My history of disordered eating began when I was young. I have a strong memory of my 5-year-old self eating peanut butter sandwich after peanut butter sandwich, asking my mom for “one more please!” I have always loved food, and growing up, I was always tall and skinny. I was self-conscious throughout grade school that no matter how hard I tried, I could not gain weight.
When high school hit, I was finally able to keep some weight on my bones. Part of me was intrigued by my new curves, but I decided I needed to get skinny again.
I played sports year-round in high school. In efforts to stay in shape, I started to run the 7 mile route to my house after school. I religiously counted calories, and never ate more than 2,000 a day. With my excessive exercise, I quickly dropped a lot of weight. By my senior year, my face was gaunt and I felt victoriously in charge of food. Although I still ate quite a lot, my food was nutrient-dense and low in calories, and my active lifestyle required more energy.
When I got to college, my disordered eating habits increased. I have a vivid memory of myself sitting alone in my apartment, stirring a bulk, Costco-sized jar of peanut butter. I ate spoonful after spoonful, until I felt so sick I had to lie on the floor and cry. My large appetite was a joke among my friends, and I was only able to laugh along because I maintained my thinness by overexercising.
A few years later, I graduated and was about to begin my career. I lived with my sister for a month before beginning my job, and while she was work, I raided her fridge and pantry, eating for hours every morning after the house was empty. I felt so angry, frustrated, and disgusting that I literally prayed to die. I tried in vain to get myself to throw up, but I never had success. I continued to wrestle with food over the months and years that followed.
The worst weight swing took place a few years ago. I went on a vegan, nutrient-dense diet and trained for a half marathon. Eating about 1500 calories a day and running on average 7 miles a day, I quickly shed the weight. I was positively reinforced by those around me, and my pants literally fell off of me. I loved the look of my thin face and flat stomach, but I had a never-ending, gnawing hunger.
I moved across the country and a switch flipped. I started binge eating on peanut butter and chocolate chips and stuffed huge amounts of “healthy” foods down my throat every day. In just a few months, I gained 30 pounds. I was mad, disgusted, and wanted to escape my body. Every day, I weighed myself and was full of frustration that my weight only crept up, despite “clean eating” and exercise.
The weight loss that seemed so effortless a few months before was now impossible. I was a slave to my eating habits and compulsions. I tried diet plan after diet plan, vowing that each one would be “the one.”
Although I occasionally lost a few pounds, it felt like I was white knuckling everything to do with food. I continued to battle cravings and urges, and I overate and overate...the pounds creeping on steadily each week.
Then I joined Lydia’s program.
Lydia was super kind, encouraging, and knowledgeable! She made the program easy and gave us all of the tools we need to succeed.
After the program, I don’t have to eat clean. Although I’ve found that I feel better when I eat whole foods that are nutrient rich, I no longer count calories or obsess over macronutrients.
Eating “perfectly” used to stress me out daily, especially during social situations.
Now I can go out to restaurants with friends and order whatever looks good. I can leave food on my plate and not worry that I’m wasting food.
I can come home from hanging out with friends late at night and not go straight to my fridge for a “little snack.”
I appreciate my body so much more, even though it is bigger than it was in the past. I am realizing more and more that my worth is not my weight.
I understand and love that I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, and that restriction only leads to binging later on.
This process is easy. Lydia breaks it down into manageable steps and clearly explains the neuroscience behind her principles. I think I wanted the solution to be hard and difficult because my life struggle has been so hard and difficult. However, I am so grateful that my mind and habits can be altered painlessly. My eating habits were the result of lifelong habits and choices and negative thoughts. Lydia helped me recognize these thoughts and cast them aside by calling out the chatter, and the program has empowered me to make the decisions that I WANT to make.
-Graduate of the Beat The Binge program