Me, Myself, and Ed:  transitioning to me, myself, and i

 

   
      As a child and through my teenage years, food was never an issue for me.  I would eat when hungry, and otherwise not think much else about it.  My mother demonstrated the perfect balance between healthy, nutritious eats and the not quite as healthy, but tastes-good-eats.  She brown-bagged my lunches right up until college, and prepared home-cooked dinners typically six nights of the week.  I confess I was a light eater, but I ate until satisfied and no more.       

      Body image issues were not relatable to me.  I was accustomed to being naturally small--short and thin, and I was always active in extracurricular activities, like ballet, tap, jazz, and kickline.  I was proud of my body and quite comfortable in my own skin.  The onset of my disordered eating had nothing to do with body image.   

      My relationship with food remained unchanged until my early twenties, when I became uninvolved with serious dating relationships for the first time in six years.  At first, I was not even aware of the change; but for about a month, I was unconsciously increasing my food intake.  I finally realized this when my clothing started to fit differently.  I remember calling my mother on the phone, tragically upset, to tell her that I was gaining weight.  She told me it could be muscle mass---the summer before my 20th birthday I joined a gym and took a liking to jogging on the treadmill--but I knew deep down it was because I was uncontrollably eating more; something I could never tell my mother.   

      I went into panic mode shortly after that, and after my biggest binge (at that point in my life) on March 5, 2005, I abused laxatives for the first time.  I just felt so uncomfortably full.  I told myself I would use laxatives only until my 21st birthday (March 26, 2005), by which point I would magically have returned to the body size I had been comfortable with my entire life.  Need I say this didn't occur?   

      Once laxatives entered my life, my eating patterns shifted from eating higher quantities of food throughout the day, to not eating anything at all during the day and binging at night.  I would follow up the binges by popping over the counter laxative pills.  This cyclic pattern of starve, binge, purge quietly became my way of life.  My weight gain had just about leveled out at this point, after the initial onset, so physical appearance left nothing suspect.    

      After nine months of living in this silent torture, I finally broke down and fessed up to a friend.  He immediately escorted me to the campus nurse.  At no point was I comfortable going forward with this.  My nurse visit resulted in one counseling session per week from an on-campus social worker.     

       After about one year of laxative abuse, my pill usage more than halved, but the binging nearly doubled.  By the time I graduated college I was twenty pounds heavier than just fifteen months prior.  This was the first significant weight gain of my life, but instead of concerned friends and family addressing this with me, no one said a word

       I went away to school master's year and lived on my own.  The social worker from my undergrad had referred me to therapists in the area, but I never followed through.  The laxative abused ended 99.9% about three months into my move, but the binging reached all new heights.  About two years after the onset of my disordered eating, my weight gain reached thirty three pounds.  I felt utterly embarrassed, and absolutely disgusting.  I toyed around with fad diets, but nothing that lasted more than days at a time.  I felt like a complete stranger to myself, and was entirely out of shape.   

       After twenty five months of food chaos and abusive behaviors, I finally started to manage food in a positive way.  I stumbled upon Self's food blog "Eat Like Me," and began to understand what a healthy relationship with food looked like.  I joined weight watchers online, and learned how to start properly feeding myself, logging my eats along the way.  I became more active at the gym I belonged to, and even set up a personal goal to run 5k distances.   

      I failed many times along the way, caving in to my binging habits.
   

     The summer after grad school I was transitioning to moving back in with my family.  I was unemployed for that summer, and saw it as the perfect opportunity to focus on my healthy weight loss.  By July 2007 I shed nearly twenty five pounds.  I mimicked the food lifestyle of RD blogger "Eat Like Me," and began focusing on the My Pyramid guidelines of healthy eating vs weight watchers.  I also achieved running 5k distances, and was doing that three times a week.  I felt amazing.   

     Now, nearly two years later, I am proud to say I have been clean of laxative use since July 2007.  However, I still struggle with binging often, and have binging urges most days of the week.  I have gained and lost about fifteen pounds these past two years, but am still determined to maintain my victorious weight loss of twenty five pounds.  I did seek counseling from an ED-specialized social worker for about two months in 2008, but discontinued the sessions.   

     As of recently, I've moved in with my very loving boyfriend, who has been holding my hand through this food journey for the past two years.  We are trying to incorporate three gym sessions a week together, and also eat at least four healthy dinners a week together.  I returned to using the My Pyramid guidelines to log my eats on a day-to-day basis, and aim to use food blogging as a means to continue to minimize my binges, and urges to binge.   

     The journey goes on.