“30 Years and 7 Books of Eating Disorder Recovery Wisdom,” is an interview of me by Jared Levenson. Below is a bit about my crazy eating days. To hear more of my story and recovery, listen to this podcast at https://eatingenlightenment.com/2019/12/01/eating-disorder-recovery-interview/.
I talk some in my books and more in my sessions with clients about how I went from being a chronic dieter and world-class overeater to a “normal” eater. They are often amazed when I tell them that I’ve been recovered for half a lifetime which, at 72, sometimes seems like it was just yesterday and sometimes seems like my warped relationship with food happened to another me and not the one I am today. I was a deprivational eater who weighed myself several times a day. I counted calories to know what and how much to eat. You could have slapped on me any other label that applied to feeding disturbances: emotional, compulsive, binge, night, stress, secret and over-eater. Oh, and did I mention that for about one and a half years, I had bulimia? Miserable doesn’t begin to cover how I felt about my eating, my body and my life.
I ate in secret, sneaking food when I was visiting friends or family and always finished the food on my plate (and sometimes the plates of the people I was eating with). My mind was awash in thoughts of eating day and night. Food thrilled me and scared me to death. Every time I tried to diet, I did it for a while, then hurled myself off the wagon when I couldn’t stand depriving myself of foods I loved any more. Each of the numerous times I dragged myself back onto the wagon, I was more exhausted and despairing, but what else could I do? There were no alternatives.
Then one emerged in the late 1970s: the possibility of learning to eat “normally.” Not a quick and easy solution, clicking your heels like Dorothy did in Oz, but a glimmer at the end of the long tunnel. Obviously, I made it out of that tunnel. I had hope and offer you the same no matter how self-destructive your eating problems are. I had some other qualities, too, like curiosity and perseverance. Patience I had to learn along with other life skills I was sorely missing. I read all the books I could on emotional and overeating, and every book taught me something I could use to change my beliefs and behaviors.
So I practiced and sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed and now I teach what I learned. I did nothing special that you can’t do, so don’t even think about saying you can’t. If you say that, your self-hate and hopelessness will eat you alive and you’ll never get out of the tunnel and into the light.