I don't remember a time when I didn't have a very flawed relationship with food.
As a child I suffered various traumas and reached adulthood before I was diagnosed with ADHD.
I Constantly felt restless and as if I did not have control over my life. I was diagnosed with anorexia at 16 (although looking back I think it may have in fact been bulimia).
For a long time, the ADHD diagnosis and treatment seemed to help with the eating disorder. Possibly because the medication deals with the same part of the brain where the basic animal impulses to binge come from.
But from 2016 through most of 2018 it has been one stressor added on top of another and I found myself bingeing again and again and putting on more and more weight.
Deaths in the family, job insecurity, close friends moving away, health issues, insomnia, an unstable ex sending me vaguely threatening messages - all of these thing weighed on me to the point where I craved the numbness binge eating provided - regardless of how briefly the numbness lasted.
Add to that my constant (failed) attempts to restrict and I was finding myself unable to focus on anything but food and my weight. Which acted as a easy distraction to the grief and anxiety I was trying to ignore.
Eventually, most of the external stressors began to disappear - my job status became guaranteed and my job itself became a less toxic environment for me.
My unhinged ex stopped sending messages and my husband and I put safety measures in place in case it started again. The fog of grief started to lift and I was starting to feel like things were going to be okay.
But I couldn't stop binge eating and it pissed me off.
My life was so great regardless of the things I had endured - I have a loving supportive husband, family I love and can count on, friends who care, a job I love - why couldn't I stop eating? Why couldn't I lose weight? Why did I hate myself when everything that actually mattered was going right for me?
I knew from the very first moment I listened to the Beat The Binge intro webinar that this was my answer.
When Lydia explained it was possible to have freedom from my eating disorder I literally burst into tears. Even during those years when the binge eating was not so rampant, my relationship with food and my body image were still very unhealthy.
I had long ago resigned myself to the probability that I would never be a "normal eater" or have body acceptance. I was so overwhelmed, but I knew Lydia could help me.
I knew I would get to be the person I wanted to be and finally enjoy the life I was given.
Yes, it would require work - but as Lydia often reminds us, you can continue doing the things you've always done - WHICH ARE ALREADY HARD, or try a new approach which might also be hard.
After completing the Beat The Binge program I am free from so many things I never thought possible.
Food doesn't scare me like it used to, I don't spend all day thinking about and planning around and obsessing over and hating it like used to.
I am free not only from disgust regarding my body as well as the body dysmorphia that plagued me my entire life - I actually love my body now and can see it for what it is, not the distorted jumble of flaws I spent too much time hating.
This program taught me how to access parts of my brain and change my thinking in ways that go beyond no longer binge eating - or more importantly no longer having the URGE to binge eat.
The principles Lydia teaches are invaluable in so many areas, I have a better handle on my ADHD without having to constantly up my medication dosage, my anxiety has lessened significantly, I no longer have terrible bouts with insomnia - all because of the very basic principles Lydia lays out in the program.
I even began to grieve properly for the losses I've experienced this last year - I had been trying to power through and not feel them because the hurt was too intense, but knowing I wasn't going to spiral into a binge-monster allowed me to feel the feelings and process them in a more healthy way.
I know I was probably primed for this level of success with the program due to a number of other factors:
I developed a poor body image after I developed an eating disorder - prior to that I had always found my shape and size to be perfectly acceptable - I believe the capacity for body acceptance was still in there.
I had already felt what freedom from bingeing could be prior to the program thanks to the ADHD treatment, I had been practicing the principles subconsciously in other areas of my life, and so they truly clicked for me regarding my binge eating when I heard them presented in a easy to comprehend manner.
It was only halfway through the program that I realized why I found this method so intuitive and it was a total AHA moment.
The biggest surprise was that I would gain so much more than freedom from binge eating.
I never would have dreamed how positively this could've changed my life - I just wanted to stop uncontrollably shoving food into my face.
Instead, I've found my tribe in the group of women and men who have shared this journey with me, I've learned how to change the way I view myself, accepted and even come to love what I am both physically and emotionally.
I have a much better relationship with food than I ever imagined possible. I get to enjoy my life now and I have been equipped with invaluable tools to keep changing my life for the better.