in March, but I know I won’t get very far with my eating habits…I am also a believer and I love that you repeated “God, Let me Love me like you love me!” I will start trying to say that! But it’s hard! It’s good to know there are others out there and that maybe one day I can take charge over this. Thank you so much for having the courage to talk about it. Your blog has truly been a blessing to me. :)

20 tinareale January 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

that little mantra opened my eyes in a big way. I hope you know that you have the strength to push past this. You DESERVE to push past it. Take things day by day…meal by meal…and choose to honor yourself the way you deserve to be honored. Big hugs!

21 meg January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Tina, you are such a great speaker because you are so honest and open with your own struggles. I KNOW that you are helping people who are struggling with this.

Great advice!

22 Emily January 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I admire you so much for putting this out there. I definitely agree with your points, especially where you would say you want to love yourself as much as God does. What works for me is to stop before I eat or do anything that in my heart I know is not in my best interest. I literally bring my focus back to myself and my body and how I feel and how I know I want to feel. Usually sugar/alcohol/salt will not help me feel the way I want to! I sometimes think that I used to eat foods which would reflect the energy I was wrapped up in at the time – be it stressed, frenzied etc – and so the sugar would be sort of on that wavelength. So, if I wanted to feel calm, I’d either eat something I thought would put me in that space, or go do something else (like shower, walk, run). I also found that the more I got honest with myself and more determined to live by my own values that the spiritual side of life came through – feeling more connected to something that was larger than just me.
I know your video will strike a chord with so many, as so many of us have participated in this kind of behavior to some degree. Thank you for sharing!

23 tinareale January 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm

These are GREAT suggestions and advice to put into practice. I have to make myself pause and think through things still today. But it WORKS! Thanks for sharing them for a good reminder and to help others.

24 Emily January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Thank you Thank you Thank you.
… brought tears to my eyes. <3

25 tinareale January 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm

And thank you for support and love. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t find myself crying while filming it. Every time I write one of these posts I get all teary.

26 Christy January 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for being so open and honest. :)

27 Lindsay @ FuelMyFamily January 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm

it is great you are so open so other people can know they are not alone with issues like this. I agree with your point when you said that the fitness forums made you question your body even more. Its hard to look at someone else’s results without comparing yourself. I eat the same and workout the same, why don’t I look like that? well everyone is different and you need to do what works for you. Health and fitness is far from a one way approach!

28 Carol @ Lucky Zucca January 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

So proud of you for all you’ve overcome Tina. It is amazing that you can now share your story and be a support system for people who are struggling. :) I can’t watch the video now, but plan to when I get home!

29 Bonnie January 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Thanks for sharing, Tina…powerfully delivered and full of truth. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability once again. :D You are so beautiful, valuable, and worthwhile – not only in your family/friends’ and readers’ eyes, but most importantly, in God’s. You are his beloved child, with whom he is well pleased! I need this reminder often, even though I *know* it’s truth. ;)

So cool about the quick dinners too! And tuck jumps? One of my favorites. :D

30 Maria January 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hi Tina! I’ve been away from the blogging universe for a while now, but I had to step and comment on this vlog. First of all, thank you for sharing your story, which I know wasn’t easy. I’ve never dealt with binging or poor body image, but I find so many truths to what you had to say and I’m now “borrowing” your mantra “Please God, help me love me like you love me”. It’s such a powerful and beautiful prayer and I will think of it whenever I’m having an off day. Thank you again – you are truly an inspiring person!

31 Heather @ Run Eat Play January 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Thank you for sharing! I love that you’re so honest, and of course, an inspiration!

32 Beth @ Beth's Journey January 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I love you Tina. This vlog seriously gave me chills and I don’t think you realize just how much your openness touches others. Thank you for sharing your stories so rawly!

33 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! January 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

you are amazing – an inspiration really. It was only after I started reading your stories that I began to open up to a few people around me. I still don’t feel really supported by my real life family&friends in my quest to overcome unhealthy food-related thoughts, but I finally feel like I can be better. Thank you so much for sharing, it means a lot to know that a girl is not alone out there.

34 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut January 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Thank you for putting this out there. I have not suffered binge eating but like most women I have struggled with self worth and guilt. It is amazing that you take time out of your day to encourage others. I hope this message gets out to all those who need it!!

Thank you again for posting this, Tina!

35 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health January 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm

You are such an amazing person Tina! And you are so incredibly strong! It really is amazing how after watching you on video, I want to meet you so much more! Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story. It’s great to see how far you have come and that in itself can be a huge inspiration to others!

36 Paige @ Running Around Normal January 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm

*reaches through the screen and gives you a big hug!!!*
All of these posts make me want to hug you, but something about hearing you actually talk about it makes my heart hurt for you (for the then-you, of course…you’re so amazing!!!)

37 CJ @ January 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Tina – Ahhh why do you always bring such good posts especially when I need it! I swear, you’re peeking into my life and speaking right to me. Thank you for being a steward of God and allowing Him to speak to me (US) through you.

Still struggling with occasional binges. I’ve been good for the past 1 1/2 months until the past two-three days while being under the weather… then starting to crave… but a lot of times – stuffing relationship issues with food instead of tackling the issue head on.

I linked to your post today, hope you don’t mind.

38 Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection January 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Grateful for this post, Tina…thank you.

39 Hillary January 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I admire you so much for putting yourself out there like this. Your story is sure to touch many.

40 Anna Crouh January 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Once again, you amaze me Tina! The confidence and strength it takes to tell your story takes an amount that many don’t have! My mantra lately is “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (spoken by ghandi). You are doing just that!! We need more people in this world who openly talk about their issues and struggles in life, with the intent of helping others overcome. I’ve come so far in my journey and aside from Gods grace, I attribute much of my personal growth to you (and a few other blogs). You have provided me with the knowledge and practical applications to put to use in my life and make changes for the better. I can’t thank you enough!

Just yesterday I knew I had over eaten, and quite honesty I did on purpose. Not really even sure why! But today I woke up and thought about what you said on your blog recently about starting new and fresh at the next meal. You can decide to make a better choice next time. In the past I would have freaked out and deprived myself until I felt my stomach rumble, and then inevitably cause a binge sometime there after because of the deprivation (lol…convenient how that works). But instead I woke up, ate breakfast, took a walk, and went about my day normally. I kept telling myself that today was a new day. And in the grand scheme of things, one mistake doesn’t make me a failure and I didn’t have to beat myself up over it.
anyways, I don’t need to ramble more…..but I loved the vlog!! Thanks
PS I hope that someday soon I can be brave enough to share my story to help others. I’ve come so far, and I realize I still have a ways to go, but I hope I can have the courage and confidence to come out, like you have done. Love ya!

41 Em January 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Love you! You have an amazing heart to be able to share this and inspire others.

42 Cassie January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

Thank you for being so real. I have not struggled with binging but have struggled with disordered eating and feel like it is a daily battle. I truly appreciate your honesty and openess. I am already asking God to help me love me the way he loves me. Thank you.

43 cheryl January 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

i finally had the right mindset to watch this. i don’t have your faith, but i do try to remind myself of my own rule: Treat yourself AT LEAST as well as you’d treat a dear friend or relative. I’d NEVER push 10,000 calories into a friend BUT I’d also tell her to move on after a slip and that

I also find “confessing” a binge is helpful in moving beyond it….it doesn’t always prevent it for me, but it helps me go ahead.

I share your belief that living openly is key and can truly help other people. This is SUCH a secretive and lonely struggle. Though I can do it in typed words and don’t think I could V-log

44 tinareale January 20, 2012 at 10:39 am

I always hope that I don’t come across as “you have to have faith to deal with it” even though it was a big part for me. I agree that it’s about learning to find that strength to respect and love yourself, keep your eyes open to it and all that you mentioned. thanks for your friendship, cheryl!

45 cheryl January 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

no, you didn’t. you did a good job showing it as a way for YOU to find peace but were NOT preachy about it.

for folks w/ that side to their lives, OA may also be a source for finding those support folks. it wasn’t right for me b/c the higher power aspect was difficult for me, but it seemed like a great resource for others. i sat in the parking lot for three meetings before i went in the door…they were SUPER welcoming w/o really making a big deal out of it either (which i wouldn’t have responded well too). again, not for me, but a potential resource for folks feeling alone and who might prefer a bit of in-person support

46 Rebecca January 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

All I could think when watching this is how amazing of a Mom you must be.

47 tinareale January 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Wow! Thanks so much. I think that is the best compliment I can get.

48 [email protected] January 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! You are not only inspiring others but being a wonderful example to your children!
For me, I have found that having Bible verses around my house helps to keep me from spinning out of control. I first started binging after a stress event in my family when I was in junior high. Since then, different events have helped me learn healthier eating habits but I am still learning.

49 tinareale January 21, 2012 at 6:10 am

Having scripture to turn to is HUGE! I can’t even tell you how many times I came close to bingeing when a little voice would speak some scripture into my heart and that helped me rethink and move away from it. :)

50 Christine January 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

Thank you so much for sharing your story. There is a lot of shame that comes along with recovering from any ed and its people like you who remind me every day to not be ashamed of something that has helped me grow as a person. I too found my faith to be one of (if not THE) reason for my recovery. Without my faith I know I wouldn’t have been strong enough, but I believe like you said that faith can come in different forms for different people. I loved your daily prayer, I usually repeat the serenity prayer which is a similar type in times of struggle or doubt in recovering. I also think its really important about how you mentioned that you will slip up… I think many peoples ed’s and mine center around perfection and for a while I held on to that even in recovery until I realized I would never get better until I except even my flaws. Thanks so much again for this Vlog it came at a great time for me! Best wishes!

51 tinareale January 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks for the support and best wishes to you too!

52 Lee @ fit foodie finds January 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

This is an incredibly powerful vlog. It’s one thing for you to be able to realize your binge eating and how it effects your life, but it’s another to share your experiences with us! You inspire.

53 anonymous March 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Thank you so much for your honesty in this series on binge eating. This is something that I am currently struggling with, and thanks to your series, I have learned that I need to get help and do something to change it. I’m currently looking for inpatient programs that can help somebody like me, and while it definitely isn’t easy for me (a college student) to leave the life to get help for this, it helps to know that I’m not alone.

54 tinareale March 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm

That is a very brave step and I’m proud of you for desiring the change and making it happen. It’s scary now but think of how much scarier it would be to live a life dictated by binges. Hugs!

55 Sarah November 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

How did you bring the entire subject up with your husband? And try to explain to him how/why you did the binge cycle?

56 tinareale November 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I don’t really remember how exactly I did it. I think after a rough binge I was just broken and he could tell something was wrong and then it all came pouring out. I think the key is remembering that the people you turn to for support CARE about you and won’t judge. They may not understand the depth of it fully, but if you just share as openly as possible and express a need for support then they will be there.

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