As many people with an eating disorder or weight issues will tell you, we tend towards the obsessive in one way or another. That’s part of the reason we’re facing this challenge in the first place—we obsess about food and then obsess about hiding our issues with food, at the very least. So any discussion about someone facing an issue with food such as Binge Eating Disorder, like me, has to start with the understanding that it all starts with obsession. It’s important for people to know that eating disorders are NOT about the food, they’re about fixation and control.
Such was the case in my life until very recently. Obsession is what fueled my day, my week, my month and led to my battle with BED, from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. I was forever focused on what I was going to eat in five minutes, five hours and five days, as well as how I was going to cover my tracks and do all this without anyone knowing about it.
I obsessed about my weight as well. As if a number can tell you how much you are worth! I reduced everything down to that three digit number after I binged. The high number fueled the shame I felt, and it fueled me when I was starving myself in between binges.
I spent a lot of time on that emotional tightrope, but I am taking big steps toward conquering my eating disorder. That’s why for 2017 and beyond I have made a decision: No more looking to a scale for validation. I am NOT going to weigh myself ever again.
I simply don’t give space to it in my life. I can’t. It offers nothing—not validation or comfort or a sense of accomplishment. It knows nothing about me and how awesome I am in other ways. So, instead, I concern myself with larger issues, like being healthy, eating healthy, exercising, avoiding triggering situations--like late-night eating after drinking--and surrounding myself with people who won’t let me get away with abusing my body or being mean to myself.
I know now that I am much more than a number, and when my weight fluctuates, whether for bad or good, I know that I am worthy and strong and built for the long race. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and I am getting better and better at looking further into the distance while never breaking stride. That’s the way it’s been for me, and I recommend finding that inner strength in you. It’s the only way for us to get through while pursuing health, happiness, and real substance in our lives.
Taking that weight—no pun intended—off of my shoulders has freed me to live in the moment, to concentrate on being the best version of myself without worrying about meaningless, short-term details. I am free now from the shame and worry and guilt, and free to be positive and understand that I am a pretty resilient, substantial person who has shortcomings and talents.
I can live with all of that.
Ryan Sheldon is founder of Confessions of a Binge Eater, a blog he created to share about his journey with Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Ryan hopes his story will help others suffering from BED overcome shame and embarrassment, as well as gain back control over food. In particular, Ryan provides a voice for the many men struggling eating disorders while encouraging them to get help. Ryan is not your run-of-the-mill life coach. With an infectious personality, he uses both humor and education to help others facing adversary. Ryan finds when you add humor to a tough situation, it empowers you to stop feeling ashamed and start taking action. Join him on his journey through life with BED. For more information on Ryan, please visit his website.