This is a subject I’ve only touched on before, but never fully talked about. I feel that it’s time.
It’s hard for people to hear, but many of us who struggle with weight are suffering from eating disorders. Most people think that the only eating disorders are anorexia or bulimia and fail to recognize the other eating disorders that exist that cause people to gain weight. Binge Eating Disorder is most likely what I had. Here is an official definition:
Some people who overeat have a clinical disorder called binge eating disorder (BED). People with BED compulsively eat large amounts of food in a short amount of time and feel guilt or shame afterward. And they do so often: at least once a week over a period of at least 3 months. Not everyone who overeats is a binger.
I was never diagnosed with it, but as I read about it, it describes the way I often ate. I’ve said before on my blog that I enjoyed eating large quantities of food. The eating of these large amounts of food in a short period of time actually brought me a sense of joy, and when I look back at it, I did feel a sense of guilt about it. I just ate, ate, and ate. The more I ate, the happier I felt. Then, I would look at myself in the mirror and see the result: a morbidly obese former active duty Marine who looked nothing like himself anymore
I am fortunate that I didn’t get heavier than I was, or that I didn’t die from this eating disorder. I am fortunate that I was able to adopt a diet that allows me to stay sated by eating healthy, natural, and delicious foods. I am fortunate that I have a wife who supports me in this, and friends who are accommodating and understanding of my dietary needs.
I don’t use BED as a crutch. If anything, I use it as a target to ensure I never go back to that life again. I do find myself wanting to eat a lot of any food I really enjoy which is why portion control is so important for me. I don’t consider myself a victim. I’m just a guy who used to eat too much, has the propensity towards overeating and who has to keep the volume of food eaten under control at all times. Fortunately, I feel like I’m winning the battle.
Not everyone who is obese like I was has BED. Not everyone is a binge eater. But if you are, or if you were, know that you’re not alone, and that you can conquer it. It takes work and daily vigilance, but it can be overcome.